Good morning Helen

Sorry about the dream, can’t be much fun in the wind in the wilds.

Just a quickie to answer serious points, will write later

How do you find your evidence?

Document collections. Mostly Clifford Papers (Earls of Cumberland) which are held on behalf of Skipton Castle at the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and at Chatsworth House due to the division of the estates. These include depositions by ordinary people to the Earl and Court Rolls for townships. The courts were run by 12 locally elected jurors (obviously “the better sort”, always freeholders but local and usually farmers or lawyers). The Earl’s bailiff would attend and pass down any new regulations and take back requests (for wood for building, inability to pay rent and so forth). The locals would deal with all local matters not the bailiff, i.e. encroachment, debt, fights and arguments, transfer of property. They are a very rewarding source.

These collections include rentals, lists of tenants with their properties, rents paid, entry fines and provide a series of pictures over time so growth of family holdings or otherwise can be examined, the propensity of the land-holders to try and extract more from their tenants, and the conflict between maximising income and ensuring long-term commitment to lands and their improvement. Require sensible analysis and are often out of date but very useful indeed.

Testamentary records (wills and inventories) held at the Borthwick Institute for Historical Research. I have translated/transcribed well over 2000 for Craven, which includes 100% for two parishes and select others. Great stories and a lot more: increase of wealth = more wills, relationships, kinship, family size, creditors and debtors, indications of trade between people and their occupations. Faith (i.e. traditional Catholic, Protestant (within which are Puritans, sectarians and others)).

Also at Borthwick are the Archbishops Visitations held every 4 years. Hard to translate and transcribe but worthwhile. Here we find details of illegitimacy, adultery, recusancy, failure to maintain church property, baptisms held outside parish, illegal marriage and more.

The Church Courts provide extremely detailed records of cases and I am attaching a sample with a couple of wills added.

The parish records of births, marriages and deaths are at North Yorkshire Record Office. Many of these have been printed. I have a database now of 100% samples of three complete parishes (each comprising several townships). This gives a total family reconstitution for three generations (25,000 records approx) when combined with the wills. Statistical analysis shows years of famine, disease and non-conformity.

There are a few national records of use to be found at the old PRO (now TNA). The records of the Star Chamber (STAC) are good. This was a court which provided low cost access to justice for the common man. You get witnesses, their depositions and case details but a verdict is rare. A few letters patent and court of wards and chancery records which give details of estates of all people who held land from the king/queen or were lunatics. (another sample attached)

Finally, a local vicar was in the habit of writing Puritanical sermons and publishing them (did you know the Pope had seven heads?). One of the chief non-conformists in the area countered by publishing a few tracts himself, translated banned books and his followers wrote a biography after his death. There are some later references to him held at the Quaker archive in London. Very interesting insight into the times.

Best wishes