Translated and edited by Laurence C Giles with further notes by Stephen Perkins

Foreword . Ludshott Manor in the Rolls . The Manorial System and Manorial Courts . Short Bibliography . Source of Manuscripts . Reference Numbers . Translator’s Marks . TEXT OF THE ROLLS . Quit Rents 1791–1895, etc . Perambulation of Ludshott Manor . Lords of Ludshott Manor . Personal Names Index . Place Names Index . Main Farms Index . Subject Index . Glossary . Timeline . Map of Bramshott parish

First published by the Bramshott and Liphook Preservation Society, 12 London Rd., Liphook, Hants GU30 7AN, 1991.
NOTE – The Society has also published the Bramshott Manor Court Rolls, in similar format to this volume.


The information presented here includes:–

(1) A translation of Ludshott Manor Court Rolls covering the years 1400–1623 (71 Courts); the Rolls, though in Latin, are not the original documents but a set of copies (with occasional copyist’s errors) made in the 1600s, very possibly for the convenience of the Wall family, who acquired the Manor in 1638. Tattered, faded and heavily stained, they were acquired by The Queen’s College Oxford in 1894 for fifteen shillings (Queen’s have held the advowson for Bramshott and Liphook parish since 1685);

(2) Transcripts of some 16 Court ‘Rolls’ and rentals 1640–1833, plus a few Quit Rent accounts etc (mainly early 19th century), deposited at the Hampshire Record Office by the National Trust after they became Lords of the Manor.

The Bramshott and Liphook Preservation Society is most grateful to the Provost and Fellows of The Queen’s College, Oxford, for a ,generous grant towards the cost of this publication which is largely a translation of the MSS mentioned above as held by them. The Society wishes to express its special thanks to Mr J M Kaye, BCL, MA, Keeper of the College Archives; he allowed the Hampshire Record Office to make photocopies of the MSS, transcribed several passages to help my first struggles with the script, patiently answered over 80 queries on specific points – and suggested that the grant should be made. The East Hampshire District Council also gave us most valuable help.

The Society has also to thank the Hampshire Record Office, which presented photocopies of the College MSS to the Society and readily gave permission for us to publish our translation of these, plus transcripts of the National Trust papers mentioned above. A list of HRO ref. nos. is given.

Ludshott was already a manor in Saxon times; it occupies roughly the northern third of the parish of Bramshott and Liphook in East Hampshire. The parish, though its population only passed the 1,000 mark in 1821, included three other manors, Bramshott, Rogate-Bohunt and Chiltley (Liphook); only the northern third of the Conford valley was Ludshott, the rest was a detached part of Oakhanger (Selborne). Ludshott Common, hungry heathland on ‘Hythe Bed’ soils, occupied half the manor. Scattered farms were cleared from the ‘bush’ on the better land close to the R. Wey; mediaeval farmers seem to have preferred the ‘Bargate’ soils to the Sandgate-based ones – see the Geology map. A few early farms were established on the poor soils near Gentles Copse and also east of the manor house. By 1739, according to a manor map of that date, half the manor lay in ‘enclosures’; as at Bramshott the ‘open fields’ system was not used. There was never a village at Ludshott (just the manor house and a few farms); small hamlets eventually grew up at Passfield (Paper Mill c1685–1924) and Conford (cottage edge-tool industry established by William Moss c1800).

The Rolls are essentially of the ‘Court Baron’ type, ie concerned with tenancies and transfers, and the Lord’s rights generally. The Courts deal (not very effectively?) with encroachments, especially from the 1600s; they very rarely allude to quarrels between tenants or offences other than cutting the Lord’s timber or fishing in his waters.

Some of the routine Court phrases have (usually) been abbreviated or condensed in translation; a note on this, on my system of reference Nos. and on ‘critical marks’ used will be found at the end of this Foreword.


Figure 1 shows the years covered by the Bramshott and Ludshott rolls respectively. They overlap too little for very useful comparison. The Bramshott Rolls of the 1300s record endlessly that tenants have allowed their animals to damage the Lord’s crops and that villeins have left the Manor and not been brought back by their families. The Ludshott rolls, beginning c1400, scarcely mention either.

What other comments can be made? – remembering that important clues may be hidden in the many illegible stretches of both sets of Rolls.

Sheep. Sheep were extremely important at Bramshott till at least the late 1700s (flocks of 50, 120 and 393 are recorded in the mediaeval rolls). They are mentioned only 3 times in the Ludshott record, at 39/3, 56/5 and 132/3. Is this just because they are ‘Court Baron’ rolls?

Population. Clearly, population increased sharply in both Manors between 1086 and 1400.

Bramshott. 1086: 10 villeins (and 3 cottagers). 1396: 14 ‘free’ tenants [see Glossary] and 10 copyholders.

