New collections: From 600 year old deeds to the Eurovision Song Contest!

By Dan Sudron, Archivist.

At the County Record Office we are continually adding fascinating new records to our collections. In this post we are highlighting a small number of these records.

We collect, preserve and makes accessible historic and current records of significance for the study of North Yorkshire and its people and hold them in trust for the use of present and future generations.

The archives we hold date from 12th century to the present day and cover over five miles of shelving. They vary from council records, church records, records of families and estates, to records of businesses and the organisations people join in their spare time.

New records we have recently received include 600 year old deeds… 17th century court rolls… theatre playbills… as well as records of the Eurovision Song Contest.

We hope you enjoy seeing some of the new records we have received.

Studley Royal tithe map and apportionment, 1838

T/SRY Studley Royal tithe map and apportionment, 1838

Tithes were originally a tax paid to the church and clergy of one tenth of agricultural produce. Tithe apportionments and maps were created under the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act in a move to convert ‘payment in kind’ to more convenient monetary payments (called the ‘tithe rent charge’). The tithe apportionment provides the names of landowners and occupiers, land use and tithe rent charge, and the map shows the numbered plots described in the apportionment as a visual index.

Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown a team of around 25 volunteers have been transcribing hundreds of handwritten pages from the mid-19th century tithe appointments we hold covering North Yorkshire.  

This includes information on landowners, land use and the names and areas of individual fields. These records are a fantastic resource for all kinds of research into local and family history.

The maps and transcripts of the apportionments will be made available via a fully accessible and searchable website, which is currently under development.

Deposited by a private depositor in County Durham, with a series of other tithe records.

Hackness rental, 1622-1639

In July 2020, we were excited to discover that a 17th century rental for Hackness, near Scarborough, was to be sold at auction.

The rent roll lists the rents received from properties in and around Hackness for the years 1622 to 1639 and is very clearly an escape from the archive of the Derwent family of Hackness. The Derwent family archive, which has been held by the Record Office since 1946, includes a series of rentals from 1605 to 1839. This new rental partly fills a significant gap in the sequence.

The rental arrived from the auction house rolled round an oak support, but it is not obvious if this is contemporary with the manuscript. The manuscript itself consists of three membranes of parchment, measuring over two metres in length and 25 centimetres in width. The three membranes are sewn together with a distinctive yellow wool. This is an almost identical format to the earlier rental of 1605-1622 already held in the Derwent of Hackness archive.

At a previous sale in 1991, the rental was sold alongside material from North Somerset, so it is likely that it was taken by the Sydenham family of Brimpton, Somerset when they acquired the manor in 1640. It is very pleasing to be able to reunite it with the main Derwent family archive.

ZF 4/1/1a Hackness rental, 1622-1639

The rental is written in a late English secretarial hand and lists approximately 126 tenants with rents varying from 8d. to £1. 6s. 8d.

The header reads:

James More

Hackness Rente Role for ye

29th day of September 1669

The turffgraft is to be payed yearly upon Michell day

Free holders and their rents are listed as well as ‘other rentes which are not parcell of Hackness’. Columns for each year’s rent are marked with an ‘o’ to show an account has been settled.

Purchased from Bloomsbury Auctions in July 2020 for £1300, with the aid of a grant from the Friends of the National Libraries.

Plan of Lastingham churchyard surveyed by Richardson & Son, 1878

This plan shows the burial plots at St Mary’s Lastingham Parish Church and was used for the management of the churchyard.

The plan was originally stored rolled in a metal cylinder and had been affected by damp and showed signs of rust and mould. The plan was also peeling away from its linen backing. Our in-house Conservator surface cleaned the affected areas and re-backed the plan with Japanese paper to stabilise and support the paper substrate.

We also hold monumental inscriptions for St Mary’s Lastingham Parish Church, created in 1989 by B.E. Aconley, available in our searchroom.

Deposited by Lastingham Parish, North Yorkshire.

PR/LAS 5/8 Plan of Lastingham churchyard surveyed by Richardson & Son, 1878

Hensall Court Rolls, 1600-1639

These court rolls give a fascinating insight into the structure of land holdings of Hensall manor, recording land transactions and references to the old manorial strip system of farming. A valuable manorial survey is included in 1626, naming the tenants of the manor, and giving details of their lands and rents due to the Lord. 

Family relationships are revealed, heirs are named, and the status of major tenants, such as the Haram family, soon become clear. In one interesting entry in 1618, a property is to pass on death to the testator’s brother and nephew with the unusual condition that the brother administers charitable payments of 40 shillings to the poor people of Snaith, Cowick, Hensall and Whitley, for a number of years.

We are also given a rare glimpse into the daily life of the manor. Tenants are fined for offences including not ringing their pigs, not fencing their lands, uprooting woodland, using other men’s strips as rights of way and overstocking the common.

There were clearly many disputes between the Lord of the Manor and one Charles Salmon, whose offences included cutting the Lord’s woodland and digging up the dividing baulks. Charles Salmon’s lands were seized and he was forced to pay a heavy fine and to make a public apology at Court before they were returned to him.

The manuscripts consist of two rolls written in Latin: one of 16 stitched vellum membranes (on display here) and the other of 5 stitched vellum membranes.

