Manvers Collection, a Collection of Estate Papers of the Pierrepont Family, Earls Manvers, of Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire, 1342-1982

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The papers are in nine groups, reflecting the accrued nature of the Collection. All contain records relating to the management of the majority of the Manvers estates throughout England, and they include a wide range of documents dating from 1342 to 1982.

Medieval and early modern title deeds (12th-19th centuries), manorial records, some estate papers and the Pierrepont family and personal papers were deposited in the British Library by the 6th Earl Manvers in 1942. This helps to explain the apparent gaps in some of the material held in this collection.

The title deeds in this collection principally record transactions of land in the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection's greatest strength lies in its continuous coverage of accounts, rentals and estate papers from the mid-17th century to the 20th century, documenting the careful administration of a large landed estate over time. The extensive records relating to the manor of Laxton in Nottinghamshire are also of great interest. Laxton is now the only village in England still farmed using the traditional open-field system, and manorial records, plans, surveys and deeds in the Manvers collection document life there over a period of more than 300 years.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Pierreponts were based in north and central Nottinghamshire until the marriage of Henry de Pierrepont to Annora de Manvers at the end of the 13th century brought the estate at Holme, four miles from Nottingham, into the family. It was not until 1633 that the Thoresby estate was purchased by Sir Robert Pierrepont. The medieval Pierreponts were prominent local landowners and politicians, and two of them, Sir Robert de Pierrepont in the fourteenth century, and Sir Henry Pierrepont in the fifteenth century, also distinguished themselves on the battlefield.

Sir George Pierrepont (d 1564), Sir Henry Pierrepont (d 1616), and Sir Robert Pierrepont (d 1643) presided over a period of expansion and consolidation of the family estates. Sir George Pierrepont purchased a number of former monastic estates in Nottinghamshire following the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. Sir Robert Pierrepont (1584-1643) was created Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull in 1628, and purchased extensive estates in North Nottinghamshire (Thoresby, Laxton etc.), Derbyshire (Beighton, Calow, Owlcotes and Heath), Lincolnshire (Newball, Hagworthingham, Crowle, Hemingby, Langton-by-Wragby) and Yorkshire (Adwick upon Dearne, Wothersome, and Ingleby Arncliffe). The Orton Longueville estate in Huntingdonshire came to him through his marriage.

Following Robert's death in 1643, his eldest son Henry, created Marquess of Dorchester in 1645, succeeded to the Holme Pierrepont and Orton Longueville estates. However, most of the Earl's purchased estates were settled on his second son William Pierrepont (d 1679) of Tong Castle (Shropshire) and later of Thoresby. William's eldest son, Robert Pierrepont, inherited the Thoresby and Lincolnshire estates, and also acquired the West Dean (Wiltshire and Hampshire) estate through his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir John Evelyn. The Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Shropshire properties were again left to younger sons.

The Marquess of Dorchester died without male issue in 1680, when he was succeeded as 3rd Earl of Kingston by his great-nephew Robert Pierrepont. From then on, Thoresby became the main residence, in preference to Holme Pierrepont Hall. The 3rd Earl died in 1682, being succeeded in turn by his brother William as 4th Earl and, in 1690, by another brother Evelyn (c.1665-1726) as 5th Earl.

The 5th Earl of Kingston inherited the Holme Pierrepont, Thoresby, Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire and Wiltshire estates at his accession. He sold Orton Longueville in 1706, but inherited the Beighton and Adwick estates on the death of Samuel Pierrepont of Oldcotes in 1707. He also acquired the Shropshire and other Yorkshire estates, together with an estate at Hanslope (Buckinghamshire), on the death of his uncle, Baron Pierrepont of Hanslape, in 1715. He was created Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull in 1715, and was succeeded in 1726 by his grandson Evelyn (1711-73). The 2nd Duke of Kingston developed his property in Bath, which remained in the family until its sale in 1874. However, other estates in Yorkshire (except Adwick) were sold during the eighteenth century, as were Hanslope in 1763, Tong in 1764 and West Dean after 1773.

The male line died out with the 2nd Duke of Kingston in 1773. The estates were inherited in 1788, following the death of the Duke's widow, by his nephew Charles Medows (1737-1816), despite the legal challenges of Charles's elder brother Evelyn, who initiated a successful court case against the Countess of Kingston for bigamy. Charles assumed the surname Pierrepont in 1788, and was created Viscount Newark in 1796 and Earl Manvers in 1806. He was succeeded by Charles Herbert, the 2nd Earl (1778-1860), Sydney William Herbert, the 3rd Earl (1825-1900), Charles William Sydney, the 4th Earl (1854-1926), and Evelyn Robert, the 5th Earl (1888-1940).

The first four generations of Earls Manvers were all based very firmly in Nottinghamshire, taking local offices appropriate to their status, and interesting themselves greatly in local affairs. The family's wealth, almost all of which came from careful management of landed property, enabled the 3rd Earl Manvers to build the present sumptuous Thoresby Hall from 1864 to 1871. However, as rent receipts for agricultural land fell in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the family began selling some of their estates. Properties in Wiltshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire were sold in the 1910s and 1920s, and some of the outlying Nottinghamshire estates in the 1930s. Death duties following the death of the 5th Earl in 1940 forced the sale of the Holme Pierrepont estate. By 1950 the estate was limited to properties in Perlethorpe, Budby, Edwinstowe, Laxton, Kneesall, Kersall and Eakring, plus chief rents from Weston, and rents from canal, railway and utility companies on the old Holme Pierrepont estate. With the 6th Earl's death, in 1955, the Manvers title became extinct. His widow remained at Thoresby Hall, which was sold in 1980, until her death in 1984.

