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In 1837-1839 and 1842, my 3rd great grandfather Thomas Hitchcox was listed as a voter living at Wheaton Aston in the Parish of Lapley, Staffordshire, England and was qualified to vote by owning Freehold Estate/Land with entries in the UK Poll Books and Electoral Registers like that below:

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However, in every year from 1843-1849, although Thomas is still qualified to vote by his Freehold House and Land, occupied by Self, his eldest son William Hitchcox (born 1821) also starts to be listed as a Lapley voter, qualified by his Copyhold House and Land, which was occupied by Thomas Hitchcox and others. William himself is working as a druggist (or pharmacist) and initially living at Dale-end, Birmingham (1843-1844) and later (1845-1849) at Red Lion Street, Wolverhampton.

The entries in the UK Poll Books and Electoral Registers for those years are like that below:

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Although a number of letters between William and Thomas survive from the period, none talk about their properties, and I am keen to understand more about the Freehold house and land of Thomas, and the Copyhold house and land of his son William (that was occupied by his father Thomas and others). It looks to me like Thomas continues to own the same freehold house and land while William makes a copyhold purchase of a new house and land.

From Freehold and copyhold land in 18th century England? and Wikipedia etc, I have learned about the difference between Copyhold and Freehold and am assuming that there must have been two properties (probably adjacent) that Thomas was farming and living on while his son pursued his profession as a druggist.

To try and clarify this I think my next logical step will be to try and determine if the manorial records might still exist to provide a record of how the Copyhold came into William's hands and I have found some useful advice at Finding records from the 'manor house'.

Does anybody know whether manorial records for this part of Staffordshire are likely to exist, whether they are likely/certain to contain Copyhold information, and how to best access them from Australia (where both William and Thomas end up a few years later after selling up in Staffordshire)?

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1 Answer 1

As is often the case, taking the time to write a question, seems to put me some way along the path to an answer.

Please feel free to provide a better answer but I found these useful references:

LAPLEY & WHEATON ASTON

Rentals, c.1615-1861 LRO D(W)3222/180/1-12

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