Medieval Manorial Court

A dramatic reconstruction of a Medieval Manorial Court
with public participation.

Manorial Court image
image copyright Ade Sankey April 2012


Manorial Court Illustration

Master Benedict Lee, steward of the lord of the manor, presides over a court hearing with the audience taking part as the jury, plaintiffs and accused. All the cases used in this presentation are taken from real court records of the 14th and 15th centuries.

In Medieval and Tudor times the lord of the manor held many legal and fiscal rights over his tenants and at regular intervals held a manorial court. These were not criminal courts to deal with serious offences and breaches of the King’s Peace, but were more private courts dealing with the day-to-day running of the manor, judging disputes between the tenants and enforcing the lord’s rights. One of their primary functions was to act as a means of raising revenue for the lord of the manor.

It is particularly appropriate as a fun, interactive, activity for families and public events.

This workshop is also suitable for school groups at both  Key Stage 2 and 3. The workshop investigates aspects of the manorial legal system and medieval concepts of justice, as well as examining the role of class and gender in the Medieval and Tudor period.

Medieval Court