The collection falls into two groups:
1. Antiquarian material, 17th-19th century, predominantly relating to the city, county, and palatinate of Durham (MSS E.I.3-7, 9, E.III.6, 6A, 7, 7A, 8, 8A, 9-14). This group includes a number of legal precedent books, mostly relating to the Durham palatinate courts, a pollbook for the 1675 Durham County election, a book of 17th-century mayoralty accounts, letters, etc. relating to Durham City, and two volumes of papers of Thomas Bell, Newcastle antiquary and surveyor, and William and John Fryer, Newcastle surveyors.
2. Notes of lectures given at Durham University in the 19th century by A.S. Farrar, Henry Jenkyns, and T.S. Evans, with some additional material concerning them (MSS H.III.20-21, L.V.34-56). A number of other miscellaneous manuscripts acquired before 1930, some of which originally had numbers in the same Old University shelving sequence but not within these blocks and believed not to have been used for citation purposes, have been absorbed into the Add. MSS class.