Frosterley Manorial Documents

Archive Collection
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 33 FRM
  • Dates of Creation
      17th - 20th century (predominantly 20th century; includes 17th century selective transcripts from earlier court books 1465 onwards)
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English ; Latin
  • Physical Description
      1 metre

Scope and Content

Documents relating to the title of the Rippon and Pease families to Frosterley Manor and the Rogerley Hall Estate, Stanhope parish, Co. Durham, court books and papers relating to Frosterley manor court and the extinguishment of manorial incidents, compensation and other agreements, papers relating to specific properties arranged by street, controversy over the Bawkhouse, Dam Hill Frosterley, plans, rentals and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Before the dissolution of monastic houses, Frosterley formed part of the estates of Kepier Hospital. The first Court Book contains transcripts of courts held in the times of the following Masters of Kepier Hospital, Henry Gillow 1465, Roger Layburn in 1502 and 1503, John Boerius 1504 and 1508 and William Frankeleyn 1518, 1522, 1530 and 1537. Shortly after the dissolution, Kepier Hospital and its possessions, the manors of Gilesgate and Frosterley, passed to John Heath, who held the Frosterley court in the 1560s and 1570s. He died in 1591. In 1599 Anthony Vasey held Frosterley, as did his nephew and heir John, until about 1630 when the manor was acquired by Henry Maddison, who died in 1634. He was followed as lord of the manor by his son Sir Lionel Maddison who died in 1646. His only child Elizabeth married Sir George Vane. She died in 1684 and her son, Lionel Vane, held the Frosterley courts till at least 1686. In 1711 John Stephenson, a Newcastle merchant, held Frosterley and his daughter and co-heir Margaret, married Cuthbert Swinburn. She lived till 1760, but in 1776 her son, John Swinburn, held the court, dying in 1773 without children. By 1774 William Gibson had obtained Frosterley, probably from John Swinburn's brother and heir William. Gibson held courts in 1775 and 1783 also. In 1791 Robert Wright was lord of the manor and in 1798, 1804 and 1808 William Skinner held courts as trustee of Wright's heirs. By 1817 Skinner himself was the Lord, but about 1825 he sold out to Cuthbert Rippon. His grandson, Valentine Rippon sold the manor to the Pease family after 1894. This list is probably incomplete, owing to gaps in the records.

Copyholders became entitled to enfranchise their property, (to extinguish the landlord's right to manorial incidents,) by a payment, under the Copyhold Acts of 1894 and 1922. As time went on landlords became eager to encourage remaining copyholders to make compensation agreements. In much of the correspondence accompanying the agreements here, the initiative came from the copyholder, or from the lawyer of an intending purchaser, asking for extinguishment, but in other cases e.g. nos. 38, 41 and 66 the Steward of the Manor suggested it. The amount of compensation to be paid depended on the value of the property, according to set tables. The amount required by the Steward was rarely questioned, as it was in no. 44. The compensation agreements in this collection are either copies or drafts. After an agreement was made, the Peases' agent in the estate office, Mr. Hudson or Mr. Glover, was asked to mark appropriately the copy of the plan of the estate in the estate office.


The documents were received unarranged, and have been sorted by subject or document type. Items which obviously belonged together have been listed so. Items found tied together have been usually listed together, although occasionally the connection between them is not always immediately apparent. Many of these agreements and other deeds appear also in the later court book. Occasionally the call number is marked on the dorse of a deed, but the manor being small, such numbers were not found so useful as on larger manors.

Conditions Governing Access

Manorial documents

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

Deposited on loan by Mr. Leonard Pattinson of the solicitors Hodgson & Angus of Stanhope in 1980.

Other Finding Aids

Papers relating to Frosterley Manor, Co. Durham by Mrs J.L. Drury, 1980, indexed, unpublished, typescript. Available online at

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

Durham Bishopric Halmote Court: the Wolsingham Inclosure Award, 1767 gives the boundaries of the manor.


Surtees, H.C., The history of Frosterley and district in the county palatine of Durham ([Durham?], 1923)

Corporate Names