Manorial Documents Register

The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) is an index of English and Welsh manorial records, providing brief descriptions of documents and details of their locations in public and private hands.

Manorial records include court rolls, surveys, maps, terriers and all other documents relating to the boundaries, franchises, wastes, customs or courts of a manor.

We are co-ordinating an ongoing programme to revise, update and computerise our paper-based Manorial Documents Register on a county by county basis, working in collaboration with external partners.

You can view the Manorial Documents Register counties map (PDF, 1.0 MB), which shows the progress of the project across the counties.

Work is currently progressing on the final three English counties: Cornwall, Durham and Lincolnshire.

Searching the Manorial Documents Register

You can search only the data held within the Manorial Documents Register by using the register’s homepage within Discovery. It is far more detailed and accurate than the original paper indexes, improving both the quality and quantity of the information, and providing wider access to this resource. This benefits researchers wherever they are based in the world, enabling them to search for manorial records by manor, parish, type of record, or by date, and identifying the relevant records.

Listen to our podcast which provides an introduction to the various types of manorial records and offers a practical guide to using the Manorial Documents Register.

Manorial Documents Register conference 2022

2022 marks the centenary of the Law of Property Act (Royal Assent 29 June 1922) that abolished copyhold tenure and, through subsequent legislation in 1924, gave the Master of the Rolls jurisdiction over manorial records. The National Archives administers these responsibilities on behalf of the Master of the Rolls. This centenary is a significant milestone and provides an occasion to look back and reflect on a century of work protecting and promoting access to manorial records, as well as an opportunity to mark the completion of 30 years of work to computerise the Manorial Documents Register for England and Wales. The call for papers for this conference is now open.

Submit a proposal for the Manorial Documents Register conference 2022

Manorial Documents Register conference 2018

In 2018, the Manorial Documents Register Advisory Panel and The National Archives held a collaborative one-day conference entitled ‘Manorial Documents: Past, present and into the future’. The aims of the conference were to:

  • promote the Manorial Documents Register as a valuable research tool
  • Begin to explore its research potential
  • Inspire inter-disciplinary research activities of all kinds

Audio recordings of the conference‘s panel sessions and keynote address by Professor Chris Dyer are available. The opening and closing remarks, as well as the roundtable discussion, will be released soon.

Find out more

Read more about the Manorial Documents Register and the legislation that explains why we maintain these registers.

Other guides: