Risley Papers

Scope and Content

The Risley papers consist of:

  • Barber papers, including title deeds to lands in Adderbury and Milton, Easington, Calthorpe, Banbury, Grimsbury, Neithrop, Wickham, South Stoke and Fritwell (Oxfordshire); Hexton, Kingswalden, Offley, Lilley, Wandon End and Kensworth (Hertfordshire); and Shefford, Camton and Luton (Bedfordshire); as well as to certain property in London, and a few deeds relating to other properties. There are also some personal and official papers of various members of the family, as High Sheriff of Oxfordshire and in other posts.
  • Cotton papers. These include a few earlier documents, but are mainly connected with the trust set up in Holford Cotton's will, with the earlier title deeds of properties purchased (mainly Adderbury and Milton).
  • Risley papers. Title deeds of properties at Adderbury, Deddingtron, Souldern, Fewcott, and Calthorpe (Oxfordshire); Evenlode (Worcestershire); Sutton (Nottinghamshire); Maidsmorton (Buckinghamshire); Kemey's Inferior, Goldcliff and Llanhannock (Monmouth); together with a quantity of correspondence, accounts and other papers, and the diary of the Rev. William Cotton Risley from 1834 to 1869.
  • Two boxes of miscellaneous deeds relating to properties at Buscot (Berkshire), Bourton-on-the-Hill (Glos.) and Kingham (Oxon.). One box of printed material. One box of plans and pedigrees. With this section are six 17th- and 18th-century deed boxes.
  • Additional deeds and related papers of the Risley family.

Administrative / Biographical History

The families of Risley and Cotton were united around 1796 by the marriage of the Rev. John Risley and Sarah Anne Cotton. Sarah Anne had a brother, Holford, who died without issue in 1822. He was the last in the direct line of the Cotton family and left his estate in trust for the children and grandchildren of his sister and the Rev. John Risley.

The connection with the Barbers was formed by the marriage in 1828 of the Rev. William Cotton Risley (son of the Rev. John Risley) and Susannah Wells. She was a daughter of Susan Barber, who married Robert Wells, and a niece of John Barber III, who died (apparently childless) in 1854.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk).

Acquisition Information

The papers were deposited in the Library in 1957, 1959 and 1980.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue is available in the Library.

Custodial History

The Additional Risley Papers were deposited in Oxfordshire County Record Office through the British Records Association in 1953, and transferred to the Bodleian Library in 1980.