Manuscripts and Special Collections

Manvers of Thoresby and Holme Pierrepont

Engraving of front elevation of the 2nd Thoresby House, built by Carr

The Manvers Collection came to the University of Nottingham Library as a number of separate accessions. The first gift was received in 1948 and was originally assigned the reference M. This gift is now numbered Ma 3001-5876.

Two further accessions, in 1958, were assigned the references Ma (now known as Ma A-X) and Ma 2 respectively. There have since been a number of accruals.

The collection is divided into separate groups, with their own catalogues, although many contents overlap:

  • The first catalogue (Ma 3001-5876 ) contains 19th and 20th century title deeds; estate papers and surveys dating back to the 18th century, including a large number from the manor of Laxton; a particularly fine continuous series of general accounts and rentals dated 1678 to 1780; and Derbyshire colliery accounts, 1786-1834.
  • The second catalogue (Ma A-X ) contains a continuation of the general accounts and rentals series, up to 1851 in most cases; over 500 bundles of estate agents' correspondence and papers from the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire estates, principally from the 18th and 19th centuries; manorial records; maps, surveys, and parish accounts.
  • The third catalogue (Ma 2 ) contains a large number of maps and plans; further 19th century title deeds, estate and manorial papers; general accounts (1864-1891) and rentals complementing those in other deposits; incoming and outgoing estate correspondence, 1840-1947; accounts relating to the building of the second and third Thoresby Halls, 1766-72 and 1864-75; and records of the Rufford Hunt (1902-1933).
  • The fourth catalogue (Ma 3 ) is split into two parts: the first was received from the Earls' London solicitors and contains accounts of the Receiver, 1926-1938, and mostly 20th century title deeds and estate papers. The second came from the Thoresby estate office and contains estate papers and correspondence, mostly 1850s-1890s but extending into the mid 20th century, and surveys from Eakring and Laxton, 1789-1899.
  • The fifth catalogue (Ma 4 ) contains maps and plans, dating back to 1690, but mostly 19th century, including architectural plans of the second and third Thoresby Halls; estate correspondence dated 1913; and other miscellaneous estate papers principally from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • The sixth catalogue (Ma 5 ) contains estate papers from the North Nottinghamshire estate, mostly 20th century; and maps and plans relating to the same area.
  • The seventh catalogue (Ma 6 ) contains complete runs of general estate accounts and rentals for most of the Manvers estates, 1780s-1950; together with miscellaneous account books and out-letter books.
  • The eighth catalogue (Ma 7) contains miscellaneous items including estate records, plans and photographs.
  • The ninth catalogue (Ma 8) contains deeds, estate and family papers, predominantly from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.
  • The tenth catalogue (Ma 9) contains estate papers and plans, predominantly from the mid-20th century, and a small amount of more personal papers collected by the 6th Earl and Countess Manvers.
  • The eleventh catalogue (Ma 10) contains estate files and correspondence relating to the Thoresby estate, mostly dating from the 1950s to the 2000s. These items are restricted pending full cataloguing; access is possible only by advance notice and agreement.
  • The twelfth catalogue (Ma 11) contains correspondence, rentals, plans, accounts and estate papers relating largely to the Holme Pierrepont estate, 1885-1942, with some other material relating to the wider estate up to 1961.

There are also three closely related collections:

  • Papers of the Franquetot Family, Earls of Coigny, of France, 1488-1870 (Mc)
  • Manorial records of Laxton, Nottinghamshire, 1744-1957 (TL)
  • Artificial collection of material identified as relating to the Manvers estate or the Pierrepont family (MS 396)


Principal Subject areas within the collection

The Manvers 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.

The title deeds in this collection principally record transactions of land in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Manvers estates were augmented by purchases of land during the 19th century, but sale catalogues dating from the early years of the 20th century illustrate the subsequent disposal of most of the family's landed property. Manorial records are also present, and include a series of medieval strays from former Pierrepont or unrelated manors. Most of the earlier title deeds and manorial records from the 12th to the 19th centuries were given to the British Library by the 6th Earl Manvers in 1942.

The collection's greatest strength lies in its continuous coverage of accounts, rentals and estate papers from the mid-17th century to the mid-20th century, documenting the careful administration of a large landed estate over time. Whereas the title deeds do not form a complete series, the accounts and rentals provide an overall view of the fortunes of the Manvers principal estates around Holme Pierrepont in south Nottinghamshire, at Thoresby, Edwinstowe, Kneesall, Laxton, Weston and surrounding areas in north Nottinghamshire, in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire, at Bath in Somerset, and around Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire. The bulk of these estates were sold in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Extensive series of estate agent's correspondence and related papers provide details of tenancies, repairs, sales, utilities and local issues. Architectural plans and accounts document the rebuilding of Thoresby Hall by John Carr in 1767-1772 and by Anthony Salvin in 1864-1871, and there are also various series of household accounts and inventories .

