Surrender the straw

Documents which have caused a fair amount of discussion of late are those which have a short length of straw woven through the paper. Being in a very crumpled and fragile state they required the expertise of in-house Conservator, Rachel Greenwood, to clean, humidify and flatten the documents to stablise them; some undergoing minor paper repairs too.

The documents are a record of a copyholder surrendering the use of land within a given manor to its Lord. Within the Graham archive there are five examples of Surrenders, all relating to the Manor of Kippax, located to the east of Leeds in West Yorkshire. As the exchange took place outside of the manorial court, the details would be entered into the court roll when the next court was held.

The inclusion of a piece of straw was symbolic and was used in a ritual to signify the exchange of the use of the land between the parties concerned. The example below, dated 1722, is the only one in the collection to feature three stalks.

Surrender, 1722. Copyright: North Yorkshire County Record Office

Surrender, 1722. Copyright: North Yorkshire County Record Office

The text of the document reads thus:

Maneriu[m] de Kippax                                         Twenty Sixth day of Aprill Anno Domini 1722

Memorandum that the day and year above written John

Barber of Kippax aforesaid Yeoman and Joseph How of

Kippax aforesaid Yeoman and Mary his wife the said Mary

being apart exami[n]yed by William Todd Steward of the Court for

the said Manor Have out of Court with a straw according to

the customes of the said Manor surrendered into the hands of

the Lord of the said Manor by the hands of the said Steward

All that halfe Acre of Arable land be it more or less lyeing and

being in Spartall Field at Kippax aforesaid in a certaine

place there called Short Toadholes between the lands of

John Harrison on the East and of John Havafor

on the West thereof And also one pasture gate in Kippax

oxe pasture or townclose together with all rights members

and appurtenances thereunto belonging or appertaining to the

use and behoofe of Samuel Dinsdaile of Kippax aforesaid

Gent his heires and assignes forever to be held according to the

customes of the said Mannor

John  Barber  (his marke)

Joseph How

Mary How (her marke)



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