Estates Records: Cambridgeshire

Abington, Barrington, Barton, Cambridge, Chesterton, Coton, Cottenham, Coveney, Denny, Elmdon, Fen Ditton, Fen Drayton, Foxton, Grantchester, Haddenham, Harlton, Hatley, Isleham, Kingston, Little Shelford, Long Stanton, Madingley, Merton Hall, Milton, Pampisford, Shingay, Swaffham Bulbeck, Tadlow and Wimpole

If you are interested in viewing any of the documents from the estates records, please contact the Archive Centre to arrange an appointment.

Click on the images below to enlarge them.


Property Documents

Property documents make up much of the estates records. They include leases, sales, or other agreements. The seals of the other parties to the agreement are usually attached (Warde's, Johnson's, or Henry VI's in the examples below) and counterpart documents featuring the King's College seal would have been kept by the other parties.

Most seals are single-sided. The Great Seal of a king is double-sided and shows him enthroned on one side and riding into battle on the other. The impression is made by pressing sealing wax between two metal plates and screwing them down using four lugs. Traces of one of the lugs can be seen on the Henry VI seal below.

Alice Druel's Quitclaim

This document, like many in the estates records, pre-dates the foundation of King's College. When we were founded we were endowed with estates or manors with which to support ourselves. As today when you buy a house you might also get prior sales documents or building plans, along with the 'real estate' given by Henry VI came the documents associated with it, and this is one such document.

This is a quitclaim from Alice, wife of Ralph Druel, to Geoffrey de Hedfelt, of lands in Barton. The lady's seal (inscribed with her name) is attached. Ladies' seals were oval - 'vesica-shaped' and were fairly rare owing to the infrequency with which women were in a position to exchange land or property. In this case, Alice Druel only had possession of the land following the death of her husband. It was unusual for a wife to be bequeathed more than a life interest in a husband's property.

c. 1200. Ref: BAR/8


There are many other types of estates records. Maps and surveys, photographs, court rolls which can be used for tracing family history as well as customs of the manor, and quirky unexpected documents crop up. You can't know what we have, until you ask! The Archivists are always happy to answer questions about the records we keep.

Related Information

Please note: the Microsoft Word version of the catalogue is not kept as up-to-date as the ArchiveSearch version.

See below to download the MS Word catalogue or for links to:

  • Catalogue of the estates records on ArchiveSearch
  • Cambridgeshire Association for Local History
  • Cambridgeshire Family History Society
  • GENUKI UK and Ireland Genealogy: Cambridgeshire Listing
We are open by appointment four days a week most of the year - please contact us by email or phone to book your visit.
Our Heritage Lottery Fund project to improve access to the College's estates records, which form a vital part of the College's history.