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Edenbridge Property Survey

Contributed by Lionel Cole
The basis of this work is the Tithe Award Survey of 1844. This consists of a map showing every property in the parish, together with a "schedule" which lists every parcel of land and records the owner and occupier in that year. Unfortunately a group of houses with one owner but several occupants may not list all the occupants. This can be related to the ratebook of 1849 which lists the owner and occupant of every property with the rateable value.
For many parishes overseers' and churchwardens' ratebooks go back for centuries but for Edenbridge 1849 is the earliest to survive. The 1841 and 1851 censuses list the occupants of properties for those years together with details of their families, but say nothing about ownership, and are only occasionally arranged in geographical order.
Land Tax was a national tax collected on all properties annually at so much in the pound. It states who owned and who occupied the property because who paid was a matter for the two to decide. As the right to vote in county elections depended on how much Land Tax a man paid most of the Land Tax records between 1778 and 1832 were preserved nationally. Before 1778 they only survive by chance. The valuation of a property rarely altered making it possible to trace a property from year to year.

Most properties fell into a manor; in Edenbridge there were four manors. In the 19th century it was a legal fiction that the land really belonged to the lord of the manor who granted it to the real owner in return for a "quitrent" and certain other charges. The quitrent was an annual cash payment to save the real owner from having to mow the lord's meadow or harvest his crops. It became fixed in the middle ages and depreciated with inflation to become of little value. It is very useful because the description and value of a property did not alter (apart from occasional divisions) for centuries making it easy to identify the property in old manorial records. On the other hand manorial records often contain errors and anachronisms.

In compiling the history of these properties I have also made use of a thousand wills and of hundreds of title deeds. There are still more title deeds which I have not yet read, and no doubt a study of the 1861 census would shed light on the situation in 1851.

Edenbridge Village

Remainder of Edenbridge Parish

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Edenbridge Property Survey
Created by Maureen Rawson