Norden’s Survey of Crown Lands – An Update. 

The Archive is a partner organisation in the Friends of Devon’s Archives (FODA) project concerning the early 17th century survey of crown lands by John Norden. 

In 1612 James I appointed John Norden as surveyor of the King’s lands in several counties, including Devon. He attended local courts, examined records and physically inspected the ground to compile a register of holdings, tenants, values and obligations along with some other details. The manuscript, which is written in a mixture of Latin and English, covers Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Bradninch, Buckfastleigh, Dunkeswell, Exeter Castle, Heathfield and Ottery St Mary.

From 2019 volunteers were busy transcribing and translating the text whilst also researching the areas concerned to build a picture of the landscape and local communities in the 17th and earlier centuries. This project is now nearing completion and the results will be published later this year by FODA. In the meantime you can view the translation of the survey using FODAs new viewing station at the DRA.  

The project has been funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The manuscript is held by the London Metropolitan Archives and available online here. 

*The image at the top is from the London Metropolitan Archives, CLA/044/05/041.*

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