Members of the Formby Civic Society have been busy for the transcribing 18th and 19th century documents relating to Formby and Ravenmeols held at Lancashire and Liverpool Record Offices. The work forms part of the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership 'Lost Settlements' project which aims to increase our understanding of the medieval settlement along the Sefton Coast. The project is being run by Dr. Mark Adams (Senior Archeological Projects Officer) of Liverpool Museum Field Archaeology Unit.
One of the first tasks was to transcribe a report written in about 1982 for what was then the Merseyside Archaeological Survey. The report had never got beyond draft stage and existed only as a set of typed pages and handwritten notes. It was known only to a few specialist researchers but contains a wealth of information relating to agricultural practices in Formby in the 17th to mid-19th centuries. The report has now been typed into Microsoft Word and will be made more widely available in the near future.
Several leases have been transcribed already with the aim of building up a better understanding of 18th and early 19th century landholdings and tenancies in Formby. Although the project is in its early stages several interesting documents have turned up already, perhaps the best being a lease for Wright's Farm in the early 1800s. This no longer exists but there is the possibility that it was on the same site as Ravenmeols Farm on what is now Kew Road. This site is shown as a ruin on the 1849 OS map, though the house has a datestone of 1733 which is unlikely to have travelled far and it seems likely that the 'ruin' was restored in the late 1800s.
Other members of the group have been copying the Tithe Map of 1845 into digital format. Tithe Maps were prepared following the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 which allowed church tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods. The map and its accompanying schedule gave the names of all owners and occupiers of land in the parish.
Once the Tithe Map is digitised it will be put into a computer Geographical Information System where it can be linked to an electronic copy of the Tithe Schedule. The schedule is a list of all of the landowners and tenants in Formby and with the Tithe Map provides a detailed 'snap shot' of landholdings in Formby in the mid-19th century.
The end result will look similar to the Cheshire Tithes website please click here and will provide a fantastic resource for anyone interested in mid-19th century Formby.