How We Research

Our house historians visit national, regional and local archives in search of a wide variety of records so that we can document the history of your property. Maps can often establish a rough build date, while alterations to the building and its landscape can be traced using Ordnance Survey maps, enclosure awards and bomb census maps. Details of occupants are traced backwards in time from the present day, using electoral lists, street directories, rate and local taxation returns. The 1910 Valuation Office Survey and 1840s Tithe Apportionments provide owners’ and occupiers’ names from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and evidence from the 1841 to 1911 censuses helps to complete the picture.

We search for any surviving title deeds, conveyance records and sales particulars, as well as insurance records, old photographs, illustrations, plans and architectural drawings. Manorial and estate records may provide further detail if the property formed part of a large estate or was copyhold tenure. Genealogical sources help us to build biographical profiles of former owners and occupiers, and surviving probate records may contain references to the house and its contents. We search for evidence of the property being involved in legal disputes, and where possible investigate contemporary newspaper reports relating to the history of the house or community in which it stands. The English Heritage Archive and Royal Institute of British Architects are also consulted for listed and significant buildings.

Alongside these standard sources for house history, there will be a unique document trail relating to your home, and relevant to the area in which it stands. If we run out of time during the commission, we will compile a list of further sources that might be of use to you.

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