A NEW and substantial e-book containing transcripts of the court rolls of the Manor of Slaidburn, in the Ribble Valley, has just been published.

The contents of the rolls throws up a fascinating insight into daily life in the manor in centuries gone by, with details of the infringements of manorial laws such as fishing in the Hodder and taking the monarch’s fish, unmade fences and hedges, affrays and cattle trespassing.

The Manor of Slaidburn had jurisdiction across the Liberty of Bowland which comprised the townships of Slaidburn, Newton in Bowland, Easington, Grindleton, West Bradford, Waddington, Mitton, Bashall, Bowland Forest Higher and Lower, and Bowland with Leagram.

The manorial courts were held in the court house in Slaidburn and the proceedings were recorded on parchment rolls now preserved in the Lancashire Archives. There are almost 300 rolls covering the years 1515-1781, as well as a much earlier roll for 1392-1393.

The court rolls are mostly written in abbreviated Latin up until 1733; but have been translated into English in the transcripts by Christopher John Spencer, a graduate of Imperial College, London, who has been researching the Slaidburn area for more than 40 years.

The rolls also acted as a ‘deeds registry’ recording conveyances of land in the townships of Slaidburn, Newton, Grindleton and West Bradford. It is often possible to trace the ownership history of a farm in these townships over many centuries.

Volume one of the rolls is 1,210 pages long and includes comprehensive indexes for people named in the rolls, place names and miscellanea. For anyone researching Bowland’s local history or the genealogy of its inhabitants, the court rolls are an essential primary source. Two further volumes will follow later covering the years up to 1781.

Copies are available for purchase for £25 from Slaidburn Archive, registered charity no. 1167560, and all sale proceeds will be used for the benefit of maintaining and running the archive.

Purchasers need to send a cheque for £25 to Slaidburn Archive, 25 Church Street, Slaidburn, Clitheroe, BB7 3ER together with an email address for the e-book in pdf format to be sent to. Alternatively contact the Slaidburn Archive at enquries@slaidburnarchive.org if wishing to pay by bank transfer.

The author, Christopher Spencer, retired from teaching at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School ten years ago. In 2018 he published The History of the King-Wilkinson Family and the Slaidburn Estate.