Between 1953 and the early 1980's the Halmote Court Records were arranged and listed in considerable detail, but in a somewhat piecemeal fashion, not based on a thorough archival analysis (with, in consequence, some illogicalities in thehierarchy of the arrangement):
DHC 1: Books
- DHC 1/I-III: Court rolls, 1519-1925. 302 vols From 1519-1720 (DHC 1/I) the court proceedings for most manors were enrolled roughly chronologically as the court went round the estates, in a single court roll (inphysical form actually a volume). From 1720-1925 most proceedings (DHC 1/II) were enrolled topographically under divisions (Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Darlington, Easington, Houghton-le-Spring, Lanchester, Stockton and Wolsingham), each divisionhaving a separate court roll. Each division encompassed several townships, some a considerable distance from the one after which the division was named. From various dates, however, certain manors had their own individual court rolls (DHC 1/III) -Bedlington (the only manor north of the Tyne where the bishop held a halmote court) from 1721, Evenwood from 1909, Gateshead from 1703, Middleham from 1909 and Whickham from 1585. The court rolls also cover Bishop Wearmouth Rectory from 1579; thishad not belonged to the bishop of Durham, but was administered by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from the Durham office. Tracing entries for particular individuals and families: From 1720 each volume has an index ofpersons surrendering and persons admitted. For volumes up to 1720 see the index and alphabet books in DHC 1/VIII. Tracing entries for particular townships: From 1522-1720 each volume of the court rolls has an index oftownships. A key to the division under which a township is enrolled from 1720 is appended to the guide How to trace the history of property once part of the Durham bishopric estates - see Publication note below.Tracing entries for particular holdings: From about the middle of the 18th century the bishop's officials introduced a system of call numbers to identify particular plots of copyhold land; see DHC 1/V (Call books) andDHC 11/I and III (annotated maps) below. Prior to 1720 see the alphabet books in DHC 1/VIII; (where the parties to the first surrender after 1720 can be traced from the later records, it may be possible using the name of the surrenderer to workbackwards into the pre-1720 alphabet books). A card index, compiled by Dr. Ritchie in the 1960's, is also available in the Search Room, covering certain townships.
- DHC 1/IV: Stewards minute books, 1682-1819. 21 vols These minute books were used at halmote court meetings on circuit (with headings prepared in advance and alterations and additions made on the day), and also laterin compiling the formal enrolments of proceedings there in the Halmote Court rolls. They record details of the dates, places and holders of halmote courts, the juries for presentments and actions (usually the same), the names of greeves andcollectors, proclamations (calling for heirs to prove their title to holdings, and naming trustees), actions between tenants, and miscellaneous other non-standardised information. They do not, however, contain drafts of surrenders or admissions(except for rare notes). By the period they cover many copyhold land transactions were complicated, and were more conveniently arranged out of court in the office of the steward or his deputy.
- DHC 1/V: Call books, mid 17th century - ca. 1891. 131 vols These provide a key from call numbers (used from around the mid-18th century to identify particular plots of copyhold land) to transactions in the courtrolls relating to a particular call or plot. For annotated maps on which call numbers can be located topographically see DHC 11/I and III. The earlier call books, prior to about 1760, generally contain little more than lists of tenants names, with,when a property changed hands, the name of the former tenant crossed out and that of the new tenant substituted; marks in the margins sometimes provide a key (usable with some difficulties) to help locate entries for related transactions in thecourt books.
- DHC 1/VI: Rental registers for the four Co. Durham wards (Chester, Darlington, Easington and Stockton), 1804-1857. 84 vols These continue the rentals in DHC 4 below. The series for Easington and Stockton iscombined.
- DHC 1/VII: Index and alphabet books, 1579-1925. 18 vols An alphabetical means of reference to the names of people surrendering and being admitted in the court rolls of corresponding date; usable with somedifficulties
- DHC 1/VIII: Registers of post-1925 transactions (mortgages, conveyances, releases, etc.). 16 vols
- DHC 1/M: Miscellaneous books, 16th-20th century. 97 vols This important class includes:
- M1-8a: Registered copies of inclosure awards; (for other inclosure material see DHC 6 below)
- M9-17: Notitia books of plans and surveys concerning leasehold land; these tie in with Notitia in the Durham Bishopric Estates, Church Commission deposit (CCB)
- M18-28: Copies of tithe awards and apportionments
- M29-37: Halmote Court office ledgers, 1927-1939
- M38-44: Material concerning compensation on enfranchisement (i.e. conversion of plots to freehold), 1929-1937
- M45-50: Rentals for wards 1882, and various rentals 1856-1927
- M51-62: Cash books and account books, 1785-1935
- M63-96: Miscellaneous volumes, including rentals, surveys, inquisitions post mortem, inventories of many sorts, charters, presentments, inclosure awards, letter-books, enfranchisements, plans and valuations etc. (sometimes original, sometimescopies), 16th-20th century
DHC 2: Original surrenders (records of transfers of tenancies), 1559-1925. 356 boxes These documents, which are predominantly 17th-18th century, are misnamed, since most are actually admittances. Surrender refers to thetransaction whereby a copyhold tenant gave up his holding to the landlord, after which another tenant was admitted to it. These documents, written on separate pieces of paper or parchment, mostly duplicate entries in the court rolls recording theadmittance of tenants and the date, and also naming the tenant who had surrendered. They also generally bear the signature or mark of the new tenant, and the signature of the steward or his deputy. These Original Surrenders are to copyhold land whatcounterpart leases are to leasehold land - the landlord's evidence of the tenant's signed obligation. The series is far from complete, but, where an original surrender exists it can sometimes clarify an entry in the court roll which is difficult toread. The documents are arranged in the main by division and township, and chronologically therein.
