Insight into medieval Yorkshire as historians transcribe court rolls

Historians from the University of Sheffield have been working with volunteers in Tinsley to examine previously untouched medieval court rolls revealing a fascinating insight into the area's history.
Historians from the University of Sheffield have been working with volunteers in Tinsley to examine previously untouched medieval court rolls revealing a fascinating insight into the area's history.
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Neighbours seizing each other’s land and women being fined for not ringing the snouts of their pigs are just some of the unusual disputes in medieval South Yorkshire, according to historians at the University of Sheffield.

For the past eight months, university historians have been working with volunteers from Tinsley to examine previously untouched medieval court rolls that reveal a fascinating insight into the area’s history. Among the findings are details of a 14th century event at Tickhill castle at which lords, ladies and knights met with King John I for an evening of celebration, resulting in the King giving a mysterious bird to the Lord of Tickhill.

Dr Charles West, of the department of history said: “Many of the early documents are in Latin meaning that the collection was almost entirely inaccessible to current Tinsley residents and the local community. The aim of our project was to address this and make this unique window into Tinsley’s past more accessible.”

PhD students Elizabeth Goodwin and Laura Alston worked alongside Sally Rodgers from Heeley City Farm to transcribe documents relating to life from 1284 and 1805. Ms Goodwin said: “The court rolls feature women in positions of responsibility over fines, farming and animal care across the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – such as the case of John de Methbeke and his wife Godosa who seized the land and property of Henry Drake and his wife Letita – the court was effectively thrashing out who held the rights to it.”