Manuscripts and Special Collections

Clifton of Clifton Collection

Colour illustration of Clifton Hall from c.1880

The Clifton collection contains the papers of the Clifton family of Clifton near Nottingham. The initial collection (Cl) was acquired in 1947-48, and an accrual (Cl 2) was received in 1958. A further small deposit (Cl 3) was received in 1978 and 1984.

The Mellish collection (Me) contains many title deeds and papers relating to the Clifton estates around Hodsock in north Nottinghamshire, sold to the Mellish family in 1765.

Other related collections include the following:

  • Fragments of Court Roll for the Manor of Hodsock, Nottinghamshire, 1344-1375 (Reference MS 29 )
  • Collection of views of Clifton, Nottinghamshire copied from picture postcards printed between about 1900 and 1950 (Reference MS 196 )
  • Records concerning property in Nottingham and Wilford, Nottinghamshire owned by Lt. Col. Percy Robert Clifton, 1901-1920 (Reference MS 397 )
  • Release and discharge relating to trust funds under the will of Sir Gervase Clifton, 1847 (Reference MS 592 )


Principal subject areas within the collection

Although the collection lacks some of the essential elements of a full estate archive (there is for instance no series of maps and plans) it provides general coverage for the history of the estates and the Clifton family over almost 700 years and includes some series of exceptional interest, notably the deeds.

The series of title deeds (Cl D ) from the 12th to the 18th centuries provides exceptionally good evidence of the family's property holding, which lay primarily in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, and the process by which it expanded through marriage and purchase. Areas covered include in particular Blyth, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick, Oldcoates, Styrrup, East Markham and Cotgrave in Nottinghamshire, and Bawtry in Yorkshire. A few properties in Lincolnshire and Derbyshire are also recorded. Settlements, including marriage settlements , and wills are found with the deeds. They include 16th century manuscripts relating to the Pierrepont, Frechevile and Thorold families. Bonds and other financial undertakings, pardons and grants of official office are also found in this series.

The early accounts include rentals and other papers relating to the family estates, with those of the 17th and 18th centuries being a mix of estate, general, personal and household accounts . Many of the entries are bundles of vouchers. By the late 18th and 19th centuries, most are personal and household accounts. The second deposit includes a separate series of rentals (Cl 2 R ), taking the coverage to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although information about the 20th-century estate and individual tenants is patchy, there are letter books of Henry Haynes, agent for the estate (1926-1931), and a series of husbandry books in the second deposit includes estate labour diaries of the 1930s-1940s. A series comprising fifteen inventories (1467 to 1740) record household goods of various members of the Clifton family and others linked to them. Only a very limited number of maps have been deposited, the only significant one being a map of the manor of Clifton, 1763 (Cl 3P 2). However, surveys survive in the main collection from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including records for Kinoulton, Blyth, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick and Oldcoates as well as Clifton and Wilford.

Manorial records from the early 14th to the 18th centuries relate to a number of the Nottinghamshire estates, including Broughton , Clifton cum Glapton and Wilford , Kinoulton , Stanton on the Wolds , Blyth , Hodsock , Carlton in Lindrick and Oldcotes , as well as manors in Derbyshire, Dorset, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire . These records include court rolls, surveys and terriers, as well as valuations and accounts.

There is a small but significant collection of correspondence . Early writers include Sir Gervase Clifton (d 1588), or those engaged in the business of the trustees during the minority of Sir Gervase's heir. The bulk of the letters come from the time of the later Sir Gervase Clifton (d 1666), with a few from the 18th century and later. Members of the Clifton family, their connections and friends, make up the majority of the correspondents. Family and estate matters feature strongly in the letters, and a number of the letters are by women in the family, but public and political affairs are sometimes discussed.

The public career of Sir Gervase Clifton (1587-1666) is recorded in a series described as 'Legal, parliamentary and political papers '. This is a sub-group of particular interest, including records of cases before parliament, 1599-1635, copies of political speeches, petitions addressed to the King or parliament, and other miscellaneous papers concerning Clifton's period as an M.P. for Nottinghamshire and his political interests. A few later items (18th century) refer to local parliamentary elections.

The legal papers in the collection include records of the shrievalty of the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, notably from the periods in the 16th century when office was held by a member of the Clifton family. Further papers relate to causes in which the Cliftons or their connections were involved, or cases in which they were interested though not directly concerned, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

A small bundle of papers and pamphlets, gathered together as 'Literary Manuscripts ', includes a series of verses in English and Latin (17th century), together with theological notes and papers.

