Booth & Lazenby Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

A collection of miscellaneous business and private/family papers accumulated by Booth & Lazenby and their predecessors. Among other items the collection includes the following material:

  • Numerous Davison family deeds, papers, letters etc., including material on collieries, probably chiefly 18th-19th centuries.
  • Booth family and business papers, 18th-19th centuries. Among these are the papers of John Booth of East Cowton, Yorkshire then Sherburn, Co. Durham (1793-1878), the father of John Booth junior and a farmer, agriculturist and owner of a tile-manufacturing business and brick-yard; these papers include his diaries (many of them fragile), a book of valuations and surveys of Co. Durham farms carried out in relation to assessing compensation for damage caused by colliery and railway workings ca.1849-1862, accounts, vouchers and receipts, and a few printed items.
  • Deeds and papers relating to Barnes family estates in Co. Durham and Derbyshire, including the Shirland Park Royalty, Derbyshire, probably chiefly 19th century but including a plan of Taddington, Derbyshire 1686/7.
  • Deeds, trusts, settlements, correspondence, accounts etc. arising from the client business of the various legal firms represented in the collection (and including some manor of Chester Deanery records) ca.1839-1910, arranged by the lawyers in a series of bundles numbered 1-205, together with a volume containing a contemporary summary manuscript list of the contents of each bundle.
  • John Booth junior's copy letter-book relating to business done on behalf of Joseph Davison and to the Davison estate 1862-1870, including copies of a few letters from Joseph Davison. Parts are very faded.
  • Seventeen copy letter-books, variously labelled 'Private' and 'Private business' and relating to John Booth junior's business up to 1896 and thereafter to Booth & Lazenby business, March 1866 - February 1917. The contents of some of the books are very faded.
  • Records of the steward of the manor of Chester Deanery, probably chiefly 19th century.
  • A file of papers of the steward of Easington rectory manor, 19th-20th centuries.
  • Some “Durham and Northumberland Archaeological Society” Papers 1895-1896 [Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland].
  • A little material relating to the North Durham Hunt and to other local Hunts, probably chiefly 19th century.
  • Some papers relating to appointments of the lawyers represented in the papers to various posts, including ecclesiastical appointments.
  • Probably still some stray items from the Durham Diocesan Records, although most documents under that heading which were found with the Booth & Lazenby Papers have now been restored to their correct place among the Durham Diocesan Records.

Administrative / Biographical History

Prior to the deposit with the University of Durham, this collection was located in the Durham Diocesan Registry. The link between the various groups of documents in the collection, and the reason for their location there, appears to be that they all relate to the business or private affairs of attorneys and solicitors who combined their legal practices with other posts, including in all cases that of either deputy Durham diocesan registrar or Durham diocesan registrar, and that these men seem to have based their Durham law office in the Registry premises and to have housed their own papers with the Durham Diocesan Records.

The Registry was situated in a building on the west side of Palace Green, Durham City from about 1822 until about 1930, when it moved to premises in The College, Durham City, in the Cathedral precincts.

The three lawyers whose papers are represented in the collection were:

