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The Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society

Since 1863

For everyone interested in Yorkshire's past

The Manor of Wakefield collection

The court rolls - sheets of parchment, stiched together at one end and rolled up for storage - of the regular meetings of the Courts Baron and Courts Leet of the Manor (MD225) are a significant set of documents covering the period from 1274 to 1925 with few gaps.  The manor was very extensive compared with most others, embracing not just the Wakefield area but much of modern day Kirklees and Calderdale, and its records offer a unique source for studying the development of communities, families, and local economies in West Yorkshire. Their national importance has been recognized by their inclusion on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World register.  A description of the Manor and its records can be downloaded here.

The records relating to the Courts held in many of these years have been transcribed and published either in the Society's Record Series, or as part of a special project lasting from 1977 to 2021.  Most of these are available to view on our pages of the Internet Archive.  Print copies of some volumes are still available - for details see the Publicatiions page.  Further material may also be transcribed and published in future years as and when potential editors wish to undertake the work.

A plan to conserve the 18th Century rolls

Whereas medieval and some later Rolls were recorded on parchment, a relatively durable material, by the 18th century the Manor used only paper which has proved very vulnerable to decay.  Parts of some pages have already crumbled to dust and some rolls can be handled only with the greatest of professional care.   As a result the Society commissioned a survey to assess the condition of the 18th century rolls and the extent of remedial work required.