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GENUKI England Genuki contents Information for all Westmorland Westmorland Parishes


Since 1974 Westmorland has been incorporated into the present-day county of Cumbria together with Cumberland, the Furness part of Lancashire and a small part of the former West Riding of Yorkshire around Sedbergh.

The name lives on in Appleby-in-Westmorland its former county town. An alternative spelling of Westmoreland was sometimes used in C18-19th.

map of England & Wales showing location of Westmorland Old undated map by Mackenzie, scanned by Sara Reveley. Click to download full file.
Barclay's Complete  
and Universal  English Dictionary
Westmorland, county in N. of England; bounded NW. and N. by Cumberland, NE. by Durham, E. by Yorkshire, and S. and SW. by Lancashire and Morecambe Bay; greatest length, N. and S., 32 miles;. greatest breadth, E. and W., 40 miles; area, 500,906 acres, population 64,191.
Westmorland presents continuous succession of mountain, moor, and fell, intersected by deep winding vales, traversed by numerous streams. The principal of these are the Eden, Lowther, Lune, and Kent, the last forming the broad estuary which terminates in Morecambe Bay. The mountains consist of various ridges belonging to the Pennine and Cumbrian chains. Helvellyn, on the Cumberland border, rises to a height of 3115 ft. The western part of the county is within the Lake District, and contains Hawes Water, Grasmere, Rydal Water, and Ullswater on the Cumberland border, and Windermere on the Lancashire border. The climate is moist.
The arable land is mostly confined to the valleys, where the soil usually consists of a dry gravelly loam, well adapted for turnips, but the greater part of the county is natural pasture. A few tracts of woodland remain of the forests which formerly clothed all the hills. The mineral productions include graphite, marble, roofing slate, and some coal, lead, and copper. The only manufactures of any consequence are the coarse woollens of Kendal. The county has good communications by railway."

WESTMORLAND PARISHESLocal information is organised within Genuki by parishes as they existed in the C19th (according to the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers 2nd ed., Chichester, Phillimore (1995). In addition a separate page exists for Appleby the county town.

The list of Westmorland Parishes is on a separate page. Link directly to the first letter of the parish name: ABCDFGHKLMNOPRSTUW .


Archives and Libraries

Westmorland is served by the Cumbria Archive Service and the principal office relevant for the county is:

Kendal Record Office, County Offices, Strickland Gate, KENDAL, Cumbria LA9 4RQ
Telephone:  +44 (0) 1539 773540  E-mail:

There is an ARCHON directory Kendal RO detailing some of their holdings

However there will also be some useful material at other record offices, especially Probate Records which will be found at Carlisle (e-mail), Preston, York and London. Other relevant material might be found at Barrow (e-mail).

The Cumbria Archives catalogue is available online.
The A2A site has extracts from catalogues of record offices. There are also searchable resources on the National Archives site.

These include Westmorland Quarter Session records at Kendal. Individual names are indexed.

The most useful library for genealogical material in Westmorland is Kendal Library.
The Society of Genealogists Library in London also has much useful material.

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The essential book for family historians is Cumbrian Ancestors published by and available from Cumbria Archive Service.

Also Cumberland and Westmorland: a genealogical bibliography. Stuart Raymond. 1993. Published Federation of Family History Societies. ISBN 1 872094 56 2

Westmorland books can be searched in the catalogue of the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Much useful information can be found in Cumbria FHS Publications including many transcriptions for the 1851 census. There is an index to Newsletters

The Cumberland and Westmorland Archaeological and Antiquarian Society (CWAAS) has listing of its publications and the contents (1997-) for its invaluable transactions. These latter are held by several public libraries within Cumbria and elswhere.

