The Tabley Muniments

Scope and Content

The collection consists mainly of the personal papers of John Byrne Leicester Warren, 3rd Baron de Tabley. The papers reflect his interests in literature, politics, botany and numismatics and include correspondence with numerous prominent later Victorian figures. Attention should also be drawn to de Tabley's extensive and important collection of armorial bookplates.

Correspondents include Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff, Edmund Gosse, Lord Houghton, A.C.Benson, and Robert Bridges. There are volumes of Tabley's essays and verse, as well as a considerable number of notebooks and loose manuscripts of verse and other writings. There are various bundles and boxes relating to "Coins", "Botany", "Poetry", "Literary", "Financial" and bookplates.

Administrative / Biographical History

The poet John Byrne Leicester Warren, later 3rd and last Baron de Tabley, of Tabley near Knutsford, Cheshire, was born in 1835, the son of the 2nd Baron de Tabley (1811-1887), and his wife, Catherina. His mother was Italian, the daughter of the count de Soglio, and Warren spent much of his early childhood with her in Italy and Greece. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. At Oxford he published a volume of poetry. Originally he published under the pseudonyms George F. Preston (1859-1862) and William Lancaster (1863-1868), but latterly under his own name.

His early verse included Praeterita (1863), Eclogues and Monodramas (1864), Studies in Verse (1865), Philocletes (1866), and Orestes (1868). His early work was Tennysonian in style, but he was later to be influenced by both Browning and Swinburne. In 1873 he produced Searching the Net , his first work in his own name, but following the poor reception of The Soldier's Fortune in 1876, Warren more or less gave up his literary work and retired to the family estate in Cheshire. His reputation as a poet recovered in later years with the publication of a selection of his poems in 1891 and of Poems, Dramatic and Lyrical in 1893.

In early life, Warren had served briefly as a diplomat at Constantinople, and he was also called to the Bar. In the 1868 general election he contested, unsuccessfully, the mid-Cheshire division as a Liberal. For most of his life however he lived as a gentleman-scholar. He was an expert numismatist, an enthusiastic botanist who recorded the flora of his native Cheshire, and a pioneering collector of book-plates, producing the standard guide on the subject, A Guide to the Study of Book Plates (ex-libris) , (eight volumes, 1880). In 1887 Warren succeeded his father as Baron de Tabley. He died in 1895, when the peerage became extinct. Of melancholy temperament, Tabley did not achieve the reputation as a poet which at one stage had appeared likely.


The collection has not yet been arranged in archival order.

Access Information

Open to any accredited reader.

Other Finding Aids

Preliminary survey list.

Separated Material

The family and estate papers of the Leicester-Warren Family of Tabley are held by Cheshire Record Office. Some of these papers were originally in the custody of the John Rylands University Library .

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Related Material

There is correspondence with the 3rd Baron de Tabley among the Edward Freeman Papers, also held at UML(EAF) . The Library also has custody of the important Tabley Book Collection.

Geographical Names