Day two of our daily updates on the historical research. This time it’s Anna’s turn…
I have only been able to participate in one of the record office visits so far, but I enjoyed the experience very much and would be more than happy to take part again when time and commitments allow.
I was surprised and delighted by the care that is taken of these old (and some ancient) documents, some of which may be deemed inconsequential, but which, I feel, are such an important part of the fabric of our past. The records I was looking at were the rental records of the Harpur Estate relating to Sheen covering a period of more than one hundred years from 1702 right through to 1806. There were only 2 properties for Sheen on the documents and both were occupied by the same families for the whole period I was looking at (albeit different generations of the same families).
The rents changed very little for either property throughout this time, and the rents appeared to always have been paid ie they were never in arrears.
The most interesting information I found was a note scribbled at the side of the rent information dated 14th November 1799 by the rent collector reporting on a note from one of the tenants – John Horobbin. John Horobbin had been approached by a neighbour – a Mr Bateman – to request an exchange of land with Sir Henry Harpur seemingly to make more sense of the field layouts between neighbours which would include land of both of the tenants. There is detail of field names and approximate acreage. It was deemed that these exchanges ‘might be made without inconvenience on equal terms’. Unfortunately, there is no information about the outcome of this suggestion.
There was one other thing that was fascinating but unfortunately did not relate to Sheen! It was the original letter from a tenant addressed to The Landlord requesting help sorting out the tenancy of a property that had become central to a family dispute. The writing was absolutely beautiful and the grammar perfect. It was a long and sorry tale of woe but written very respectfully. Again, no note of the outcome!!