Tamworth Court Rolls

Scope and Content

300 rolls and paper folios mainly in Latin dating 1284-1584. The rolls provide a record of the View of Frankpledge or Great Court (Court Leet) which met twice a year, the Portmanmoot or Little Court which met every 3 weeks and the Piepowder Court which met on an ad hoc basis. The rolls are virtually complete and include several continuous runs over a number of years. The collection is useful for information on individuals and families and on the quantity and nature of the legal and administrative business of the courts.

The collection also includes suit rolls for the Manor of Tamworth, containing names of members of the Corporation, freeholders and inhabitants, 1752-1876, as well as books of Proceedings of the Court Leet and Court Baron, 1751-1876.

Administrative / Biographical History

After the Conquest the term 'Frankpledge' was used for the system established in the time of Alfred the Great whereby freemen in a vill (manor, parish or township) were grouped into tithings, each consisting of 10 men. Each group was responsible for the behaviour of its members, and thus acted as a surety or pledge to the King. The manorial courts, known as Courts Leet and the View of Frankpledge viewed the tithings to ensure that they were complete and that every freeman was enrolled in a tithing, dealt with those who failed to keep the peace, and took oaths of allegiance.

Until the incorpotation of the Borough in 1560, the Staffordshire and Warwickshire parts of Tamworth had their own court leet.

Reference: Henry Wood, Tamworth Borough Records Being a Catalogue of Civic Records with Appendices (Tamworth, 1952).


The rolls maintain their original order.

Access Information

There are no restrictions on access to these papers. Viewing is by prior appointment.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited by the mayor and the corporation of the Borough of Tamworth in 1964.


Latin, English

Other Finding Aids

The Tamworth Court Rolls have been selectively translated and summarised by M.K. Dale.

Alternative Form Available

A colour microfiche edition of the rolls has been published by Ormonde Publishing with a full introduction by Robin Studd

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.


Further deposits are not expected.


Works using the materials

Reference: Studd, R. Tamworth Court Rolls: An Introduction (Ormonde Publishing, 1987).

Reference: Tomkinson, A.M., The Borough Community of Tamworth and its Court at the end of the 13th century (Unpublished MA thesis, University of Keele, 1985).

Additional Information

Latin, English