Guidance

HM Land Registry: 1862 Act Register

Access historical information about properties and people recorded in the 1862 Act Register.

About the 1862 Act register

The 1862 Act Register contains records of land and property in England and Wales, registered under the Land Registry Act 1862. It was the government’s first attempt to record property ownership information.

Almost 2,000 properties were registered in 272 volumes of handwritten and typed pages, made of parchment, waxed linen or paper. Documents like deed plans and marriage certificates were often supplied to support registration applications and were usually kept in the Instrument Books as part of the record.

How to access the 1862 Act register

To help preserve the original register and to allow greater access to its information, the 1862 Act register has been digitised. Over 15,000 JPEG images are available to download from our digital archives free of charge. Using our digital archives you can:

  • search the database by name and/or area
  • filter searches to find related records using the title number
  • look up deeds and documents using title numbers

When using or publishing our 1862 Act Register data

If you use or publish our 1862 Act Register data, you must add the following attribution statement:

Contains HM Land Registry data © Crown copyright and database right 2017. This data is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Parts of the register

Register of Estates with an Indefeasible Title

This part of the register contains details about the property. With it you can find out where a property was located by searching the parish or county.

The first paragraph, or ‘Register Entry’ often usually begins:

The hereditaments called or known as [name of house or estate] in the parish of [name of parish] in the county of [name of county] … There are many different kinds of entries which you might see in this part of the register. One of the most common indicates that the owner sold part of their land and states: Land numbered [xxx] in green on the Map is disposed of…..

Register of Title to Lands on the register

This is the second part of the register where you can find information about who owned the property. It allows you to find out if your ancestor owned a registered piece of land by searching for their name. The first entry will list the first registered owner. Other register entries may describe:

  • a change of address
  • marital state
  • perhaps record that the owner died

When the registered owner sold the property, the new owner’s name was recorded in the register. A deed or document was lodged and filed at HM Land Registry. You can search for these additional documents in the Instrument Books by using the title number.

Register of Mortgages and Incumbrances

This part of the register will help you find out if a property was ever mortgaged or leased to tenants. A copy of the mortgage agreement or lease will be lodged and filed at HM Land Registry. You can also search for these in the Instrument Books

Information in the register

1862 Act Register
Example of a record in the 1862 Act Register with highlighted features (explained below)

1 Title number

A title number was given to each application when it was received at HM Land Registry, using a basic numbering system. The property title number will help you search the records, so you may wish to make a note of it.

A record of all the title numbers used under the 1862 Act was kept in the Index of Titles books. This included registrations made under the Land Transfer Act 1875, too. The title numbers for registrations under each act (1862 and 1875 Acts), title numbers were assigned as follows:

  • numbers 1 to 650 Land Registry Act 1862
  • numbers 651 to 3,999 Land Transfer Act 1875
  • numbers 4,000 to 7,524 Land Registry Act 1862

It is possible that an 1862 Act title number continued to be used after 1875, if HMLand Registry was satisfied the registers had been kept up to date since the first registration. If the register had not been maintained the property was re-registered and issued with a new title number from the 1875 Act range of numbers. The original title number was ‘closed’ and cross referenced with the new one.

When a land owner sold part of their property the new owner could voluntarily register their purchase. A new title number would then be allocated to this portion of land/property, even if the seller had registered it before the sale. If HM Land Registry was satisfied that the register was still correct, a new title number from the range numbered 4,000 - 7,524 would be used. This is why some properties registered under the 1862 Act were given title numbers which are later in sequence than the 1875 Act registrations. Otherwise the registration was completed with a title number from the 1875 Act range and the original title number would be ‘closed’ and cross-referenced with the new one.

Only registrations completed under the Land Registry Act 1862 have been digitised.

2 Register type

In the register volumes each page has a heading that describes the part of the register it relates to, such as The Register of Estates of Indefeasible Title to Land, The Register of Mortgages and Incumbrances or The Record of Title to Lands on the Register as shown in the image.

3 Reference

This is a cross reference which will help you search other parts of the register. In the image The Register of Estates of Indefeasible Title to Land is on page 53 of Volume 14, and The Register of Mortgages and Incumbrances is on page 7 of Volume 14.

4 Page numbers

Page numbers were hand-written or printed in black ink in the top corner of each page, but neither the page number nor the title number always appear in consecutive numerical order. This is because the ledger entries were drafted in chronological order when the application was completed, instead of in title number order.

5 Date of an entry

Every time an entry was made in the register, the date was recorded in the ‘Date of entry’ column on the left-hand side of the page.

6 Instrument Book reference

The last part of the register contains many different types of deeds and documents that have been referred to in the other parts of the register, such as:

  • plans
  • marriage or death certificates
  • conveyances of land (recording the sale/purchase of property)
  • wills

These documents were needed to validate an application and were filed together in the Instrument Books.

A copy of the deeds or documents was kept by HM Land Registry if it was required to validate an entry on the register. These deeds and documents were given a specific reference number and filed in an Instrument Book; you will need the reference number to search for them. In the image, a copy of William Eve’s will was filed in Instrument Book Vol 29. Even though the will had several pages the whole document was called page 87.

Title plans

Plans were drawn up to illustrate the extent or size of each registration/property registered. However this part of the collection has not been digitised in full. Many of these plans continue to be referred to, but they are too fragile to scan. We are currently investigating how we can digitise the unscanned documents.

Glossary

An explanation of the technical and legal terms used in the 1862 Act Register.

Appurtenance Property that belongs to something else, such as a shed, barn or garden grounds of a building
Assignment A transfer of property from one person to another
Conveyance A document (other than a will) that transfers property from one owner to another
Covenant A clause in an agreement contained in a deed which obliges someone to do or not to do something
Deed A formal legal document. In the 1862 Act Registers it usually deals with ownership or occupation of land
Easement The right enjoyed by a person over his neighbour’s property such as a right of way across someone’s land
Estate in land A kind of ownership in a piece of land which is determined by how long a person could own it.
Fee simple The best type of estate in land. The owner can sell, give away or bequeath it in a will as he wishes
Freehold Absolute ownership of a piece of land
Hereditament Property that can be inherited
Indenture A type of deed
Instrument A formally executed written document such as a deed or a will which evidences an agreement or act
Interest A term used to describe any right or title to or estate in a piece of land
Lease This word can have a number of meanings:
  an old method of conveying land
  a type of estate in land - see leasehold
  another word for a life interest
Leasehold The owner of a property allows a tenant to occupy land for a specific length of time, usually in return for a rent
Life interest A type of estate in land granted to someone only until they die
Messuage A house, including any gardens, outbuildings, barns, orchards, etc
Moiety One or two or more parts of property ownership
Parcel A piece or portion of a piece of land
Tenement A house
Trust When a person holds property on behalf of and for the benefit of another person, such as a child

Common phrases found in conveyances and leases:

Whereas This word often appears at the start of a lengthy paragraph which details the history of a property
All that Describes what the property is and where it is
For and in consideration of How much a property was sold for
To have and to hold Sometimes special terms were imposed on the transaction which are listed here
Published 7 November 2014