New volume of manorial documents

20th January 2014

The publication of Volume 147 in the Society's series gives a fascinating insight into the lives of the people of Church Lawton in Cheshire from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Presided over the Lawton family, the manorial court dealt with two kinds of business. The Court Baron dealt with manorial issues such as the rights of tenure while the Court Baron considered minor matters that might otherwise be dealt with by higher courts - minor breaches of the peace and maintaining quality standards in the supply of bread or ale. On 6 October 1641, 10 people including Mary Gally, John Twemlow and Richard Low were fined for affray, while a further nine were punished for breaking the assize of ale and bread. Many more were fined for taking soil from common land, including William Lawton (who must have been a relative of the manorial owners), Elizabeth Kent, Richard Gibson and Richard Eardley.

Like all long series of records, there are gaps that could be explained by some old documents having been lost over the centuries, but the lack of records from 1779 to 1840 has another explanation. In October 1841, the steward of the manor, Christopher Moorhouse, wrote to lord of the manor, Charles Bourne Lawton, explaining that the court had been revived after a gap of over half a century. The first meeting of the revived court took place at the Lawton Arms Inn, the home of Cornelius Cooper. The foreman of the jury was George Pointon and the meeting appointed constables (Samuel Pointon and James Faram) before perambulating the boundaries of the manor from Snape Bridge through Old Rose, Wolstanton, Audley and Alsager and finishing at Linley Lane Bridge.
Church Lawton Manor Court Rolls 1631-1860 is edited by Guy Lawton.

Details of how to purchase a copy of Church Lawton Manor Court Rolls are available here.