Manuscripts and Special Collections

The Willoughby Family of Wollaton and Middleton: A Brief History

The Willoughby family can trace its descent back to Ralph Bugge, a Nottingham merchant, who bought lands in Willoughby-on-the-Wolds, Nottinghamshire, in the thirteenth century.

The Willoughbys acquired various other properties through marriage and purchase, chief among which were the Wollaton and Cossall estates in Nottinghamshire, in the fourteenth century, and the Middleton estate in Warwickshire, in the fifteenth century.

Sir Francis Willoughby (d 1596) completed the building of Wollaton Hall in 1588. Sir Francis had no sons, and the greater part of the estate passed to his son-in-law Sir Percival Willoughby of Bore Place, Kent (d 1643), husband of Sir Francis's eldest daughter Bridget, and a descendent of the Willoughby de Eresby family. From then on, the estate has passed in unbroken male succession to the present day.

The descent of the main Middleton and Wollaton estates until the creation of the Barony in 1712 was as follows:

Barons Middleton

Other Notable Family Members


Genealogical Sources

  • Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage
  • Debrett's Peerage
  • The Complete Peerage
  • Dictionary of National Biography
  • Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire
  • Dugdale's Visitation of Nottinghamshire, 1662-1664
  • Cassandra, Duchess of Chandos, 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)
  • Internal evidence from the collection


Next page:  Middleton Family Seats


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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