DHC 3: Deputations (of authority by stewards or tenants to undertake Halmote Court transactions), 1661-1897. 14 boxes Many other deputations are to be found among the Original surrenders (DHC 2)
DHC 4: Rentals, wards and townships, 1529-1815 (predominantly 17th-18th century). 22 boxes These rentals record names of tenants and amounts of money, but seldom property names. They are arranged chronologically withinarea of responsibility (so by ward for the four coroners, by township for the many collectors, and by bailiwick or borough). Coroners' rentals cover freehold dues. Collectors' rentals chiefly record the names and rents of those occupying customaryor copyhold land in each small township, but may also include leasehold and free rents where other arrangements for payment of these were not in place. Some rentals specify and group the tenants by tenure; others say nothing of tenure. The bailiffsand borough rentals are more varied in content, reflecting the activities, customs and tenures of the different areas of the estates.
These rentals are continued in the rental registers in DHC 1/VI above. See also DHC 1/M and DHC 5.
DHC 5: Rentals, general (mainly leasehold), ca. 1635-ca. 1766. 2 boxes
DHC 6: Inclosure material, 1635-1933
- DHC 6/I: Original awards
- DHC 6/II: Original award plans
- DHC 6/III: Copy award plans
- DHC 6/ IV: Chancery decree awards. 2 boxes
- DHC 6/V: Arbitration awards. 5 boxes
- DHC 6/VIA-B: Inclosure Acts of Parliament. 2 boxes
DHC 7: Attested copies of mortgages and conveyances, and affidavits verifying discharges of mortgages, 1882-1934 (largely post 1925). 14 boxes
DHC 8: Presentments (of offences against the custom of the manor) and proclamations (summonses to heirs to appear and prove title to their holdings), 1617-1851
- DHC 8/I: Bundles of presentments and proclamations. 13 boxes
- DHC 8/II: Books of proclamations. 1 box
- DHC 8/III: Extracts of presentments. 4 boxes
DHC 9: Minor classes of Halmote Court records
- DHC 9/I: Alienation fines paid on the transfer of copyholds, 1765-1780. 1 box
- DHC 9/II: Abstracts of title. 3 boxes
- DHC 9/III: Lists of copyholders by township, ca. 1903. 2 boxes
- DHC 9/IV: Gateshead manor miscellanea (admittances, various deeds, call rolls, jurors' lists, presentments, fees, summonses, surrenders, etc.), 1609-1924. 1 tray
- DHC 9/V: Notitia, ca. 1788-1862. 3 boxes Small plans and valuations and a few papers and leases, mainly concerning leasehold lands in Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland. Includes some strays from Durham CathedralDean & Chapter estates records.
DHC 10: Miscellanea, 16th-20th century (predominantly 19th-20th century)
- DHC 10/A: Files from the Halmote Court office. 12 boxes Survivals, kept as samples, of Halmote Court office files, which were heavily weeded before the records were deposited with the university. However, all maps,plans and sketches were first removed from files which were destroyed; for these see DHC 11/VI. The deposited material includes one box on village greens, ca. 1759-1952 (DHC 10/A1). There is a series of keys to subjects of Halmote Court office files5426-1022 and 15628-20631 in DHC 1/M81-83, and a numerical table of surviving files.
- DHC 10/B: Papers. 18 boxes, 1 roll Extremely miscellaneous papers concerning bishopric estates and tenants, 16th-20th century.
DHC 11: Maps There are almost no maps or plans of bishopric copyhold properties among the Halmote Court records predating the Ordnance Survey maps. Halmote Court officials coloured their office sets of the 6 inch and 25inch O.S. series (DHC 11/I and III) to distinguish bishopric copyhold, leasehold and freehold land, and annotated them with the call numbers used to identify plots of copyhold land, and other administrative information. Working from the annotatedmaps, therefore, it is possible to discover the call numbers relating to particular areas, and from there go via the call books (DHC 1/V) to the records of transactions relating to those calls in the court rolls (DHC 1/I-III). Conversely, workingfrom a call number it is possible to identify the location of the holding on a map.
- DHC 11/I: Annotated 6 inch O.S. maps of Co. Durham, 1st ed., sheets 1-58 (1862-5), covering all the county. 4 trays
- DHC 11/II: Some books of reference to 25 inch O.S. 1st ed. maps of Co. Durham. 1 box
- DHC 11/III: Annotated 25 inch O.S. maps of Co. Durham, large but incomplete set of 1st, 2nd and 3rd eds, 1856-1922. This set covers those areas of Co. Durham where the Durham Bishopric estates lay.
- DHC 11/IV: Other O.S. series (25 inch Bedlingtonshire, 1:1250 Bedlington, 5 ft and 10 ft Co. Durham towns)
- DHC 11/V: Miscellaneous maps and plans, 18th-20th century Maps made for or useful to administration of the bishopric estates, with some strays from Durham Cathedral Dean & Chapter estate records
- DHC 11/VI: Additional maps and plans, 19th-20th century (including a few copies of earlier plans). 6 boxes Small maps and plans, many originally part of Halmote Court office files of which the other contents weredestroyed before the records were deposited with the university - see DHC 10A above