Crutchley Muniments

Scope and Content

The Crutchley Muniments comprise the muniments of the Coke family of Longford in Derbyshire and Holkham in Norfolk. The family's estates lay principally in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Suffolk, and the majority of documents relate to these counties.

The five hundred Derbyshire documents comprise slightly over half of the collection. The majority concern Longford and its descent over seven hundred years through the families of Longford (from c.1200) and Coke (from 1615). Included is the purchase deed whereby this property was acquired by Sir Edward Coke from the trustee of the last male owner, Nicholas Longford (CRU/294), and also the indenture by which it was settled on his youngest surviving son Clement Coke, on his marriage to Sarah, daughter of Alexander Reddish of Reddish, Lancashire, and great-neice of Nicholas (CRU/304). Other documents relate to the manors of Wherstead, Bourne Hall and Pannington in Suffolk, and estates in south-east Lancashire, notably Reddish, Great and Little Heaton and Crumpsall, all in Manchester parish. There are also documents concerning the former owners of these properties, the families of Longford of Longford, Reddish of Reddish, Hulton, Langley, Prestwich, Browne, Radcliffe and Hall. The collection is especially noteworthy for the very long chronological span of documentation for several estates, including Longford (332 items, 12th-19th centuries), Wherstead (108 items, 13th-18th centuries), Reddish (95 items, 13th-18th centuries) and Great and Little Heaton (65 items, 13th-17th centuries).

The collection is particularly rich in manorial court records and allied documents. In particular there are lengthy series of court rolls for the manors of Bourne Hall in Wherstead, Suffolk (13th-18th centuries) and Longford, Derbyshire (14th-17th centuries). Other rolls are those for Haddon (14th-15th centuries), Newton Solney (14th-16th centuries), and Hathersage (16th century), all in Derbyshire, and for Wherstead and Goddelsford, i.e. Gusford Hall (17th-18th centuries) in Suffolk. The earliest roll is one of 1276, from Bourne Hall. In addition to court rolls, court books for Bourne Hall and Wherstead (1627-1640) and for various courts (1560-1571) of the Reddish family, held at Prestwich and Reddish, also occur. There are also 15th-century account rolls of the bailiffs and collectors of rents for Longford and North Wingfield, Derbyshire. Among rentals are those for Barlborough, Hathersage, Longford and Newton Solney, all of 1476, with two 18th-century ones for Longford; two for Bourne Hall (16th century) and two, in early copies, for the Priory of St Peter and St Paul at Ipswich (16th century); and a rental of Reddish, Crumpsall, Prestwich, Pendlebury and Tetlow (1590-1622), in Lancashire.

The collection contains a number of significant seals, including examples of the Great Seal from the reign of Henry III onwards (e.g. CRU/928, 1252); perfect specimens of the Duchy of Lancaster seal (CRU/660, 1577); and of the rare Statute Merchant Recognizance Seal of Wigan (CRU/599, 1391). Unfortunately imperfect, although surviving in large fragments, are the seal, with secretum, of Philip de Thame, Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in England (CRU/204, 1377), and the common seal of Ipswich (CRU/730 and CRU/731, 1610). Naturally there are also numerous private seals, including those of John de Saucheverel (CRU/925, 1197, a phoenix); Robert de Ferrieres, son and heir of William de Ferrieres, formerly earl of Derby (CRU/929, 1262, a bust); Michael, son of Nigel de Bupton (CRU/926, late 12th/early 13th century, Samson slaying the lion); Sir William de Cantelowe and Maud his wife (CRU/18, 1371); William Fitzherbert of Norbury (CRU/213, 1390); Thomas la Warre (CRU/43, 1405); Sir William Thirning (CRU/44, 1405); and Sir Nicolas de Longford (CRU/931, 1475). An unusual seal, though imperfect, is that of Richard Swyfte, the King's carpenter (CRU/743, 1393).

Administrative / Biographical History

The manor of Longford belonged for at least fourteen generations to the ancient family which took its name from that place. The Longford family had a park at Longford in 1330: the licence for its enclosure was granted by Henry III in 1251. Sir Nicholas Longford, the last heir male of the family, died in 1610, and his widow in 1620. The present archive includes the purchase deed of 1615 by which Longford was acquired by Lord Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke (d. 1634) from Sir Nicholas's trustees (CRU/294), and also the settlement by which it was settled on his youngest surviving son, Clement Coke, on the occasion of his marriage in 1622 to Sarah, daughter and co-heir of Alexander Reddish of Reddish in Lancashire (CRU/304).

