J.W. Biederman's Letter-Book

Scope and Content

J.W. Biederman's letter-book, or business book, as a lawyer in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. There are several lengthy letters to the Earl of Sussex [John Howard (1776-1852), 16th Earl of Sussex], for whom Biederman appears to have acted as agent, and occasional letters to the Earl of Ashburnham [George Ashburnham (1760-1830), 3rd Earl of Ashburnham] and Sir John Aubrey [sixth baronet (1739-1826), politician].

Administrative / Biographical History

J.W. Biederman practised as a lawyer in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, and from the evidence of the present manuscript he may have acted as an agent for several large estates in the area. Little is known of his background, and he does not appear in the registers of alumni of Oxford and Cambridge. The Upton House estate in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, was sold in 1823 by the trustees of John Cripps to J.W. Biederman. On his death in 1831 it was devised to his sister Louisa Seymour, but Biederman's estate became the subject of a protracted suit in Chancery, and Maurice Maskelyne took possession of Upton House in 1842.

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the bookseller J.E. Cornish in March 1926.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, and John Hodgson, Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, with reference to:

  • Pigot and Co.'s national commercial directory [of]... Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, Gloucestershire... (London: J. Pigot, 1830);
  • N.M. Herbert (ed.), The Victoria history of the county of Gloucester, volume 11 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1976), p. 268.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 407).