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Shrawley 1390-1490

Richard Pumphrey

ISBN 9781915803115


Shrawley was one of the Earl of Warwick’s smaller manors. As there was no resident lord of the manor throughout this hundred years, the Shrawley bailiff acted as the lord’s local agent and this remained the case even after Anne Beauchamp surrendered her Warwick lands to Henry VII in 1478. 


It seems likely that Warwick’s interest in Shrawley was limited to the revenue it generated and its provision of a few men to serve in the earl’s military campaigns. Nevertheless, the management seems to have been largely benevolent compared to some other English manors, and most of the inhabitants seem to have been able to live fulfilled lives with no more than the usual village bickering, abuse and theft expected of this age. Once they had paid their rent, provided they kept their buildings, roads and ditches in good repair and did nothing to damage the wood, they were left to take what profit they could make from the local resources such as the fish weir, the mill, the wood, their pasture and arable land. 

The component coppices of Shrawley Wood were cut on a consistent twenty-year cycle throughout this period. “wood sales” in denotes the purchase of a licence each time the tenants of the Wood needed to cut the next coppice. The tenants’ rating suggested values around £7 each year but one might suspect their bias was to reduce the amount demanded of them and so increase their profits: the rating suggested by the court and account rolls indicates the payment was typically around £11 for each year’s cutting. There seems little doubt that the tenants of the Wood made a pretty penny from their trade. 

This project arose from work in preparation of the book Shrawley Wood, History and Natural History which refers to some of the source material used here, however most of the data in this report have not previously been published.

The original data for this account comprises the complete translation and analysis of all the available original parchment rolls relating to the manor of Shrawley from 1390 to 1490. Six bailiff’s account rolls [WAAS1 705:66/BA 4221/7 ] two minister’s account rolls [TNA SC 6/HENVII/989] fifty court rolls [WAAS 705:7BA 7335/39, /49, /50] a rating of Shrawley Wood by tenants of the wood dating from around 1500 but referring to the study period [TNA E 315/83/8] notes made by Peter Prattinton in January 1829 during his visit to Hanbury Hall. These notes refer to some of these court rolls and some others that are no longer available; WAAS 989.9:91 BA 10509/2/(ii) microfilm An extract from the court rolls made shortly after 1502 noting the heriots, rents and services of freeholders that had died since 1415 [WAAS 705:7/BA 7335/20] This source material is held in the Worcester Archaeology and Archive Service and in the National Archives in Kew.  The Environment Agency has made LiDAR data for this region freely available. These data have helped this study to reconstruct the geographical history of the manor. 

Shrawley 1390-1490

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