Beckett Street Cemetery Records Online!

We’re very pleased to announce that the Leeds Beckett Street Cemetery burial registers 1845-1987 and inscription grave registers 1907-1938 are now available to view on the Ancestry website.  These records are an excellent source of information for family historians and if you have ancestors from the Leeds area they’re well worth a look!

Also known as Burmantofts Cemetery, or Leeds Burial Ground, the Beckett Street Cemetery was founded in 1842 and opened in 1845.  One of the oldest, if not the oldest, municipal cemeteries in England, it sits on 16 acres, and the remains of an estimated 180,000 people are buried within it.

An example of one side of an Inscription or Guinea Grave in the Unconsecrated section of Beckett Street Cemetery from 1889
An example of one side of an Inscription or Guinea Grave in the
Unconsecrated section of Beckett Street Cemetery from 1889
The entry for the grave as it appears in the Grave Register (Ref: LC/CEM(B)1/17).

The entry for the grave as it appears in the Grave Register (Ref: LC/CEM(B)1/17).

The burial registers and grave registers contain information including name, age at death and grave number but, depending on the register, may also contain other information including address of the deceased, description of the deceased (i.e. wife, son, etc.), death date or burial date.

To view the records online please visit the Ancestry website at  Don’t forget you can get free access to the site in any of our five search rooms across the West Yorkshire Archive Service.

A handy guide on how to use the records in the Beckett Street Cemetery collection and the full catalogue of the collection is available on request from staff at the West Yorkshire Archive Service Leeds office.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the cemetery itself the Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery host regular walks around the cemetery and host a fantastic website at

If you’ve any queries about the Beckett Street Cemetery archive collection please do contact us on 0113 393 9788 or at

First West Yorkshire History Centre E-ne

First West Yorkshire History Centre E-newsletter available! To subscribe to further issues click on link at bottom

Over 4 million new records launched online!

4,096,794 new records have been added to for West Yorkshire collections in December 2014, as part of WYAS’s on-going programme of digitisation of popular sources, with over 37 million records now on-line. The latest launch added West Riding Coroners’ notebooks 1852-1909, and selections of land tax records 1704-1932, bastardy and offence records 1690-1914, West Yorkshire rate books and pre-1841 census 1705-1893.

Coroners’ Notebooks 1852-1909

This collection includes more than 200 handwritten registers kept by Thomas Taylor. Taylor was the coroner for the Honour of Pontefract from 1852-1900, deputy county coroner 1855, 1861-1864, and county coroner 1864-1900. Select registers created by other coroners for later years are also included. All told, more than 19,000 deaths are recorded in the registers, with coverage from 1852 through to 1909.

Deaths resulting from sudden, accidental, and/or suspicious or mysterious causes are included in these records. Details that can be found in the registers include name of the deceased, date and location of the inquest, age of the deceased, circumstances surrounding the death, verdict, and sometime the names of the deputy coroner or jury foreman.

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Selected Land Tax Records 1704-1932

The land tax was introduced in England in 1692 to raise revenue for the government. It was not done away with until 1963. Land tax records are of value to genealogists because they often list both property owners (proprietors) and tenants, placing them in a parish and a year. Most divisions are based on 1834–1974 boundaries.

This collection contains selected land tax books. They list all households in the areas and details such as who occupied the house, who owned the house, the name or situation of the property, and how much tax was collected. These records also include institutions such as schools and companies.


Select Rate Books, Accounts and Censuses 1705–1893

Rates were collected in each parish for various purposes including support of the sick and poor, maintenance of roads and churches, and other parish expenses. The rate payer was the person responsible for paying the local taxes and could be the owner or occupier of the property. This collection consists of rate books from the following places:

• Addingham
• Eccleshill
• Halifax St. John the Baptist
• Headingley and Burley
• Kippax St. Mary
• Leeds
• Southowram
• Spofforth

Rates were assessed based on a dwelling’s value. These records include a listing of who occupied the house, who owned the house, the type of dwelling, the name or situation of the property, how much rent was collected, and the rates paid.

This collection also includes some pre-1841 censuses for parishes, towns, and townships including Holmfirth, Wapentake of Claro, Sandal Magna, Thornhill, Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse, and Spofforth 1801-1837.

Selected Bastardy Records 1690-1914

Care of the poor fell to a resident’s parish following the 1601 Poor Laws. In cases of an illegitimate birth, parishes tried to identify the father and make him legally responsible for the child’s maintenance to keep the child off parish relief. The Poor Law Amendment Act was passed in 1834. It completely overhauled the existing system and established a Poor Law Commission to oversee the national operation of the system. This included the forming together of small parishes into Poor Law Unions and the building of workhouses in each union for the giving of poor relief. Poor Law Union representatives still sought to hold fathers responsible for maintenance. Mothers could also apply to require a father to support his child.

