Nicholls Local History Collection

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MSS 916-925
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      6 subfonds

Scope and Content

Letters and manuscripts on Cheshire local history and genealogy of the Cheshire antiquary William Nicholls.

Administrative / Biographical History

Little is known about William Nicholls, an antiquary of Chester. He was possibly the son of Benjamin Nicholls (1717-1765), curate of Holy Trinity Chester and vicar of Eccles. William Nicholls was deputy registrar and secretary to the Bishop of Chester and lived at Chorlton Hall, later the home of the antiquary and lawyer George Ormerod. He was an early fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and his help in compiling their history of Cheshire was acknowledged by Daniel and Samuel Lysons. A William Nicholls became a freeman of the City of Chester in February 1802. William Nicholls died in 1809 aged 49.

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the bookseller Bernard Halliday in September 1938 (Catalogue 230, item 153).


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, and Elizabeth Gow, Assistant Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, with reference to The Cheshire Sheaf, vol. 33 (1938), pp. 96 and 101.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937-1951 (English MSS 916-925).


Arthur Adams, Cheshire Visitation Pedigrees 1663, Harleian Society, vol. 93 (London: 1941), is based on English MS 923, and includes a name index.

For English MS 923 see also Anthony Wagner, The Records and Collections of the College of Arms (London: Burke's Peerage, 1952), which includes a descriptive commentary on the visitations and resulting records.

Geographical Names