This small bundle of documents1 is concerned with a specific piece of land in Southam, known as Tattle Bank. During the period covered by the successive documents of 1847-1872, very many persons are named with a connection to this land: purchasers and vendors, landlords and tenants, trustees and beneficiaries and owners of property adjoining the land. Given this multiplicity of names and relationships, this is a bundle likely to interest family historians although local historians concerned with patterns of land ownership may also find the collection appealing.
Of particular interest is a document releasing the right of pre-emption in the property held by Aris Henry and his wife Henrietta Charlotte Nourse dated 18482. They are dealing with the trustees of a will made by the Reverend Poyntz Stewart Ward of Henley-in-Arden who owned the property and who died in 1846. This release gives Henrietta’s maiden name of Ward which would seem to indicate that she was a daughter or a close relative of the Reverend, hence the engagement between the parties. Unfortunately, the absence of the will and its codicils means that the precise details of her legacy and how her marriage impacted upon this remains unknown, but certainly it did have an impact and facilitated their exclusion from any further dealings with the property.
Property rights of married women
The document does highlight the issue of the property rights of married women at this time. Henrietta as a single woman would have had the right to own property in her own name, but upon her marriage this would have become the property of her husband: in effect, she had ceased to be a separate legal being. It would be another two decades before married women were able to inherit property in their own name as enshrined in the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870.
On a lighter note
Another document in the collection describes how a number of persons released the right of way they held on the property recently purchased by Henry Trubshaw, Master of the Southam Union in 1871 (CR 4176/8). This right of way was five foot wide and Trubshaw had to pay each man the sum of £1.00.
2 CR 4176/2