The Court Rolls of Walsham le Willows, 1303-50

November 1998
2 black and white, 2 line illustrations
382 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Suffolk Records Society
ISBN: 9780851156163
Format: Hardback
Suffolk Records Society
Boydell Press

The Court Rolls of Walsham le Willows, 1303-50

Edited by Ray Lock

Local administration at work in a populous and prosperous medieval community.
These records of the proceedings of the one hundred and fifty-five courts for the two manors of Walsham le Willows, Suffolk, provide a wealth of evidence of a sophisticated system of local administration and justice, operating in a populous and prosperous community. The rolls were designed to be used as working documents, and, being accessible to all, they protected the interest of the ordinary man and woman as well as that of the lord of the manor. Examples of tenants or claimants using the rolls to settle disputes over title show that there was a flourishing land market in Walsham; and the frequent cases of damage by domestic animals reveal details of agriculture, crops grown and animals kept. The rolls cover two contrasting periods, marked by political unrest and the advent of the Black Death; dramatic evidence of its terrible virulence, and the resilience of the stricken population, survives in these rolls.


There is much of general interest here, such as the local appearance of the Black Death in 1349... This excellent volume will be found useful for comparisons well beyond the boundaries of Suffolk. ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW HISTORY: See (S) An important volume, which enables us to observe how a lady and lord representing two very different levels of landownership grappled with the problem of authority in the same complex society... a fascinating volume, and one hopes for a sequel. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW [Barbara Harvey]

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