Other sources of publications and bookships are listed on Les Strong's EdenLinks

The following books (record transcriptions) have been digitised on British History Online;

  • The Later Records relating to North Westmorland or the Barony of Appleby by J Curwin 1932
    and has a wealth of information for North Westmorland parishes

  • Records relating to the Barony of Kendale
    • Volume 1 William Farrer & John F. Curwen (editors) (1923)  CWAAS. Record Series, 4.
      (20 townships of the parish of Kendal)
    • Volume 2 William Farrer & John F. Curwen (editors) (1924). CWAAS Record Series, 5.
      (33 townships in the parishes of Grasmere, Windermere, Heversham, Beetham, Burton and Kirby Lonsdale.)
    • Volume 3 John F. Curwen (editor) (1926) CWAAS  Record Series, 6.
      (the barony of Kendale, plus records for individual townships supplementary to volumes 1 and 2.)

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The worthies of Westmorland or, Notable persons born in that county since the reformation.
by George Atkinson. Published in 1849, J. Robinson (London) is available as full-text on Internet Archive

Worthies of Cumberland and Westmorland on Steve Bulman's site

Cumberland and Westmorland M.P.'s from the Restoration to the Reform Bill of 1867, 1660-1867.
by Richard Saul Ferguson Published in 1871, Bell 2nd Daldy (London) available full-text on OpenLibrary

Lords & Earls of Westmorland; Gentlemen of Note from Magna Britannica et Hibernia.Volume 6: Westmorland by Thomas Cox printed in 1731.

Earls of Westmorland Wikipedia

The ejected of 1662 in Cumberland and Westmorland their predecessors and successors.
by Nightingale, B. Published in 1911, Univ. Press (Manchester) is available on Open Library

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Cemeteries (and Monumental Inscriptions)

MIs for certain churchyards have been published in: Monumental Inscriptions of Westmorland by E. Bellasis 1888-89
It is a 2 volume set and a copy is availablefor example  in Kendal Library.
Some parishes are transcribed and searchable on Westmorland Papers. The transcripts for the other parishes are available on this site from the respective parish pages.

An index of Monumental Brasses in the county is available

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Returns for the national censuses of 1841 to 1901 are available on microfilm from the usual places, including Kendal Library.
They are searchable online at e.g. by subscribers. The 1901 census is available for a fee online on the PRO website

The summary of census results for 2001 (38 pages) is available on the Online Historical Population  Reports site

The database of places on the 1891 census will aid locating the appropriate film.

The British 1881 census is searchable on the LDS familysearch site, and is also available on computer and microfiche at Mormon Family History Centres and other libraries, and also available for purchase on CD-ROM.

Much of the 1851 census has been transcribed by Cumbria FHS and booklets can be purchased. Names appearing in these transcripts are available in a name index from Roland Grigg.. There is also 'North Westmorland - An Index to the 1851 Census' compiled by David Lowis and Barbara Slack. This indexes heads of households. For places on the 1851 census see the place index by Roland Grigg.

There was also a 'census' of 1787 (also known as the Constables' Census) the surviving returnsof which are held at the Kendal Record Office of Cumbria Archives Service. The Record Office reference is WQ/SP/C. They are transcribed in Vital Statistics published by Curwen Archives Trust 1992. ISBN 1897590008.They contain names of all householders, their families and tenants, and their occupations. There is an index to the 1787 census on Edenlinks.

There are also lists of inhabitants of Westmorland parishes 1695. These survive only for part of the Borough of Kendal and for Lonsdale Ward. They contain the names of householders, their families and servants and their occupations. They are held at Kendal RO and their reference is WD/Ry Box 32. A card index is available.

Though not actually a census, there are also Protestation Oath records for 1641 which record the males over 18 who swore an oath of allegiance (and those who didn't). These returns have survived for the East and West wards and a transcript has been published.

The earliest "census" was the Domesday Book which covered parts of Westmorland.

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Church History

Ecclesiastical History etc from Magna Britannica et Hibernia.Volume 6: Westmorland by Thomas Cox printed in 1731.