  • Joseph Davison (1808-1868) of Hallgarth Street, Durham City and latterly of Greencroft Park, Lanchester, Co. Durham. His business address was Palace Green, Durham City [?the Durham diocesan registry premises] until 1858 and thereafter the New Exchequer, Durham City. His posts included those of:
    • deputy Durham diocesan registrar 1832-[1868]
    • clerk [or cursitor] of the Durham Court of Chancery and keeper of the Chancery rolls 1836-[1868]
    • clerk of the Bishop of Durham's halmote courts of Durham and Bedlington and Bedlingtonshire 1850-[1868]
    • (appointed jointly with Henry Greenwell of Durham City and John Ward of Palace Green, Durham City) deputy steward of the County Palatine of Durham and of the Bishop of Durham's manors, lordships, halmote courts etc. within the County Palatine of Durham 1851-[1868]
    • the first registrar of the newly established Durham Court of Probate 1858-[?1868], in which capacity he was responsible for the Durham Probate Records.
    From ca.1862 he appears to have employed John Booth junior (see below) to assist with some of the work of his legal practice and with the tasks associated with some of his other appointments.
  • John Booth junior (183[3]-1901) of Durham City and Shotley Bridge, Co. Durham, son of John Booth, whose papers are also in the collection. His business address was 44 Sadler Street, Durham City 1858-1862 and thereafter Palace Green, Durham City [?the Durham Diocesan Registry premises]. In ca. September 1896 he entered into partnership with his nephew John Booth Lazenby (see below); the new practice was known as Booth & Lazenby and, in addition to the Durham City office, also had an office in Newcastle upon Tyne, based in the Newcastle diocesan registry in St. Nicholas Chambers. From ca.1862 John Booth junior appears to have been doing some work for Joseph Davison (see above). John Booth junior's other posts included those of:
    • commissioner for affidavits in the Durham Court of Pleas 1858-?
    • deputy cursitor of the Durham Court of Chancery 1862-?
    • deputy clerk [?1862 or 1868] - [post 1888] and deputy steward 1869 - [post 1888] of the Bishop of Durham's halmote courts of Durham and Bedlington and Bedlingtonshire
    • registrar of the County Court of Durham held at Shotley Bridge 1863-?
    • commissioner for affidavits in the north of England for the court of Queen's Bench, the Westminster Court of Common pleas and the Westminster Court of Exchequer 1864-?
    • commissioner to issue oaths in the High Court of Chancery 1864-?
    • (appointed jointly with Russell Henry Barrington of Wimbledon, Surrey) deputy Durham diocesan registrar 1869-1897 (jointly with John Booth Lazenby 1896-1897)
    • deputy steward 1871 and steward 1871-[1901] of the manor of Chester deanery and of all other Jolliffe manors in the County Palatine of Durham
    • deputy Newcastle diocesan registrar [1882]-[1897] (jointly with John Booth Lazenby 1896-[1897])
    • (appointed jointly with John Booth Lazenby) Durham [?and Newcastle] diocesan registrar 1897-[1901]
    John Booth junior was also a vice-president of the Surtees Society 1864-[1899] and editor of the Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland ca.1885-1896, as well as serving as a secretary of the latter society for many years.
  • John Booth Lazenby (b. 1862) of Durham City and Newcastle upon Tyne. By 1896 he was practising as a solicitor in Newcastle upon Tyne, based in the Newcastle diocesan registry in St. Nicholas Chambers. In ca. September 1896 he entered into partnership with his uncle John Booth junior (see above); the new practice was known as Booth & Lazenby, the name it retained even after the death of John Booth junior in 1901, and, in addition to the Newcastle upon Tyne office, also had an office on Palace Green, Durham City, [?based in the Durham Diocesan Registry premises]. In ca.1930 the Durham office was moved to the diocesan registry premises in The College, Durham City described above. John Booth Lazenby's posts included those of:
    • deputy or assistant to John Booth junior as deputy Durham diocesan registrar and deputy Newcastle diocesan registrar May-October 1896
    • (jointly with John Booth junior) deputy Durham diocesan registrar and deputy Newcastle diocesan registrar October 1896-1897
    • (jointly with John Booth junior 1897-[1901]) Durham diocesan registrar 1897-1948
    • [?jointly with John Booth junior 1897-1901] Newcastle diocesan registrar 1897-[?1948]
    • legal secretary to the Bishop of Newcastle 1898-[?1948]
    • deputy steward 1897-1901 and steward 1901-? of the manor of Chester deanery and of all other Jolliffe manors in the County Palatine of Durham.

Arrangement

This is a large body of material which at present has only been very roughly sorted. Many of the groups of documents described above are in fact still scattered throughout the collection. At the time they were deposited with the University the documents were totally jumbled up with the Durham Diocesan Records with which they had been grouped and, although most of the ecclesiastical material has now been separated out, there are probably still strays in both collections. The papers apart from the letter-books have been temporarily stored in 212 boxes in order to make them usable, although they require much more sorting before their arrangement can be finalised.

Conditions Governing Access

Most of the items in the collection can now be produced for searchers provided that arrangements to consult them are made in advance, but staff are not able to make searches through the collection for particular documents or subjects on behalf of enquirers; a list of record agents who can be employed to do such work is available on request.

Acquisition Information

Deposited with the Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic of the University of Durham (since 1990 part of the Archives and Special Collections department of Durham University Library) on 25 March 1975 by the Durham diocesan registrar together with large groups of the Durham Diocesan Records.

Other Finding Aids

There is a draft summary word-processed list of the contents of each box. The box numbers used in this list are temporary references only.

Separated Material

Northumberland Record Office: Newcastle Diocesan Records.

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.

A number of documents are in need of conservation treatment before they can be made available for consultation.

Custodial History

All of this material had been stored in the Durham diocesan registry, which in March 1975 was just vacating its rooms in The College, Durham City, in the basement of one of the houses occupied by the canons of Durham Cathedral, in order to move to new and smaller premises at 21A Elvet Bridge, Durham City.

Related Material

Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland Records

Chester Deanery Manorial Records.

Durham Bishopric Halmote Court Records.

Durham Diocesan Records.

Palatinate of Durham Records.

Bibliography

Entry concerning John Booth Lazenby: Jamieson, J., Northumberland at the opening of the Twentieth Century, incorporating Pike, W.T. (ed.), Contemporary Biographies (1905), p.180.