Warwickshire County Record Office Document of the Month

Welcome to the Collection Showcase section of Warwickshire's Past Unlocked. On this page you can explore some of the interesting and important documents that we hold at Warwickshire County Record Office and learn about the historical background to their creation.

Each month we will highlight a different Document of the Month and display links to PDF copies of the previous 12 months documents for your enjoyment.

For earlier editions of Document of the Month, please see our archive.

Surrender by Mrs Mary Fowler


For October’s Document of the Month, we have chosen a document from the Manor of Hampton in Arden. CR2327/2 shows the Surrender by Mrs Mary Fowler to the Right Honorable Sir Robert Peel on 2nd April 18421.

“At this court came Mary Fowler of Alders Mills in the Parish of Tamworth in the County of Stafford[,] Spinster in her own proper person”

Title page of Surrender Deed relating to Mrs Mary Fowler and the Manor of Hampton in Arden
Warwickshire County Record Office, CR2327/2

Surrender by Mrs Mary Fowler to the Right Honorable Sir Robert Peel
Warwickshire County Record Office, CR2327/2

Copyhold Property

At this time (early 19th Century), Manor Estates would contain vast amounts of land that would be owned as Freehold Property by the Lord or Lady of the Manor. Estates would have been split into many different areas of land or property which would have been known as ‘Copyhold Property’. These areas of the estate would be held by tenants to live and work on until they wished to sell the land or until they died. Often Copyhold Property was left in wills and passed down through generations.

A Surrender of Copyhold Property is a copy of a Manorial Court Roll which states that a tenant has handed their area of land or property back into the hands of the Lord or Lady of the Manor, ready for it to be redistributed to a new tenant. The surrender may have happened for a variety of reasons such as the death of a tenant or a wish to sell the land and move on.

Other Manorial Court Roll documents include ‘Admittances’ or ‘Admissions’ which is the document that would give land into the hands of the new tenant. An Admittance would also happen in court and would be accompanied by a ceremonial ‘rod’ given to the tenant, or the tenant’s representative, which symbolised the handing over of land. Admittances and Surrenders were both signed by the Steward of the Manor.2

Sir Robert Peel

Born on 5th February 1788, Sir Robert Peel had an impressive political career, holding the positions of Chief Secretary for Ireland, Home Secretary (twice), Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister two times. He was the founder of the Conservative Party and formed the first Conservative Government in his first term as Prime Minister in 18343.

Throughout his political career, Robert Peel implemented many legislation and laws such as the 1844 Factories Act, which was the first ‘Health and Safety’ act passed in Britain. This saw dangerous machinery in factories fenced off and prohibited children and young people from cleaning such machinery. It also implemented maximum working hours for young workers to allow them time for schooling.4

One of the most significant achievements of Sir Robert Peel was the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Force in 1829 while he was acting as Home Secretary. The Police Force, more commonly known as ‘Peelers’ or ‘Bobbies’, were required to wear their blue uniform and leather top hat whether they were on duty or not, to let the public know who to watch out for.5

Towards the end of his second and final term as Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel became responsible for the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. The Corn Laws were originally put in place to restrict the amount of foreign corn and grain being imported into the country. The additional cost on grain was keeping prices of food such as bread much higher than other foods.6

Sir Robert Peel resigned as Prime Minister just a few days after the repeal of the Corn Laws and saw the end of his political career in 1846. He sadly died just four years later after sustaining fatal injuries after falling from his horse.

Hampton Manor

Hampton Manor estate was owned by Sir Robert Peel from the early 19th Century until his death in 1850. The Manor Estate was purchased by Sir Robert Peel from Isaac William Lillingston7, and would have been a ‘Freehold Property’.

As you can see from the transcription of CR2327/2, Sir Robert Peel owned vast amounts of land at Hampton Manor. The land was measured in acres, roods and perches. To put these measurements into context, an acre is equivalent to 4046 squared meters, a rood is ¼ of an acre and there are 40 perches in a rood8. The first pieces of land named in this Surrender are:

“Lower Shirley Field[,] eight acres[,] two roods and nine perches[.] Upper Shirley Field[,] nine acres[,] two roods and thirty six perches”.

Sir Robert Peel remained Lord of the Manor House of Hampton in Arden until his death in 1850. The title was then passed down to his son, Frederick Peel, who held the position for 56 years.

Frederick Peel put a huge amount of work into the modernisation of Hampton in Arden. He was responsible for building Hampton Manor, as it stands today, in 1855 as well as many new buildings and shops within the village designed by the architect N. E. Nesfield.9


  1. Surrender of property by Mary Fowler to Sir Robert Peel, CR2327/2, held at Warwickshire County Record Office.
  2. Information gathered from Deeds in Depth: Admittance, or Admission; and Surrender
  3. Information gathered from History of Sir Robert Peel 2nd Baronet
  4. Information gathered from Later factory legislation
  5. Information gathered from Sir Robert Peel and his bobbies
  6. Information gathered from The Great Famine
  7. Information gathered from Hampton in Arden history
  8. Information gathered from Deeds in Depth: Measurements
  9. Information gathered from Hampton in Arden history

Please click on the links below to view PDF copies of previous Document of the Month articles (opens in new window)

OctoberTranscript of a séance (CR1886/Box 469)
NovemberLaws of the Miners Law Society (QS0083/2/60)
DecemberLetter from M.E.Lewes to Miss Wedgewood (CR39898/4/1/1)
JanuaryLetter to "My darling children" (CR4356/1/225)
FebruaryPlan of the Borough Town of Warwick, 1806 (CR1886/M38)
MarchElementary School teacher's certificate (CR2500/15/4)
AprilWarwick Borough Council Minute book (CR1618/W22/4)
MayWarwick, Leicester’s Hospital (PH0474/7/17 & PH0474/7/23)
JuneSpeech by James Bradshaw (L6/1703)
JulyWarwickshire Miners' Convalescent Home (CR3323/887)
AugustBurial Register, St Mary's Warwick (DR0447/24)
SeptemberChurchwardens' Accounts (DRB0105/10)
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