There are some fine churches in Westmorland with work dating from Saxon and Norman times to the present century.
Many pictures are now available on this site and also on the Edenlinks site, on Steve Bulman's Images of Cumbria and churches sites,
and included in Visit Cumbria's Churches of Cumbria

County Churches: Cumberland and Westmorland by J. Charles Cox
Published in 1913, G. Allen & company, ltd. (London)

For brief descriptions see under the parish concerned, but for detailed descriptions see:

Salter M. The Old Parish Churches of Cumbria. Folly Publications. 1998. ISBN 1871371356

Pevsner N. The Buildings of Cumberland and Westmorland. 1967.

Actual church plans are available online.

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Church Records (and Parish Registers)

Parish Registers will usually be in the Kendal Record Office, as will the Bishop's Transcripts. There should also be copies at the Carlisle Office. Microfilm versions should also be available through LDS Family History Centres.

Use the normal sources for indexes and obtaining microfilms. In particular the International Genealogical Index (IGI) is available on the Mormon LDS Church Familysearch site, and Westmorland parishes are searchable via Hugh Wallis' interface. A list of IGI batch numbers is also made available by 'Jake' Prescott.

There are also published Printed Parish Registers available at the Society of Genealogists. Some of these are available at other major UK libraries.
The registers for 4 Westmorland parishes are included in a parish register index by Roland Grigg (Internet Archive).
Some are available on the Edenlinks site.

Diocese of Carlisle Marriage License/Bonds are at Carlisle RO and have been published by Cumbria FHS/Cumbria Archive service in 6 volumes:
    1 (1668-1739),   2: 1740-1752,   3: 1753-1762,   4: 1763-1774,   5: 1775-1788,  6: 1789-1800

Older church records include Westmorland Protestation Returns 1641-2 which record the males over 18 who swore an oath of allegiance (and those who didn't). These returns have survived for the East and West wards and a transcript has been published by M A Faraday.

There are not many Roman Catholic records for Westmorland.
The county was in Hexham Diocese in 1860 and had only 2 chapels: Kendal and Dodding Green (records in Kendal record Office for 1762-1941).
The best source of details of 'early' RC records is Michael Gandy, "Catholic Missions and Registers 1700-1880" vol. 5 North West England 2nd Ed. 1998 (ISBN 0 9528879 2 4).

A list of Papists of Kendale 1650 is transcribed on EdenLinks.

Noin-conformist registers are usually deposited at the PRO in London. Microfilm copies for many are available in the Kendal Record Office.

Details of Society of Friends are given on the Quaker FHS Site

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Civil Registration

General details on registration of births, marriages and deaths and their indexes are provided on the GENUKI England site.

Brett Langston has provided details of Westmorland Registration Districts 1837-1930.

Certificates of birth, death and marriage can be obtained from the Superintendent Registrar at Kendal District Register Office.
[Ordering guidelines are given on the Genuki Register Offices webpage]

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Description and Travel

This county was divided into two grand divisions called the Barony of Westmorland and the Barony of Kendal. The former was divided into two wards called East Ward and West Ward, and the latter comprised the Kendal and Lonsdale Wards, forming the south-west part of the county. Transcriptions of descriptions from Parsons & White 1829 are given on Edenlinks.

Magna Britannica et Hibernia.Volume 6: Westmorland by Thomas Cox printed in 1731 includes topography and natural history.

Description of the county of Westmoreland by Fleming, Daniel Sir   Read Online D. Quaritch; [etc., etc.], 1882 available on OpenLibrary

Westmorland. by Marr, John Edward (1909), University Press (Cambridge county geography series) is available in full-text from Open Library

The place-names of Cumberland and Westmorland. by Sedgefield, Walter John
Published in 1915, University Press (Manchester) is availables as full-text from Open Library

Historical Guides to the Lakes are available on a site maintained by the Geography Department, Portsmouth University.

