Papers of the Duesbury Family

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection was deposited in the East Riding Record Office in 1956 by Crust Todd and Mills, solicitors of Beverley, and was transferred to the Brynmor Jones Library in 1974. The papers largely relate to property in Kilham (including manorial records); it is a collection rich in maps and plans, though there is also a small amount of interesting family correspondence as well as eighteenth-century business records. In addition there are nineteenth-century papers of the Reverend Robert Rigby, vicar of St Mary's church in Beverley.

Property papers are catalogued in the following sections: Bellasize parish of Eastrington (1804-1806); Beverley (1803-1806); Blacktoft (1804-1806); Burniston, North Riding (1649-1687, 1746, 1832); Cherry Burton (1787, 1824); Cloughton, North Riding (1700-1768) being papers relating to tithes of the rectory; Cowden (1821-1839) including the will of Elizabeth Williamson (1821); Drewton (1727-1820) including the will of Robert Blanshard; Gransmoor parish of Burton Agnes (1785-1838) including a plan of the estate of William St Quinton in 1785, tenancy agreements and papers about vicarial tithes in the early 19th century; Hunsley, Little Weighton and Riplingham (1759-1837) including the will of Thomas Duesbury (1837), a volume of papers about enclosure 1793-1803, an 1802 plan of land in Swanland, 18th century valuations of Rowley, Hunsley and Riplingham tithes, some average prices of wheat 1780-1801, some 18th century legal correspondence and accounts, 18th century land tax assessment accounts, an 1800 sketch plan of the parish of Rowley and some valuations of the property of Thomas Duesbury; Myton (1651, 1825); North Ferriby (1737-1812) including 18th century papers about tithes, some papers of the Coltman family and the wills of Thomas Wakefield (1785) and Jane Wakefield (1787); Scalby, parish of Blacktoft (1804-1806); Scalby, North Riding (1731-1801) including tithe accounts and valuations of the property of Catherine Younge in the 1790s; Scarborough (1718-1832) including papers of the family of Catherine Hudson (Duesbury) and the will of William Robinson (1750); Staintondale, North Riding (1839-1884) being 16 plans of farms, estates and waste moorland largely 1868-9.

Papers for Kilham (1543-1876) are considerable and they include the medieval descent of title from Archbishop William Melton in 1335, the 1633 sale of the manor and manor house by Lord Darcy, the descent of title in the Sykes family and Duesbury purchase documents of 1814 and 1816, an abstract of the title of the manor 1633-1814, a plan of Thomas Duesbury's lands in 1813 and a valuation of his manor and estate in 1825, the Kilham enclosure act of 1771 as well as related papers and enclosure awards, copies of the wills of William Saville (1691), Thomas Rokeby (1697), John Smithson (1698), Christopher Smithson (1702), Eleanor Smithson (1711), Mary Mawd (1719), Phatnell Foord (1723), William Iveson (1725), John Iveson (1725), John Rickard (1725), Robert Simpson (1739), David Sinclair (1756), John Sinclair (1762), Christopher Bainton (1760), Robert Simpson (1768), Richard Thompson (1794) and Richard Hopper (1825; and a plan of his estate dated 1829), 18th century marriage, burial and baptism certificates of the Conyers, Outram, Smithson, Owston, Yates and Watson families, an 1815 copy of the 1729 plan of Kilham township by George Philliskirk, land tax assessments, early 19th century accounts for bookbinding carried out by M Turner and Matthew Sever of Beverley, accounts relating to the tolls at Kilham fair 1814-16, tenancy agreements and farming receipts and vouchers as well as day books for 1814-15 and vouchers for estate building work, fencing, household fittings, tolls, fairs and rents and an 1872 plan of Grange Farm. For the manor of Kilham (1530-1867) there are jury papers 1703-1813 and 1856-1863, 18th century estreats, two rolls of pains 1620-1734, 21 pains 1793-1811, call rolls 1704-1866 (intermittent) and some miscellaneous papers.

An accounts section in DDDU largely comprises the 18th century business and personal accounts of the Duesbury family and includes the day book of Robert Duesbury 1757-1777 and his bank accounts, an account for a post-chaise, an account for jewellery and the funeral accounts of William Duesbury from 1776.

Correspondence (1763-1821) in the collection largely comprises letters to and from Robert Duesbury (including one of 1774 from the Marquis of Granby) and his son, Robert Duesbury junior, and daughter, Catherine Duesbury (Langwith, and later Younge). A few letters of Robert Duesbury junior to his sister from London and St Petersburg in the 1770s where he acted as an agent in the family business. There are also a few letters to Thomas Duesbury of Leeds, London and Beverley, including six in the 1780s from Catherine Younge. These all contain news of family and estates in Scarborough and surrounds.

