You are here: HomeCourt Rolls

Romsley Court Rolls

Over the last few years, work has been underway to transcribe the rolls of the Manor Court, which existed in Romsley from medieval to modern times. The rolls from the 18th and 19th centuries are now complete and can be searched here. 

The rolls are in two parts, 1716-1811 and 1817-1872.

Download Romsley Court Rolls, 1716-1811 (pdf)
Download Romsley Court Rolls, 1817-1872 (pdf)
Use Adobe Reader's search facility to identify names of interest within the files

 

About the Romsley Court Rolls

Although Romsley was a hamlet within the Manor of Halesowen, it had its own manor court from medieval to modern times. The earliest Romsley court rolls date from 1279 when the Lord of the Manor was the Abbot of Halesowen. The courts were held by the steward before a jury of twelve men drawn from amongst the tenantry of the manor. These men were copyholders, that is, the title to their land was in the form of a copy of the court roll of the year during which they entered into or inherited their farmsteads.

The court rolls therefore record all land transactions within the manor in addition to the usual fines for misdemeanours, such as taking timber from the lord's wood, overstocking the wastes and allowing animals to stray into the common arable fields. They also include fines demanded from local tradesmen who, so the steward claimed, sold ale and foodstuffs below the standard measure.

The Romsley court proceedings were generally written on the back of contemporary Halesowen Manor court rolls. Although the courts must have been conducted in English, the Stewards always recorded the proceedings in Latin. When the Lyttelton family purchased the manors of Halesowen and Romsley in 1558, they took over most of the records of Halesowen Abbey, including court rolls and rentals covering the period 1279-1538. The Lytteltons continued to hold separate courts for Halesowen and Romsley up to the time of the English Civil War. These court rolls were preserved at Hagley Hall until deposited at Birmingham Reference Library in the 1920s.

Although some of the very early Romsley court rolls were transcribed by the Clent historian, John Amphlet, and published by the Worcestershire Historical Society in 1910, they were printed in Latin and remained inaccessible to the average local historian lacking a classical education. Using part of the bequest of Robert Deeley, the Romsley and Hunnington History Society has commissioned Matt Tompkins of Leicester University to translate all the Romsley Court Rolls. The translations from 1279-1643 are now complete and an RHHS working party is busy indexing them and locating the medieval farmsteads within the modern landscape. It is hoped that the translations will be published by the Worcestershire Historical Society in the next two years.

The Lyttelton's solicitors, Marcy and Hemingway of Bewdley, continued to hold manor courts at Clent, Cradley, Hagley, Halesowen and Romsley during the 18th and 19th centuries. The volume of court business diminished as the Lytteltons sold off more land and converted the old copyhold tenure to freehold. The records of these later court proceedings, still written in Latin up to 1731, were copied into two large leather-bound volumes which have now been deposited at Worcestershire Record Office (BA 5085/3-4. The Romsley courts cover the years 1716-1811 and 1817-1872 and have been transcribed for the RHHS website by Julian Hunt. They are particularly useful as the 19th century stewards began to use the numbers and acreages from the 1842 Tithe Map of Romsley to define the ancient copyhold farmsteads.

© Romsley & Hunnington History Society, 2016. Website by Writing the Past. For technical queries contact the Webmaster.

Some contents of this website are taken from the book Romsley and Hunnington, a Millennium History,
written by Joe Hunt and Julian Hunt and published by the Parish Councils of Romsley and Hunnington, in association with the RHHS.

Please respect the copyright of our work and do not reproduce any of the information published on this website without permission.