Black's Guide to the English Lakes of Cumberland and Westmorland by Blacks, Edinburgh  is available in Open Library

Legends of Westmorland and the Lake district. Published in 1874, Hamilton, Adams, and Co.; [etc., etc.] (London) is available in Open Library
Old photos of Westmorland are available on the Francis Frith site

Westmorland is now part of Cumbria and is best-known for including part of the beautiful Lake District National Park.
It contains the largest lake - Windermere - and second highest mountain - Helvelleyn - in England.
Many present day photographs are available on Visit Cumbria.

Links to Westmorland, Lake District and Cumbria sites are provided.

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A number of printed directories exist covering or including the county. There is a collection in Kendal Public Library covering 1829-1938.

The Leicester University project has facsimiles of a number of directories for the county.
These include:

    • Pigot & Co.'s Directory, 1828-29. [includes Westmorland]
    • White's History, Directory & Gazetteer of Cumberland & Westmorland, 1829
    • Post Office Directory of Westmorland, 1858
    • Post Office Directory of Cumberland & Westmorland, 1873
    • History, Topography & Directory of Westmorland, 1885
    • Kelly's Directory of Westmorland, 1894  
    • Kelly's Directory of Westmorland, 1897  
    • Kelly's Directory of Westmorland, 1906
    • Kelly's Directory of Westmorland, 1910
    • Kelly's Directory of Cumberland & Westmorland, 1914

Parson & White's Directory for 1829 is indexed as Principal Inhabitants of Cumberland and Westmorland with Furness 1829, R. Grigg, Ed., Beewood Coldell, 1988. ISBN: 1871418003 and still available on web archive: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | KL | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T to V | W to Z

The details for all parishes from this directory are transcribed on Edenlinks site.

Harriet Martineau's Directory of the Lake District 1855 is transcribed by Roland Grigg (available through the Wayback Machine Internet Arvhive):
A to C | D to H | I to R | S to Z

These and several other Cumbrian directories have been combined on Roland Grigg's website (Internet Archive): .

Westmorland is included in Pigot's Trade Directory 1830 searchable database.

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Use the national church database to identify a particular place in Westmorland (or to identify other places within a certain distance.

Or search place index for Westmorland (in 1891 census).

The index includes "Registration District", "Registration Sub-district", "Place", "PRO Piece Number" and "LDS Film Number". Enter the place-name in the text-box and press the "Search" Button.

For places on the 1851 census see the place index by Roland Grigg.

Old Cumbria Gazetteer Portsmouth Univ, Geography Dept.

History and Gazetteer from Magna Britannica et Hibernia.Volume 6: Westmorland by Thomas Cox printed in 1731.

Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 compiled at the Centre for Metropolitan History

The Ordnance Survey site is useful for identifying and locating places. There is also a useful map site [for the whole of the UK] with a placename search facility for locating places

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Pedigrees recorded at the heralds' visitations of the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland
made by Richard St. George, Norry, king of arms in 1615, and by William Dugdale, Norry, king of arms in 1666.
by Saint-George, Richard Sir Published in 1891, C. Thurman and sons (Carlisle) available in OpenLibrary

Papers and pedigrees mainly relating to Cumberland and Westmorland.
by William Jackson Published in 1892, Bemrose & sons, etc.] (London, is available full-text on Internet Archive

A mail-list for Westmorland genealogy is hosted and archived by Rootsweb

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Magna Britannica et Hibernia.
Volume 6: Westmorland

by Thomas Cox
45 pages, printed in 1731.
Transcription by  S Reveley,  J Fisher and L Schoenwald. (Rootsweb Westmorland Listmembers)  (c)  2003
 "Westmorland is an inland County, no where touching on the Sea, but bordering on the East on Part of Yorkshire and the Bishoprick of Durham, on the South on Lancashire, and on the West and North on Cumberland: It extendeth thirty Miles in Length, but is not much above twenty-four Miles in Breadth, which making it 120 Miles in Compass, it contains in it thirty-two large Parishes, in which are a great Number of Chapels of Ease, eight Marker-Towns, Six thousand five hundred and one Houses, Five hundred and ten thousand Acres of Land, which is divided into two large Baronies, viz. the Barony of Westmorland, which is a large Champian Country, and the Barony of Kendale, which is full of Mountains, or as they are called by the Inhabitants, Fells. These two Parts belong to two Dioceses, viz. the former Carlisle, and the latter to Chester.

