Past Events

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6 Dec. Winter talk 3 & AGM – ‘Properties and people in Tatham, c. 1850-1920’

A well attended and customarily brief AGM was followed by a talk by John Wilson and Mike Winstanley on what can be discovered about the owners and occupiers of properties from the 18th century to the 1920s.

Information from 1781 to 1832, drawn from Land Tax records, had already been summarised by Mike Kelly for the website back in 2012, and the tithe map records have added a further snapshot for 1848.

More recently, members have transcribed a sample of the Rate Books, which are cared for by Tatham Parish Council. There is an isolated book for 1856, and a more complete set from 1876 to 1923, during which period they were compiled twice-yearly. They are a record of owners, occupiers, and their financial liabilities for payment of Rates, based on the rateable value of the property. Mike showed how it’s possible to use the data to analyse, for example, how often ownership and tenants changed, the proportion of owner-occupiers, and trends in land values.

Following the talk, members enjoyed, with their refreshments, an opportunity to view an exhibition by Peter Osborne of prints of his watercolours of out-barns in Tatham and Botton. Earlier in the year, Peter had spent many hours walking the local footpaths to visit thirty of them, for the purpose of recording their existence before they disappear from the landscape, no longer needed nor maintained. Peter’s watercolours are available to view on our website; click here to see them.

July 2019: “Summer” field-trip: Mearbeck to Barley Bank

Two days after Britain’s hottest-ever July day, twenty-one members braved weather of a different sort to join our leaders John, Edward and Mike, just over the border in Yorkshire. Huddled under a gazebo, or umbrellas, we heard about Mearbeck (“boundary stream”) Farm’s history as an isolated Yorkshire outpost accessed from Lancashire; in 1851 the Yorkshire census enumerator appears to have forgotten it was there, as it is missing from the list, despite almost certainly having been occupied at the time.

All too soon the intro was over, and we swapped the shelter for the deluge, crossed back into Lancashire, and headed for Carr Field. This was originally, and unusually, a small farm created as part of a government initiative to help young farmers at the start of their careers; its other distinction is having had the first telephone (Bentham 42) in Higher Tatham, connected in 1937. At the bottom of Thwaite Lane we stopped at Fairheath Head, where we touched the course of the Roman Road from Ribchester to Burrow, and learned that, though it had definitely been in the past the highest point of a heath, nothing is known about any fair. As the rain intensified, we decided that it was also unlikely to refer to its benevolent micro-climate, and carried on to the next mystery, Lower Stockbridge, whose name may be nothing to do with livestock, and if there was a bridge, nobody is sure where it was. Stockbridge was a vaccary – a cow-farm created in Norman times, from scratch, out of wild moorland. Along High Road we paused at Higher Stockbridge before arriving at Barley Bank, Higher Tatham’s grandest farmhouse, with four hearths at the time of the 16th-century Hearth Tax. Unsurprisingly (we were beginning to detect a pattern) its name has nothing to do with cereals, though the real explanation is a matter for speculation.

A field path took us through pasture and meadow to Maiden Bridge, whose name deserves a romantic legend, though none is known. Its enormous barn, which dwarfs the original farmhouse, may date from a time when the holding was farmed by a corn dealer. Another path led us though Fleet Green – where the architecture suggests that the now-converted barn pre-dates the attached ex-farmhouse – and across fields, and the boundary beck, back to a very welcome (and we thought, richly deserved) cup of tea, with delicious cakes. Our thanks to Sue and Mick for their hospitality; to John, Lucy, Peter and Mary for their help with the catering; to our indomitable leaders; and to all who turned up!

Images: point for captions; click to enlarge and click-through

May 2019: House Histories: case studies and a guide to research sources, with display and talks

Around 25 members and visitors attended this afternoon event in St. James the Less Church. On display were a number of existing Tatham house histories, with photos, together with examples of the types of source materials available to those wanting to research the histories of their own houses. There were also a number of short talks on specific houses, with explanations of the methods that had been used.

Click here for an article on house history research in Tatham, with details of possible sources, and web links.

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