DCM Halmote roll Summer 1394.

Cf. Halmota prioratus Dunelmensis. Containing extracts ... A.D. 1296 - A.D. 1384, Surtees Soc. 82 (1889).

A good run of the court-rolls of the halmote court of the main monastic estate survives, together with three books which contain the entries concerned with property transactions from 1400 onwards, entries that subsequently disappear from the rolls; a scattering of estreats also survives. None of these is an original record, but each was compiled from sources that must have been created when the court was in session. Courts were held three times a year, by the terrar, the bursar and the lay steward, who perambulated the estate in County Durham, although sometimes omitting Edmundbyers in the Pennine foothills during winter; they exercised both manorial and leet jurisdiction. Each township was treated separately, but the courts were held, when this was appropriate, at a centre to which the neighbouring townships were required to come, echoing the older "shire" structure, as for instance in Billinghamshire. The blocks of entries for each township were separated from other townships by several lines left blank, and the name of each township name was entered prominently in the left margin, together with notes (`dimissio') identifying the entries concerned with property transactions, which were those most likely to be wanted later. The business conducted in relation to Wolviston presents a typical example, with a mixture of landlord's and tenants' items. First the five jurors, responsible for presenting and adjudicating items of business, are named. Then five persons fined for infractions of the assize of ale, in effect a tax on commercial brewing. The third entry is more unusual, recording that it was ordained by common assent that each of them [the tenants] should satisfy the common shepherd over his stipend, each with his portion, before the next Court, so that the said shepherds should have no material for complaint; here the court is policing the fulfilment of an agreement made by the tenants to hire people as their common shepherd, an agreement that they had evidently failed to keep. The next entry has five tenants fined for not coming to court on time, their absence perhaps being noticed during the previous business. Then there are two longer entries for tenants taking up property, in standard form. In the second Joan wife of Thomas Diker comes into court and takes up one cottage 2 acres of land of Margaret Ster, because nearer in blood to the said Margaret, to have and hold for the term of her life, rendering and doing in everything as the said Margaret before rendered and did, namely the ancient works and services, beginning to pay at the feast of Pentecost St Martin next in the future, and doing for the lord and deputy what is incumbent; and the said Joan the said cottage and land during her term sufficiently will repair and maintain and at the end of her term in a sufficient and good state will vacate, pledges for the rent (`firma') and all other things incumbent being John de Bek and John de Trefforth; and the said Joan has licence to sublet the said cottage to one sufficient tenant so that the said should support the burdens and services of the said cottage; entry fine (`Gresuma') 6s. 8d. excused up to 20d. The next entry probably concerns one of the constables of the township removing an illicit occupant of the same tenement, so that Joan could move in: it is enjoined on John Scriven[er] that he should make to be moved Is[olda] Crane from the holding of Margaret Ster within two weeks on pain of 13s. 4d. A third entry about property follows: Robert son of Thomas of Billingham takes up one cottage 3 acres of land of John de Holom `quia sursum reddidit in Curia ad opus predicti Roberti habend- et tenend- ad terminum ix annorum ex tunc proxime sequencium plenarie completorum. reddendo et faciendo opera debita et ceruisia' [view]. The next entry concerns the misdeeds of a tenant given to sub-criminal violence: `De Ricardo Gedlinges pro Cultello suo extracto ad percusciendum Robertum Tomson prout presentatum est in Curia ... et etiam quod fecit Iohanni Trefforth graue dampnum facienti officium constabularii ipsum verberando cum .j. petra ad dampnum xl.d involuntate predicti Iohannis' [view]. After a short entry recording a woman making the customary payment for marriage (merchet), the final entry is the presentation that `per omnibus {omnes} tenentes ville' [view] that eight named men were those elected to regulate the profit and utility of the common both in placing the fencing (freth) and in all other things, and `quiscu[m]que contraeret [!] isti ordinacioni soluet domino xld' [view]; the tenants elected those who were to regulate their affairs, but the lord provided the sanction against infringers and took the fine. Thanks to Mr Peter Larson of Rutgers University for advice on this document.