YAS Sections    

The Society is made up of a number of special interest groups. There are three publishing Sections, Parish Registers, Record Series and Wakefield Court Rolls. These groups study and transcribe original documents in their field, and publish them through the Society, providing unique research tools for anyone studying the history of the county.

Other special interest groups are Family History, Industrial History, Medieval History, Prehistory, Roman Antiquities. These sections arrange their own lecture programme and excursions, and occasionally join with the parent Society or other societies in the area for larger meetings.

Section only membership is available through the following link

Section Only Membership

The Yorkshire Archaeological Society is run by volunteers, although we do employ a small staff to run the library and archive, and for our day-to-day business. The Sections of the Society are organised totally by volunteers, many of whom work, but none of whom are based at Claremont. For this reason, we would request that any enquiries are made in writing to the Secretary of the relevant Section, through Claremont. You may be lucky and telephone the library on a day when a committee member from that particular Section is in, but our staff are kept busy with library business and can only take a brief telephone message which they can then pass on. They cannot deal with lengthy enquiries, nor can they take on research work. There are a number of researchers who use our facilities on a regular basis, and we can supply a list on request.

The headings, or the buttons on the left, will take you to each sections web page.

The Parish Register Section
The Yorkshire Parish Register Society was founded in 1899 and became a section of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society in 1960.

Its aim is to print transcripts of Yorkshire Parish Registers in an easily accessible format, well indexed and appropriately annotated. These registers, many dating from the sixteenth century, record the baptisms, marriages and burials of the inhabitants. They are a vital source of information about communities and individuals. Parish Registers are invaluable for a wide range of research, including family and local history and population studies.

There are now 172 volumes of the printed registers published since 1899. The Section endeavours to publish one volume a year and to arrange its programme to achieve a balanced geographical coverage of the historical county. Many out-of-print volumes are now available on microfiche. The Section is keen to encourage the preparation of accurate transcripts of parish register and the Committee welcomes the offer of suitable work for inclusion in its publication programme. A leaflet suggesting guidelines for transcribers and editors is available from the Hon. Secretary. The Section also holds numerous unpublished transcripts which may be seen at Claremont, a list of these is available on their web-site.

The Section is now publishing an increasing number of these transcripts on CD. There is also a new series of CDs of out-of-print parish registers. This series covers the larger parishes where the period up to 1812 or 1837 was previously published in several volumes. There is one CD for each of these parishes.

Parish Register section publications may be ordered on-line by following the link above.

Wakefield Court Rolls
The purpose of the series is to publish editions of the court rolls of the manor of Wakefield. The manor was one of the very largest in England, covering over 100 square miles in the heart of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The court rolls begin in 1274 and from 1323 to 1925, when manorial landholding ceased, they are almost continuous.

The exceptional value of the Wakefield court rolls received national recognition in 2011 when the UK committee of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) inscribed them on its register of the Memory of the World.

Four volumes of court rolls which the YAS published between 1901 and 1946 are now republished by Cambridge University Press. Details are available on the CUP website. Many of the volumes that have been published since the creation of the Wakefield court Rolls Section in 1975 are still available for purchase.

For further details of this major publication project, click on ‘Wakefield Court Rolls’, on the menu to the left.

wakefield court rollCourt Roll
To maximise the interest for historians and genealogists the rolls are not being published in chronological order. One volume focuses on the year 1608/9, when an agreement was entered into by the copyholders of the Manor and the Crown whereby the copyholders paid a lump sum of 35 years rent in return for an undertaking that they would never have their [ground] rent raised, and that payments on change of lord or tenant would be fixed in perpetuity. A list of all copyholders, with the rent due from their holding, derived from an official survey is appended.

The section has now published 16 volumes.

UK Subscribers pay £9 a year and overseas subscribers pay £13 a year

Family History
The Family History Section was founded in 1973 and has approximately 1300 members many of whom also belong to our parent body. This is the only Family History Group to cover the whole of the pre-1974 county of Yorkshire, mainly because members have access to the wide amount of research material in the library and archive of the YAS. Members of the FHS may borrow books donated by the FH Section and consult YAS and Parish Register Section books and holdings when they visit the library and archives at Claremont.

