Howard of Naworth Papers: Northumberland deeds, manorial and estate records and miscellaneous papers

Scope and Content

A miscellaneous collection of deeds, manorial and estate records, correspondence and papers relating chiefly to the Howards' Northumberland estate, centred on Morpeth and often known as the Morpeth estate, and to Morpeth borough and parliamentary affairs, but also including some material relating to the Howard estates in Cumberland, County Durham and Yorkshire, 15th century - ca.1930 but predominantly 18th-19th centuries.

For fuller details of the geographical range of this section of the collection and the nature of the manorial and estate material mentioned below see the general description of the Howard of Naworth Papers under Administrative etc. history. There is a good deal of overlap between these records and records in other sections of the Howard of Naworth Papers. In particular, material relating to the manors of Featherstone and Thirlwall, which, although in Northumberland, were physically separated from the main Northumberland estates and situated close to the Cumberland estates (with which they were generally administered), will be found in both the Northumberland and Cumberland sections of the papers.

The arrangement and numbering of this section of the collection was devised in the Howard estate office before the records were deposited in Durham and, as a condition of deposit, the existing system was retained (the bundle numbers being prefixed with an N to distinguish them from the Cumberland series). Unfortunately the arrangement is haphazard and disguises the true relationships between many of the documents. Although there is a certain amount of grouping by, for instance, manor or type of record, this is not consistent and related items are often separated.

The main types of records in the collection are:

Material relating to earlier owners of the estates, in particular the Dacres, and to their estates in general

  • For the Dacre family see the general description of the Howard of Naworth Papers under Administrative etc. history. HNP N25/1-2, N25/12, N49/30-31 and N51/1 refer to parts of the estates, including their acquisition, chiefly by the Dacres, 1271, 1492, 1494, 1538 and 1593. HNP N108/15 consists of surveys and rentals of Dacre lands in County Durham, 1536 and 1591, and Northumberland, 1542.

Northumberland Quarter Sessions extracts

  • Extracts re fines etc. imposed at Northumberland Quarter Sessions, including references to recusants, 1676-1679 (HNP N51/12-13).

Deeds, leases and associated papers relating to the Northumberland estate, including the manors of Featherstone and Thirlwall

  • The Northumberland section of the collection contains numerous deeds, including conveyances, mortgages, settlements, bonds and copy wills of various dates, together with related schedules, correspondence, legal papers etc.; among them are some early 17th-century documents from the time of Lord William Howard, e.g. HNP N37, N41, N44, N49/35 (re Thirlwall) and N51/21 (re Lord William Howard's interest in Longbenton and in Tynemouth, Preston and Morpeth), and a series of legal papers re the estate of the late Duchess of Montagu (ancestress of a Countess of Carlisle), 1719- 1735 (HNP N35).
  • Among the deeds there are also copies of some conveyances carried out following the sales of parts of the Northumberland estates, 1915-1916 (e.g. HNP N73/3); [for further information on the sales of the estates see under Estate records below and the description of the HNP 1971 and 1982 supplementary accessions].
  • Scattered throughout the Northumberland section of the Howard of Naworth Papers there are also numerous counterpart, copy and draft leases. HNP N108/12 is a register of all the leases let in Northumberland, 1692-1702.
  • In addition to documents concerning landed properties and buildings there are also deeds and leases relating to manors and manorial rights, tithes, tolls and mills and in particular numerous mining leases, especially for collieries.

Manorial records relating to the Northumberland estate, excluding Morpeth (see separate section below) but including the manors of Featherstone and Thirlwall

  • These records include surveys and valuations (including HNP N74/47, survey of lands in Northumberland taken for Lord William Howard in 1603), plans (scattered throughout the collection but see in particular HNP N51/17 and N100), customaries and some papers re admittances, fines and enfranchisements.
  • There are also various series of rentals, e.g. 1666-1774 with gaps (HNP N111), 1719- 1729 (HNP N75), 1756-1760 and 1762 (HNP N78/5), 1775 (HNP N108/6), 1786 (HNP N108/5), 1785-1796 (HNP N119/1-2) and ca.1860-1888 (HNP N121/1), and series described as accounts and rents or rentals and accounts, e.g. 1678-1711 with gaps (HNP N119/3), 1730-1757 (HNP N112-117), 1801-1855 (HNP N101-N106; also HNP N80/3) and ca.1856-1869 (HNP N80/2, 5-6, 14-19).

Estate records relating to the Northumberland estate, excluding Morpeth (see separate section below) but including the manors of Featherstone and Thirlwall

  • These include reports on farms and farm buildings (e.g. HNP N52/1-3, 1746-1747 and 1818, and HNP N80/11-12, 1855-1875), accounts (e.g. HNP N108/13-14, 1717-1721 and 1725-1728, and HNP N108/7-11, 1820-1824), bills (e.g. HNP N119/3/16, ca.1701, HNP N52/57-58, including bills for nurseries, plantations and farm buildings, 1737-1741, and HNP N25/29, bills re pantiles, bricks and earthenware, ca.1739-1755), and some references to drainage (e.g. HNP N80/11-12, 1855-1875), woods and timber (e.g. HNP N80/12, 1876-1885) and inclosures.
  • There are also some papers re appointments of agents and some correspondence re estate business, notably in HNP N122, ca.1863-1927 (listed alphabetically by correspondent), and HNP N124, ca.1889-1924, together with a folder of memoranda and plans about the estates, 1890-1916, including notes on sales of parts of the estates (HNP N121/23). [For further information on the sales of the estates see under Deeds above and the descriptions of the HNP 1971 and 1982 supplementary accessions].

