The Baines family papers consist of very considerable estate papers for properties in the three Ridings of Yorkshire, especially Naburn, Deighton and Wistow and Cawood (the abbreviations East Riding [ER], West Riding [WR] and North Riding [NR] will be used when describing the estate papers) as well as a very rich deposit of family letters, journals and diaries which are of particular interest for the study of colonial history, especially for nineteenth century New Zealand. The estate papers are catalogued alphabetically as follows: Bilsdale, NR (1700); Coneythorpe, WR (1785); Deighton manor, ER (1421-1688) comprising intermittent late medieval and early modern court rolls 1421-1602, pains 1584-1638 and estreats 1599-1688; Deighton, leases (1543-1873) including two schedules of deeds 1331-1706 and 1289-1716, the letters patent of 1542 granting to John Aske of Aughton the site of Ellerton Priory, a mansion house in York previously owned by Bolton Priory, Thykhede Priory and the manor of Deighton with a mansion house, some papers of the Robinson family including 'Madam Robinson's note for tyth' dated 1685 and the marriage settlements of Arthur Robinson and Elizabeth Walthall (1603) and John Robinson and Elizabeth Hutton (1639), a 1604 plan of Deighton by William Hampe, a rental account book 1800-1802, some 19th century plans of farms and Deighton Park, an original bundle of 17th century copies of medieval title deeds of St Mary's Abbey from circa 1158 (originals in John Rylands Library, Latin MS 221) and including a copy of the 1539 surrender of the Abbey and convent to Henry VIII, the wills of William Walthall (1608), Robert Bell (1757), Thomas Smith (1746), Robert Ward (1782) and Arthur Robinson (1685), the marriage settlements of Mary Denton and John Bell (1735), Ann Denton and Robert Bell (1743), Anna Maria Bell and William Cox (1783) and Arthur Robinson and Mary Molineux (1679); Dringhouses, WR (1728); Dunnington, ER (1820-1827); Ellenthorpe and Milby, ER (1597, 1636); Escrick, ER (1629-1630) being two confirmations by the Archbishop of York about the Robinson family pew in the church; Fryston and Hillam, WR (late 17th century) comprising an address on the difference between a court leet and a court baron; Hemingborough, ER (1870) including a valuation of furniture at Hemingborough Hall bought by William Mortimer Baines; Heworth, NR (1664-1679); Killinghall and Ferensby, WR (1554-1785) including some surrenders and admissions and an abstract of the title of Hewley Baines.
Estate papers for Naburn in the East Riding are considerable and span the dates 1486-1890. They include 17th century copies of medieval title deeds, a note that Bell Hall derived its name from Richard Bell who owned a manor house in 1585, the 1721 licence to Hewley Baines to erect a pew in the church, a settlement of 1760 further to the marriage of Hewley Baines and Lucy Masterman, the Naburn enclosure award of 1768, the marriage settlements of Richard Bell and Jane North (1566), Hewley Baines and Lucy Masterman (1716) and Hewley John Baines and Mary Mortimer (1786), some surveys of the land around Bell Hall, some 18th century leases, abstracts of the wills of Timothy Mortimer (1751) and John Mortimer (1752), the will of Hewley Baines (1759), an original bundle of 19th century estate papers including some farm accounts, tenancies, notes on the Reader family (ferrymen at Naburn), an account for the rebuilding of the church and a list of its incumbents 1475-1878 and some papers of the Bell, Levett and Palmes families. The remainder of the estate papers in DDBH are as follows: North Holme, NR (1737) being the agreement of sale to Hewley Baines; Ryther with Ozendyke, WR (16th century) including some pains laid in Ryther manor court; Sherburn in Elmet, WR (1693-1720); Sinderby, NR (1809); Stillingfleet, ER (1773); Wigginton, NR (1651-1847) including the 1847 survey of the lands of Hewley Mortimer Baines; Wistow and Cawood, WR (1518-1830) including early 16th century instructions for procedure in the manor court and other early 16th century manorial records, a schedule of Mr Beckwith's writings 1606-1732 and some 17th century surrenders and admissions in the manor court; York (1666, 1873) including 19th century papers about Fishergate House. Papers for places outside Yorkshire include a 1742 assignment for Lincolnshire and London papers of the Robinson family, London merchants (1574-1631) including 16th century bonds to the crown including one for John Thynne of Wiltshire. There are also papers for 'various townships' (1567-1830) including a 1760 rental for Wistow, Stillingfleet, Bell Hall, Naburn, Wigginton, Pickering, Conisthorp, Killinghall, Ferensby, Knaresborough and York and a list of estates of Hewley Baines with valuations in 1785, as well as details of legacies left under his will with an 1830 account of the legacy duty paid by his son, Hewley John Baines.
