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Manuscripts and Special Collections
   
   
  

Middleton of Wollaton Hall


Engraving of Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire from 1837
 

The bulk of the Middleton collection was deposited at University College Nottingham by the 11th Baron Middleton in 1947 and is now in the care of Manuscripts and Special Collections in the University of Nottingham Library.

There have been a number of accruals since that date. This very substantial family archive is divided into separate groups, with their own catalogues, although many contents overlap.

The collection now contains:  

  • (Mi 1-7 ) Papers of the Willoughby family, including title deeds, estate records, family papers, legal and manorial records; c.1175-1833. This is the first part of the main collection acquired in 1947, which retains the original order used in the Muniment Room at Wollaton Hall.
  • (Mi A-X ) Family and estate papers of the Willoughby family; 12th-20th centuries, including title deeds, estate records, literary manuscripts, correspondence, family papers and manorial records. This is the second part of the main collection acquired in 1947, which complements and overlaps with the content of Mi 1-7 in many ways. It has been arranged according to the form of the material. Title deeds from the 12th to the 20th centuries (Mi D 1-4855 ) form a major part of this collection, but the descriptions appear as a separate entity on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue due to constraints of size.
  • (Mi 2 C-S ) Papers of Admiral Sir Nesbit Josiah Willoughby (1777-1849), Captain Francis D. Willoughby (d 1846), and additional estate papers of the Willoughby family; 1641-c.1986. This is a catalogue of some of the accruals made to the collection primarily between 1947 and 1960, with related additions made in 2000.
  • (Mi 3 E-G ) Legal papers of the Willoughby family; 1628-1953. This is a catalogue of principally 19th and 20th century deeds and settlement papers, and estate papers collected by the London solicitors of the family.
  • (Mi 4 C-X ) Estate and legal papers of the Willoughby family; 1680-1970, including title deeds, estate papers, correspondence and solicitors papers. This is a catalogue of accruals made to the collection between 1964 and 1974.

The typescript catalogues to this collection are available online through The National Archives Access to Archives (A2A) web site.

 

Some of the printed items and medieval literary manuscripts, formerly part of the Library at Wollaton Hall, were withdrawn from the Middleton Collection in 2007 to be separately managed by the University. They now form the Wollaton Library Collection (WLC). 

 

 

Principal Subject areas within the collection

The Middleton collection is a large and diverse collection, offering opportunities for research into a wide range of areas. It is a prime source for Nottinghamshire local history , and provides evidence for land ownership and estate management in general.

Deeds and estate papers form a large proportion of the Middleton collection, and range in date from the 12th to the 20th centuries. They document the growth of the family's principal estates in Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire (and their sale during the 19th and 20th centuries), and also refer to estates in other counties. There are a particularly significant number of medieval deeds in the collection, and cartularies , including a 15th century example from the Abbey of Burton on Trent, Staffordshire. Manorial records such as court rolls, compoti, rentals and surveys are also well represented, and include an important group from the Peveril Court in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

The estate papers contain many references to the family's industrial interests , in woods, ironworks, woad growing and glassworks. Also included are a rare group of accounts and other papers relating to coal mining from the 14th to the 17th centuries. There are also 19th and 20th century coal mining papers relating to the Cossall Colliery Company, the Wollaton Colliery Company, and the Stapleford Colliery Company. There are 16th and 17th century household accounts and inventories . Legal and cause papers , particularly for the 17th century, exist in the main Middleton collection. Mi 3 contains papers generated by the family's London solicitors Messrs Purchase, Pollock and Treadwell, referring to the sale and purchase of properties, family settlements, mineral rights, and coal mining activities.

The collection also documents the Willoughby family and their activities. Family papers include marriage settlements, wills and inquisitions. The official duties of many of the male members of the family are referred to in a series of commissions and appointments, and papers relating to the office of sheriff in Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.

