Date Range:

About the Register of Deeds

The North Riding of Yorkshire was one of the few areas in England and Wales to introduce and maintain a Register of Deeds. From 1736-1970, transactions relating to property located within the boundaries of the North Riding were copied and recorded at the Deeds Registry in Northallerton. Although it was not compulsory to record such transactions, it did become common practice.

The Registry of Deeds records are held at the North Yorkshire County Record Office at Malpas Road, Northallerton.

Due to legislation being introduced in 1884 to ensure a common system across all three Ridings of Yorkshire, there are two series of Indexes. The main differences between the two systems are:

  • Reference Number:
    • 1736-1884 – Alpha/numerical reference system e.g. BY/101/123
    • 1885-1970 – Numerical reference system e.g. 16/1101/402
  • All parties involved in the transaction are listed in the Indexes from 1885 onwards; prior to this, only the names of the main parties were listed
  • Date of Registration – shown in Index Registers from 1885 onwards; older ledgers do not show this level of detail

How to Search

  • You can search the database on this site using the white search boxes above - this will search the indexes for 1784-90 and 1885-1889 only
  • You can visit the Search Room at the County Record Office in person to search the Index Registers 
  • You can also contact the County Record Office and ask them to do a search for you.

Index Registers contain the following information:

  • Date of Transaction (post 1884 only)
  • Township name
  • Surname/forename(s) of Parties
  • Reference No of Transaction (Vol/Page/Number)

To access the original document, you will need the reference number from the Index Register.

Search the Database

Please note that only the Indexes for 1784-1790 and 1885-1889 have been transcribed at this point.

This database is a transcription of a handwritten index so spellings can vary. To get the best results, try to keep your search simple, then narrow the results down by adding more information.

Example: Search by surname - Looking for transactions involving William Hutton? First, search by surname ‘Hutton’, then add forename ‘William’ or initial ‘W’ to exclude inappropriate results.

Example: Search by Township – Looking for transactions in Whitby? First, search by township ‘Whitby’, then restrict results by date range or by surname.

To see a list of the Townships contained in the 1784-1790 Index Register and the 1885-1889 Index Register Click Here

Search results can be downloaded as a pdf and printed if required (max 50 results per search). 

Research Project - Women’s Involvement in Property

Understanding women’s relationship to land and property across the North Riding of Yorkshire since the late 18th century is an area of interest that  Dr Joan Heggie has been working on for the past few years. Joan has worked with volunteers, student researchers and a Research Assistant at the North Yorkshire County Record Office in Northallerton to compile a database of each transaction for two pilot periods (1784-90 and 1885-1889). Phase 2 involved an extensive gender-based analysis of the database, which has also highlighted information about each woman regarding family connections, place of abode and occupation. The final phase of the project is now underway and will use archival and biographical resources to reconstruct selected women’s lives. These combined methods will help to establish how women were involved in property transactions over time and contribute to the wider debates on women as social and economic actors.

Phase 2 was funded by the Economic History Society through a Small Research Grant.

Thanks to Karen Ellwood for all her hard work in helping to transcribe and check these datasets, as well as her enthusiasm and ongoing support for the project.

Thanks to Teesside University and North Yorkshire County Record Office for their continued support.


***LATEST NEWS - November 2019 - Findings from this study published!***

Heggie, J. K. F., (2019) 'Women's Involvement in Property in the North Riding of Yorkshire in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries' in Women and the Land, 1500-1900. Capern, A. L., McDonagh, B. & Aston, J. (eds.). Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, p. 201-225.

See here for link to publisher's website.



This page will list any upcoming talks or events about the Register of Deeds Project.

Date Event Location Description
18/05/2019 Women's Studies Group - Women, land and its meanings  The Foundling Museum, London Academic paper on findings from Women's Involvement in Property project
25/09/2020 Friends of Guisborough Library Public Talk Guisborough Library, TS10 1RT Women and Property in the North Riding


These links have been provided in good faith. The Register of Deeds Project has no control over the nature, content and availability of the sites listed below. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.


Teesside University -

Regional & Local History Research Group -

North Yorkshire County Record Office -

Economic History Society -

Genuki Yorkshire -