This April we are once again blogging along with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Our team of one-place studiers will be sharing some of the treasures to be found for a one-place study, particularly around the theme of Visualisation, our Shared Endeavour for 2016.
Records relating to the history of houses are kept in a variety of archives and you can even go and visit your place to find out more. For those with places in England and Wales, TNA (The National Archives) has an invaluable research guide, detailing online sources, records at Kew and what can be found in other archives and organisations. As they say on TNA website, "Investigating the history of your house can be a fascinating project ... research splits into two main areas: the ownership and occupation of your property; and its building and architectural history. The same sources can often be useful for both strands."
For me personally, it’s not only about the research records. It’s more about 'on the ground' research. Several years ago, I visited Tetcott and Luffincott and took photographs of all the houses (and the environs too). Some houses were built in the 20th century but most were built centuries before. The tithe maps help to locate the properties in the 1830s, as well as detailing their ownership, occupancy, size, rent and more... But are those houses/properties used for the same purposes now? Are they still standing now?
One example is that of Luffincott Rectory which was, according to an article by Shawn Dymond:
"Once a delightful residence … [but] by 1907 the Rectory was a dilapidated ruin. Rev. Franke Parker was said to have been eccentric in his habits … At the turn of the century ... Rev. Thomas Ward Brown … moved in. What happened next is more or less hearsay, but it is accepted as true that Rev. Ward Brown slept in the Rectory only one or two nights before locking up the building and taking lodgings in Clawton, never returning to the house."
Newspaper reports from March 1911 record that the Rectory burnt to the ground in unknown circumstances. Your place undoubtedly has other stories to tell in terms of its houses. Have you documented those stories? How do you record them? What interesting snippets can you share with other people who are interested in your place?