I spent a very frustrating afternoon in the Deeds Registry in Wakefield trying to find out more information about our property. I had high expectations, but it wasn’t to be. Last time I did some research on local history, I got a result in 30-40 minutes. But this time, I spent all afternoon and got nowhere.
From the census, I knew that at least one of the properties was occupied by Hobsons from 1851 through to 1911 (which is the last available census). We had already found the Hobsons gravestone in Honley Cemetery, so I was assuming that they might have owned the property. But alas no.
I searched all of the deeds registers and there are no entries for David Hobson. In fact, there are no entries under David Hobson (any David Hobson) in West Yorkshire between 1819 – 1919. Spooky. There are lots of entries for Hobsons, but none for David Hobson. I did find some entries under Joseph Hobson, but none of them were the correct Joseph Hobson (or in the wrong area).
I searched under the names of the other occupants that featured in the Censuses, but again no luck. So I can only surmise that the occupiers did not own the property, but rented them (don’t forget that they are organise as three separate cottages).
Time to change tack. In 1910, there was a national land survey conducted to establish who owned each plot of land in the UK. We quickly found the appropriate map in the archive. Luckily, the map we were looking for was there – the Archive do not have copies of all of the maps. The map shows that all the cottages and the land surrounding it is owned by the same person – referenced on the map as “1010”. Unfortunately, I then ran out of time before I could look up the reference number in the catalogues.
Ho hum. It will have to wait for another day. But at least we do know that all the cottages and the surrounding land were owned by a single person in 1910. It is a start.
PS The staff in the Registry of Deeds are really helpful and sure know their way around. More information here: http://www.archives.wyjs.org.uk/archives-wakefield.asp. Check the opening times if you want to visit (it is closed at lunchtimes 1-2pm) and I would suggest making an appointment before visiting.