U DDBH also contains accounts and vouchers (1671-1883) including 17th century lawyers' accounts of Arthur Robinson, the accounts of Mary Robinson 1675-1703, various accounts of Hewley John Baines including a copy of the marriage certificate of Hewley Baines and Mary Ellis (1754), an account for an upright pianoforte in 1806 and various furniture and meat accounts, executors' account books, an 18th century servants' wages book, a female servants' book 1830-1873, the 1830 funeral account of Hewley John Baines, the private cash account book of Mary Baines 1838-1849 and an 1839 account for painting and decorating. Bonds in the collection span the dates 1678-1686 and are those of Arthur and Mary Robinson.
There are also legal papers (1608-1834) and again many of these are cases pursued by the Robinson family in the 17th century to do with such things as trespass, evictment and tithes. However, there are also 18th century opinions on family settlements and Baines family titles. A section catalogued as 'various deeds' (1587-1918) includes extracts from accounts drawn up by Robert Aske as sheriff of Yorkshire 1587-1588, a 1690 award of boundary wall and rights of light between the houses of Margaret Hardwick and William Justice, an 1832 valuation of furniture at Lingcroft and an original bundle of correspondence and papers of the Reverend Cecil Henry Legard with some Legard family inventories 1868-1918. Settlements in DDBH (1582-1876) include the marriage settlements of Thomas Fairfax and Ellen Aske (1582), Thomas Armstrong and Margaret Nicholson (1712), Hewley Baines and Lucy Masterman (1718), Henry Baines and Emily Jane Pease (1857) and Stuart Alexander Menzies and Charlotte Amy Bewicke (1876). Wills in DDBH are as follows: John Hewley (1682), Arthur Robinson (c.1685), Sarah Hewley (1707), Henry Masterman (1731), George Colbatch (1754), William Harrison (1802), Mary Baines (1834), Hewley John Baines (1819), Mary Baines (1831), Hewley Mortimer Baines (several - 1846-1871), James Middleton Hall (1875) as well as various letters of administration and executors' accounts for the Baines family through to 1916.
Correspondence comprises over 2000 letters (1760-1918) largely dating from the late nineteenth century and dominated by letters of William Mortimer Baines (1830-1912), his wife, Mary Ann Verdon (1839-c.1932) and their fifteen children. However, earlier correspondence includes that of Hewley John Baines and his wife, Mary Mortimer (about estate affairs, local society, friends and relations); their daughter, Mary Baines (about family and local gossip as well as some national gossip including such things as a report of the cholera epidemic on the Isle of Man and notice of the death of the king); their eldest son, Hewley Mortimer Baines (about estate affairs, local affairs and including letters of his children) and his wife, Mary Askwith (also about local affairs, with many from her children including a description of her son, Henry Baines', voyage to America). There are also letters of their eldest son, Hewley John Baines including some about his disagreement with his father over his second marriage to Esther Mary Shannon in Ireland. There is also a bundle of letters from his wife to his younger brother, William Mortimer Baines, after his death in 1855, mostly about her financial problems as a widow. The bulk of the correspondence in U DDBH is that of William Mortimer Baines, youngest son of Hewley Mortimer Baines and Mary Askwith, who spent the first part of his adult life prospecting and saw milling in the north island of New Zealand before returning as heir to the English estates at Naburn with his New Zealand wife, Mary Ann Verdon. There are early school letters to his parents, letters about his early establishment in New Zealand, about buying land in Auckland and the Waikato, about building two churches and the purchase of a saw mill. The correspondence contains many letters from friends and contacts in New Zealand and they are therefore useful for throwing light on affairs in New Zealand such as troop instalment, building in Auckland, relations with the Maori and changes in government, as well as the general economic climate of New Zealand and the fortunes and failures of its settlers. They are particularly interesting on the subject of gold mines and prospecting. The letters also contain news of the births of the first seven of their children in Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand and the trips back to England in the 1870s, first of William Mortimer Baines with his eldest child and then of Mary Ann Baines with her other six children. The correspondence of William Mortimer Baines after his return to Yorkshire in 1868 continues to be from friends and contacts, including his estate agent in New Zealand and therefore contains news of New Zealand family property, though it also broadens out to include news of Australia and India where three of his children went to live and/or work. Letters to Mary Ann Baines in this later period are embedded amongst the correspondence of her husband, except for U DDBH/27-8 which comprise letters to her alone from their children. William Mortimer Baines' correspondence from 1874 includes information on estate affairs at Bell Hall and there is an original bundle of letters from Thomas Harrison about shooting in Naburn Wood. Another bundle of letters relates to the loss at sea on the 'Port Yarrock' of William Philip Baines, the tenth child of William Mortimer and Mary Ann Baines. There is also an original bundle of letters relating to the affairs of William Price and some miscellaneous correspondence about legal affairs, fox hunting and five letters written to Mary Frances Baines from New Zealand friends (children) after her departure for England with her father in 1868.
The collection also contains some interesting miscellaneous material including family locks of hair and the cuff of a baby's dress. There are also pedigrees, army commissions, an 1822 book of Chinese puzzles, some valuations and lists of personal effects, the funeral sermon of Dame Sarah Hewley, around seventy 19th century recipes and medical cures, a Crimean War almanac of 1856, a miner's certificate from New Zealand circa 1866 and a 1905 note book of Mary Ann Baines containing jottings about New Zealand.