We offer a comprehensive and professional house history research service for properties in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and the West Midlands. We investigate many types of property including cottages, houses, farms, pubs, hotels, restaurants, schools, mills, vicarages and rectories – in fact buildings of all types, shapes and sizes. Our aim is to provide you with an expert service tailored to your particular requirements. Our house history service uses primarily documentary evidence to determine a building’s history, together with information from its architectural design, features, layout, building materials and location. We also work with specialist architectural historians if particular expertise or a detailed building report is required.
What can you find out?
Every building is different and what we can find out depends on what information existed in the first place, how and where it was recorded, what has survived and is available, and how much time is spent searching for it. We consult a wide range of sources and use different research techniques to discover as much of the available material as we can. We try to find out:
- When your house was built (the approximate period if the exact year cannot be determined) and by whom.
- Who used to own your house, what other property they owned and whether it was part of a large estate.
- How much land the property used to have, where it was and how it was used.
- Who used to live in your house, what they did and information about their families.
- How the property has been used throughout its history.
- Any former names the building may have had, when the name change(s) occurred, and possible reasons why.
- The impact of local developments on your property such as roads, railways and canals, and other contextual information.
- And of course any interesting facts or stories associated with your house.
We also look for images relating to your property such as old photographs, postcards, drawings, plans, maps, and sketches. We analyse and interpret all the information we find about your property and write an interesting narrative account of your property’s history. Choose from our range of house history products.
Some of our discoveries
Triple trouble: We uncovered an intriguing tale of debt and encumbered estates through five generations that culminated in bankruptcy, a family feud, and a lawsuit that eventually forced the owners to sell a 17th century Worcestershire house. Our architectural investigation revealed four different porch designs in the space of a hundred years.
A plea from a broken heart: An 18th century Shropshire farm was the home of a family influential in lead mining who were the first in the area to introduce steam pumps to drain water from the mines. A collection of letters written from the house revealed the rise and fall of the family and included a request to the local wine merchant written one night in which the owner begged for a quart of best rum to help mend his ‘almost broken heart’.
Social climbers: A large house we researched in west Herefordshire was home to a founder member of the Alpine Club, an eminent botanist who worked at the National Botanical Gardens at Kew, and a housekeeper who warned against offending the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
The house that moved: A Worcestershire farmhouse stands today in open ground among magnificent trees where it was depicted on the 1883 Ordnance Survey map. However a tithe map drawn in 1838 revealed its original location among the farm buildings. The farm was home to conscientious objectors working on a food production scheme during WWII.
A royal roasting: In December 1722 a Jacobean house built as a country retreat for a wealthy Chester lawyer was the scene of a double marriage and an enduring tradition. John Werden’s two daughters married two sons of the 1st Duke of St Albans (the son of King Charles I and Nell Gwynne) and the event was celebrated by roasting an ox in the garden – a winter feast that was repeated for many years.
A tale of two Roberts and Ranto: We found two candidates for the identity of ‘RC’ carved on the datestone of a 16th century Suffolk farmhouse, and it was the will of yeoman farmer Robert Cullington that helped us to trace the farm’s ownership back to 1562. An 1820 owner’s plea for the return of his lost dog Ranto added a poignant touch. Why not contact us for a no-obligation discussion about how we can help you discover the history of your house.