The manorial courts were the lowest courts of law in England during the feudal period. They dealt with matters over which the Lord of the Manor had jurisdiction, such as torts, local contracts and land tenure, and their powers only extended to those who lived within the lands of the manor.
The proceedings of the Manor Courts were recorded in the Court Rolls, and the earliest of these to survive are dated 1628 to 1632. Those dating between 1654 and 1920 are held in the West Yorkshire Archive Service at Leeds. Before the nineteenth century they were written on both sides of huge sheets of parchment which were tied together at one end and stored by rolling them up - hence the name 'court roll'.
The surviving probate documents from Marsden Manorial Court are housed at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, and are dated between 1655 and 1855. There are 209 wills, 182 inventories and 86 probate bonds.
The South Pennine Probate Project was established in 2010 with the aim of making an archive of transcripts of historic probate documents from the area. Marsden probate documents have been transcribed and are available to read on the South Pennine History Group website. The archive has 207 documents from Marsden.
This book describes what it was like to live - and to die - in Marsden between 1655 and 1855. It is based on research carried out by Marsden History Group on the probate documents of Marsden Manorial Court.
There are chapters on farming, the domestic textile industry, crafts and trades, transport, Marsden housing and domestic life, family and inheritance, Marsden women, religion and education, and burials.