The Government's 1910 Rating Valuation Survey
In 1910 the Government conducted a Rating Valuation Survey: the Survey was to provide a basis for levying a duty on land in the UK. It provides some interesting information about the parish at that time, including who owned the properties (houses and land) and who lived in the houses. One of the snags with using it is that it does not use the postal addresses of the houses that we know today. Instead it created a sort of plot numbering system where plots are shown on an accompanying map but, with the aid of a good magnifying glass (!), it is possible to put a name to the householder occupying each plot and therefore for each of the houses in the parish at that time.
By looking up the occupier’s name in the 1911 census you can then, in most cases (some people died or moved between 1910 and 1911), piece together information about the whole occupying family – what I have looked at most is who was in it, their ages, what the adults did for a living and where everyone was born. Once you have that you can go back in time to earlier censuses which may have more information about the 1910/1911 occupants.
Recently, I used this process to answer a question from a villager about who had lived in the house she and her family now occupy. The 1910 Rating Valuation came up with the name E. Barnett. The 1911 Census told me that there was an Emmanuel Barnett who lived in the village. He had been born in the Finmere about 1871 and was married to Louisa from Tingewick: they had a 13 year-old son, Percy, but had sadly lost a second child at some stage. The house in Mixbury had 5 rooms, and Emmanuel was a “working farmer”.
He had come from humble beginnings. His parents were James and Elizabeth and in the 1871 census, when Emmanuel was 2 months old, his father was “on parish” – supported by Poor Relief in Finmere. The 1881 census tells us more. Still living in Finmere, Emmanuel had a one-year old brother, John. His father was described as “agricultural labourer, invalid”, and his mother as an agricultural labourer. His father died in 1882. In 1891 Emanuel was living with his mother, then working as a charwoman, and brother in Finmere: he was an agricultural labouer. By 1901 he had married Louisa: they were living in Bicester Market End, in a 4-roomed house, and he was working as a Brewer’s Drayman. His mother was living with John in Finmere, and her death record shows she died in 1919 and is buried in Mixbury.
Emanuel died in January 1939, when his residence was 29 Mixbury (it was not uncommon in the past for people to move around the village). Probate records show he left £578 12s 3d to Louisa i.e. £38,029 at 2020 prices.
Quite a story, and Emmanuel’s beginnings not uncommon for Mixbury which was a poor Parish. The process might not work for everyone but, where it does, it can gives us an insightful window into part of the history of our parish.