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June 2011 – a temporary UWHG peace descends….

The UWHG high-summer moratorium on the field barn surveying activities has arrived and Upper Wharfedale is a slowly evolving green landscape, as the grass grows strongly and amidst the grass stalks, wild flowers are emerging in the large sweeps of meadowland along the valley floor.

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Mid-summer in Upper Wharfedale – a tapestry of greens  © Pat Carroll

Fine weather permitting, it looks as if a good crop of mown hay will result from this verdant growth; un-trampled by beast or the feet of traditional farm building recording teams, the latter able to take advantage of a slight respite to bring up-to-date their records and process and vet their photographs.

The advantage of this transient halt extends away from the valley of the Wharfe and permits those carrying out the desktop research their first real opportunity to consider the tasks ahead and to plan their time and research for the maximum gain.


The initial major focus is an attempt to span the last four centuries… from the Crown Survey of the Lordship of Middleham in 1605 to the present day – not an easy task, as the manorial records, the hearth tax returns, the area tithe maps, and their apportionments, are scattered across Yorkshire and in a number of different hands.

However, we do possess a transcript of the 1605 survey in the shape of records held by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society:

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Long-established Dales family names spring from an ancient text


You do not have to travel far in the valleys of the Wharfe, Swale or Ure before you come across the Calverts, Ibbotsons, Clarkes, Fawcetts, Coates and Ripleys, though sadly now not represented in ‘our’ study area.

However, difficulties lies not just with the present day absence of names, but in attempting to tie the family name to a patch of land from twelve or more generations ago – it is interesting to know that the ‘brewing farme’ of Robert Constantine held five outhouses – but where in the Kettlewell area?

If we are to attempt to identify the remnants of the ‘1605 outhouses’ then the desktop research would be most beneficial if, in some cases, it confirmed or refuted the observations and conclusions of the field work and the standing ‘evidence’ of today.
A further little complication is when the Crown Survey details that within the 579 acres of meadow and arable land, amid the 53 tenants and their 81 outhouses, Humfry Snell was in this year holding a ½ house and a ½ out-house, one can only hope that Edmd. Caytham, with a similar listing, held the missing pieces….

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Half a house has to be better than no house at all

The 1672 hearth tax returns for the Wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross help to bring the family names into the second half of the 17th century but in the relatively short interval of less than seventy years from the first section above, the names of Johnson and Constantine no longer appear.

It is hoped that in time the desktop research group may be able to secure some more tangible ‘stepping stones’ back through time, ones that may connect the land apportionments of the Tithe Award maps of the mid 1800’s to these earlier records and hence bridge the four centuries to a landscape that supported in 1605 the 41 houses and 81 outhouses.

Phil & Pat Carroll




Tithe Maps (Tythe Maps)

  • During the 18th and 19th centuries one tenth of all produce was paid as a tithe (meaning a tenth part) to the church.  With the coming of the industrial revolution, when produce began to mean not just the produce from the land, but also industrial output, the notion of collecting a tenth part become impractical and so the monetary value of the tithes was calculated so this could be collected instead.

  • Where this did not overlap with the enclosures (another complicated subject) tithe maps were drawn up of many parishes, the various plots numbered and the tithe value and person renting them listed.  This took place mainly between 1835 and 1851.

  • Hearth Tax

  • Hearth tax was introduced into England and Wales in 1662 by the government of Charles II, at a time of serious fiscal emergency. The original Act of Parliament was revised the following year and again in 1664. Tax collection in this manner continued until William and Mary finally repealed the tax in 1689.

  • Under the terms of the grant, each liable householder was to pay one shilling per hearth within his or her property for each collection of the tax. Payments were due twice annually, at Michaelmas (29 September) and Lady Day (25 March), starting at Michaelmas 1662.


Read the July 2011 report


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