Medieval Rothley, Leicestershire : manor, soke and parish
The aim of this thesis is to examine the origins and function of medieval Rothley, Leicestershire, its manorial holdings, its soke and its parish. Later maps and both later and earlier written sources were examined to elucidate these elements and answer the questions posed. Documents from a number of sources have been used, primarily from the Rothley Temple Manuscripts held in the Records Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, but also from printed volumes of documents from national archives. Evidence contained within these sources has been used to elucidate some of the anomalies found within the landscape, and to give an indication of the sequence of events which helped to form the fields and townships within the soke. Parochial documents have been used to attempt to establish the origins of Rothley parish, and the nature of the ministry of Rothley church as a Hundredal minster has been postulated and examined. The documentary evidence suggests that Rothley was a parish of some importance in the tenth century, and that this parish may have arisen in association with the formation of the Hundred of Goscote. The settlement of Rothley offers some insights into these postulated origins, and the chapels serve to exemplify the extent of the parochial, manorial and soke jurisdiction. Further evidence of the nature of Rothley soke as a royal jurisdiction are examined through the rights which the tenants negotiated with their superior lords. The special privileges which the tenants of the ancient demesne enjoyed were strengthened by their ability to work co-operatively to achieve favourable outcomes in manorial disputes. These relationships will be examined in the course of the thesis, and conclusions on their significance will be reached.