Z.1699 Roll 1 of Hensall Court Rolls, 1600-1639

Purchased at Dominic Winter Auctions, Cirencester, June 2021 for £2000, with support of Friends of the National Libraries and Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society.

Grant of the Manor of Colburn by Henry le Scrope to his brother, Stephen, 1344

This parchment indenture, with the pendant seal of Henry le Scrope, is our oldest recent deposit at nearly 680 years old.

Z.1677 Grant of the Manor of Colburn by Henry le Scrope to his brother, Stephen, 1344

Henry Scrope was a soldier and administrator. As a knight he fought in Scotland and Brittany, until he inherited his father’s lands and received the title Lord Scrope and first Baron Scrope of Masham. He was the eldest son of Sir Geoffrey Scrope. His brothers were Geoffrey (a canon of Lincoln Cathedral), William (a soldier) and Thomas and Stephen of whom we know little. He also had two sister, Beatrice and Constance.

Deposited by a private depositor in Nottinghamshire.

Eurovision Song Contest, Harrogate, 1982

The 1982 Eurovision Song Contest was held at the newly opened Harrogate International Conference Centre following the UK’s victory in 1981. Bardo, UK’s entry in 1982, came 7th with 76 points. The winner was Nicole, Germany’s entry, with 161 points, singing “Ein bißchen Frieden” (“A Little Peace”)

DC/HR 3/2 (left) Harrogate Centre’s Eurovision Song Contest Logo and (right) Photograph of ‘Bardo’, UK’s entry, performing during the contest.

Can you remember the 1981 winner? (answer at the bottom of the page!)

The collection includes advertising media for the Conference Centre and Eurovision, correspondence about the contest between Harrogate Borough Council and the BBC, details of the best filming locations around Harrogate, photographs of the event, and a BBC programme detailing event timetables, notes on the performers, and lyrics in the language they were sung with English and French translations.

Deposited by Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire.

Records of Scarborough Hospital, 1867-2021

Scarborough Hospital was built in 1936 to replace the earlier Corporation Sanatorium. It was built at a cost of £135,000 and officially opened by H.R.H the Duke of Kent on 23 October 1936. The collection includes minutes for the running of the hospital 1867-1974, reports 1888-2010, staff records 1916-1966, patient records 1912-1987 (subject to legal restrictions on access in line with GDPR), and photographs and printed material 1900-2002.

A selection from the collection includes (left to right):

  • NHS-HOS-SC 8/2 Souvenir booklet for the opening of the Corporation Sanatorium, Scarborough, 1904.
  • NHS-HOS/SC Ceremonial scroll expressing thanks to Christopher Colborne Graham for 25 years service and becoming 1st president of the new hospital, 1936.
  • NHS-HOS-SC 8/8 ‘Scarborough Hospital’ booklet for the new Scarborough Hospital, 1936.
  • NHS-HOS-SC 9/6 Note relating to the air raid over Scarborough Hospital and incendiary devices landing on the hospital, written by W L Swinney, Special Constable, 1941.

Deposited by York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, North Yorkshire.

Scarborough Theatre Playbills, 1834

These playbills are for plays at the theatre in Scarborough on three consecutive nights in October 1834. Each evening starts with a tragedy with the same players taking the roles. The third night concludes with a musical farce ‘Bee-Hive’.

Z.1734 Scarborough Theatre Playbills: (left to right) Brutus, 7 Oct 1834; Romeo and Juliet, 8 Oct 1834 and Othello, 9 Oct 1834

Scarborough’s Theatre Royal was built in 1771 for a celebrated comedian, Thomas Bates. The building replaced an earlier theatre dating back to 1733 and gives Scarborough one of the longest theatrical traditions of any town in the England outside London. The Theatre Royal closed in 1924.

Deposited by Scarborough Library, North Yorkshire.

‘The Stokesley News and Cleveland Reporter’ (1842-1844) and ‘The Cleveland Repertory and Stokesley Advertiser’ (1843-1845)

Rival Newspapers… In November 1842 George Markham Tweddell published the first edition of his radical newspaper ‘The Stokesley News and Cleveland Reporter’. The newspaper was critical of Tory policies and members of the local propertied class tried to stop its publication due to its criticism of the Tory government.

Tweddell was apprenticed to the Stokesley printer William Braithwaite but pressure from local Tory supporters resulted in him being dismissed from his apprenticeship and no longer able to use Braithwaite’s printing press. Tweddell was, however, able to acquire access to a new press and continued to print his newspaper;

“Notwithstanding the base attempt to crush our little periodical, by the vilest and most ungenerous means, yet we again pay our monthly visit to our subscribers, to amuse and instruct, as far as our humble ability will allow”

(Issue 3, January 1843)

 N Stokesley News & Cleveland Reporter, 1842

As a consequence, a rival conservative paper ‘The Cleveland Repertory & Stokesley Advertiser’ was set up in January 1843.

Deposited by a private depositor in North Yorkshire.

We will continue to add to our collections and we look forward to sharing more stories of the records that come into the North Yorkshire County Record Office.

Further information about the records we have received can be found on our online catalogue.

And the 1981 Eurovision winner is… Bucks Fizz with Making Your Mind Up!

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