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How to Locate Historic Boundary Markers?

Aug 4, 2022

In this week’s property surveying blog, we are going to be discussing historic boundary markers and how boundary surveyors go about locating them whilst on site.

As Boundary surveyors, we are instructed to provide our expertise in locating the correct location of a boundary line that separates two or more parcels of land.

Often, Boundary Surveyors will be thrown in the middle of fiery boundary disputes or differences of opinions concerning the boundary position between property and landowners. However, in some cases, although not many, we have been appointed in not-so-hectic scenarios, where owners simply desire clarity on the matter before they plan for any future works, which would ultimately put the respective owners at ease in the knowledge of the correct boundary location to avoid any mistakes.

Once we arrive on-site, we are generally looking for a number of historic specifics or indications which tend to vary based upon the type of the properties involved within the boundary dispute. For example, when dealing with a boundary dispute which relates to terraced properties, the factors that a surveyor would look for may differ from what would be sort after regarding a dispute concerning detached properties simply because they’re dissimilar.

When inspecting a terraced property, we may be assessing the window reveals and soldier courses, whereas during an inspection of a detached property, a boundary surveyor would be assessing within the internal parts of a hedge dividing parcels in line with the respective title plans.

So, what are Historic Markers and how do you locate them?

When it comes to locating boundary markers, generally speaking, a factor that all boundary investigations would have in common, would be the frequent cross-referencing of the Her Majesty Land Registry Title Plans during the inspection or if available, frequent reference to the owners’ Original Conveyance Plan as these documents would be the most accurate in their representation of the parcel, with the original Conveyance.

These plans would point a Boundary Surveyor in the right direction as essentially, the purpose of the title plan is to support the property description in the register by providing a graphic representation and identifying the general extent of the land in a registered title.

Historic markers are features of a building or land that would have been in situ during or shortly after the construction of the plot or building, thus making these elements “original” or “historic”. In some cases, these features may be still in situ and unchanged, which provides a sound indication concerning the intended boundary in some cases.

Recently during a boundary dispute inspection in Northwood of two plots, one of the Her Majesty Land Registry Title Plans I had to hand of the adjacent plot, clearly displayed several “posts” located to the permitter of this particular plot, during the inspection I was able to locate these in line with the Title Plan which was a major benefit to identifying the true boundary position between the adjacent plots.

Similarly, during an inspection in Coventry by Bosworth Market, whilst cross-referencing the Title Plans, I managed to come across a boundary stone which was marked with an abbreviation, positioned in the boundary location displayed within the Title Plan. Boundary Stones historically were a robust physical marker that identifies the start of a land boundary or the change in a boundary, especially a change in direction of a boundary.

However, not all inspections happen to be this favourable, like all things, over time, through the lifespan of the land or property, the historic features may have fallen into disrepair and may have been adjusted and updated. Likewise, a historic marker can become fully obscured by overgrown vegetation or in some cases removed due to new construction.

Therefore, it would be down to a boundary surveyor’s competence to identify these markers or historic traces, to help assist their determination.

Historically, there would have always been some sort of historic marker dividing plots, therefore, in many cases, when are located, they are definitive in determining the true boundaries separating respective plots.

Historical makers could consist of the following:

  • Brick, Stone, and Concrete Boundary walls in sequences that match the Title Plans
  • Steel, Concrete or Timber posts in sequences that match the Title Plans
  • Wire Fencing
  • Hedges in Sequences that match the Title Plans
  • Original Brick paving 
  • Original Air vents 
  • Historic Window Opening and Solider Courses 
  • Chimney stacks 
  • Parapet walls 
  • Bay windows 
  • Broken remains or traces of old structures in sequences that match the Title Plans
  • Remains or traces or material cemented into the concrete in sequences that match the Title Plans

Above are some of the key markers/features that a boundary surveyor would look for when carrying out an inspection. If it so happens that these markers/features have gone unchanged throughout the duration of the property’s life there will be definitive in their form, therefore, significantly aiding the boundary surveyor’s assessment and conclusion of their investigation.

If you would like to discuss boundary surveying with our team of boundary surveyors why give us a call today, we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.

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