This collection includes:

• Summonses by the parish or by the mother to appear in court. Sent to men named as the father of a child.
• Bastardy bonds. Record of the father’s agreement to pay for maintenance of the child.
• Bastardy orders. Record of orders to fathers to make payment for the maintenance of the child.
• Payment registers. Record of payments by fathers to the parish for maintenance of the child.

In addition to bastardy cases, you may find references in these records to other violations of Poor Law Acts, desertion, and other legislation. The records often contain the name of the mother and name and occupation of the putative father, but they typically do not provide the name of the child, though they may specify gender and birth date. They may also list a parish for each parent as well as a date for the court action.

Detailed list of the records in this collection:

• Bingley and Haworth Township records, Bastardy receipts, 1803–1822
• Bingley and Haworth Township records, Accounts of payments to mothers of illegitimate children and receipts under filiation orders, 1806–1825
• Bingley and Haworth Township records, Bastardy payments,1810–1821
• Bingley and Haworth Township records, Bastardy receipts, 1826–1843
• Bingley and Haworth Township records, Payments to women previous to filiating and bastardy payments, 1827–1843
• Bingley and Haworth Township records, Filiation orders, 1834
• Magistrates’ minute book covering Bingley, Idle, Heaton, Keighley and Haworth, 1817–1821
• Bradford City Court Bastardy orders, 1894–1947
• Brighouse Borough Bastardy orders, 1899–1951
• Brotherton St Edward parish records, Bastardy orders, 1848
• Upper Osgoldcross Court at Castleford, Bastardy orders, 1888–1946
• Darrington with Wentbridge St Luke and All Saints parish records, Illegitimacy papers, 1794–1824
• Emley St Michael parish records, 1743–1839
• Hemsworth St Helen parish records, Bastardy bonds, 1690–1765
• Horbury St Peter parish records, Bastardy book, 1834–1846
• Huddersfield Magistrates, 1877–1899
• Keighley division, Applications for bastardy orders, 1848–1880
• Keighley (Court at Bingley), 1844–1915
• Keighley (Court at Bingley), 1895–1959
• Kippax St Mary parish records, Bastardy Orders, 1798–1843
• Northowram Township bastardy accounts, 1817–1829
• Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Bonds of putative fathers, 1714–1830
• Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Affiliation papers and correspondence, 1770–1830
• Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Affiliation accounts and vouchers, 1789–1826
• Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Filiation orders, 1796–1831
• Royston St John the Baptist parish records, Filiation proceedings, warrants, etc., 1812–1826
• Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, 1783–1840
• Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Warrants to apprehend fathers, 1795–1830
• Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Bonds of Maintenance, 1796–1799
• Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Summons to reputed fathers, 1820–1831
• Sandal Magna St Helen parish records, Warrants for disobeying bastardy orders, 1825–1842
• Slaithwaite Bastardy orders, 1854
• South Kirby All saints parish records, Filiation orders, 1792–1813
• Thornhill Township Filiation orders and papers, 1767–1843
• Thornhill Township Bastardy accounts, 1827–1857
• Wakefield Borough, 1870–1915

West Riding Constabulary

West Yorkshire Archive service is pleased to announce that work has been completed on the West Riding Constabulary collection, with 3143 entries now being available on Calmview. The collection includes personnel records such as service registers, examination books and personnel registers and files which give details of officers and constables who joined the West Riding Constabulary from 1856–1969.

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The West Riding Constabulary was established in 1856 as a county force which operated alongside the existing borough forces until amalgamation began in 1968. It was originally divided into 31 police districts within the county. In 1928 the first patrol car made an appearance and a Road Traffic Division was created in 1938 – a driving school being established at Wakefield in 1944. Women first joined the force in 1925. There are also an exciting number of photographs of constables and officers within various sections of the service including the Special Constabulary, Cadets, Civil Defence and Mounted sections.


The Legislative section of this collection reflect the many Acts, Bills and facets of the law and legal system that officers had to adhere to in their daily work. Crime evidently dominated their day which is reflected in the various police publications giving the modus operandi of criminals as well as many descriptions of felons, suspected and missing persons included in the collection. Beat books give the real day to day, almost hour by hour work of the constable. The enquiries they dealt with, witness statements to incidents they attended and the shift patterns officers worked.

One of the more entertaining elements of the collection are the many sporting and social club events and awards that took place within the force, cricket, bowling, police band and life saving teams among them.