House History Research for Tatham
A Guide to Some Possible Sources
Existing House Histories
Before you start! Local historians, notably Emmeline Garnett, have produced a number of house histories for individual owners. It is worth checking whether she has done one for your property, as there are all sorts of reasons why an existing history might not have been left for you in the property.
The best documentary source for changes in ownership are your house deeds or the summary lists produced by solicitors for the purpose of buying and selling. These often show property boundaries, and detail who is responsible for what e.g. boundary rights They may also contain clauses relating to manorial rights (e.g. to dig for coal) or property obligation. If you don't possess them, ask your solicitor or bank/building society about their whereabouts. They are vital if there are disagreements about the boundaries etc. shown in the Land Registry title. Bear in mind that owners did not necessarily live in the property; until comparatively recently the vast majority of property was rented out.
Private Collections, Photos and Miscellaneous
Many documents are still in private hands, including house photos, sale catalogues.
Tatham History website
Some important sources have been transcribed or digitised and can be viewed/searched by word on this website.
We also have a selection of photos of farms, individuals etc.
a) Parish Registers
Prior to the introduction of the census, the main source of our understanding of population derives from parish registers. These are a record of baptisms, marriages and burials in Anglican churches. They were first ordered to be kept by Thomas Cromwell in 1538, but fewer than 500 registers exist for these early years. Some of the registers St James and for Tatham Fells have been transcribed and published, both in book form by Lancashire Parish Register Society and on the Lancashire Parish Clerk website:
b) Old Maps
A well-designed, easy-to-use website, giving free access to very high quality reproductions of the following OS map series:
This is a comprehensive resource, and probably lists every map ever made of Lancashire, including the following, which are among the earliest:
This user-friendly facility is primarily intended as a means of providing up-to-date geographically based information about the county, but also provides some old mapping, including
c) National Heritage List for England (NHLE)
The only official, up to date register of all nationally protected historic buildings and sites.
d) Old Newspapers online
Lancashire County Library provide free-online access to library card holders to a variety of old newspapers, including Lancaster Gazette, Westmorland Gazette, and Kendal Mercury. Click here for instructions on accessing the Lancaster Gazette - similar applies to the other publications.
You can also subscribe through the British Library website or FindMyPast to a wider selection of papers. The papers are searchable by word. Adverts for properties for sale or to rent are particularly useful, but you may also find details of individuals.
You can search for wills/probate, but you need to know the approximate date of death of the individual you are looking for. A successful search gives brief details; there is a charge if you want to order a copy of the original.
f) Free BMD
Search for individuals' year of birth, marriage and death. Covers from 1837 to relatively recently.
The online catalogue for Lancashire Archives. This does not contain any original documents, but is a detailed catalogue of original sources which you can view at Preston. These include:
These were commercial publications dating back to late 18th century, and were effectively the precursor of 20th century telephone directories. They briefly describe the parish and list more prominent residents. Many originals are in Lancaster Central Library. A few are online.
National Farm Survey 1941-43
A detailed government survey of farms with maps showing their boundaries. The originals are in the National Archives. The Society plans to publish a list of all the owners and occupiers of farms in due course.
Inland Revenue District Valuation, 1910-14 (The "New Domesday")
This was a unique survey of every property, with details of owners, occupiers and the properties. Every property is numbered and shown on large scale maps. All the originals are in the National Archives. Maps are also held at Lancashire Archives, together with a basic list of owners/occupiers (catalogued under Finance Act 1910). The Society plans to publish a list of all the owners and occupiers in due course.
Lancaster Library has a good collection on the shelves. 1921-31 can also be searched on FindMyPast (subscription needed)
The parish is fortunate in still having a full run of Rate Books from 1876-1923. These list the owner and occupier of every property twice a year and detail what rates need to be paid. The committee has transcribed a sample of the books, and plans to make the transcriptions available on this website.
Physical Evidence - the building
Some properties have date stones and those for this area have
been surveyed and published by Emmeline Garnett in her book The Dated
Buildings of South Lonsdale (Centre for North West Regional
Studies, Lancaster University, 2nd revised edition, 2007). Note that some date stones have been moved from their