I am a PhD student and I am working on finding information about a particular family.

I know the fathers name and the rough place that he owned a freehold (Oldbury in Gloucester - which I believe refers to Oldbury on the Hill).

However, I would like to find the exact house in Oldbury that was owned by this guy.

Any ideas how I do this? There must have been a record of land ownership, I'm just having trouble finding it!

I don't believe he actually lived there (he lived in Bath the majority of the time) but rented out to someone.

Thomas Linley (who also had a son called Thomas Linley just to confuse things further.)

I'm fairly sure it is Oldbury on the hill because I have seen the 'Poll at the election of a knight of the shire for the county of gloucester' in 1776 that was publically printed and lists everyone who voted, who they voted for and their freehold that allowed them the vote to write. In this document, it lists Thomas Linley (who must have been the dad given the age) under the township of Oldbury on the Hill.

  • 1
    Welcome to GFH SE! I hope you don't mind me having made some quick edits to your Question. I think you probably noticed that I removed your signature because every Question, Answer and Comment you post is already signed by your user page, and you have since updated that! I suspect that if you are able to include the person's name in this Question it would be helpful to potential Answerers.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 10:25
  • For a general overview of what records might have been created and what might survive, I recommend Mark D. Herber's Ancestral Trails: bookshop.nationalarchives.gov.uk/9780750941983/…
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 13:51

2 Answers 2


The eighteenth century pre-dates the national censuses that started in 1841, so your best hope is property records. There was not at this time any systematic recording of land ownership (the first national return of Owners of Land didn't take place until 1873) so you are reliant on records of property-related taxes, of leases and rentals, and of the transfer of property rights at death (via wills) or as a commercial transaction. Any of these might name or describe the property in question.

[Note: There were some local censuses and Population censuses before 1841, but the population censuses didn't record the level of detail you're looking for, and I can't find any reference to a local census for Oldbury-On-The-Hill.]

Your first step should be to search the catalog at Gloucestershire Archives, looking for the name of your person of interest and more generally for Oldbury. This may throw up wills, rental books, leases, conveyances, land tax records (and possibly other records that mention the property in passing). I don't believe there's any material from the archives online, so you may need to visit in person to review the records or pay for some research there. (You may be lucky and find the catalog entry provides the detail you need).

Should you locate a description (or with luck, a name) for the property, your next challenge will be finding it on a map. Properties and places changed names more often than you might expect. Again, Gloucestershire Archives are your best hope -- the tithe map might be a little late (circa 1838) but you should check it anyway; Gloucestershire also (from the catalog) have a 1755 "Map of central part of parishes of Didmarton and Oldbury-on-the-Hill" but it may not be detailed enough or show the area you're interested in.

One wonderful resource that is available to the academic community but not us non-academic family historians is Historic Parishes of England and Wales : an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata which presents data based on a variety of historical sources and can be a good aid to locating properties. (I would love to be able to get access to this).

Other options to explore: Newspapers and property transactions by Ozias Linley, who inherited the property in question. Ozias's willl was proven in 1831 and is available at The National Archives. If Ozias has no children, you'll also need to look into the will of William Linley, who would inherit the property in those circumstances.

Edited to add: Knowing the chain of inheritance makes the Tithe Apportionments much more valuable -- to the extent they may answer your question directly. The 1838 Tithe apportionments (online for a subscription at TheGenealogist, without -- alas-- the maps until later this year) show William Linley renting out a 'House, Garden and Buildings' (ref 200), a 'Paddock' (ref 198) and an 'Inclosure' (ref 33) in Oldbury on the Hill to Joseph Holbrow. The Tithe apportionments (series IR29) and associated maps (series IR30) are available at the National Archives as well as at Gloucestershire Archives (which will use different references). Of course it's possible that Ozias and/or William sold or bought property in Oldbury under the Hill after their father's death, so the property owned by William in 1838 isn't guaranteed to be exactly the same as his father owned, but it's likely that it was.

Once you've consulted the tithe map to determine exactly where the three pieces of property were, you'll need to try and locate them on a modern map. Don't be surprised if the buildings no longer exist or have been altered significantly.

  • Hi - Thanks! I don't know if I have access to that historic parishes through my university but I'll definitely check it out! There's nothing useful in the Glos archives for Thomas Linley (only three hits :( ) but I'll definitely check for Oldbury! Thanks
    – BeckyG
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 13:12
  • @BeckyG, you need to find a property name or description before Historic Parishes of England and Wales : an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata is useful.
    – user104
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 14:57
  • Right ok. I think I am getting closer. I know the parish church that was there: St Arild's on Oldbury on the hill so am going to contact Gloucester Record Office to see if they can help further! I already have William linley's will though am having trouble reading it! I don't believe Ozias had kids, so it would have fallen to William. Thanks for all your help!
    – BeckyG
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 17:06

LINLEY, WILLIAM (1771–1835), author and musical composer, youngest son of Thomas Linley the elder of Bath. See DNB

Linley survived his brothers and sisters, and died, after a few hours' illness, at his chambers, Furnival's Inn, on 6 May 1835, aged 64. He was buried, the last of his name, in the family vault at St. Paul's, Covent Garden. His property was bequeathed to Elizabeth, only daughter of his sister, Mrs. Tickell [see Linley, Mary]. 

Linley left in manuscript forty glees, contained in two volumes, Additional MSS. 31715–16, British Museum. Some volumes of manuscript anthems and services, by William Linley and Ozias Thurston Linley, were in 1868 in the possession of B. St. J. B. Joule (see Notes and Queries, 4th ser. ii. 323).

There are 57 Newspaper cuttings and Joule Family papers in the Archives Department of Manchester Central Libary. Also Joule’s will is in the Scottish Record Office in Edinbourgh. Which should allow you a further insight into where William Linley and Ozias Thurston Linley, material as refs. above in 1868 are currenley to be found.

For further information on this extremly emenant and improtant musical family people may also wish to consult the following DNB entries Thomas Linley of Bath, senior, Thomas Linley of Bath, the younger, Elizabth Ann Linley, Richard Brinley Sheriden,

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