Unfortunately, a full series of correspondence between family members has not survived. However, papers of certain members of the family give insights into their particular interests. There is a series of personal papers of Francis Willughby (1635-1672) , the noted mathematician and natural historian. This includes his illustrated manuscript volume describing games, a commonplace book, notes, drawings of birds and fish, and plant specimens. Letters to his widow Lady Emma Child (née Barnard, 1644-1725) are also present in the collection. Two volumes narrating the history of the family, by Francis's daughter, Cassandra, Duchess of Chandos (1670-1735) , include transcripts of many letters which have since been lost. The papers of Admiral Nesbit Willoughby (1777-1849) also form part of the collection, and include correspondence, reports and ships log books. The papers of Captain Francis Willoughby (d 1849) are chiefly correspondence. Other family correspondence includes a series of First World War letters from Francis George Godfrey Willoughby and Henry Ernest Digby Hugh Willoughby, sons of the 10th Lord Middleton.

Finally, there is a fine series of medieval literary manuscripts , formerly part of the Library at Wollaton Hall.  

 

Family history

Medieval family members

Tudor and Stuart family members 

Barons Middleton

Other Notable Family Members

Collections held elsewhere

Other repositories holding archives of the Willoughby family:

  • The National Archives holds Nottinghamshire manorial records including Wollaton, Willoughby-on-the-Wolds and the honour of Peverel, 16th century (SC 2/196/76-91)
  • Nottinghamshire Archives Office holds copies of deeds, rentals, surveys and papers for Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, etc.; c.1568-1610 (M 475); Willoughby letters, c.1521-1548, and militia papers, 1512-1628 (M 1205-1229); and a letter book of J.N. Martin, Lord Middleton's agent at Wollaton, 1808-1823 (M 11530)
  • The British Library holds genealogical and other papers of Cassandra, Duchess of Chandos (MS 656)
  • The Centre for Kentish Studies holds manorial, family and estate papers chiefly relating to the Willoughby family of Bore Place, Kent, 1258-1647 (U 1000/3)

Details of other smaller Willoughby and related collections can be obtained from the National Register of Archives   

 

Useful published works on the Willoughby family and their papers

Details of printed works and theses held in the University of Nottingham Library are available via the Library's online catalogue . Reference numbers given here are to holdings available in the Manuscripts and Special Collections Reading Rooms.

