Tag Archives: registers

Looking at Petty Session licence registers

12 Jul

As I mentioned the Uckfield Petty Sessional Division licence registers last week I thought it might be worth explaining a bit more about them and what sort of information you might expect to find in them.

Why were they created?

These particular registers were introduced as a result of The Licensing Act of 1872, the full text of which is available on the Office of Public Sector Information website. Section 36 of the Act details the requirements for keeping the registers:

There shall be kept in every licensing district by the clerk of the licensing justices of that district a register, to be called the register of licenses, in such form as may be prescribed by such justices, containing the particulars of all licenses granted in the district … 

What was recorded in them?

Section 36 of The Licensing Act of 1872 also describes what should be recorded in the register:

… the premises in respect of which they were granted, the names of the owners of such premises, and the names of the holders for the time being of such licenses. There shall also be entered on the register all forfeitures of licenses, disqualifications of premises, records of convictions, and other matters relating to the licenses on the register.

The first of the registers that I looked at (ESRO PTS 5/4/1 1872-77) contained the following column headings, although not all columns were used.

  1. Date
  2. Particulars of Licence
  3. Name and Situation of Property
  4. Annual Value of Premises
  5. Name and Address of Owner of Premises
  6. Name of Holder of Licence
  7. Transferee, New Tenant, or Occupier
  8. Date of Transfer
  9. Forfeitures of Licences
  10. Disqualifications of Premises
  11. Record of Convictions

Subsequent registers followed much the same format until after The Licensing Act of 1904, which introduced financial compensation for licences that were not renewed for reasons other than cases of misconduct.

This lead to further columns being added to the registers under the overall heading of Reference to Compensation Authority.

  1. Whether upon Application for Renewal or Transfer
  2. Date of Reference
  3. Decision of Compensation Authority
  4. Date of Extinction of Licence

Where can I find them?

The definitive guide to finding registers of licenses is Victuallers’ Licences – Records for Family and Local Historians by Jeremy Gibson and Judith Hunter. Originally published by the Federation of Family History Societies in 1994, it is now in it’s third edition.

This book is divided into two sections, the first part describes the different types of licensing records that have been created, and the second section is a listing of the records that have survived for each county and where they can be found (usually the county record office).

More HEMSLEY pub connections

8 Jul

Anyone who has spent any time looking into the lives of licensed victuallers will know that it is not unusual to find multiple connections with pubs within the family tree. The HEMSLEY family of Framfield, Sussex seem to have been no exception.

I was looking at Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) and his connection with the Gun Inn at Framfield, Sussex, and in the process have come across another family connection, or actually several other family connections with Framfield public houses.

It appears that Henry’s son John was also a licensee, firstly of Crown Inn at Blackboys and then of the Barley Mow at Mount Ephraim. Sadly it looks like neither of these pubs are actually functioning as pubs, but it does look like the buildings are still there.

The Uckfield Petty Sessional Division registers of licenses (held at the East Sussex Record Office) reveal that John HEMSLEY took over the license for The Crown on the 14th September 1876, and on the 21st October 1880 it was transferred to Alfred SEAMER, although there is no indication why.

In the 1881 census John is back at the Gun Inn, working as an agricultural labourer. On the 11th September 1890 he took over from Emma MARCHANT as licensee of the Barley Mow. According to the license registers the license was transferred to Henry HEMSLEY (probably his father Henry) on the 14th April 1898.

In this case the likely reason for the transfer is more obvious. John HEMSLEY died on the 3rd March 1898, aged 38 years. It is quite possible that Henry was acting as executor for his son, although John did also leave behind a widow (who later remarried).

On the 21st July 1898 the license was transferred from Henry to Reuben STEVENS. Reuben was Henry’s son in law, having married Henry’s daughter Edith in 1893. Reuben’s time at the Barley Mow was quite brief because the license was transferred to William HOAD on the 13th April 1899.

After Henry’s own death in 1914 the license for the Gun Inn was transferred to his son Joseph, although is seems to have taken a few years for the register to be updated to reflect this.

It all seems to be getting quite complex, and I feel that there really needs to be a better way of showing all these pub connections and the locations of the pubs themselves. On top of that there is also further work that could be done within local newspapers, trying to find reasons for the transfers of licenses.

Ancestry.co.uk extend their London Parish Records Collection to include Non-Conformist Records

26 May

Ancestry.co.uk have today extended their London Parish Records Collection with the addition of approximately 224,000 names of non-conformists worshippers from the collections of the London Metropolitan Archives.

The London Non-Conformist Registers collection includes baptism, marriage and burial registers from a large number of churches of various denominations, and dating from 1694 to 1921. Obviously not every church will have records covering the entire date range, so always check that the period you are interested in is covered.

So if your ancestors were Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Unitarians and they lived in the capital, then there is a good chance you will find their records here. In some cases this might be the only record, or in some cases you might be able to avoid the cost of a marriage certificate by finding the marriage entry in the register.

Personally although I have a few non-conformists in my tree, it doesn’t look like any of them made their way to London and it doesn’t look like any of my London ancestors were non-conformists either. Never mind, you can’t win them all. I hope you have better luck than me.

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