View Full Version : How to find Lease of farm land

Nana Anna
10-09-09, 18:41
Have some roaming farmers who moved from Somerset to Hampshire to Wiltshire. Any ideas how I go about finding details. Would imagine they leased/rented the land. Has anyone ever found any records - need to know what to look for before I trek to the records office?


10-09-09, 18:45
What sort of date, Anna?

Nana Anna
10-09-09, 18:47
1861 census they were in Somerset, 1871 Hampshire and finally landed in Wiltshire in 1881.

10-09-09, 18:52
I would try searching on A2A first if I were you - they have a lot of entries for land leases.

10-09-09, 18:56
Look at the catalogues for the record offices, as well as A2A, searching by surname. If you are lucky, there may be online references & the RO will do you a photocopy.

It's a bit late for manorial records, but if they held the land copyhold AND the manorial records survive, then you may be able to trace the period of their tenancy that way. Pre 1831, you can use land tax assessments - again, if they survive.

I have used all three. Manorial records, in particular are a fearful plod, unless they are indexed. LTAs are brilliant, but too early for you.

Oh, and if you go to the record office to look at deeds or manorial stuff, don't wear white - most of the docs are FILTHY.

Nana Anna
10-09-09, 19:07
Thanks Kate and Phoenix. Can't see anything listed yet, still hunting. Would they be in some sort of business directory do you think?

10-09-09, 19:11
Early directories tend to list owners only, but the later ones include tenant farmers. The Owners of Land 1873 includes everyone who owned at least 1 acre so they might be there.

Nana Anna
10-09-09, 19:14
Aaaah so if they owned the land the might be in the Owners of Land 1873 - is that viewable at all RO's?

10-09-09, 19:22
It may be available at large libraries. I've bought copies published for individual counties, but I think it was statistical info, presumably requested by the government.

Nana Anna
10-09-09, 19:27
Thanks Phoenix. I will check the library. Getting sucked into A2A now with other names - had forgotten about it. :rolleyes:

Mary from Italy
10-09-09, 19:39
The tithe apportionments should name both the landlord and the tenant of land if I remember rightly. Some Record Offices have put the indexes online.

Nana Anna
10-09-09, 21:26
Will ask about that Mary can't see anything online catlogue wise.

10-09-09, 21:56
Family Relatives has the 1873 Landowners online, plus the Great Landowners of Great Britain and Ireland 1883 but you have to have a subscription to search those databases:

The 1873 landowner records are also on The Genealogist website - "This 19th century tax survey provides an index to all individuals who owned 1 acre or more of land in 1873. It is arranged alphabetically by County where the land is situated, so their may be holdings in more than one county. It provides the Name of the owner: their address (town or village only); how much land they owned in the County and its gross estimated rental value."

Presumably that is the same survey mentioned on page 1 of this thread. I think you can buy pay-as-you-go credits for that site (The Genealogist) so you wouldn't have to take out a full subscription to search one database.

Olde Crone
10-09-09, 22:21
Not wishing to be rude, but I would imagine your people were tenants, not owners.

Farmers do not sell up and move every ten years unless they are in extremely dire straits.

Tenancies tended to be "three lives" although that isn't set in stone either.

I have found tithe maps to be the most useful source of nineteenth century farming records.


Nana Anna
15-09-09, 20:12
Thanks again Kate and OC... I'm sure they were only tenant farmers not owners and would have rented/leased land. I will look into tithe maps and hope to pull something up. Cheers for all your input - much appreciated once again. :-)