Bedfordshire land records go online
Thousands of historic land ownership records in Bedfordshire are now available to search in two new collections on ancestry.co.uk.
The first collection comprises 534,240 records and 22,616 digitised images of land tax records from 1797 to 1832. Land tax was levied year-by-year on all land held by landowners with an annual value of more than 20 shillings.
The records consist of assessments and returns and show both the owners and occupiers of real estate in each parish in the county of Bedfordshire.
The tax on personal estate and public offices and land was introduced by Parliament in 1692 to raise money for the war against France. The land tax records give details for each parish of annual rentals, names of proprietors, names of occupiers, the sum assessed and, from about 1825, brief descriptions of the property.
Quarter sessions held the land tax records until 1832, when electoral registration was introduced. Records after that date are found in the archives of firms of solicitors who acted as land tax commissioners.
The second collection includes 493,971 records and 52,463 images of valuation records from 1838 to 1929. The volumes name the proprietor or tenant, describe or name the property and give an annual rental value and sometimes an acreage.
Ancestry has also added 118,272 records and 19,111 images from the Bedfordshire petty sessions of 18541915. Petty sessions were the lowest tier in the court system and usually involved cases such as drunkenness or minor theft.
Bedford High Street is one of the locations found in the new collections on Ancestry