Honours and Lordships  

 

I first came across the term "Lordship" on an old hand drawn map of the coastline of Burnham, Berrow and Brean Down in Somerset.

The word was written so that it covered more or less the entire area from the boundary fence of St Andrew's churchyard at Burnham to Brean parish.

It is another title for Honour or Seignory, being an administrative unit based on the number of manors contained in the area concerned.

This detail came from -  http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/   - which is a section of the PRO

dealing with registration of manorial records in the UK.

Hence MDR stands for Manorial Document Register.

Manorial records can provide an excellent source for not only establishing title but lists of persons employed by and/or living on the manor.

The word "records" include such records as finance, purchases, sales, employment - in fact all that it entails for the upkeep the manor.

But! what is a manor or come to that, what does Lord of the Manor really mean?

Terrick VH Fitzhue in his excellent book "The Dictionary of Genealogy" explains: -

"The Manor for 500 years after the Conquest, an agricultural estate, was the unit of the local government.

Its head was the lord of the manor, literally a landlord and not necessarily a titled person, who held the estate from the king either directly or through one or mesne lords"