The manors of Longford and Mammerton and associated Derbyshire estates descended successively to their son Edward Coke (created baronet in 1641, died 1669) and his sons Robert (died 1688) and Edward (1727), who both died without issue. Edward bequeathed his estates to a namesake, Edward Coke, brother of Thomas (1697-1759), first Earl of Leicester. This Edward died in 1733, unmarried, leaving his estates to a younger brother Robert, who died without issue in 1750, whereupon their sister's son Wenman Roberts (1717-76) became heir; he assumed the name of Coke, and was father of Thomas William Coke (1754-1842), the celebrated 'Coke of Holkham', created Earl of Leicester of Holkham in 1837. After three hundred years in the possession of the Coke family, Longford Hall was sold in 1920 (The Times, 12 October 1920, p. 20).

The Lancashire manors of Reddish and Heaton Fallowfield, south of Manchester, with messuages, burgages, water-mill, lands, and rents in those places and in Heaton Norris, Manchester, and Audenshaw, were held continuously by the Reddish family from at least the early 13th century. Inquisitions show that the manor descended to Sarah, daughter and co-heir of Alexander Reddish, who died in 1613. Thereafter, the descent of Reddish was conjoined with that of Longford above. Thomas William Coke, created Earl of Leicester of Holkham in 1837, sold Reddish and his other Lancashire estates to James Harrison of Cheadle, about the end of the 18th century.

The manor of Bourne Hall in Wherstead, Suffolk, was vested in the Priory of St Peter, Ipswich, which was suppressed in 1528. A letters patent of Henry VIII granted the manor to Thomas Hall, gentleman, the manor of Bourne Hall in 1530 (CRU/773). Bourne Hall remained in the possession of the Hall family until it was conveyed by Thomas's grandson, Thomas, to Sir Edward Coke in 1607 (CRU/812). By the above settlement of Sir Edward Coke in 1622, the manors of Wherstead, Bourne Hall and Pannington and other Suffolk possessions were settled upon his son Clement Cok, and thus descended through the Coke family.


William Farrer and J. Brownbill (eds.), The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster, vol. 4 (London: Constable, 1911), pp. 326-329. British History Online [accessed 27 December 2017].

Samuel Bagshaw, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Derbyshire, with the Town of Burton-upon-Trent (Sheffield: printed for the author by William Saxton, 1846), pp. 312-15. [accessed 27 December 2017].

W. A. Copinger, The Manors of Suffolk: Notes on their History and Devolution, vol. 6: The Hundreds of Samford, Stow, and Thedwestry (Manchester: Taylor, Garnett, Evans, 1910), pp. 119-23. [accessed 27 December 2017].


In accordance with the practice then prevailing at the John Rylands Library, in the mid-20th century Frank Taylor arranged the archive geographically, associating items with the parish, township or town to which they predominantly related. He listed places alphabetically and arranged the items within them chronologically. This system has been retained in the present catalogue, as there is insufficient evidence with which to reconstruct any original order. However, in some cases items carry old reference numbers, and these have been recorded below.

Access Information

The archive is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the archive was deposited in the John Rylands Library in August 1926 by Sybil Mary, Lady Crutchley (1866-1939), daughter of Hon. Henry John Coke, who was the son of Thomas William Coke (1754-1842), first earl of Leicester, the famous 'Mr Coke of Holkham'. She married Major-General Sir Charles Crutchley, son of General Charles Crutchley, on 15 February 1887.

A number of supplementary deeds was subsequently deposited by Lady Cruchley's son, Gerald E. V. Crutchley, in March 1949 (CRU/923-944).

Other Finding Aids

Published handlist, F. Taylor, Hand-List of the Crutchley Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library (Manchester: John Rylands Library, 1951).

Numerous items are described in Isaac Herbert Jeayes, Descriptive catalogue of Derbyshire charters in public and private libraries and muniment rooms (London: Bemrose, 1906).

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The previous history of the archive is unknown, but is presumed to have descended through the Coke family to Sybil Mary, Lady Crutchley, who deposited the archive in the John Rylands Library.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

The principal archives of the Coke family of Holkham remain at Holkham Hall, Norfolk: They include manorial records, deeds, family and estate papers relating to Norfolk, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Kent, London, Oxfordshire and Suffolk.