Ludshott. 1086: 5 villeins (and 5 cottagers). 1415: 7 ‘free’ tenants and 8 copyholders; some of both sorts were also leasing part of the lord’s demesne.

In both manors the earliest lists of tenants show most men holding farms named not from the sitting tenant but after earlier occupants – pushing back the increase of population, at least in Bramshott, to the mid or early 1200s. Several factors may have contributed to the figures above, including:–

(a) The well-known ‘rapid increase in population and consequent land-hunger of the 13th century’ (Trevelyan, English Social History, 8);

(b) Villeins from other manors, where land was in short supply or work on the Lord’s farm was heavier, bettering themselves by moving to Bramshott or Ludshott, where land was plentiful and genuine settlers no doubt welcome. (Work on the demesne could well have been more strictly exacted at eg. Headley and Liss, where stewards of the Bishop and Abbess of Winchester respectively were in charge);

(c) Shortage of men to till the land after the Black Death (1348–49); Lords allowed surviving peasants to take on larger holdings; here they evidently also turned copyhold land into ‘free tenancies’, for a consideration – or to get it cultivated at all. They also leased out demesne land rather than leave it uncultivated – strikingly so in Ludshott in the 1400s: see the note on firmarius at 41/3, ‘farmer’ in Glossary, and items such as 16/9, 42 penult. and other references to the Lord’s ‘farmers’.

Lords making more money out of land. Ludshott had rather more good soil than Bramshott, but Bramshott was more prosperous, if one can judge by the tax assessment of 1436 (Capes, 111); both manors had been worth 100s. in 1086 – but in 1436 Bramshott was taxed at 40d., nearly 70s: higher than Ludshott’s 24d. In the 1500s a Lord Mayor of London held land in Ludshott as an investment (see GORES in Main Farms Index; cp. the similar investment in Bramshott by a Master of the Carpenters’ Company in early 1600s, vide Bramshott Rolls 75/16). More strikingly the Knights began to demand far larger ‘fines’ for new leases then had been customary – £20 at 128/1 & 130/1, £40 at 152/3, £200 at 157/2, £85 at 159/4 (1585–c1612). Tudor inflation is well-documented and the Knights needed money, after their recusancy fines (see p.54, top) – the point is that tenants were willing to pay these amounts. The Knights made careful ‘terriers’ of each holding (see p.40 and 110/2–112/3) and rejected claims to ‘free tenancy’ and ‘exempt from heriot’ unless solid proof was forthcoming; in 1640 the Lord even bought out a tenant for £160 (169/10).

National Connections. William de Bramshott [d. 1309] was chosen by other barons of Hampshire to check that royal officials observed the provisions of Magna Carta; John de Bramshott collected the two-fifteenths tax in 1378; in the 1400s the Bramshott Lord was still travelling to Alton, Winchester and London, on legal and similar duties. The Ludshott rolls give no such picture; mediaeval Ludshott was a very minor appendage of Basing (see List of Lords). Both manors were affected in the 16th century by anti-Catholic measures (see Doc. 62, head note).

Water. Water-meadows were in full swing in Ludshott as in Bramshott well before the late 17th century; some of the many references to tenants ‘diverting water’ (see Subject Index) probably refer to water-meadow work but 173/3 (1651) seems the only certain allusion. There are no references to the water-mill at Passfield, believed to be the mill mentioned for Ludshott in Domesday Book, until it is turned into a ‘Hammer’ in the late 1500s (see 133/1).

Number of Holdings. From 1668 Ludshott Court minutes open with a careful list of tenants. Free tenants usually number between 11 and 8 to 1827, when they drop to 6; copyholders are almost constant at 7 or 8, dropping to 5 by 1833. Quit Rent files (from 185 below) mark 3 tenancies as ‘taken in hand’ by the Lord between 1791 & 1810, with 4 more in 1833. By 1845 the Macdonald estates were grouped in just three large holdings (see item 185 below); the smallholders had virtually disappeared (five only were left, with 25 acres between them; remaining tenants were almost all ‘ag. labs.’ with cottage and garden only).

The details of holdings given in the Rolls and Quit Rents still need to be compared and reconciled with those in Land Tax records and the Tithe Award (1845).

This publication is intended essentially for the use of local researchers and a complete history of Ludshott has not been attempted. Except for a few rent lists etc, the documents printed here end in 1833; Mr Stephen Perkins (Ludshott Manor) has been kind enough to bring the story of the house and Manor down to the present day in a valuable paper. I hope that the full indexes will be found useful; researchers wishing to identify the ancient farms on the ground, or to check my identifications, should turn first to the MAIN FARMS INDEX. The Rolls are full of technical terms like affeerers, essoins, fine, homage, heriot, messuage, virgate; these are explained in a GLOSSARY. Readers may also like to look at the Foreword to our Bramshott Rolls book, especially Mr David Clark’s notes there.