Arrangement

This collection is divided into separate groups with their own catalogues, with each accession or accrual listed separately. Within catalogues, material is divided according to form (e.g. accounts, surveys etc.) and listed chronologically within sections.

The first catalogue (Ma 3001-5876) contains 19th and 20th century title deeds; estate papers and surveys dating back to the 18th century, including a large number from the manor of Laxton; a particularly fine continuous series of general accounts and rentals dated 1678 to 1780; and Derbyshire colliery accounts, 1786-1834.

The second catalogue (Ma A-X) contains a continuation of the general accounts and rentals series, up to 1851 in most cases; over 500 bundles of estate agents' correspondence and papers from the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire estates, principally from the 18th and 19th centuries; manorial records; maps, surveys, and parish accounts.

The third catalogue (Ma 2) contains a large number of maps and plans; further 19th century title deeds, estate and manorial papers; general accounts (1864-1891) and rentals complementing those in other deposits; incoming and outgoing estate correspondence, 1840-1947; accounts relating to the building of the second and third Thoresby Halls, 1766-72 and 1864-75; and records of the Rufford Hunt (1902-1933).

The fourth catalogue (Ma 3) is split into two parts: the first was received from the Earls' London solicitors and contains accounts of the Receiver, 1926-1938, and mostly 20th century title deeds and estate papers. The second came from the Thoresby estate office and contains estate papers and correspondence, mostly 1850s-1890s but extending into the mid 20th century, and surveys from Eakring and Laxton, 1789-1899.

The fifth catalogue (Ma 4) contains maps and plans, dating back to 1690, but mostly 19th century, including architectural plans of the second and third Thoresby Halls; estate correspondence dated 1913; and other miscellaneous estate papers principally from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The sixth catalogue (Ma 5) contains estate papers from the North Nottinghamshire estate, mostly 20th century; and maps and plans relating to the same area.

The seventh catalogue (Ma 6) contains complete runs of general estate accounts and rentals for most of the Manvers estates, 1780s-1950; together with miscellaneous account books and out-letter books.

The eighth catalogue (Ma 7) contains miscellaneous items including estate records, plans and photographs.

The ninth catalogue (Ma 8) contains deeds, estate and family papers, predominantly from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

9 Typescript Catalogues

At the National Register of Archives, London:

6 Typescript Catalogues, for Ma 3001-5876, Ma A-X and Ma 2-5 only

Family and Estate Resource relating to www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/CollectionsInDepth/Family/Manvers/ManversOfThoresbyHall.aspx" target="blank">the Pierrepont family and their records, published on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

Online:

Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk).

Custodial History

The papers came to the University library as a number of separate accessions. The first gift was received in 1948 and was originally assigned the reference M. This gift is now numbered Ma 3001-5876. Two further accessions, in 1958, were assigned the references Ma A-X and Ma 2 respectively. All three accessions were received from a family member.

Further accruals were received from the Trustees of the Manvers Estates between 1965 and 1986. They were given the references Ma 3, Ma 4, Ma 5 and Ma 6 respectively. Ma 7 is made up of a number of small accruals received at various times between 1978 and 2004. Ma 8 contains material which had been sent to the Trust's solicitors in London, and was added to the collection in 2015.

The 3rd Earl married Georgine Jane Elizabeth Fanny de Franquetot (d 1910), younger daughter and co-heir of Augustin Louis Joseph Casimir Gustave de Franquetot, 3rd Duc de Coigny, of France (1788-1865). Some of the de Franquetot family papers formerly preserved in the Chartrier at the Chateau de Coigny in Normandy were brought to England by Georgine, Countess Manvers, in 1879. They were stored at Thoresby Hall, and came to the University library, from the Manvers family, in 1948. They have been listed separately from the Manvers archive (as the Manvers Coigny collection, Mc) because of their separate provenance.

Related Material

At The University of Nottingham: Papers of the de Franquetot Family, Comtes and Ducs de Coigny, France (Mc) and Manorial records of Laxton, Nottinghamshire (TL)

The British Library holds deeds, manorial records, estate papers and Pierrepont family papers 12th-19th century, and collected papers, mainly 12th-15th century (Egerton Charters 2301-8836; Egerton MSS 3516-3660); and cartulary of Sir Henry Pierrepont, 1482 (Add MS 70512)

The Bodleian Library, Oxford, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: Laxton survey and terrier, 1635; and Buckinghamshire deeds and papers 13th-18th century (MSS Ch. Bucks. 882-1318, Derbys. 55-6, other counties; MS Maps c. 5, 19(1); MSS Top. c. 2 )

Nottinghamshire Archives holds 16th-20th century manorial records from Edwinstowe, Holme Pierrepont and Orston etc. (DD T); and Pierrepont family settlements and related papers, 17th-18th centuries (DD 4P/44)

The National Archives holds abstracts of title to Nottinghamshire estates, and deeds and papers relating to Broughton, Hampshire, 1676-1752 (C 107/161)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Archives and Drawings Collection: Thoresby architectural and landscape drawings and papers, 1740-1772

Lincolnshire Archives holds Crowle manorial records, 1310-1949; and Pierrepont family trust papers, 1725-1745 (MON 28)

The Huntingdon Library, California, holds Pierrepont family trust minutes, 1725-1727 (EL)

Bibliography

Material from the Manvers Collection has been published by The University of Nottingham as part of the 'Laxton: Living in an Open Field Village' learning resource on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website, http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/manuscriptsandspecialcollections/learning/laxton/introduction.aspx