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Bulwell Manor Copyhold Court

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Picture of Bulwell gentleman who were the last to keep an ancient  Manorial rights tradition going .


To be honest don't fully understand the finer details of the proceedings but it may be of interest to any family researchers with Bulwell connections .

(seems to be a lot of Widdowsons in the picture ) 


The photo and details appeared in the Evening Post of July 1943 in an old picture quiz feature , obviously the original image is much earlier (actually 1896 ) . 






Text from the Evening Post .


Sitting of the Bulwell Manor Copyhold Court - now defunct - at The Red Lion Inn , Coventry Road , and the members were as follows :


Left to Right 

(Front Row seated)
Messrs .Samuel Jennison ,  J.H. Hardy , Edwin Widdowson (foreman) , Arthur Browne (steward) and William Moore .


Centre Row : Messrs R .Widdowson , William Reeve , , George Toft ,  Walter Widdowson , Henry Hanson , Henry W. Rogers (steward's clerk) and John Smith .


Top Row
Messrs. A P.Lee (junior clerk) , William Harwood , F.H. Wilkinson , William Stanley and Alfred Widdowson .



The Bulwell Court Leet , an institution....had its origin in the dim past . Records are in existence dating from 1723 but those before that time have been lost .
While in the early days the court had criminal jurisdiction , later , as the Court Baron - or Copyhold Court - it dealt with matters affecting the estate of the lord of the manor and met each Easter up to the time of the Bulwell Hall estate , together with the manor and manorial rights being acquired by the
Nottingham Corporation .

Afterwards the court was held at Bulwell Hall and Highbury Vale Hotel.

At each of the courts a jury of 13 , composed of men holding property of the copyhold tenure was sworn in , a bailiff , town crier and pinder being appointed and the steward chose the foreman .

The proceedings were opened by the bailiff calling from the door :
"Oh yez ! O yez ! O yez! "  and ordering all having business there to attend


Heirs of deceased copyholders were requested to be present and if they failed to do so after three successive courts, the property was liable to forfeiture to the Lord of the Manor .
After the business had been transacted a dinner was provided and before proceedings ended , a large bowl of punch was placed on the table and the health of the Lord and steward being drunk .


Amongst the many customs was one that if a man died intestate his youngest son -  instead of his eldest son-became entitled to the copyhold property . 

A copyholder was entitled to fish in the Leen and to take turf and soil from Bulwell Forest .


Of the group shown...... only three were still alive (in 1943) , namely Mr.A.P.Lee (then junior clerk ) , Henry W. Rogers ( stewards clerk who at 73 has very many happy memories of the old courts ) , and F.H. Wilkinson (whose fund of knowledge about Bulwell and district is equal to any living native ) .  

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If I have the time, I might learn something from that and find I'm connected.  One side of my mother's parents were Widdowson and there were dozens of them in Basford pre-1900.

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