This County was Part of the large Country of the Brigantes, of whom we having given a large Account in Cumberland, we shall supersede any Description of them here, as we shall also of the Northumbrian Kingdom established by the Saxons, of which this Shire was a Part, because we have also set down the Succession of the Kings thereof in Northumberland, to which we thought it most properly to belong, because from that County it took its Name, and thither also we refer our Reader.

 How the Conqueror, after England became perfectly subject to him, dealt with this little County, our Historians are altogether silent. 'Tis probable, it was so remote from his Eye, that he little regarded it; and though his great Commanders were greedy to heap to themselves great Inheritances from the Saxons Spoils; yet this being an hilly barren Country, we do not find it disposed of to any, till the Reign of King John, who rewarded the great Services of Robert de Vipont, who had been with him at the memorable Battle of Mirabel, in which the French and Poictovins received so terrible an Overthrow; with a Grant of the Castles of Appleby and Burgh, and the whole Bailiwick of Westmorland, to hold during the King's Pleasure. This Robert still continuing in the King's Wars, had the next ensuing Year another Grant for his better Support of the Premisses, together with the Services of all those that held not by military Services, to hold to him and his Heirs, by the Wife that he then had, by the Service of four Knights Fees for all Service; provided, that he should not commit Waste in the Woods of Winesell, nor hunt in them during the King's Life, except he were there himself in Person, and saving to the King and his Heirs, all Pleas of the Crown.

In the two Baronies of Westmorland and Kendal before-mentioned, we find no Hundreds, but only Wards, Deaneries, Parishes, and Constablewicks; all which but the Deaneries, not being distinctly known to us, we are obliged to treat of the Towns in an Alphabetical Order, putting the Market-Towns in capital Letters for the more easy finding them. The Reason given by our Antiquaries, why this County was not divided into Hundreds, Rapes or Wapentakes, as all the other Counties of England are, is, because in antient Times these Parts paid no Subsidies, being sufficiently charged in Border Service against the Scots"

History and Antiquities of the Counties of Westmorland and Cumberland, by Joseph Nicolson and Richard Burn, 1777 is available from Google Books

A history of Westmorland by Richard Saul Ferguson Published in 1894, E. Stock (London) is available from Internet Archive

Bygone Cumberland and Westmorland. by Daniel Scott Published in 1899, W. Andrews & co. (London) available on Internet Archive

Legends of Westmorland and the Lake district. Published in 1874, Hamilton, Adams, and Co.; [etc., etc.] (London) is available in Open Library

Inventories, Registers, Catalogues

Some of the county was included in the Domesday Survey of 1086.

Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Westmorland is available on British History Online

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Land and Property

Feet of Fines - abstracts on giving details of conveyance of freehold property in Westmorland 1360-1485.

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Information on manors is available on Lancaster University's Cumbrian Manorial Records website. The register is coming soon.
The Manorial Documents Register can be searched by selecting Westmorland as the county.

The Old Manorial Halls of Westmorland & Cumberland by Michael Waistell Taylor Published in 1892, T. Wilson is available on Open Library

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Links to web versions of maps of Westmorland and surrounding area from several centuries are provided on

Facsimiles of C19th Ordnance Survey maps of Westmorland are available on the Landmark Oldmaps site.

A Mordern map of 1695 is available on Sarah Reveley's site.

There is also an undated map by Mackenzie

A Boundary Commisioners' map of 1885 (Eyre & Spottiswoode) is available on the site

Current OS maps are available on the Ordnance Survey site.

