Wednesday, October 03, 2007

West Yorkshire Archive Service


The West Yorkshire Archive Service exists to preserve the county's heritage of historical documents and to help members of the public make use of them. The Service is funded by the five Metropolitan District Councils in West Yorkshire, and forms part of West Yorkshire Joint Services.

The Service has its headquarters in Wakefield, and offices in Bradford, Calderdale (Halifax), Kirklees (Huddersfield), and Leeds. The Service also gives professional advice and support to the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, also in Leeds.

West Riding Registry of Deeds was established by Act of Parliament, and began registration in September 1704. The Registry was one of only five in England. Later Registries were started in both the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire and for the County of Middlesex, whilst the Bedford Level Corporation in Cambridgeshire had operated a Registry for the Fen area of East Anglia since 1663.

The purpose of the West Riding Registry was to allow freeholders publicly to register deeds relating to their property. This was of great importance to the many small businessmen in the Yorkshire cloth trade who used their property as a security on which to borrow money. Registration was soon seen to have clear advantages and so became customary in the West Riding. Between 1704 and 1914, some one and a half million deeds were registered. The growth of owner occupation led to an even greater rate of registration, adding several million more deeds in the sixty years before the closure of the Registry in 1970.

Further information may be found in:
F. Sheppard and J. Belcher ‘The deeds registries of Yorkshire and Middlesex’ Journal of the Society of Archivists vol. 6, no. 5 (1980)

Download Registry of Deeds Information Leaflet (PDF)

We hope to apply for Heritage Lottery Funding to scan the tithe maps of Yorkshire which we hold here at West Yorkshire Archive Service. We then aim to create a database of the accompanying apportionment information and make both the map and text available to view on-line.


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