the article and data that initiated the Ravenstonedale project
our project page on the Family Tree DNA website
This fascinating document dated 1558 records the customary Tenant Rights of the Manor of Ravenstonedale since "Time out of Man's Memory". But what is truly remarkable is that the tenants were able to get Lord Wharton to sign this document. The Cumbria Archives catalogue descriptions states that this document was produced as evidence as part of a later dispute concerning the Chamberlaine family which apparently was dealt with at the Court of Requests in 1570 (though I can find no copy of the records of this case in the online catalogue of the National Archives), the case is described in detail in the Great End Book, which recites the Inspeximus and adds a further paragraph concerning the Chamberlaines.
The Articles of the Customarye Tennant Right of the whole Lordshipp and parish of Ravinstondaile in the County of Westmerland as hearafter appeareth which hath beene accustomed and used within the said Lordshipp tyme out of mans memory All which Articles and Customary Tennant Right I the Lord Wharton Lord Wardan of the East and middle Marches of England for anempst (concerning) Scotland And Captaine of the King and Queene Majestyes towne and Castle of Barwicke Am well Contented and pleased withall In wittnesse whereof I have subscribed my hand the sixt day of september in the Third and fourth yeare of the most fortunate Raignes of our Soverayne Lord and Lady King Phillip and queene Mary (1556)
First it hath beene and is accustomed within the said Lordshipp that at the exchange or entre of every tennant to pay unto the Lord as much fyne or gressome as the whole years rentt of the same tenement extendeth unto and not above.
Item (2) Yt hath beene and is accumstomed within the same Lordshppe that all manner of felonnys murders forfetures petty mychery And all other trespasses Comitted and done within the precyncte of the said Lordshipp and Liberties of Ravinstondaill eyther by any of the Inhabytants or by any other forrende persons to be inquired upon by an Indifferent Jury taken and appoincted by the Lord or his Officers within the said Lordshipp in that behalfe.
Item (3) It hath beene and is accostomed within the said Lordshipp that for all manner of Contentcions variances debates demands titles clames or tenannt rights of fermeholdes which hath beene is or shall be depending in controversie between tennant and tennant partie & partie within the said Lordshipp to be fully ordered determined and ended by an indiferent Jurye and inquest taiken and appoynted by the Lord and his Officers theirby the assents and consents of the said parties within the said Lordship in that behalfe.
Item (4) it hath beene and is accostomed in the same lordshippe that none of the tennants or other persons shall improve inclose, or taike up any of the common pasture without Lycence of the Lord & appoynctment of the Jurye taken and Elect in that behalfe.
Item (5) yt is ordered & agreed betwixt the Lord of the Same Lordshippe and the tennants that from henceforth they shall breake or divide no farmehoulds.
Item (6) yt saith bene and is accustomed that suche a sonne as the father shall appoint Being hableto Sarve the King and the Lord shall be sett tenant of his fathers tenement before his death or after agreeing with the Lord after the Custom there.
Item (7) yt haith bene and is accustomed within the same Lordshypp that if the tenante have no sone But doighters that such a doighter as the father shall apppoint using herself honestly before her marriedge shall have his tenement agreing with the lord After the Customme ther
Item (8) it haith bene and is accustomed that where any tenant doth without issue of his body lawfully begotten that then it shalbe lawfull to the said tenant to assigne or appoint his tenant right of the same tenement to whome as shall please him agreeing with the lord as therto apperteneth in that behalf
written horizontally in the margin:
I am Contented the Chamberlains Farmholdes go with this Custome delyvering in their leace and paing such money as is promysed
(signed) Lord Wharton
Source Kendal Archives WPC 8/7/2/2 – transcribed by SM
Source: Cumbria Archives WPD 8/7/2/2 - held at Kendal