Papers of Captain William Markham relating to the Crimea War, 1855-1964

Scope and Content

The collection comprises:

Contemporary manuscript copies and extracts of twenty-three letters from William T. Markham,mainly to his mother, giving news from the battle front in the Crimean War. They include referencesto his brothers and to other friends. There are extensive descriptions of military action and of thecholera and other diseases rife in the camps. The original letters were written in 1854-1855.Undated, after 1855 (MS 247/1);

Contemporary manuscript copies of various literary and other items dating from the Crimean War,including poems. Undated, after 1855 (MS 247/2);

Transcripts of MS 247/1 and 247/2 made by General R.E. Barnsley in 1964 (MS 247/3);

Correspondence between General R.E. Barnsley and M. W. Wadsworth concerning the loan and copyingof the manuscripts in 1964. (MS 247/4).

Administrative / Biographical History

These papers concern William T. Markham only during the Crimean years, and give no firm evidenceabout his biographical history. Markham genealogical sources identify a William Thomas Markham, bornon 13 July 1830, from Cufforth Hall (now Becca) in Yorkshire. He served as Aide-de-Camp to SirGeorge Brown (1790-1865), and in Canada, at the Battle of the Alma, the Siege of Sebastpol, and atKertch during the Crimean War. He was also apparently at one time in the Coldstream Guards and alieutenant colonel in the Leeds Rifle Militia. In 1857 Markham married Anne Emily Sophia, daughterof Sir Francis Gervant, president of the Royal Academy, and Isabella, daughter of Richard Norman andLady Elizabeth Manners.

The letters are contemporary copies, possibly made by a family member for circulation. Several ofthem bear notes indicating that they are copies, and stating when the original had been received.One is said to be an extract. At least two are not from William Markham: one is from 'C.H.B.' andanother from Private G. Winterbourne. They were put together, with a cover description 'Copies ofLetters from W.T.M.'. The accompanying copies of literary and miscellaneous papers are in the samehand.

The Markham letters and other papers were studied in the mid-20th century by M.W. Wadsworth, aLondon solicitor, and Major General Robert Eric Barnsley (1886-1968), of the R.A.M.C. HistoricalMuseum at Aldershot. Barnsley made transcripts of the letters in 1964 and retained copies for theMuseum. The Wadsworth-Barnsley correspondence forms part of the collection.


The collection has been divided by document type into four series. Within these series, itemshave been arranged chronologically where possible.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.


Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright in thedescription belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make published use of any material from this collection must be soughtin advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections(email The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

Custodial History

The Markham copy letters survived in the records of a London solicitor until the mid-20thcentury. The location of the original letters is not known. The collection was given to TheUniversity of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections in July 2002.

Related Material

  • Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine: 23 letters from WilliamMarkham describing cholera outbreaks in the Crimea, battles and Siege of Sebastopol, 1854-1855.These are further typescript copies of Nottingham MS 247. Reference: RAMC/436

Geographical Names