The Section publishes The Yorkshire Family Historian at quarterly intervals and members receive their own copy. It contains news of national and local genealogical events, listings of our research services, list of other member’s interests and of course articles by fellow family historians.

Monthly lectures are held at Claremont, when we always have a bookstall selling a variety of publications and CDs linked to Family History including our own 1851 Census Indexes.

Unfortunately, we are unable to undertake any detailed individual research, but a visit to our web site will reveal the ways in which we can further members own research. These include:

  • holding a Family History Drop in Workshop every Tuesday from 2 to 5pm.
  • undertaking reasonably priced search of our holdings for members ancestors
  • LINK SERVICE by which volunteers visit archives and libraries on behalf of distant     members
  • the facility to purchase and pay for publications and make membership payments.

Industrial History
The Industrial History Section organises interesting and informative lectures by local experts and nationally known figures. It also organises occasional visits to working factories and sites of past industrial activity. Joint meetings are held with other societies and groups, mainly in Claremont.

A regular newsletter helps to keep members up to date with Industrial Yorkshire and section activities, and there is also the opportunity to engage in practical research, both in the Society's reference collections at Claremont and elsewhere. The Section also holds a number of social activities where members can meet informally.

Medieval Section
The Medieval Section provides activities designed to appeal to those interested in a period spanning from Anglo-Saxon times to the sixteenth century. Please visit our web site

We meet several times a year in locations throughout Yorkshire to visit medieval sites and to hear experts speak on archaeology, history, architecture and landscape of the area in the Middle Ages.

Recent themes for our day-schools have included industry, farming, crafts, town and country, trade, monasteries, arms manufacture, transport, site preservation, land tenure, the rich and the poor.

We are a small, friendly group of ordinary people of all ages, interested in medieval history, eager to meet others with similar interests.

Prehistory Section
This specialist section was established in the 1930's to promote the study of Yorkshire's prehistoric past.

The earliest evidence of human occupation in Yorkshire extends back to the time of the Ipswichian Interglacial, c. 100,000 BP but it is only from the end of the last, Devensian, glacial period, c. 10,000 B.C. that occupation has been continuous down to the present day. The attraction of Yorkshire to human settlement is demonstrated by the wealth of sites and finds of the Middle and New Stone Ages, and the Bronze and the Early Iron Ages across the region. The potential for survey and excavation is vast and requires the participation of all interested - both amateur and professional.

The Section seeks to bring together all those interested in the prehistoric archaeology of Yorkshire and to provide a forum for the exchange of information, and to stimulate and defuse knowledge by its regular meetings and day conferences. The Section's membership is spread across the full extent of historic Yorkshire and offers a means of bringing together experience and expertise for the regional understanding of Prehistory.

Roman Antiquities Section    
The Roman Antiquities Section (RAS) of the YAS originated as the Yorkshire Roman Antiquities Committee (YRAC), an independent body established in 1906. After three years the YRAC was reconstituted as a subcommittee and subsequently as a Section of the YAS. Through-out its existence the Committee and now the Section has been closely involved in fieldwork and publication relating to Roman Yorkshire, as well as organising lectures, day-schools and excursions. In recent years we have been sponsoring a fieldwalking project on the environs of Roman Aldborough (Isurium Brigantum).

The RAS usually has five lectures and business meetings each year at Claremont, normally on a Saturday afternoon. The lectures are largely focused on Roman Yorkshire, but we also have speakers who discuss wider aspects of Roman Britain or the Roman world. We also normally have a yearly joint meeting with another Society within Yorkshire and occasionally organise day-schools on Roman Yorkshire and related topics. We publish an annual Bulletin, which is distributed free to members of the RAS. We also occasionally publish monographs. Members may also borrow books donated to the Library by the RAS.