Hampshire Archives and Local Studies

Winchester Pipe Rolls

Our project to digitise the early pipe rolls has now been completed.  191 rolls from the earliest surviving (1208/09) to 1454/55 are now available on CD in the search room thanks to the generosity of a private sponsor. We would be interested to hear any suggestions for future digitisation projects.

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 specific to the UK and raises awareness across the UK and the world, of some of the UK's exceptional documentary riches 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 extensively by generations of national and international medieval historians, who have long recognised their potential as sources not only for the economic, social and agrarian history of southern England but 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, including 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 - mostly for sale, although some were given to the chaplain, reeve and shepherd
  • The transformations of Bishops Waltham Palace by two bishops, William of Wykeham and Henry Beaufort, included 5,000 paving tiles brought from the port of Southampton and over 300,000 bricks
  • At Overton Court farmhouse a new barn was built in 1496-8, for which one man was paid for 34 days at 5d to fell 120 oaks; 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, in accounts for his food and drink and records of expenditure on candles, robes and soap when his sister, Eleanor was living at Taunton Castle in the early 13th century.
 
" " Winchester Pipe Rolls Inscribed on the Unesco National Register in 2011