Reading Manorial Account Rolls (Part 1)

Saturday, 8 February, 2014 - 09:30 to 15:45

Reading Manorial Account Rolls

A Practical Introduction

Two day-schools

Tutor: Dr David Stone


Saturday 8 February 2014 (9.30 am to 3.45 pm)

St Catherines Village Hall, Chestnut Avenue, Guildford GU2 4HF

·         Introduction and manorial accounts in translation

·         Latin for manorial accounts


Saturday 22 February 2014 (9.45 am to 3.45 pm)

SurreyHistory Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking GU21 6ND

·         Palaeography for manorial accounts

·         Using original manorial accounts



The course aims to provide a practical introduction to reading one important class of manorial documents, account rolls, on which much medieval economic and social history is based. It will provide a firm grounding in the language and palaeographical skills necessary to begin interpreting manorial account rolls, which survive in their thousands from the 13th to the 15th centuries and are full of fascinating information for the local historian.



The first day-school, at St Catherines Village Hall in Guildford, will focus initially on the content of account rolls in English to give a clear idea of their structure, the information they contain, and their wording. This will be followed by sessions on the common Latin terms and constructions used in account rolls. The second day-school, at the Surrey History Centre in Woking, will concentrate on palaeography. The first sessions will provide a guide to palaeographical skills using photocopies of documents; in the final session, we will look at some of the original medieval manorial accounts for Surrey that are housed at the Surrey History Centre.


Learning on the Course

Photocopies of accounts will be provided, some in English, some in Latin, and some in the original handwriting. Because account rolls are comparatively formulaic, a working knowledge of Latin is NOT required; the language component of the course will focus on the particular words and phrases that are commonly used in account rolls and the context and constructions in which they are used. Likewise, no previous palaeographical experience will be assumed; the emphasis of the course will be on recognising and interpreting the particular words that medieval reeves and clerks employed.


Learning Achievement/Outcomes

As a result of the course, within the constraints of time available, students should be able to:

1.    Begin transcribing the information that is found in original manorial account rolls.

2.    Translate the main Latin words and phrases that are used in account rolls into English.

3.    Place the information that can be found in manorial accounts into historical context.


Fee: £50 per person payable in advance by cheque made payable to Surrey Archaeological Society, and sent to Surrey Archaeological Society, Castle Arch, Guildford GU1 3SX..  Enquiries: Mrs Jo Richards Phone: 01372 374034 Email:

Postal Address: