Overview of sources for buildings with other uses

Information about buildings that are now homes, but were previously used for another purpose, may be found amongst a variety of records within our collections. Such former uses include:

Left to right: Farmers’ Arms Inn, Scruton [ZZF 3-10-18]; Anchor Inn, Lower Dunsforth, c.19290 [EF 467], Mr Stubbs, publican of Grassington [BU04820A].

Inns, alehouses and public houses

If a building was formerly an inn or public house, our North Riding Petty Sessions records [PS] include Registers of Inn Licences which are arranged by wapentake. Coverage and dates vary by area, but they are generally from the late 19th to early 20th century. These records include the names of licenced premises and their landlords/ladies and owners, if these are different.

Alehouse recognizances may be found in our North Riding Quarter Sessions records [QSB]; many of these are listed in our online catalogue. They may also survive within parish church records as applications for licences to sell liquor were also notified to the Overseers of the Poor.

Alehouses or beerhouses were private homes where the licensee, who was often a widow, brewed and served beer for consumption on or off the premises.

  • Left: Notice of the intention of a licenced victualler to apply at the Petty Sessions for permission to transfer the license to Thomas Holiday, by Jane Hall of the Black Bull, Thirsk, 3 April 1843 [PR/TH 6/10/17]
  • Right: Page 1 of the Register of Innkeeper’s Licenses granted in Bulmer West Division by the North Riding Petty Sessions, 28 August 1901 recording the name, location & owner of the premises & the holder of the license [PS/BW 5/5]

Churches and chapels

Information about Anglican churches, rectory and vicarage houses may be found in our various parish record collections [PR]. There are details of these parish record collections in our online catalogue. NYCRO Guide no. 2 contains an alphabetical list of all the parish registers we hold, and a guide to the location of parish registers throughout North Yorkshire can be found in NYCRO Guide no.5. We also hold a limited number of records relating to non-conformist chapels and meeting houses [RM & RI], which are listed in NYCRO Guide no. 7. We may have historic images of church and chapel buildings amongst our photographic holdings. You might also find information about Church of England churches in the online Church Heritage Record, which contains over 16,000 entries on church buildings in England.

  • Left: The chapel at Follifoot c.1900, now a private dwelling [LS16-50]
  • Right: Primitive Methodist chapel in St Sepulchre Street, Scarborough, rebuilt in 1865 & demolished in 1966 [SC042490]


Our collections include records accumulated by individual schools [S]. These may include school building grant plans, dating mainly from the 1860s and 1870s. School record collections may also contain log books and admission registers, although these are unlikely to provide much, if any, information about the school building itself. You can read more in our blog about education records.

Material relating to schools and school buildings is occasionally to be found in parish record and other collections, such as the examples below of the historic photograph and maps of the estate of Burnt Yates School, Clint, which was built and endowed in 1760 by Rear Admiral Robert Long. The school building is listed Grade II.

  • Left to right: Photograph of Burnt Yates School by Bertram Unné [BU04079A]
  • Centre: Plan of the estate belonging to Burnt Yates School in Clint in the parish of Ripley and Winsley in the parish of Kirby Malzeard in the county of York, made in 1807 by Jonathan Teal [ZLI]
  • Right: A plan of the Burnt Yates School Estate in Clint and Winsley, surveyed by W Crockett, 1855 [ZLI]


Information about workhouses may be found amongst the records of Boards of Guardians [BG], details of which can be searched in our online catalogue. Survival of these records varies by area.

Under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, groups of parishes were amalgamated into ‘unions’ to provide for the relief of the poor, which were administered by elected Boards of Guardians. Outdoor relief was almost entirely abolished and those unable to support themselves were taken into workhouses. You can find out more about the history of the workhouse on the Workhouses website (from the home page, click the left hand side link to workhouse locations/English Poor Law Unions and then select one of the three Yorkshire ridings to find details of workhouses within that area of Yorkshire).

  • Top Left: Sketch of Northallerton workhouse, 1855 [ED 14]
  • Bottom left: Old photograph of the King’s Head, Kettlewell, which dates back to the 17th century when it is believed to have been a mill & later a workhouse [BU08585]
  • Right: Plan of Union workhouse, Richmond, Yorkshire, 1874 [BG/RM]

Farm buildings

A number of our estate collections contain records relating to farmsteads, occasionally including plans and elevation drawings. Historic estate sales particulars and auction catalogues may include details and photographs of farms. Estate surveys and rentals often include names of tenants, as well as information about the fields associated with farms and their field-names, acreages and rental values. Likewise, tithe maps and apportionments, enclosure awards and maps, and other estate plans may also record such information.

  • Left: Historic farm building at Fell Beck near Pateley Bridge, with datestone of 1685 [BU04125A]
  • Top right: Elevation drawings of proposed farm buildings at Crakehall, by James Flint architect, Richmond, October 1842 [ZAW 244]
  • Bottom right: Proposed plan for new farm building at Mr Sigsworth’s, The Mill, Harome for the Honourable The Earl of Feversham, undated [ZEW iii]

Railway buildings

If your home is a former railway building, there is potential for information to be found using our railway-related holdings [QDP(M)]. Details of this collection may be found in our NYCRO Guide no.8: List of Plans of Railway Lines & Buildings. The list of railway lines is indexed by place and by line at the back of the volume. The second section lists plans of railway buildings and is arranged in alphabetical order of civil parish. It includes plans of stations, station master’s houses, warehouses, gatehouses, engine sheds etc. This collection can also provide information about owners and occupiers of the lands crossed by the line.

Plans of undertakings that required authorisation by Act of Parliament (e.g. railways, canals, turnpike roads, docks, harbours & piers, gas & water works) were to be deposited and made available for public inspection at the time of the Parliamentary Bill needed to authorise the undertaking. The deposited plans we hold relate only to lines wholly or partially in the North Riding. Deposited plans for the former West Riding are held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield and those for the former East Riding at the East Riding Archives in Beverley.

Plans, elevation & section for Station Master’s House at Cowton, 1894 [NG/RY]