The principal archival sources used to record land ownership are the records of manorial courts. Since the manor courts acted as the land registries of the time their records were carefully preserved both by the Lord of the Manor, who derived an income from the parcels of land every time they changed hands, and the tenants who, if challenged, needed to be able to prove their right of ownership. The records of the Lords of the manor, originally in the form of Court Rolls, but later as Court Books and the copies of Court Rolls (the tenants record of the their rights to hold land) survive in the archives of great estates or in local government or national archive offices. The language of the early records is Latin. During the commonwealth English was used but after the restoration of Charles II many manors reverted to Latin. English only become universal in the late 18th century.

In Barcombe the manorial structure is complex. There were three manorial centres within the parish, Barcombe, Camois Court and Balneath. Outlying landholdings of other manors centred in Rodmell, Warningore, Allington and Houndean lay to the north of Barcombe Cross.

The manor court usually only records the name of the landowner, only occasionally are tenants named. Many of the landowners did not live in the houses that they owned. We have only been able to consistently identify tenants after 1780 when Land Tax records for Barcombe survive. However, when a single tenant is recorded in several properties farm workers or other employees were living in some of the houses.Their names can only rarely be discovered.

Sadly the earliest manor court records for Barcombe have not survived. Only occasional stray information dating to earlier than the late 16th century occurs, often surviving because the ownership of the land was disputed and the case went for judgement to the crown. Those records survive in The National Archive.

The tenement survey of Barcombe was compiled from the work of Colin Hobbs who recorded all the data relating to Barcombe from the court records for all the manors within the parish. That was a major task and we are very grateful for his significant contribution to our project.

The work confronting us in Barcombe was more massive than we had anticipated and we are aware of the shortcomings of what we have presented here. We are still checking entries and any changes that are required will be made. There is still more information to be processed and it is our intention to continue to add to the Barcombe tenement survey in the future.

If you wish to use the information for academic research we recommend that the site is used as a starting point. Go back to the original sources - they contain more information than we have recorded here.

Barcombe Court Book 1690.
During the Commonwealth (1651-1660) court records were kept in English but following the restoration of the monarchy the use of Latin was resumed. The use of English became universal after 1733

Tenements - part 1

Tenements - part 2

Tenement List

Tithe Landowners Map


Complete Tenements 3.6 Mb