Where is Norfolk ? Norfolk Map Location

Norfolk is the main exception, with the historical maps of Norfolk website offering free access to many at www.historic-maps.norfolk.gov.uk/mapexplorer. Digitized copies of tithe maps and apportionments for the whole country are online via The Genealogist website, while the National Library of Scotland (NLS) offers access to ordnance surveys and much more at: www.maps.nls.uk. Some copies can be found in print format. For example, both Hodskinson’s 1783 and Bryant’s 1824-35 maps of Suffolk were reproduced in A4 booklets by Larks Press.

Where is Norfolk ? Norfolk Map Location Photo Gallery



Many references to land ownership and tenancies appear in wills. One example is Edward Lant of Ramsey who died in 1840 and left, a parcel of ‘Fen or Marsh Ground in Ramsey in a Fen or place commonly called the Gow late part of the Gow Common’. Newspapers commonly carried advertisements or items about farms for sale or to let.

One such report in the Norfolk Chronicle about an auction in August 1899 stated Mr Robert Borrett sold 170 acres of land in the Moulton St Michael area with the wheat and barley still growing on it. This went on to say the crops were included because of the scarcity of labour ‘a circumstance unprecedented in Norfolk’. The records of the Bedford Level Corporation, which drained the fens, include a registry of deeds and petitions from the mid-seventeenth century onwards regarding improvements of drains and access across land. These are held at Cambridge Record Office and include numerous references to local inhabitants. In 1826 for example, a John Shinn was accused of illegally retaining the keepership of the Brandon river staunch, although a Thomas Cooper had been elected to the office. Other records relating to leases in the fens include a listing at the Norfolk Record Office for the Wormegay Drainage Commissioners regarding banks let, and rents received, 1815-1819. These include a note of the conditions of letting and can be found among the parish council records for Wormegay.

Very occasionally parish registers, census returns and birth, marriage and death certificates will include an employer’s details. Details of individuals’ work, what they were paid, work and social conditions can, however, be found in some parish records, particularly in the settlement examinations taken to establish where someone ‘belonged’. For example, in Thetford St Peter in 1816, Robert Clarke described how, three weeks after Michaelmas 1799, he let himself to Robert Barnard, Esquire of Great Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, until the Michaelmas following. When Clarke left in 1800 he received two and a half guineas in wages. He was then re-employed by Barnard. The following year he received three pounds wages, and an extra shilling for driving the stock from Hopton to Sisland. References to the places workers lived in parish registers, census records and certificates of births, marriage and death will provide a place of residence, although that is often just the village or district name rather than a full address.

By using maps and trade directories it is possible to identify likely local employers and the range of occupations in that place. For instance, in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, around thirty farmers and their addresses are listed in an 1850 trade directory. Farmers and landowners will also appear in parish rate lists, electoral rolls, poll books and land tax assessments. Tithe and enclosure maps and their accompanying awards and apportionments include the names of owners and occupiers. Most enclosure maps date from the early 1800s, but tend to include fewer names. They will, however, list the many small to middling farmers who took the opportunity to buy plots of land, some of which they previously farmed as tenants. The section on maps later in this book includes more details, but the vast majority, including enclosure, ordnance surveys, railway and estate plans and others showing the environment your ancestors lived and worked in, can only be accessed at a record office.

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