Collieries and railways on the Northumberland estate, excluding Morpeth (see separate section below) but including the manors of Featherstone and Thirlwall

  • As well as the colliery deeds and leases mentioned above there are some groups of correspondence and papers relating to Northumberland colliery business etc., chiefly 19th-20th centuries (e.g. HNP N83-86, N92-N93, N121/18 and N121/22). [For collieries see also miscellaneous documents re Estates in general below, HNP 1967 and 1971 accessions, and HNP 1982 accession, Part 1, correspondence file 121, Netherton colliery, Northumberland, ca.1950-1960.]
  • There is also some material on railways, 19th century (e.g. HNP N10/13, N22/9, N51/5, N80/10, N99/5, N109/4 and N121/21).

Morpeth manorial and borough and parliamentary records

  • The Northumberland section of the Howard of Naworth Papers includes a large amount of material relating to the two manors of Morpeth (1 manor and borough of Morpeth and 2 manor and barony of Morpeth Castle) and to the town of Morpeth. The main topics covered are listed below. [For other Morpeth manorial records, in particular court books, and material relating to Morpeth parliamentary elections, see the separately described section of volumes among the Howard of Naworth Papers.]
  • Manor and barony of Morpeth Castle court book extract, 1700 (HNP N51/10), and papers, 1738-1743 (HNP N74/32).
  • Correspondence and papers re Morpeth courts, ca.1757-1789 and 1792-1799 (HNP N2 and N74/57).
  • Morpeth court baron papers, 1789-1798 (HNP N74/54).
  • Morpeth borough and free rents, 1717-1823 with gaps (HNP N54).
  • Manor and borough of Morpeth rentals, 1774-1800 (HNP N118).
  • Morpeth borough rents miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 19th-20th centuries (HNP N124).
  • Memorandum on the constitution of Morpeth and its seven trade companies, n.d. [post 1808] (HNP N56/4).
  • A considerable number of records (correspondence, papers, lists, legal records etc.) relating to the freemen of Morpeth, including their disputes with Lord Carlisle, and to Morpeth parliamentary elections, in which the freemen played an important role; see in particular HNP N55/1-3 (admissions of freemen, 1708-1768), N74/31 (returns of freemen etc., 1771-1793), HNP N57 (papers in various court cases re Morpeth and in particular re the election and rights of freemen, ca.1754-1780), N52/52 (1705, 1708 and 1710 elections), N3/2 and N56/5 (1724 election), N1 (ca.1771-1779), N4 (1774 election), N57/16-22 (1774 and 1780 elections and n.d.), N87/3 (need for by-election 1776), N51/4 and N74/45 (1777 election, including expenses), N74/46 and N87/37 (1780 election expenses), N74/44 and N87/38-55 (expenses of Andrew Fenwick, election agent, 1781 and 1784-1790, with odd miscellaneous papers re 1781 and 1784 elections) and N74/56 (1841 election expenses). [See also HNP N87/1-36, Fenwick family and business correspondence, ca.1773-1832.]
  • Papers concerning a dispute between the Earl of Carlisle and the bailiffs of Morpeth re an estate called The Gubeon in Morpeth, leased by the bailiffs from the Earl, ca.1797- 1812 but also reciting documents of 1645-1695 (HNP N56 and N74/1).
  • Morpeth fairs and markets, 19th-20th centuries but including copies of royal grants of the fair and market, 1199 and 1285, and of town's acknowledgment of lord's right to courts, fairs and markets, 1618 (HNP N61, N99/3 and N99/6), together with correspondence, papers, depositions, agreements, award etc. re the Fair Moor, ca.1713-1798 (N109/6).
  • Morpeth tolls, 18th century, 1815 and late 19th-early 20th century (e.g. HNP N3/1, N22/2, N25 and N99/3).
  • Morpeth mills disputes, 1699-1738 (HNP N55/4).
  • Morpeth water supply, 1820 and 1828 (HNP N22/3-4).
  • Morpeth races, 1868 (HNP N80/13).
  • Morpeth Town Hall, Market Place and streets, 18th-20th centuries (e.g. HNP N18, N62, N73/1, N80 and N99/7).
  • Morpeth gaol, 1725 and 1821 (HNP N51/10q and N52/54).
  • Morpeth schools, especially Morpeth Grammar School, including schoolmasters, 18th- 20th centuries (e.g. HNP N22/1, N31, N56/5, N63 and N69/1).
  • Morpeth Mechanics' Institute, late 19th - early 20th century (HNP N99/3).
  • Miscellaneous leases, correspondence and papers re Morpeth affairs, ca.1730-1843 and 1891-1919 (HNP N69/2-6 and N99/3).