Various deeds and documents (1733-1885) in DDDU include Duesbury family awards and entitlements, a schedule of the title deeds of Robert Duesbury 1636-1778 and acknowledgement of receipt of them by Catherine Younge in 1790, an 1837 copy of `The Scarborough Herald and General Advertiser', an original bundle of papers relating to Duesbury family investment in a ship called the `Thomas and Hannah' in the 1730s and 1740s, an original bundle of papers in the Chancery case of Pearce -v- Edmeades 1841-1885, an original bundle of papers relating to the affairs of Catherine Duesbury (Langwith, later Younge) which includes papers about the partnership of her brother, Robert Duesbury, with Hugh Atkins in London as merchant traders with Russia in the 1760s, the marriage settlement of Catherine Langwith nee Duesbury with Robert Younge (1782) and the proposals for their separation in 1786, the will of Catherine Younge (1796) and various accounts relating to the settlement of her estates as well as miscellaneous accounts including those for the funeral of Robert Duesbury junior.

Papers catalogued as `various townships' (1758-1846) include some 18th century papers of the Preston family of York and Cambridge and 1846 surveys and rentals of the estates of William Duesbury Thornton Duesbury. A section of wills (1735-1875) comprises those of Robert Thompson (1735), D'Arcy Preston (1748), William Northend (1765), Robert Duesbury junior (1772), Robert Duesbury senior (1775), Catherine Younge (1796), Thomas Duesbury (1837), William Duesbury Thornton Duesbury (1875).

The section of wills in the collection also contains an original bundle relating to the affairs of the Reverend Robert Rigby, vicar of St Mary's in Beverley, and his family. The papers here include a copy of his will (1818) with probate granted in 1823, his private accounts in the early 1820s including his household accounts, burial fees received, and donations to various charities and the poor, as well as 18th century papers relating to tithes, the rebuilding of the vicarage of St Mary's and administration of local personal charities including those for alms houses and educational charities in both Beverley and Bishop Burton. There is a little bit of correspondence relating to local church affairs as well as inventories and memoranda about church incomes (see entry in religious archives).

Administrative / Biographical History

The papers in DDDU relate to the Duesbury family who were seamen and merchants originating in Scarborough and surrounds from at least the early eighteenth century. Thomas Duesbury, a master mariner in the 1710s and 1720s, married Catherine Hudson who became the co-heiress of her mother, Mary Hudson, and the Duesbury family inherited property and money through this marriage match. In the 1730s Thomas Duesbury was in a position to have a ship built for him - the `Thomas and Hannah' - and the next generation had shares in this venture.

Most of the papers in the collection begin with the property purchase and business transactions of Thomas Duesbury's grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His grandsons, Robert Duesbury and Matthew Duesbury, carried on the merchant trading business and in the 1760s Robert Duesbury built up a considerable family estate around Scarborough by buying estates at Hunsley and Riplingham. Robert Duesbury married Elizabeth and had at least two children. His eldest son, Robert Duesbury, became his agent, setting up in the mercantile worlds of London and St Petersburg and the collection contains some of his interesting business and personal correspondence. Robert and Elizabeth Duesbury also had a daughter, Catherine, and when her brother died she carried on the business and ran the estate in Riplingham (expanding the house considerably) until her own death in 1800. She married first Oswald Langwith, but was widowed and then remarried in 1782, the Reverend Robert Younge. This final marriage was a disaster and the letters in the collection from several people place the blame on the Reverend Younge for their separation after only four years (Allison, History of East Riding of Yorkshire, iv, pp.145-6; DDDU/20/9c; DDDU/21/23, 36, 49).

When Catherine Younge died the family property and assets passed to her nephew, Thomas Duesbury, who had trained as a lawyer and practised in Beverley. A very successful land agent and onetime mayor, his name crops up in property transactions throughout the landed family papers held in the Brynmor Jones Library. He expanded the family landholdings, purchasing the manor and manor house of Gransmoor in 1810 and the manor of Kilham with 800 acres from Mark Masterman Sykes of Sledmere in 1813. When he died without issue in 1837, the whole lot was inherited by the son of his sister, Hannah Thornton. William Duesbury Thornton, also an attorney, took on the surname Duesbury after this inheritance. In 1868 he sold Hunsley and Riplingham to W H Harrison-Broadley and in 1877 he followed this by selling Kilham to Lord Londesborough, leaving just Gransmoor which was inherited by his son, the Reverend C L Thornton Duesbury. In 1900 this last portion of the Duesbury family property was sold, comprising 1372 acres, bought by J T T Cliff. The property papers in DDDU record particularly the descent of these four places from the early modern period (Allison, History of East Riding of Yorkshire, ii, pp.109, 111, 252, 257, 336, iv, pp.145-6).

Conditions Governing Access



Originally published by Access to Archives - A2A. The data in this finding aid is in the copyright of the place of deposit.

Other Finding Aids

Listed to item level

Related Material

DDCB/4/68; DDCB/31/28; DDCV/15/241, 474; DDCV/67/15; DDCV/203/12; DDCV(2)/68


Allison, K J, A history of the county of York East Riding (1974)