Pipe rolls

The Pipe Rolls are the most complete set of manorial accounts in the country, dating from 1208/9 almost unbroken to 1710/11. They depict, in the most minute detail, a record of income and expenditure across the Bishop of Winchester's estates. Across southern England, from Surrey to Somerset and from the Isle of Wight to Oxfordshire - the richest episcopal estate in England.

The UNESCO UK Memory of the World programme highlights documentary heritage of cultural significance to the UK. It raises awareness across the UK and the world, of some of the UK's exceptional documentary riches. It does this by awarding them the globally-recognised Memory of the World Status. The Winchester Pipe Rolls were awarded a coveted place on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register in 2011.

The Pipe Rolls were deposited at Hampshire Record Office in 1959 as part of the Winchester Bishopric Collection. This hugely important series includes 328 documents which cover the accounts of over 60 manors. They have been used by generations of medieval historians. The Rolls are sources for the economic, social and agrarian history of southern England. Also for political and building history.

The Pipe Rolls yield a mass of detail that helps historians build a picture of life in medieval times. This includes crop yields, wages, prices, building construction and even the weather

  • In 1302 at Droxford Manor 160 cheeses were made, each probably weighing about 16 pounds. Most of these were for sale, although some were given to the chaplain, reeve and shepherd
  • Two bishops transformed Bishops Waltham Palace - William of Wykeham and Henry Beaufort. This transformation included 5,000 paving tiles brought from the port of Southampton and over 300,000 bricks
  • One man worked for 34 days at 5d to fell 120 oaks for a new barn at Overton Court farmhouse in 1496-8. While three bushels of tile pins costing 12d, and 6,000 slates bought at Fareham were used in the new roof at Manor Farm in Hambledon in 1477
  • The notorious Black Death leaves its trace in the lists of defaults in rent payments and deaths of tenants in the 14th century
  • In 1220 the rolls follow young King Henry III as he travelled from Brightwell to Downton and Taunton. There are accounts for his food and drink. There are also records of expenditure on candles, robes and soap when his sister, Eleanor was living at Taunton Castle in the early 13th century

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Earliest surviving pipe rolls

from 1208/09 to 1454/55

Now available to buy online

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