Headlam and Headlam-Morley Papers

Scope and Content

The collection ranges in date from the first half of the seventeenth century - manuscript sermons - up to the late 1940s with some files from Arthur Cayley Headlam’s retirement after resigning as bishop of Gloucester in 1945. The records are principally those of 3 generations of the Headlam family: John Headlam (1769-1854), archdeacon of Richmond from 1826; his son Arthur William Headlam (1826-1909), a clergyman of Durham diocese; his son Arthur Cayley Headlam (1862-1947), principal of King’s College London from 1903 and then bishop of Gloucester from 1923; and his cousin Major-General Sir John Emerson Wharton Headlam (1864-1946).

Present are sermons of the three clergymen, with those of the first two forming a single grouping along with some sermons of their predecessors extending back to the early 1700s. Most of these manuscript sermons are endorsed with where and when they were delivered, many of them having been used several times.

Aside from one sequence, there are particular groupings of records for each individual. The largest collection is probably that of Arthur Cayley Headlam. This comprises a considerable series of correspondence, much of it private and family rather than his official correspondence as principal of King’s College London, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford or bishop of Gloucester. There are some files from his time in the latter two posts, along with some records of the administration of the Whorlton estate, which largely follow on from his father’s role in this. There is also a quantity of diaries and travel journals from his early years, lectures and research notes, possibly from his time as fellow of All Souls, engagement diaries and accounts from his time as bishop, and articles, sermons and other writings. The printed items include parish magazines from his only incumbency, at Welwyn in Hertfordshire, and of course a collection of his own published writings along with one unpublished volume. There also two small groups of photographs concerning the foundation of King’s College Hospital in London in the 1900s and various ecclesiastical groupings from his time as bishop.

His father, Arthur William Headlam, had been less involved in great affairs and the material from his time is even more family orientated. As well as correspondence with his son Arthur, there are bundles of correspondence with his youngest son Lionel who died aged only 28 in 1898, some school and university records for his sons, diaries of the boys’ mother and correspondence with their maiden aunts Isabella and Margaret as well as some correspondence and writings of their sister Rose. There is also material reflecting the administration of the estate based on Whorlton Hall at this time in the later nineteenth century.

The papers of John Headlam similarly concern family and estate matters rather than his administration of Richmond archdeaconry, though they do include some of his published charges.

The material relating to John Emerson Wharton Headlam appears to be a quite separate grouping, being largely letters between himself and his wife Mary Charlotte née Wilkinson from before their marriage in 1890 up to the First World War.

The collection does not include many records reflecting the official roles of these members of the family in church, state, the military or local administration. There is very little photographic material, particularly not the albums which were inventoried at Whorlton in 1972.

Administrative / Biographical History

See scope and content.


The collection was arranged in 2003 as follows: 

  • A. Papers of John Headlam, his predecessors and contemporaries.
  • B. Papers of Arthur William Headlam, his siblings and children except Arthur Cayley.
  • C. Papers of Arthur Cayley Headlam.
  • D. Papers of John Emerson Wharton Headlam.

Access Information

Open for consulation.

Acquisition Information

The papers were transferred to DUL in several stages during the mid-1970s, with specific accessions on 14 & 21 June and 5 October 1973, 19 September 1974, and 18 April and 27 June 1977.

Other Finding Aids

Available online at online catalogue.

Separated Material

The papers of Cuthbert Morley Headlam (1876-1964), the third son of John Headlam's youngest son Francis John and so another cousin of Arthur Cayley Headlam, are in Durham County Record Office, reference D/He.

There is also much Headlam material in the Hanby Holmes records at Durham County Record Office, reference D/HH.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.