Chester Deanery Manorial Records

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection records the workings of the manor court from 1560 until 1930, by which time copyhold property had been enfranchised and the landlord's manorial rights extinguished. There are six court books with indices and 14 bundles of related papers, one of which relates to wayleave over Waldridge Fell, Chester-le-Street and to property in the Bishop of Durham's manor of Chester-le-Street also held by the lord of the manor of Chester Deanery.

Administrative / Biographical History

After the dissolution of the monasteries, the manor of Chester Deanery, a parcel of the estates of the Collegiate Church of Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, came into royal hands. In 1608 it was given in trust to the Hedworth family by James I, and it descended in the family until the death of John Hedworth in 1747. His two daughters Elianor and Elizabeth were co-parceners of his estate.

Elianor, the elder, married Sir Richard Hilton [who later changed his name to Musgrave], and their daughter Elianor married William Joliffe (M.P. for Petersfield, Hants.), having a son Hylton Joliffe, who in turn had a son Charles Joliffe. Elizabeth, the younger daughter, married Sir Ralph Milbanke. Their son Ralph, who changed his surname to Noel as a condition of inheritance of that family's estates, had a daughter Anne Isabella (who married the poet, Lord Byron). In default of a male heir to the younger line, the estate was reunited.


Court books, and other documents; both series in chronological order.

Conditions Governing Access

Manorial documents

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

British Records Association deposit number 1272, deposited through the BRA in 1963 by Messrs. Withers, Nicholl, Manisty & Co., 20 Essex Street, Strand, London WC2, on permanent loan.

Separated Material

Alphabet Book in Durham Cathedral Library, Longstaffe 8/8 - copy kept in Search Room of Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections. This alphabet is a copy, with expansions and clarifications, of SGD 2 and has the names in the last two court books added.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

Small Gifts & Deposits (SGD) 2: Alphabet Book ref. 1686-1790, made by Ralph Gowland and his successors, stewards of the manor of Chester Deanery and kept with the court books, of which it covers the first four.

Booth & Lazenby Papers: contains records created by stewards of the manor.

Geographical Names