A series of miscellaneous papers includes a number of household notes with culinary or medicinal recipes, as well as a number of plans for buildings or alterations. There are two volumes of newspaper cuttings from the war in South Africa, 1899-1900 .


Collections held elsewhere

Other repositories holding archives of the Clifton family:

  • The National Archives holds 17th century Clifton family settlement and trust papers, mainly of the 1st Baronet (Reference: C 108/120, 399)


Useful published works on the Clifton family and their papers

  • Anne Bloomfield, The Clifton dynasty : a chronicle of the Cliftons at Clifton Hall (Bloomington, Indiana : AuthorHouse, c.2005) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4U.V30 CLI]
  • P.R. Seddon, 'Sir Gervase Clifton and the Government of Nottinghamshire 1609-1640', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society , vol. XCVII, 1993, 88-98
  • N. Brooks, 'Clifton', in Nottingham Topic , November 1982, 87-88
  • D. Ecob, 'Religion and the Clifton Family in the Later Middle Ages', in Nottinghamshire Historian 27 (1981), 4-6
  • D. Ecob, 'The Cliftons of Clifton: a Nottinghamshire Gentry Family in the late Fifteenth Century', in Nottinghamshire Historian 26 (1981), 3-5
  • P.R. Seddon, 'Marriage and Inheritance in the Clifton Family during the 17th century', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society , vol. LXXXIV, 1980, 33-43
  • A.H. Tricomi, 'Identifying Sir Gervase Clifton, The Addressee of [John] Marston's Letter, 1607', in Notes and Queries , 222 (1977), 202-203
  • 'Clifton Grove - The Glory and the Shame', Nottingham Topic , December 1970, 31, 33
  • Anon, The Clifton family (197-?) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Oversize Pamphlet Not 4U.V30 CLI]
  • A.C. Wood, 'Sir Robert Clifton, 1826-69', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society 57 (1953), 48-65
  • H.J. Bruce, Silken Dalliance (London: Constable and Co. Ltd, 1947) - includes a chapter on the author's childhood at Clifton
  • A.C. Wood, 'Notes on the early history of the Clifton family', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society , 37 (1933) [also available online, ]
  • W.H.G. Flood, 'A John Marston Letter' [to Sir Gervase Clifton], in The Review of English Studies 4 (1928), 887-88
  • Christopher Hussey, 'Clifton Hall, the seat of Lieut. Col. Percy Clifton', Country Life v. 54, 25 August 1923, 246-254. [Xerox copy available, King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Planfile Not 4U.D64 HAL]
  • Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 'Manuscripts of Sir Hervey Juckes Lloyd Bruce, Preserved at Clifton Hall, Nottingham', in Reports on Manuscripts in Various Collections , Vol. 7 (1914), 247-296 and 389-433
  • F.W. Dobson, 'Note on a Letter of Cardinal Richelieu in the Clifton MSS', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society 16 (1912), 155-158
  • Lady E.M. Bruce, 'Ancient Documents and Letters [of Sir Gervase Clifton] at Clifton Hall', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society 15 (1911), 161-173
  • George Fellows, Arms, Armour and Alabaster around Nottingham: being a brief description of some local alabaster altar tombs (Nottingham: H.B. Saxton, 1907) [also available online, ]
  • Rosslyn Bruce, The Clifton book (Nottingham) (Nottingham : Henry B. Saxton, 1906) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4U.D14 BRU] [also available online, ]
  • Anon, 'Clifton Hall, Nottingham : the seat of Lieut.Col. Hervey Juckes Lloyd Bruce', Country Life vol.7 (175), 12th May 1900, 592-598. [Xerox copy available, King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Planfile Not 4U.G76 CLI]
  • H.E. Field, 'The Brasses in Clifton Church, Nottinghamshire', in Transactions of the Monumental Brass Society , 3 (1897-1899), 249-253
  • Cornelius Brown, 'About Nottinghamshire: its places and its people: Clifton', published in the Nottinghamshire Guardian (1889) [also online, ]
  • Anon, The hero of the people : life and times of the late Sir Robert Juckes Clifton, Bart. M.P. : with an historical sketch of the Clifton family. Reprinted from the Nottingham Journal, 1869 (Nottingham : printed at the Journal Office, 1869) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 4U.V38 CLI]


Next page:  Clifton Family of Clifton: a brief history


Manuscripts and Special Collections

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