Research your property's history
There is a wealth of information available for you to research the history of your property. Research can unearth fascinating histories from your local area and is vital when bringing forward development proposals.
If you have been asked to submit a 'Statement of Significance' to accompany a planning application we will expect you to have investigated these resources.
Where to start
Firstly, you'll want to establish if your property is listed.
If it's not listed it may still be of historic significance and included on the Historic Environment Record; this is a comprehensive database documenting the historic features we currently know exist in the National Park.
Early maps, such as Tithe Maps or 1st Edition Ordnance Survey, are an excellent way to get an idea of how old buildings and features are and if they might be of interest. The rule of thumb being if a building or feature is on an early map it may be of historic interest. Whereas if a building or feature is shown on the map, but is no longer there today there may be something of archaeological interest below the surface.
If you live in a Conservation Area, Conservation Area Appraisals include detailed information about an area's history and may include information specific to your property.
Knowing who used to live in your property can be useful for understanding why it was built or the function it served. Much of the census data for Devon from 1841 to 1891 is freely available online.
Local archives contain a wide variety of information about their local areas. They often hold old maps, photographs and written records which can tell the story of the architectural history of your property. They also often hold Valuation Office field books from the 1910 - 1915 Valuation Office survey which determined the value of land for tax purposes, the survey regularly shows the number of rooms in a property and how they were used.
Local history societies and their members can have very in-depth and specialist knowledge of their local areas and are worth consulting.