The National Archives appeals for help with manorial documents survey

Family historians are invited to take part in an online survey about how they use manorial documents ahead of the 2022 centenary of the Law of Property Act

This 1849 land transfer record from West Sussex is an example of the manorial records held in The National Archives

The National Archives (TNA) are inviting members of the public to answer an online survey to help improve their access to manorial documents.


The survey looks at the current use of manorial documents, the research it supports, and the users of the Manorial Documents Register, a 1924 index of English manorial records that can be searched on TNA’s website.

TNA also hope to gauge awareness of the Manorial Documents Rules, which were introduced by the Master of the Rolls in 1926 and govern the keeping of manorial documents.

English and Welsh manorial documents date back to the 12th century and survive in increasingly large numbers from the 14th to the 20th century.

They are of particular significance between the 13th and 16th centuries where they provide more information about the lives of ordinary people than any other source.

The survey is available to fill in here and will run until 19 October.

It is open to all, including academics, archivists and researchers.

The results from this survey will help TNA plan the future development of the Register and a commemorative programme of events in 2022 to mark the centenary of the Law of Property Act 1922, the subsequent creation of the Manorial Documents Register and the completion of the computerisation of the Register for England and Wales in 2022.

If you have any additional questions, or would like to contribute further information, please contact TNA by email, quoting Manorial Documents Survey in the subject line.


Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine