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Help with 1861 census, please

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    From about 1770 when it was sold (I know the buyer, but not the seller) until it was finally broken up in the 1920's and sold off in many small individual lots as no-one would buy the whole estate. (Land prices had dropped so no one wanted to invest in land and the country was in recession.) After the enclosure of land (no enclosure documents have survived ) it consisted of 6 large farms, 5 smaller holdings, a selection of plots used by agricultural tradesmen and assorted cottages. All plots were let out to tenants, there was never a "big" house and all lords (or lady) of the manor lived elsewhere. As no one family had it for more than three generations, there is no big collection of family documents to search, just oddments scattered throughout various record offices.
    It has been very interesting searching census returns and PR to track the various tenants of the properties and to investigate what became of all the families. I do have a copy of the sale catalogue for 1878 when the Christies finally disposed of it and an accompanying large plan of the estate, showing every individual dwelling and field owned by the estate and denoting the few plots which were owned by other parties.Some of these were church and glebe lands, or four parcels of land owned by an ancient charitable trust and possibly accumulated at the time of enclosure. No complete pre-mid 1800s building has survived, although there are remnants of where buildings once stood. Chalk was the local readily available building material - unfortunately it doesn't stand the test of time.
    Not sure when the land registry actually started - before that it was parchment deeds kept by the owner. Wasn't there some system of cutting through a conveyancing document in an unusual way, so that only the two correct bits (one held by the seller and the other by the buyer) dovetailed??

    The whole project is still ongoing as more and more resources continue to become available; newspapers have been a great asset for filling in about the lives of the inhabitants - social occasions, crimes and misdemeanours, family tragedies and inquests - and the village school records quite illuminating, especially in the earlier years when individual children, parents and tenant farmers employing children were named. I work on it when I have nothing else to do, and often when i should really be doing other things instead!
    Janet in Yorkshire

    Genealogists never die - they just swap places in the family tree