Muchland (Lancashire)

Scope and Content

Records of the court leet for the Crown lordship of Muchland in the Furness district of Lancashire, concerning copyhold tenants.

Administrative / Biographical History

In the medieval period the manor of Muchland and Aldingham, in the Furness district of Lancashire, was held by the Harrington family. In 1474 the Harrington heiress, Cecily, was contracted to marry Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, the queen's son. The grandson Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, was attainted of high treason in 1553/4 and the lordship was forfeited to the Crown along with his other estates. Muchland remained in the Crown thereafter. Parts of the lands were alienated and leases of the lordship were granted from time to time. Courts were held yearly in October at Bardsea. The tenure was called copyhold. The customs of the manor were confirmed by Elizabeth in 1567. A tenant had on admission to pay two years' rent; each old tenant paid a gressom of a year's rent on the death of the lord, and each new tenant paid two years' rent to the next heir. Tenants were bound also to provide horses and men for the king's service. If a tenement were not presented within a year and a day after the death of a tenant, or if it were sold or let without paying the fine, the lord might take it as forfeit, unless there were good distress upon the grounds. There are court rolls from the time of Elizabeth in the National Archives, Kew.

Source: William Farrer and J. Brownbill (eds), The Victoria history of the county of Lancaster, volume 8 (London: Constable, 1914), pp. 300-302.