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Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County, 1658-1666
Volume 53, Preface 64   View pdf image (33K)
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            lxiv         Maryland Manorial Courts.

              The stewards of St. Clement's Manor during these fourteen years were in
            succession, John Rives, Thomas Manning, and James Gaylard, all described
            as gentlemen. The steward was of course appointed by the lord of the manor.
            When the court met it swore the bailiff (p. 634) and the constable (p. 637).
            The “jury and homage” seems to have combined the function of a petit and
            grand jury, presenting delinquents, fixing fines, or referring cases to a higher
            court. In no instance is the lord of the manor mentioned as being present;
            possibly this is to be taken for granted. The records of the court, covering as
            they do only fourteen manuscript pages, may easily be read through, so need
            not be commented upon in much detail. The court also appointed highway
            supervisors (p. 634), directed the erection of stocks, pillory, and ducking stool
            “by generall contribution” (p. 634), and expelled questionable strangers, prob
            ably in the fear that they might become public charges (p. 628). There is no
            record of a whipping having been ordered for a delinquent. Acknowledgements
            of fealty to the lord were required (pp. 629, 637), as were “reliefs “, or pay
            ment of manor dues, by an heir who had come into possesion of a landholding
            through the death of a former tenant, or upon the purchase of a manor holding
            from another (pp. 636, 637). The court protected the herds of hogs and cattle
            owned by the lord (p. 628), and required the payment to him of one-half
            the value of wild hogs taken (p. 628), confiscated strays to the lord, and took
            cognizance of a tenant who appears to have kept an under-tenant contrary to the
            terms of his deed (p. 636). The court also required that land marks be renewed
            and fences maintained (pp. 629, 633, 634, 635). Fines were imposed for fowl
            ing without a license (p. 633), cutting sedge on manor lands (p. 633), for sell
            ing liquor without a license, and charging higher prices for liquors than were
            fixed by the Assembly (p. 636). Various minor misdemeanors came before the
            court, including an assault by Samuel Harris, who “broke the peace a stick”
            so “that there was bloudshed “, and more trivial offences which were punished
            by fines (pp. 627, 628, 636). Indians were brought before the court for pil
            fering and fined, not in tobacco but in varying lengths of Roanoke; although
            when the King of Chaptico stole a sow and her pigs, the matter was of sufficient
            gravity to be referred to the Governor, the court recommending that Indians
            thereafter should not be allowed to keep hogs on the manor (p. 629-630).
            There are a few cases involving difficulties between individuals, such as cutting
            another man's timber (p. 634), and damage done to a neighbor's crops by
            horses (p. 634). One conveyance of manor lands is recorded. On January 6,
            1664, Thomas Gerard conveys 1,000 acres of St. Clement's Manor to his son
            in-law, Robert Slye of Bushwood, who had very recently married Gerard's
            daughter Susanna, the land to be subject to an annual rental of two barrels of
            Indian corn, or twenty shillings of money. This lease recites that the land in
            question was part of the St. Clement's Manor granted, July 18, 1652 [1642],
            by Gov. Leonard Calvert to Thomas Gerard, containing 6,000 acres (pp. 631,
            632).
              Although a manorial court was a court of public record, the lord of the
            manor was the legal custodian of its records. The manuscript containing the
            proceedings of the St. Clement's Manor Court was presented to the Maryland
            


 
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Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County, 1658-1666
Volume 53, Preface 64   View pdf image (33K)
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