An important aspect of any village history site is the investigation and documentation of the village's vernacular architecture. This is often referred to in short as "house history work", and it involves the study of all available documentary records for a particular property and its successive owners, plus careful study of the form and construction of the property and its associated outbuildings where relevant.
In Crick, a conscious decision was taken to carry out a large-scale house history project for as many as possible of the village's historic buildings within the scope of a formal project, which is referred to as the 'Crick Historic Building Record'.
The Crick Historic Building Record
The aim of this project is to investigate and document the history of Crick's older houses, based on analysis of surviving property deeds, study of wills and other documentation about the people who lived in the houses – and of course, detailed examination of the properties themselves, both as they are today and via old maps and photographs.
Information in the deeds is checked and expanded via other documentation such as parish registers, Enclosure Awards, Land Tax returns, Land Surveys, census returns, wills etc., much of which can be found at the local county record office. This in turn permits educated guesswork about the dates at which changes were made to the fabric of the buildings – a large house partitioned to allow part to be let to lodgers, two adjacent houses knocked together to accommodate a growing family, an extension added, a barn converted into living space, some land sold off or acquired, and so on.
The Crick Historic Building project commenced in 2010, and it is expected that it will take about 3 to 5 years to process and analyse the mass of detailed documentation that has been generously made available by the owners of many of Crick's oldest houses. In due course, a series of detailed house-histories will emerge from this analysis work, providing a unique insight into the development of the whole village over the last 2 or 3 centuries.
Crick properties currently being researched
- Boat Horse Lane, No.5
- Bucknills Lane, No. 1
- Chapel Lane, Nos. 6/7
- Church Street, Nos. 1-3 (the Manor)
- Church Street, the Old School
- Church Street, No. 12 (Cromwell Cottage)
- Church Street, No. 14 (Meadow View)
- Church Street, No. 16
- Church Street, No. 19 (Churchside)
- Church Street, No. 31
- Church Street, No. 33 (Fennel Cottage)
- Church Street, No. 39 (The Hall)
- Drayson Lane, No. 5 (Pytchley Cottage)
- High Street, No. 8 (Curfew House)
- High Street, No. 9 (Hill Farm)
- High Street, Nos.16/18
- High Street, No. 19 (Spencer House)
- High Street, No. 27 (Phoenix House)
- High Street, No. 33
- King Style Close, No. 2 (Cranbrook Cottage)
- Lauds Road, No. 18 (Lilac Cottage)
- Lauds Road, No. 19 (Woolcomb Adams Farm)
- Lauds Road, No. 31-33 (Furlong House)
- Lauds Road, No. xx (Hghfields Farm)
- Main Road, No. 19, (Maltings)
- Main Road, No. 23
- Main Road, No. 28 (Well Cottage)
- Main Road, No. 37 (Home Close, aka Fairview)
- Main Road, No. 38 (Hillside)
- Main Road, No. 62 (The Retreat)
- Main Road, No. 76
- Main Road, No. 78
- Main Road, No, 80 (Woodbine Cottage)
- Main Road, No. 86 (Post Office, formerly Flying Horse)
- Main Road, No. xx (Northgate House)
- Main Road, No. xx (The Wheatsheaf)
- Oak Lane, No. 5 (Ash Tree House)
- Oak Lane, No. 17 (The Homestead)
- The Derry, No. 2
- The Derry, No. xx (Mill House)
- The Marsh, No. 1
- The Marsh, No. 2
- The Marsh, No. 4
- Watford Road, No. 6 (Vynter's Manor)
- Watford Road, No. 8, (Frant Lodge)
- Watford Road, land around former brickworks
- Watford Road, No. xx (Hillcrest)
- Watford Road, No. xx (Mill Hill House)
- Yelvertoft Road, No. 24
- Yelvertoft Road, No. 26 (Ranmoor)
- Yelvertoft Road, No. 15 (Barley Croft)
Work in other local villages
A long-term study has already been carried out in Kilsby to collect, record and analyse the property deeds for as many of the village’s old buildings as possible. This project has been running for about ten years, and there have been many stages of discussion with property-owners, to explain the value and importance of preserving and recording old property deeds (using the work done in Kilsby to illustrate the detailed historical picture that can sometimes be built up for a property); as a result, many of Kilsby's inhabitants now understand and appreciate the cultural and historical relevance of such an exercise, and they have generously made their house-deeds available to be digitally photographed and recorded. Deeds for about 20 properties in Kilsby have so far been digitised, and the project is still ongoing.
Recent changes in English property law
The work to record and copy old deeds is especially important today, because recent changes in English property law have abolished the need for mortgage lenders to hold a copy of the property deeds as security for their loan – and further legal changes have meant that even the Land Registry does not now hold copies of old property deeds. The result of these legal changes is that, since about 2003, increasing numbers of solicitors, building societies and banks have been steadily destroying hundreds of thousands of old parchment and paper property deeds dating back to the 1800s, the 1700s, and in some cases back to the 1600s. It may seem incredible that such an enormous body of valuable historical material can have been casually earmarked for destruction in this way – but such is the case, and for many of our old village and town houses it is already too late to discover their history, for their deeds have been lost or destroyed.
Any information that we receive from you will be treated in strict confidence. Information made available to us will not be divulged to any other party without your prior written approval. This particularly applies to:
- Digital images of any deeds and associated documents made available to us (and in addition, we expressly do not record any recent property documents, or any sensitive financial or similar information).
- Digital images of the interior of any property (and in addition, we expressly do not record any images that might endanger the security of the premises if made more generally available).
How to contact us
We are always willing to look at further documents, if the owners of a house are kind enough to let us see the early deeds to their property – just contact us by email in the first instance.