  • 'Principal Family and Estate Collections: Family Names L-W' (The Stationery Office, 1999), pp 144-47 [King's Meadow Campus Ref DA9.H4]
  • Bloom, M.R., The Careers of Sir Richard II de Willoughby and Sir Richard III de Willoughby, Chief Justice of the King's Bench (1338-40) and the Rise of the Willoughbys of Nottinghamshire , D.Phil., Oxford, 1985 [King’s Meadow Campus Ref Not 1.V32 WIL]
  • Cameron, A., 'Sir Henry Willoughby of Wollaton', Transactions of the Thoroton Society , 74 (1970), 10-21 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Periodicals]
  • Chandos, Cassandra, Duchess of, History of the Willoughby Family . Published in Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Report to the Commissioners on the Manuscripts of Lord Middleton Preserved at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire (1911) [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Em. D2 HIS]
  • Chandos, Cassandra, Duchess of (ed. Wood, A.C.), The Continuation of the History of the Willoughby Family (The University of Nottingham, 1958) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4H.V38 WIL]
  • Cram, David, Forgeng, Jeffrey L. and Johnston, Dorothy, The Book of Games of Francis Willughby (1635-1672). A Seventeenth-century Treatise on Sports, Games and Pastimes (Aldershot, 2003) [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 1.W8 WIL]
  • Denham, J.F., ‘Memoir of Francis Willughby’, Naturalist's Library , 16 (1843), 17–146
  • Friedman, A.T., 'Portrait of a Marriage: The Willoughby Letters of 1585-1586', Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society , Chicago, 11 (1986), 542-555
  • Friedman, A.T., House and household in Elizabethan England: Wollaton Hall and the Willoughby family (1989) [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4H.D64 WOL]
  • Hagglund, E., 'An account of the journeys I have taken & where I have been since March 1695': the travel journal of Cassandra Willoughby, a critical edition , MA dissertation, University of Birmingham, 1996
  • Hodson, J.H., 'The Wollaton Estate and the Civil War, 1643-1647' in Hodson, J.H. and others, eds., A Nottinghamshire Miscellany (Thoroton Society Record Series 21, Nottingham, 1962), 3-15 [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 1.D4 NOT]
  • Johnson, Joan, Excellent Cassandra. The Life and Times of the Duchess of Chandos (Gloucester: Sutton, 1981) [Shakespeare Street LRC DA483.W4.J6]
  • Lawrance, H., 'The Heraldry of Willoughby', Journal of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society , 48-49 (1926-1927), 22-36 [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Periodicals:Der]
  • Lee, G.A., 'The Francis Willughby Executorship Accounts, 1672-1682: An Early Double-Entry System in England', Accounting Review 56 (1981), 539-553
  • Marshall, Pamela, Wollaton Hall and the Willoughby Family (Nottingham Civic Society, 1999) [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4H.D64 WOL]
  • Mason, Michael, Willoughby the Immortal: an Account of the Life and Actions of Rear-Admiral Sir Nesbit Willoughby, Kt., C.B., K.C.H. (1777-1849), "The Hero of Mauritius" (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 99.V38 WIL]
  • Middleton, E.M. Willoughby, Baroness, 'Sir Admiral Nesbit Willoughby, Admiral of the Blue', Transactions of the Thoroton Society , 9 (1905), 57-78 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Periodicals]
  • Reynolds, C.J., The Willoughby Story (Carbonear [Newfoundland] Heritage Society, 1986) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 4H.V38 WIL]
  • Smith, R.S., ‘A woad-growing project at Wollaton in the 1580s’, Transactions of the Thoroton Society , 65 (1961), 27–46 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Periodicals]
  • Smith, R.S., The Willoughbys of Wollaton, 1500-1643, with Special Reference to Early Mining in Nottinghamshire , Ph.D., Nottingham, 1964
  • Smith, R.S., ‘Sir Francis Willoughby's ironworks,1570–1610’, Renaissance and Modern Studies , 11 (1967), 90–140 [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4H.V38 WIL]
  • Smith, R.S., Sir Francis Willoughby of Wollaton Hall (Nottingham: City of Nottingham Art Department, 1988) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 4H.V38 WIL]
  • Smith, R.S., Early coal-mining around Nottingham, 1500–1650 (University of Nottingham Department of Adult Education, 1989) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 1.O46 SMI]
  • Stevenson, W.B. 'The Willoughby Family', Nottingham Catholic Magazine , 8, 6-12 and 9, 1 (1953-1954)
  • Stevenson, W.H. (ed) Report to the Commissioners on the Manuscripts of Lord Middleton Preserved at Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire (Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1911) Includes the first volume of Cassandra, Duchess of Chandos's History of the Willoughby family [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Em. D2 HIS]
  • Welch, M.A., 'Francis Willoughby F.R.S. (1635-1672)', Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History , 6 (1972), 71-85
  • Welch, M.A., 'Francis Willughby of Middleton, Warwickshire, and Wollaton, Nottinghamshire: A Seventeenth-Century Naturalist', Transactions of the Thoroton Society , 81 (1977), 33-40 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Periodicals]
  • Welch, M.A. (ed), 'Willoughby Letters of the First Half of the Sixteenth Century' in Storey, R.L. (ed), Nottinghamshire Miscellany , no. 4 (Thoroton Society Record Series, 24, Nottingham, 1967), 1-98 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4H.V30 WIL]

 

Next page:  The Willoughby Family of Wollaton and Middleton: A Brief History

 

Manuscripts and Special Collections

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