The Manor of Wakefield collection
The manor of Wakefield was of exceptional size, covering 150 square miles in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It included lowland arable land in and around Wakefield itself, and less prosperous upland areas in the Holme and Calder valleys. The manorial records in YAHS's archives collection cover the regular court proceedings from 1274 to 1925 with few gaps, and many other documents. They are truly exceptional, offerring 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. Here is a guide to these records.
This map, made by John Speed and published c.1620, shows the area covered by the Manor and its surroundings.
Transcription of the records
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 also still available.
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.