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Military History

Links to Westmorland military history sites are found elsewhere

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Names, personal

Surname frequency data is available in Cumbrian Surnames Part 1 and Part 2

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Newspaper Name Place of publication BL Holdings
The Appleby Chronicle, Kirkby Stephen Reporter and North Westmorland Journal. Appleby 1886-1886
Cumberland & Westmorland Herald.- archive website Penrith 1925 to date
Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser and Penrith Weekly Chronicle Penrith 1855-1898
Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser, and Penrith Literary Chronicle. Penrith 1854-1855
The Kendal Mercury and Westmorland Advertiser. Kendal 1834-1840
The Kendal Mercury and Northern Advertiser Kendal 1840-1880
The Lake District Herald, etc. Penrith 1920 to date
The Lancaster Gazetteer, and General Advertiser for Lancashire, Westmorland, etc. Lancaster 1801-1803
Mid Cumberland and North Westmorland Herald Penrith 1891-1925
Penrith Herald, and East Cumberland and Westmorland News Penrith 1869-1891
Penrith and District Times. Penrith 1898-1898
Penrith Times and Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser. Penrith 1898-1901
Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle. Kendal 1811-1834
The Westmorland Gazette, etc.. - website Kendal 1818 to date
The Westmorland Gazette, etc. Kendal 1818-1826
The Westmorland Journal. Kendal 1875-1875
Westmorland Journal and Kendal Guardian. Kendal 1878-1880
Westmorland Mercury and Times. Kendal 1913-1917

These can be searched in the British Library newspaper catalogue for further BL holding details.

An extensive list of Cumberland, Westmorland and Furness newspapers and their holdings is available on Cumbria County Council's eLibrary.

A list is published by CWAAS: A Hand-list of newspapers published in Cumberland, Westmorland & North Lancashire. By F. Barnes & J.L. Hobbs (1951, PB, ISBN 1 873124 07 0) (£1/£1.50)

Transcribed items are being added to Cumberland and Westmorland Newspaper Transcriptions 

The Westmorland Gazette archive is searchable on the British Newspaper Archive (articles downloadable for a fee)

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Tables for occupations recorded in censuses e.g. for 1841 and 1901 are given on the Online Historical Population Reports site

Most employment within the county were connected with agriculture

Westmorland agriculture, 1800-1900 by Frank W. Garnett Published in 1912, T. Wilson (Kendal) is available on Internet Archive

a selective bibliography of other occupations is available.

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Poor Houses / Poor Law

Poor Law Unions existed for East Ward, Kendal and West Ward documented on Peter Higginbotham's site.
Details are also given on Ross Brett's website for East Ward and Kendal (internet archive)

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Westmorland with only 65,010 inhabitants had the third lowest population in England  in 1871.

Population tables and statistics are provided on this site.

And also other statistics on the VisionOfBritain site.

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Probate Records

Most wills for the North of the County will be in the Carlisle R.O. as this is the Diocesan office for the Carlisle Diocese.

Wills for the Southern half of Westmorland will also be at Carlisle since about 1858 but before that will be at the Preston R.O. as it was in the Diocese of Chester until that time.

Being situated in the Province of York, some probate material relevant to the whole of the county will be in the Borthwick Institute in York.

The booklet Index and Extracts of Cumbrians in Wills proved at the P.C.C. is published by Cumbria FHS and includes wills for Westmerians available in the National Archives in London.

North country wills 1383-1558  Church of England. Province of Canterbury. Prerogative Court. Andrews & Co., 1908- available on Internet Archive

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Name lists have been transcribed on EdenLinks for:

A transcription is available for Land Tax Commissioners, 1836

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This county is maintained by Dave Huddart with help and information provided by others.
Report problems, and contribute information.
For more general genealogical information visit the England page.

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This page last updated February 2015

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