The papers of the Preston family comprise estate papers, especially for Kelfield and Moreby in the East Riding, though there are estate papers also in some number for Stillingfleet. In addition there are a few papers for estates in the North and West Ridings and there are seventeenth and nineteenth century manorial records for Kelfield. Family correspondence is reasonably extensive, especially the letters of the Reverend Thomas Preston of Scalby and Henry Preston and his family of Moreby Hall. The collection also contains a fair amount of material related to the will of Marmaduke Lawson, from whom the family inherited Moreby in the eighteenth century. His account books and those of Henry Preston are also useful for information on estates and the account books and other papers of Thomas Preston are useful for information on tithe rents. The collection also contains some magistrates' forms, several of them filled out for bastardy cases and the rest blank for all occasions from disorderly servants to masters misbehaving.
The estate papers in more detail are as follows: (East Riding) Beilby (1564-1643); Dringhoe (1563); Elvington (1774-1818) including an abstract of the title of Richard Sterne and the title deeds of Ralph and John Dodsworth and two letters one of them being from John Hotham to Thomas Preston dated 1809; Hayton (1806-1818) including conveyance documents for the sale of a farm to Thomas Preston for £13,000; Holme upon Spalding Moor (1573-1860) including the marriage settlements of the Boswell/Bosvile family and papers for the Belt, Savage and Rolleston families and a will for George Savage (1815); Howden (1618); Kelfield (1479-1880) including papers for the Vavasour, Carter, Stillington, Cock, Wray, Sturdy and Johnson families, the marriage settlements of Henry Wray and Susanna Lloyd (1776) and Edward Stillingfleet and Mary Peirse (1779), the wills of Thomas Smith (1676), Thomas Smith (1699), John Laycock (1700), Joshua Stillington (1743), Robert Cock (1682), George Wray (1707), Frances Pool (1769), Henry Wray (1812), George Wray (1761), William Peirse (1753), Frances Wanley (1791), Peter Johnson (1797), Mary Stillington (1802), Samuel Hague (1818), Mary Stillington (1755), Dorothy Peirse (1769), William Johnson (1759), William Johnson (1776), Mary Cock (1783), Edward Stillingfleet (1792), Maria Louisa Cayley (1825), William Sampson (1843), Thomas Mitchell (1820), Barnard Clarkson (1825), Joshua Walls (1823), Thomas Creaser (1855), Robert Buckle (1864), William Williamson (1780) and in addition the enclosure act of 1806, a summary of tithes for 1838, some documents about fishing rentals in the late sixteenth century, the succession accounts of Frances and Mary Reeves, the marriage certificate of Robert Guy and Jane Fisher (1833) and the burial certificate of the Reverend Edward William Barnard of South Cave (1828); manor of Kelfield (1617-1820) comprising court rolls for 1660, 1662, 1664, 1672 and 1675 and nineteenth century call rolls, pains and verdicts; Great Kelk (1627-1828) including two letters to Thomas Preston, papers on local families including Langdale and Grimston, the burial certificates of Hannah Hustler (1794) and Jane Fisher (1818), the wills of Blashell Taylor (1775), Mary Taylor (1776), Edward Wingate (17th century), Susanna Dickinson (1715) and William Fisher (1826) and the marriage settlements of John Hodgson and Joyce Foster (1651), Robert Langdale and Elizabeth Smith (1688), Jeremiah Bateson and Susanna Dickinson (1712) and Robert Grimston and Esther Eyres (1741); Little Kelk (1799); Market Weighton Canal (1772-1850) including the subscriptions of Thomas Preston and William Preston for 1772 and the sale to the York and North Midland Railway Company in 1850; Moreby (1598-1830) including papers of George Lawson (1606-1670; not to be confused with the more famous George Lawson of More in Shropshire) and his son, and Henry Slingsby in the seventeenth century and the Milbank family in the eighteenth century, deeds of Marmaduke Lawson from 1680 to 1748, a summary account of Moreby tithes in 1824, the marriage settlements of George Lawson and Elizabeth Boswell (1680) and Ralph Milbank and Judith Noel (1776) and the wills of Alicia Iveson (1730) and Mark Milbank (1680); Naburn (1708-1764) including papers about Ralph Milbank; Seaton Ross (1637-1839) including an inventory of the goods of Marmaduke Lawson (1761); Stillingfleet (1755-1876) including some papers of the Leedle family, some of Dr James Wood, the inclosure act of 1755, various burial and marriage certficates for the Turner, Hunt and Masterman families, papers of Henry Preston and the wills of John Lazenby (1826), George Lazenby (1871), George Hunt (1860) and Elizabeth Hunt (1863); Turnham Hall (1667); Wold Newton (1786); (North Riding) Huntington (1633, 1666); North Holme (1510-1727) including the marriage settlement of William Peirse and Dorothy Stillington (1727); Scalby (1776-1826) comprising largely the tithe rent accounts of Thomas Preston; (West Riding) Armley (1670-1808); Cawood (1827-1884); Cracoe (1787); Drighlington (1794-1813); Fenwick (1591); Gomersall (1646-1867) including some material on the Taylors a merchant family in the seventeenth century; Hemsworth and Heckmondwike (1655-1825) including the wills of Francis Fourness (1796), John Fourness (1723), William Copley (1738) and William Copley (1752); Hightown in Liversedge (1790-1814) including correspondence and other papers in the dispute between Henry Preston and Joshua Waller over a dam in 1800; Kirk Bramwith and Braithwaite (1604-1607); Leeds (1702-1802) being all material about the Preston family pew in Leeds parish church; Liversedge (1602-1818) including papers of the Dawson family in the seventeenth century and of the Oldroyd, Wray, Green, Brock and Farrer families of the eighteenth century and the will of Abraham Farrer (1740); Methley (1818, 1835); Morley (1799, 1817); Moss alias Mossley in the parish of Campsall (1341-1743) including a reasonable number of medieval title documents especially for the Doughty, Ode and Edlington families, the will of Richard Stowe (1620) and a plan of Robert Matson's estate in 1743; Pudsey (1600-1832) including the lease of Thomas Preston in 1779, the enclosure act of 1811 and the will of Michael Jenkinson (1623); Robert Town and Mill Bridge (1603-1818) including papers of the Farrer family in the seventeenth century and an estimate for the working of the Robert Town Colliery in 1818; Saddleworth (1785-1814) including estimates for repairs to property; South Hindley (1619); Staincliffe (1802); Trumfleet (1377, 1573); (Other counties) York (1752-1769) being papers about navigation and fishing in the River Ouse; Eakring, Nottinghamshire (1619-1621); Darlington, county Durham (1715, 1750); Norwich, county Norfolk (1788); Tittensor, Staffordshire (1667); various townships (1550-1814) including the rentals and crops of Henry Preston's various estates.
