William Windham Farr Letters

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 339
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      330 x 265 mm. 1 volume (74 items tipped in); Binding: half-bound in red morocco, buckram-covered boards.

Scope and Content

The material chiefly comprises letters to William Windham Farr from his friends William Ewart Gladstone and Arthur Hallam, and others including G.S. Harcourt, H. Clifford, P.A. Pickering, James Milnes Gaskell, C. Sawbridge, Arthur Buckeridge and Thomas Gladstone. Most of the early letters are written from Eton. There are also original manuscripts of two speeches by Lord Arthur Charles Hervey (no. 63) and an unknown speaker (no. 65).

Administrative / Biographical History

William Windham Farr was born on 9 November 1808 in Christchurch, Hampshire, the only son of William Dale Farr of Lincoln's Inn and his wife Elizabeth. Around 1822 William went to Eton, where his circle of friends included the future Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898); Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-1833), poet and essayist; (Sir) Francis Hastings Charles Doyle (1810-1888), poet and civil servant; and Percival Andree Pickering (1811-1876). In 1826 Farr went up to Cambridge. He obtained a BA degree in 1830 and entered Lincoln's Inn. He was called to the bar in 1834. After practising law in London, Farr returned to Christchurch, settling at Ilford House, and he served as a justice of the peace for Hampshire. He died in January 1887 after a lengthy illness.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the John Rylands Library as part of Mrs Rylands's bequest.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Humpleby, project archivists, and John Hodgson, Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, with reference to M. Zamick, 'Unpublished letters of Arthur Henry Hallam from Eton, now in the John Rylands Library', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 18 (1934), pp. 197-248.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 339).

Related Material

The British Library, Manuscript Collections, holds correspondence between W.W. Farr and Gladstone, 1828-40 (ref.: GB 058 Add MSS 44352-7), and Farr's family correspondence, 1819-38,1884-7 (ref.: GB 058 Add MS 37063).

Cambridge University, Trinity College Library, holds miscellaneous correspondence and papers of A.H. Hallam (ref.: GB 016 Add.Mss. a.244; a.278; b.18; c.17, c.89; d.44); a notebook of Hallam (ref.: GB 016 R.7.50); 34 letters to Lord Houghton, 1829-32 (ref.: GB 016 Houghton 10:300-333); letters to Emily Tennyson and others (ref.: GB 016 O.15.65);


The correspondence is discussed and ten letters transcribed by M. Zamick, 'Unpublished letters of Arthur Henry Hallam from Eton, now in the John Rylands Library', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 18 (1934), pp. 197-248.

Gladstone's letters to Farr (1826-8) are printed in John Brooke and Mary Sorensen (eds), The Prime Ministers' papers: W.E. Gladstone. 1. Autobiographica (London: HMSO, 1971), appendix 1, pp. 179-205.