Estates Records Project
Welcome to the King's College estates records project website. Here you can see images of documents from the collections and download copies of the estate catalogues as MS Word documents. They are organised here by county, with individual estates listed separately within each county, or you can access the catalogue of individual estates on ArchiveSearch (see the 'Links' below). There is also a link below to the composite estates section of the ArchiveSearch catalogue that contains records that relate to more than one estate. Many estates have records in this section so a look here can also be worthwhile.
The ArchiveSearch links will take you to the most currently published catalogues, whereas the Word versions are not kept up to date and over time will become less current. This particularly applies to Ruislip and London properties.
In late 2003 King's College Archive Centre was fortunate enough to receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve access to the College's estates records.
This fascinating collection documents a vital part of the College's history, including records of estates in England given to the College by Henry VI following its foundation in 1441, many of which were the lands of the so-called alien priories, the dependencies in England of foreign religious houses such as the Norman Abbey of Bec, confiscated by the Crown in 1414.
These lands brought their written memory with them in the form of charters and court records, in some cases going back to the 11th century. Researchers investigating early manorial governance, religious houses, farming practices, genealogy, and alterations to land boundaries or properties, will find evidence in such records as court rolls, accounts, maps, tenancy agreements, and leases. There is also an impressive range of royal documents among the records, with a number of fine examples of Great Seals from Stephen through to Victoria.
The estates records cover a total of 189 estates in 30 counties ranging west to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, east to Toft Monks in Norfolk, north to Allerton Mauleverer in Yorkshire, and south to Hooe in Sussex, all documenting ecclesiastical and secular communities from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Using index cards created by Dr Michael Stansfield in 1987-8, and based upon his original structure, the on-line catalogue introduces hierarchical levels to bring it up to modern standards. The project archivist converted the information on the original index cards into an ISAD(G)-compliant database, and a searchable on-line version was launched on Janus, the webserver for online catalogues of Cambridge archival and manuscript collections. This was migrated to the new webserver for online catalogues of Cambridge archival and manuscript collections, ArchiveSearch, in 2020.
Outreach activities were organised throughout the project, and included in-house exhibitions for local history groups, articles for history and genealogy society newsletters and journals and a Day School for MA Local History students. A set of display boards were designed, giving information about the project and exhibiting facsimiles of documents from the Estates Records, and toured relevant county record offices and public libraries as a travelling exhibition. A hard copy of the relevant volume of the catalogue should also be available in your local County Record Office.
The project archivist's article on the project can be downloaded (below) as a .pdf for further details.
This project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund during 2004-5.