Women and Property in North Riding of Yorkshire

WhereGreat Broughton Village HallType of EventTalk
WhenMonday 9th March at 7.30 pmTutorDr Joan Heggie 

Dr Heggie, a Research Fellow at Teesside University, started her talk by saying that her research was focused on women’s involvement with land and property over their lifetime.

In 1735, due to the mass laundering of money, Parliament decided that all land and property transactions should be recorded, so that ownership could be established and proved.  Dr Heggie explained how lucky we were to have the Register of Deeds from 1736 to 1970 for the North Riding of Yorkshire, as there were only four areas of the country – the three Ridings and Middlesex- who had complied with Parliament.

Dr Heggie focused on two periods 1784-1790 and 1884-1889, one period before and one after the Marriage Acts. The two periods were searched in the Register of Deeds for any transactions involving women, and these were then further investigated for those which involved women only. There were 151 types of transactions, e g mortgages, wills, conveyances. She further looked at the various places that women owned property, comparing places such as Whitby, where women were involved with 17.8% of transactions, compared   with Middlesbrough where they were only involved with 9.9%. She speculated that the higher figure in Whitby was probably due to the number of women owning accommodation for visitors.

Her intention is to reconstruct some of the women’s lives, using the census, wills, newspapers etc. and she showed us the fascinating stories behind two of the women she has already managed to investigate.

It was a very interesting evening and whetted everybody’s appetite – when she has done more research we shall bring her back to hear more about the lives of these female property owners.

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