Dr Anita Travers (of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts) and the Society of Genealogists have very kindly allowed us to print here the following paragraphs from her valuable lecture reported in the Genealogists’ Magazine, vo1.21, No.1, 1983.

“For 34% of manors only the name is recorded and no documents are known. For 44% a few scattered documents of different dates are recorded. For 18% there is a good run of documents from the 16th or 17th century onwards, but for only 4% is there a good run of documents beginning before the 16th century. [so we are fortunate indeed – Bramshott & Ludshott are included in this 4%].

“[The manor] is generally said to have emerged in Saxon times and to reflect the insecurity of the period… A small freeholder for his own protection might commend himself to a powerful lord, and from holding under that lord came to be seen as holding his land of that lord. Domesday Book embodies this interpretation. The central government operated by delegating certain powers of jurisdiction to these lords to exercise amongst their dependents… [The lord] appointed officers, steward and bailiff, to see that he received what was due to him. The tenants needed to co-operate… and they too appointed officers such as a reeve and a hayward. Periodic meetings to ensure that all was running smoothly were in the interests of both lord and tenants, hence the holding of the manor court.

“There were in fact two main courts, the court baron and the court leet, but in practice the two were often conducted at the same sessions… The court baron was the tenants’ court and fundamental to the existence of a manor. [Even] The free tenants were obliged to attend as suitors. The three most important functions of the court baron were to control tenure, to regulate the manor’s economy and to settle minor disputes where the sum at issue was less than 40 shillings.

“[A manor] did not necessarily have a court leet. This was a special jurisdiction devolved to the lord from the Crown. Leet jurisdiction originally pertained to the Hundred [a subdivision of the County]… The Hundred could be a large area, so that it was sometimes convenient to hold courts more locally, to delegate its leet powers… to a manor court. The offences dealt with at a court leet were criminal offences… [and] general offences beyond the competence of the court baron. [It would seem that Bramshott had leet powers, Ludshott not].

“The lord’s steward presided. He was usually a lawyer or legally trained and often controlled a whole group of manors for the lord… The bailiff, the lord’s local and permanent representative in the manor, announced the court a convenient number of days ahead… When the court met the steward or his clerk first entered the heading of the court roll with the manor name, type of court, the lord’s name and the date. Then the bailiff called attention with the traditional ‘oyez’ [“Hear” or “listen”!] and a roll call was taken of all who ought to attend. The absent were fined, with a smaller fine for those who were essoined, absent but sending an excuse… The jury, also known as the homage or inquest, was then appointed and the foreman and a representative three or four jurors would take an oath. The steward then reminded the jury of the court’s authority and read a homily on the nature of their oath and responsibilities.” [At least that is what he should have done, according to the mediaeval manuals on how to hold a court. He then listed all the matters which should be reported – for the court baron alone there were forty or more. In particular, he called on the homage ‘to report tenants who had died, how they held, whether a heriot was due, whether anyone had sold or leased land, let his house fall into disrepair, put too many beasts on the common grazing or encroached on the waste in other ways, damaged the lord’s woods, etc.]

A fine was levied for the transfer of a holding to someone else; a relief, a smaller sum, for inheriting a holding [for use of ‘fine’ here see Glossary]. Two officers, affeerers, were appointed by the court to determine the level of fines for offences, or amercements as these were called, as the offender was in the mercy of the lord… The jury might ‘present’ that since the last court tenant X is dead; Y, his heir, claims to be admitted to the dead X’s holdings. There may be some formality whereby he takes hold of one end of a rod and the steward the other [cp.159/4], or they may handle a sod of soil [cp. ‘Rod’ and ‘Seized of a holding’ in Glossary], and Y is duly admitted ‘by the rod’ as tenant, at the lord’s will and by all the due customary rents and services. This is all written down in the court rolls and the new tenant is given a copy as evidence. This is a copy of court roll and he is a copyholder, in the tradition of the villein tenant.” [Tenants took good care of these documents; at 24/2 (1419) a tenant produces a deed of 1331].


Copies of first five items available in Liphook Library.

Rural Life in Hampshire. Canon W. W. Capes. Macmillan. 1901. Capes was an Oxford historian (Rector of Bramshott 1869–1901), who had access to the Bramshott and Ludshott manor rolls, vestry minutes etc. Hard to pick out our history from the numerous digressions. Valuable appendices give some (only) of the evidence for his statements. Referred to as ‘Capes’.

A Hampshire Parish [Bramshott]. RC Newman. Petersfield Bookshop. 1976. Roger Newman was born and brought up in Bramshott. Some inaccuracies, as we know from later research, but sets out our history clearly. Based mainly on Capes, the Victoria County History, the Tithe Award and other parish papers, local family papers & contacts (especially for Chalcraft and Butler history), WI reminiscences and much local tradition (sound and less sound) collected from ‘old inhabitants’. Referred to as ‘Newman’.