Accounts and vouchers in the collection include the account books for Marmaduke Lawson 1718-58; the account and tithe rental books of Thomas Preston, his bank book and notes about servants' wages; the bank books of Henry Preston in the 1820s and 1830s; lawyers' accounts for William Preston in the 1760s and 1770s and some early nineteenth century farm accounts including details of wages. The collection also contains a number of acts of parliament (1732-1870) related to enclosure, drainage and navigation; bonds (1600-1831) including two £30 bonds paid by Richard Carr and Thomas Carr to Elizabeth Thompson for bearing a bastard child in 1821; magistrates forms (1820-1821) most being blank but a few being filled out for bastardy claims; legal material (1761-1841) about the will of Marmaduke Lawson; various deeds (1604-1831) including the institution of Charles Lawson to the vicarage of West Markham and admission and subscription articles for Thomas Preston on institution to the vicarage of Scalby in 1773.
Miscellaneous material in the collection (1775-1874) includes a poem on the marriage of Thomas Preston, an inventory of the plate of the Reverend John Lambert in 1811, the baptism certificate of Anna Maria Preston (1815), a recipe for cooking pike, the seventeenth century pedigree of the Awnby family of Sherwood Hall, some jotting diaries of Henry Preston's from the 1820s and his passport of 1840 and some samples of family hair.
Settlements in the collection (1697-1839) include the following marriage settlements: John Farrer and Elizabeth Brooksbank (1697); Joseph Stillington and Mary Peirse (1729); William Farrer and Ann Collins (1732); William Preston and Elizabeth Kilvington (1756); Henry Preston and Ann Fourness (1774); Richard Thorpe and Jennifer Fourness (1777); Anthony Fountain Eyre and Honor Wolley (1775); John Helas and Elizabeth Walker (1790); Cooper Preston and Mary Taylor (1811); Anna Maria Preston and Friederich Franz von Langan (1839); John Farrer and Priscilla Bolderson (1717); John Bever and Margaret Preston (1752); John Haigh and Ellen Preston (1755); William Preston and Ann Foulis (1776). Wills in the collection (1627-1847) are as follows: John Heworth (1627); George Lawson (1698); Richard Nicholson (1702); Joseph Stillington (1743); Jeremiah Farrer (1744); Dorothy Colston (1744); Elizabeth Colston (1756); Dorothy Peirse (1769); Henry Preston (1807); John Dunn (n.d.); Elizabeth Helas (1825); codicils of the will of John Lambert (1802-1811); Thomas Preston (1826); Henry Preston (1847); Abraham Preston (1780); William Preston (1771) and William Preston (1791).
Correspondence in the collection (1754-1857) in more detail is as follows: it includes the correspondence of William Preston junior about the will of Marmaduke Lawson as main beneficiary; the bulk of the correspondence is to the Reverend Thomas Preston between 1779 and 1829 from family members such as his nephew William Blackburn and great niece Jemima Layton and is largely concerned with local affairs such as charities, drainage, schools, churches, the Hull Infirmary and York Lunatic Assylum with some news about India especially the indigo trade; the bulk of the remainder of the correspondence is the letters of Henry Preston senior, Henry Preston junior and their wives, Ann Fourness (including some letters from the Gildersome Female Society of which she was treasurer) and Maria Ann Crompton and this correspondence encompasses estate affairs, news of Europe especially Germany from Anna Maria Preston and her husband Friederich Franz von Langan, and news of Thomas Henry Preston first in school at Eton and then in the 7th Hussars in Canada and the West Indies from 1838; some miscellaneous eighteenth century correspondence related to other families featured in the collection's title deeds such as Peirse, Stillington and Lawson; there are 59 letters written by Joseph Sykes to his steward John Young Macvicar about West Riding estate affairs; 2 invitations from Prince Poniatowski to Catarina Zondadori and a few earlier Preston family letters relating to William Preston senior and William Preston junior.