There is also a wide range of maps and plans in the collection, dating back to the 17th century, and surveys and valuations of most of the Manvers estates. Coal and other minerals under Manvers lands around Beighton, Heath and Calow in Derbyshire, and Adwick upon Dearne in Yorkshire, were exploited through leases and sales, and there is an early series of Derbyshire colliery accounts .

The extensive records relating to the manor of Laxton in Nottinghamshire are also of great interest. Laxton is now the only village in England still farmed using the traditional open-field system, and manorial records, plans, surveys and deeds in the Manvers collection document life there over a period of more than 300 years. Some material relating to Laxton appears in the Laxton: Living in an Open Field Village Learning Resource on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website, and also in an online exhibition .

Unfortunately, there are no personal papers relating to the Pierrepont family in the Manvers Collection. Personal papers, wills and family settlements were all given to the British Library in 1942.


Family history

Family members


Collections held elsewhere

Other Repositories holding archives of the Pierrepont family:

  • The British Library holds deeds, manorial records, estate papers and Pierrepont family papers 12th-19th century, and collected papers mainly 12th-15th century (Egerton Charters 2301-8836; Egerton MSS 3516-3660); and cartulary of Sir Henry Pierrepont, 1482 (Add MS 70512)
  • Oxford University: Bodleian Library , Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: Laxton survey and terrier, 1635; and Buckinghamshire deeds and papers 13th-18th century (MSS Ch. Bucks. 882-1318, Derbys. 55-6, and other counties; MS Maps c. 5, 19(1); MSS Top. c. 2 )
  • Nottinghamshire Archives holds 16th-20th century manorial records from Edwinstowe, Holme Pierrepont and Orston etc. (DD T); and Pierrepont family settlements and related papers, 17th-18th centuries (DD 4P/44)
  • The National Archives holds abstracts of title to Nottinghamshire estates, and deeds and papers relating to Broughton, Hampshire, 1676-1752 (C 107/161)
  • Royal Institute of British Architects Archives and Drawings Collection: Thoresby architectural and landscape drawings and papers, 1740-1772
  • Lincolnshire Archives holds Crowle manorial records, 1310-1949; and Pierrepont family trust papers, 1725-1745 (MON 28)
  • The Huntingdon Library , California, holds Pierrepont family trust minutes, 1725-1727 (EL)


Useful published works on the Pierrepont 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.

Holme Pierrepont and Thoresby Hall

  • Binney, M., 'Holme Pierrepont Hall, Nottinghamshire', Country Life , 166 (1979), 842-845
  • Guide to Holme Pierrepont Hall (Holme Pierrepont, 1982) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 228.D64 HAL]
  • [Brackenbury, R.] The Pierreponts at Holme Pierrepont (n.p., privately published, 1970s?) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 228.V30 PIE]
  • Aslet, C. 'Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire', Country Life , 165 (1979), 18-21; and 166 (1979), 323-326
  • Beattie, A. Thoresby Hall, the Nottinghamshire Seat of the Countess Manvers: An Illustrated Survey & Guide , 1st ed. (195-); (2nd ed. 1957); 3rd ed., substantially revised by C. W. N. Stanley (Derby: English Life Publications, 1964, reprinted 1967) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.D64 THO, and King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 346.D64 THO]
  • Allibone, J. Anthony Salvin, Pioneer of Gothic Revival Architecture, 1799-1881 (Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1987). 'Thoresby Hall', 87-91, 190 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Em. D28 ALL]
  • Allibone, J. 'Thoresby Hall Under Threat', Apollo (1988), 427-429
  • Beckett, J. V. and Wood, B. A. 'Land Agency in the Agricultural Depression: R. W. Wordsworth at Thoresby, 1883-1914', Trent Geographer , 11 (1987), 16-23 [King’s Meadow Campus D.H.Lawrence Collection PR6023.A9.Z6.T74]
  • Harris, J., 'Thoresby House, Nottingham-shire', Architectural History , 4 (1961), 10-21. Concerning the first house, destroyed by fire in 1745
  • Harris, J., 'Thoresby Concluded', Architectural History , 6 (1963), 103-105. Concerning the first house, destroyed by fire in 1745
  • Hodson, J. H., ed. 'The Building and Alteration of the Second Thoresby House, 1767-1804', in Hodson, J. H. and others, eds., A Nottinghamshire Miscellany (Thoroton Society Record Series, 21, Nottingham, 1962), 16-20 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 1.D4 NOT]
  • Lemmon, K., 'Geometry in a Wooded Landscape: The Gardens of Thoresby House, Nottinghamshire', Country Life 180 (1986), 876-878
  • Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 'Manuscripts of the Right Honourable Earl Manvers, at Thoresby Park, co. Nottingham', 9th report, app., pt. 2, (1883) 375-379
  • Stanley, C. W. N., Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire, the Seat of the Pierrepont Family and Home of Countess Manvers (Derby, English Life Publications, 1st ed., 1971, [2nd ed.], 1973, 3rd ed. 1978) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 346.D64 THO]
  • Wheeler, P. T. and Wood, B. A. 'Management, Farming and Landscape on a Nottinghamshire Sandland Estate, 1862-1977', Trent Geographer , no. 9/10 (double no.) (1986), 2-21. Concerning the Manvers estate in Perlethorpe-cum-Budby and Edwinstowe [King’s Meadow Campus D.H.Lawrence Collection PR6023.A9.Z6.T74]
  • Williamson, J., My Life on a Nottinghamshire Country Estate (Mansfield, [privately published], 1980) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 346.V38 WIL]

