NEW details of Tynedale’s history are being uncovered and documented, thanks to the new Manorial Register launched by Northumberland Archives this year.

Dating back to the 11th century, the manorial system provided a framework for the lives of much of the rural population of England.

Manors were places of socialising, law and sometimes punishment, ruled over by the lord of the manor, who had the right to hold a court for his local tenants and have the final word on cases.

Courts would be held every three weeks and handled issues such as land tenure, enforcement of payments and disputes between tenants, such as complaints of trespass and the recovery of debts.

With more than 100 manors across Tynedale, the Northumberland Archives have uncovered details about the lives of people living in the county between the medieval era and the twentieth century, including information on family names, businesses, diets, finances and even crime.

Records show that whilst most manor courts kept stocks and tumbrels for punishing those guilty of smaller crimes, one manor in Hexham became notorious for its harsh punishment – the Barony of Langley, now known as Langley Castle. Owned by the Tindale family in the twelfth century, the Barony of Langley held royal permission to own its own gallows, which were used to execute anyone the court found guilty of thieving.

Other manors documented include Haltwhistle Manor, owned by the Roos family of Hamlake in 1191, who obtained the manor after a marriage alliance with the daughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland.

Corbridge Royal Manor was first recorded in the twelfth century, but became shrouded in drama in 1405 when the lord at the time, the 1st Earl of Northumberland Henry Percy, was attainted for treason, and his title and estates forfeited.

It wasn’t until 1416 that the Percy land was awarded back to the family after Henry Percy, grandson of the disgraced first Earl, did homage to the King.

In 1375, Prudhoe Manor also came into the hands of the first earl after he married Maud Gilbert, widow of the previous lord, Gilbert II.

But when he was attainted for treason in 1405, after fighting in a rebellion against Henry IV, Prudhoe was also forfeited and granted to Henry IV’s son John.

In 1470, Prudhoe was restored to Henry Percy, the 4th earl, and was held by the family until 1537, when it passed from them through gift and confiscation.

However, the Percy family were determined not to let the manor leave the family forever, and on May 1, 1557, Thomas Percy, nephew of the sixth earl, was able to reclaim Prudhoe after being named the 7th earl of Northumberland by Queen Mary. Prudhoe remains with his descendants to this day.

Haydon Bridge Manor is also revealed as having a history of treason. It was recorded as being owned by the Radcliffes of Dilston in 1663, until James Radcliffe was attainted for his part in the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. The manor was then passed to Greenwich hospital.

The launch of the register is the culmination of three years’ work by the Northumberland Archives, which led to the discovery of many previously unknown records.

The register can be accessed through the National Archives website site: