WNLH

...access to local heritage

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Aims and methods

The aim of this study is to investigate and document the history of Kilsby'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.

Kilsby properties already researched

  • Acacia Cottage, Middle StreetHouse history detective work
  • Daventry House, Daventry Road
  • Fairview, North Street
  • Fernside, Essen Lane
  • Holly Tree House, North Street
  • Hunt's House, Main Road
  • Laurelcroft, North Street
  • Malt Mill Cottage, Main Road
  • Melbourne House, The Banks
  • Moat Farm House, Daventry Road
  • North House, Rugby Road
  • Stoneleigh, Middle Street
  • The Haven, Essen Lane
  • The Hollies, Main Road
  • The Limes, Main Road
  • The Old School House, Church Walk
  • The Thatched House, Rugby Road

A booklet has also been published covering the histories of St Faith's church and the Independent Chapel.

Work in other local villages

A long-term study is currently under way in Crick - the Crick Historic Building Record - to collect, record and analyse the property deeds for as many of the village’s old buildings as possible. This project has taken several years to set up, 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 Crick’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 30 properties in Crick have so far been digitised, and further sets of deeds are already in the queue; it is expected that the project will run for about 3 or 4 years, with final results available in 2013-14.

Recent changes in English property law

It is vital to record heritage data before it is lost for ever ...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.

Confidentiality

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

Viewing specific house histories

More information on the histories of specific houses in Kilsby can be found on the interactive maps in the Regional section of this site, by following this link (Note: the Regional section of the site requires you to be logged in as a registered user of the site - you can do this at any time, using the Login and Registration page which is accessed via the Home Page of this website).