The Southern Wey: A Guide. Nick Bowles & Martin Kane. River Wey Trust, 1988. Includes outline story of our mills and ‘hammers’.

Making Tracks: A Survey of Bramshott’s Old Lanes & Trackways. David Clark, 1991. Authoritative survey of our ancient network of ‘green lanes’ etc. Based on study of documentary sources and of all tracks in the field, using hedge-species counts, etc.

Bramshott Manor Court Rolls. Transl. & edited by LC Giles, Bramshott and Liphook Preservation Society. 1990.

Historical Ecology of the Royal Forest of Wolmer. Dr EM Yates, Biogeographics vol. 16, Sept. 1980.

Copies of Bramshott Parish Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths (from 1560) are held by the Bramshott and Liphook Preservation Society. The Society also holds copies of some other parish papers. Originals of the mediaeval rolls, parish registers, Tithe Award 1845, overseers’ accounts, vestry minutes, Land Tax assessments, census records, etc., are at the Hampshire Record Office, Winchester.


As already mentioned, the Society is most grateful to the Hampshire Record Office for permission to base this book on photocopies or MSS in its care. Their reference Nos. are listed below:–

Documents 1–71, covering sheets 4–168 of the HRO’s photocopies of the Latin Rolls held by The Queen’s College Oxford (sheets 1 to 3 being covering letters of 1894). Clearer and more convenient to handle than the originals. HRO ref. photocopy 364.

Documents 169 to 183, ie. Courts and rentals from 1640 to 1827, less No.178, were transcribed from the ‘fair copies’ in Court Book HRO ref. IM36/4. For documents 169–177 the fair copies are translations, apparently made in 1827; the original Latin rolls are HRO refs. IM36/1 (docs. 169–173), IM36/2 (docs. 174–5) & IM36/3 (docs. 176–7).

Doc. 178. HRO. ref. IM36/7.

Doc. 184. HRO. ref. IM36/5.

Docs. 185–207, Quit Rents. See HRO refs. at 185, head note, para. 3.

Doc. 208. HRO ref. IM36/32.

Doc. 209. HRO ref. IM36/20–24.

Docs. 210–211–212. HRO ref. IM36/27, 26, 28.

Doc. 213. HRO ref. IM36/11B.

Doc. 214. (Preservation Society archives).

Doc. 215. HRO ref. IM36/41.


All references are in the form 43/5 = item 5 on sheet or document 43, 43H = heading or 1st item on 43. 43F means foot or last item of 43. 43/1, 2,4 = items 1, 2 and 4 on 43.

(a). Documents 1–71 were translated from HRO photocopies, sheets 4–168, of The Queen’s College MSS No.Z23. Refs. are to photocopy sheets and items on the sheet (counting from the first complete item – and usually ignoring Court datelines & ‘Essoins nil’).

(b) Documents after Doc. 71 are .numbered 169, 170, 171 & so on [ie the whole document is treated as if it were one more photocopy sheet].


Curved brackets ( ) in translated passages mark words Supplied, eg where MS is illegible or torn; a question-mark indicates uncertainty.

A string of dots marks an illegible word or words.

Square brackets [ ] or italics mark editorial comments. Some particularly important comments by Mr JM Kaye [see first page of Foreword] are marked ‘J.M.K’. [see 41/3, 52F, 144/2].

Marginal notes in the Latin Rolls. Usually translated only when they add to or help with the text.

In translating I have often used the present tense for the past in phrases like ‘X came (comes) to Court and said (says)’. I have usually cut down on routine phrases like the eternal ‘Item, they (the homage) present that…’, ‘of this manor’, ‘to the Lord’ etc. ‘X who held Y from the Lord of this manor has closed his last day, whence a heriot of one ox happens to the Lord’ may be shortened to ‘X who held Y has died – heriot one ox’; ‘the Feast of St Michael the Archangel’ becomes Michaelmas. ‘the College of St Mary Magdalene at Oxford’ becomes ‘Magdalen College Oxon’ and so forth. Year-phrases in Court headings like ‘in the 36th year of the reign of Henry the Eighth, King, Defender of the Faith, &c.’ are shortened to ‘36 Henry VIII’. Now and then I have transcribed every word, to give the reader the full flavour.

Bramshott, Ludshott and (generally) Headley are so printed, however they are spelt in the original, except in transcribing Court datelines. Other place names, eg Passfield, are usually spelt as in the original MS.

(I would like to express here my very warm thanks to Mrs Clare Hooper, who accepted every redraft of the text with the same amused patience and expertise).

L. C. Giles.

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