Pierrepont family

  • Priestland, Pamela, From Domesday to Dukedom and beyond : the history of the Pierrepont family (Radcliffe on Trent: Ashbracken, 2010)
  • Payne, L.M. and Newman, C.E., ‘The history of the college library: the Dorchester Library’, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London , 4 (1970), 234–46
  • Lister, A., 'Catalogus Bibliothecae Kingstonianae', Book Collector , 32 (1985), 63-77
  • Brackenbury, R. Brothers At War: The Story of the Pierrepont Family in the Civil War (Radcliffe-on-Trent: Ashbracken, 1992) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 1.V30 PIE]
  • 'Pierrepont, of Holme Pierrepoint [sic]', Northern Genealogist , [1] (1895)
  • Also entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), and The History of Parliament: The House of Commons (London : Published for the History of Parliament Trust, various dates)

Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston

  • An authentic detail of particulars relative to the late duchess of Kingston (London, G. Kearsley, 1788) [King’s Meadow Campus Special Collection DA483.K4]
  • Lettre a Madame L*** : sur ce qui a precedé et suivi la mort d’Elisabeth Chudleigh, autrement Duchesse de Kingston : pouvant servir de suite a l’histoire de sa vie (London: C. Foster, 1789) [bound with King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Special Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Boyes, M. 'The Notorious Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston', Nottinghamshire Countryside (published as part of Nottingham Topic ), Feb 1978, 9, 13 [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Store Periodicals:Not]
  • Boyes, M., 'Bess of Holme Pierrepont', Nottinghamshire Countryside (published as part of Nottingham Topic ), Nov 1978, 8-9 [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Store Periodicals:Not]
  • 'Chudleigh, Elizabeth, styled Duchess of Kingston, defendant. Trial of the Duchess of Kingston', in Notable British Trials , ed. by L. Melville (Edinburgh: Hodge, 1927)
  • Brown, B.C., Elizabeth Chudleigh, duchess of Kingston (London: Gerald Howe Ltd, 1927). [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]. Reproduced, with original pagination, in Sackville-West, V. M. and others, Six Brilliant English Women (Howe, 1930)
  • Corley, T.A.B., ‘Chudleigh, Elizabeth [married names Elizabeth Hervey, countess of Bristol; Elizabeth Pierrepont, duchess of Kingston upon Hull] (c.1720–1788)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biograph y, Oxford University Press, 2004 [available online to subscribers, ]
  • Gervat, Claire, Elizabeth: the scandalous life of the Duchess of Kingston (London: Century, 2003) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Mavor, Elizabeth, The virgin mistress, a study in survival: the life of the Duchess of Kingston (London: Chatto and Windus, 1964) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Pearce, Charles E. The amazing duchess, being the romantic history of Elizabeth Chudleigh, maid of honour, the Hon. Mrs. Hervey, Duchess of Kingston, and Countess of Bristol (London: Stanley Paul and Co., 1911) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 346.V38 PIE]
  • Waters, W. G. 'Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston (1720-1788)', in Vincent, A., ed., Lives of Twelve Bad Women: Illustrations and Reviews of Feminine Turpitude Set Forth by Impartial Hands (T. F. Unwin, 1897), 225-258 [King's Meadow Campus Special Collection CT3203.V4]
  • Whitehead, Thomas, Original anecdotes of the late duke of Kingston and Miss Chudleigh (London: 1792)[Available as an eBook to University of Nottingham Library members via the Library's online catalogue ]
  • Wragg, R. B. 'The Chatelaine of Thoresby - or the Remarkable Miss Chudleigh', Nottingham Observer vol. 18, no. 144 (1968), [26]-[27]; and vol. 19, no. 145 (1968), [34]-[35]


Next page:  The Pierrepont Family of Thoresby and Holme Pierrepont: A Brief History


Manuscripts and Special Collections

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