1. Not all Parishes and Polling Districts are covered yet. Additional records will be uploaded when they are available.
2. Spellings are as found in the original document, even if they are known to be wrong, with the exception of Note 3.
3. The spelling of some Parish names has changed over time. For ease of searching, we have used the same spellings as those in our Parish pages.
People entitled to vote
All the Voters Lists included so far are for elections after The Representation of the People Act 1832, The Act redrew constituency boundaries, giving seats to the growing industrial towns and cities, and removing them from some of the previous so-called Rotten Boroughs and Pocket Boroughs. It also increased the numbers entitled to vote by reducing the value of the qualifying land and adding categories such as copyright holders, long-term lease holders and some tenants. It's been estimated that the reforms increased the electorate to roughly 1 in 6 of the total male population of England and Wales, (Different qualifications existed for both Scotland and Ireland.)
The Act also required Overseer of the Poor to compile Lists of Voters and established Courts to deal with disputes over voting rights. Full details of the Act an be found by searching the web, or consulting documents such as those found on the Hansard website (the official reports of debates in Parliament).
Further major changes took place in the The Representation of the People Act 1867, which increased the franchise to include all male householders.
Some of our Voters Lists are for the Election of Knights of the Shire, but the majority are for parliamentary elections. The former are indicated as such in the database.
Brief explanation of types of property
Lands were originally given by lords to those who served them.
Freehold is the right in a property to hold it in perpetuity. In freehold right there is no limit of time to hold the property as in the case of leasehold property. A freehold property lies with the title holder unless he/she transfers it.
Copyhold tenure was tenure of land according to the custom of the manor, the "title deeds" being a copy of the record of the manor court. which was recognized first by custom and then by law
Copyholds were gradually enfranchised (turned into ordinary holdings of land (either freehold or 999-year leasehold) during the 19th century. Legislation in the 1920s finally extinguished the last of them.
Customary freehold in English law is a variety of copyhold. It is also termed privileged copyhold or copyhold of frank tenure. It is a tenure by copy of court roll, but not expressed to be at the will of the lord. It is, in fact, only a superior kind of copyhold, and the freehold is in the lord. It is acquired by custom or tradition.
Leasehold - In law, land or property held by a tenant (lessee) for a specified period (unlike freehold, outright ownership), usually at a rent from the landlord (lessor).
Freehold annuity - - has similarities to a rent charge, but results from a Will or debt contract.
N.B. Spellings are as found in the original document, even if they are known to be wrong.