Howard of Unthank family and the manors of Plenmeller, Haltwhistle and Hartleyburn, Northumberland

  • The collection includes a little material re the Howard of Unthank, Northumberland family, who were possibly descended from Lord William Howard (see general description of the Howard of Naworth Papers under Administrative etc. history), in connection with the manors of Plenmeller, Haltwhistle and Hartleyburn in the first half of the 17th century (e.g. HNP N51/2). [The collection also includes some 18th and 19th-century documents re Haltwhistle and Hartleyburn (e.g. HNP N9, N10/12-14, N93 and N109/3).]

Haltwhistle, Northumberland Rural District Council

  • In addition to a few manorial and estate records re Haltwhistle (see Howard of Unthank above) the collection includes some Haltwhistle Rural District Council papers, 1907-1912 (HNP N109/2).

Ulgham, Northumberland

  • In addition to estate and manorial records re Ulgham the collection includes:
  • Documents re creation of Ulgham parish and presentation to the living, 1875 (HNP N42).
  • Ulgham parochial library printed list of books, 1881 (HNP N121/10).

Miscellaneous documents re the estates in general, including the Yorkshire estates

  • Schedules of documents re lands in Carlisle, Cumberland and Yorkshire, ca.1100-1695 (HNP N74/42 and N74/60).
  • Abstract of County Durham and Yorkshire documents, 1618-1715 (HNP N88/1).
  • Act of Parliament for vesting manors and lands in Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumberland and County Durham, late the estate of Henry, Earl of Carlisle, 1765 (HNP N108/3).
  • Appointments and resignations of steward and recorder of Howard courts, baronies and manors in County Durham and Northumberland, 1769 and 1794 (HNP N51/10i, N74/17 and N74/58).
  • Draft precipes and recovery re County Durham, Cumberland and Yorkshire estates, ca.1825 (HNP N78/2-4).
  • Notes on collieries, Northumberland, Cumberland and County Durham estates, 1856- 1932 (HNP N121/18).

Stray miscellaneous documents re manors, estates, properties etc. and lead mining in Cumberland and County Durham

  • Barnard Castle, County Durham, North-Eastern County School, 1879-1880 (HNP N121/1/xxiii-xxiv).
  • Beamish manor and Tanfield Moor, County Durham, ca.1670-1731 (HNP N77/44).
  • Burntoft (alias Brunstoft or Burnstoft) manor, County Durham: conveyance, 1585, and schedule of documents (including references to Teesdale lead mines), 1585-1678 (HNP N88/5 and N88/11).
  • Dalston manor, Cumberland: court roll extract, 1689 (HNP N51/6).
  • Lanercost Priory parsonage house, Cumberland (work by Samuel Nowell for Anthony Salvin, architect), 1851 (HNP N51/10m). [For other work by Salvin see Naworth Castle below and also separate description of the Cumberland section of the Howard of Naworth papers.]
  • Old John, County Durham (farm), 1714 (HNP N52/13).
  • Naworth Castle, Cumberland, water supply (Anthony Salvin, architect), 1867 (HNP N122/Salvin).
  • Nichol Forest manor, Cumberland: court roll extracts, 1689 (HNP N51/7-8).
  • Stanhope manor and Stanhope Hall, County Durham, 18th century but including abstracts of earlier documents, 16th century onwards (HNP N35 and N88; see also HNP C170/25 for a 1677 mortgage of Stanhope Park).
  • Documents re lead mining in Stanhope and on Alston Moor, Cumberland, 18th century (HNP N88).

Acquisition Information

Deposited with the Department and Palaeography of the University of Durham (since 1990 part of the Archives and Special Collections department of Durham University Library) in 1954 by M.R.H. Minerals Ltd., the Howard family company, through Stanley Walton, the Howard land-agent.

Bundle N59, a stray from this deposit, was included in the separately described 17 August 1982 supplementary deposit of Howard of Naworth Papers received from the same source as above.


English and Latin, with one item in French.

Other Finding Aids

Detailed catalogue, compiled by C.R. Hudleston, List of the Howard family documents relating to Northumberland [bundles N1-N124] (Durham, April 1967); available online at and a card-index (persons, places and subjects in one alphabetical sequence) is available in the Archives and Special Collections search-room).

Alternative Form Available

Durham University Library holds a microfilm copy of HNP N111 (part) and HNP N119/3 (part), Northumberland estate rentals, 1666-1682.

Durham University Library holds a microfilm copy of HNP N49/34, rental of Thirlwall customary tenements, n.d.

Separated Material

Northumberland Record Office: Woodman's Morpeth Collectanea, vol. 4, includes three sets of accounts re the Earl of Carlisle's Northumberland estates, Pentecost 1674, Pentecost 1675 and early 18th century [?1711]; [possibly similar to the material in HNP N111], and the whole collection is complementary to the Howard of Naworth Papers, containing for example important political correspondence relating to the anti-Lord Carlisle faction in Morpeth elections.