Documentary Evidence

9.30 to 13.00 each day

Virtual by Microsoft Teams

Researching the history of a highway may be required in public rights of way, commons registration and land charges for many purposes, from ascertaining the width to determining public rights. Knowledge of the primary and secondary documentary sources, where to find them, their significance, interpretation and value can save a great deal of time and effort in resolving questions about the history of land and highways. This course provides an overview of the common sources as a foundation.

Main topics

  • Tithe maps and awards
  • Inclosure maps and awards
  • Inland Revenue maps and valuations
  • Railway and canal plans
  • Quarter Session records
  • Parish council and Highway Board minutes
  • Ordnance Survey records
  • County maps

Learning Outcomes

  • Familiarity with the main documents and where to find them
  • Appreciation of their context and its effect on their value as evidence
  • Awareness of good practice in presentation of evidence
  • Appreciation of the limitations of interpretation and conflicting opinions
  • Understanding of how the legal tests are applied

Within a day, it is not possible to address the sources in detail. The course is designed for people recently engaged in public rights of way or definitive map work and needing a foundation in what constitutes documentary evidence and how to use it.


Intermediate : for delegates with some prior knowledge of the subject.  Pre-course reading will be provided.

The course is designed for Rights of Way Officers; legal officers or solicitors, especially acting as advocate in rights of way cases;  land charges or commons officers.


Rosalinde Emrys-Roberts is a consultant who worked as Definitive Map Team Leader at Hertfordshire County Council for many years and is part of the Stakeholder Working Group which refined proposals to government resulting in the Deregulation Act.


£242 with member's discount, £346 non-member


Microsoft Teams is the software used for training which is available to anyone through a web browser even if the application is not installed. The app enhances the experience but the basic functionality of the browser version is adequate to participate in the course. If you have not previously joined an external Teams meeting, you can use this test meeting link to check.

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