Papers of the Foulis Family of Buckton

Scope and Content

U DP166 is a fairly small collection, relating to the estates of the Foulis family in Buckton and Bempton in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It largely comprises title deeds and tenancy agreements, rentals and sales documents and some stewards' accounts. A large proportion of this material was generated in the first half of the nineteenth century when Buckton Hall was occupied by Mark Foulis and the collection contains his bank books, as well as account books with local tradespeople like William Tindall, the butcher. The collection also contains documents relating to the marriage settlement of his parents and two wills, including that of his father, John Robinson Foulis. In addition, there are notes on the family history, inventories of goods at Buckton Hall, a cultivation book 1853-1868 and an 1864 plan for the building of an outdoor privy. U DP166/1-2 are miscellaneous local historical items being the letters of G R Park and the notebook of John Bilson. U DDX/16/209 contains the photocopied notes of M R and C B A Robinson about Buckton Hall, which had been in the hands of the Robinson family before marriage with the Foulis family in the eighteenth century. These notes contain anecdotal material on the occupancy of Mark Foulis in the nineteenth century and the fate of the hall after his death. Papers of the Foulis family of Buckton, and miscellaneous items

Administrative / Biographical History

Buckton Hall is outside the small village of Buckton, three miles north of Flamburgh. It sits on high ground less than a mile from the cliffs at Speeton. It is a Georgian four storey house with a chalk ashlar front and stone dressings. It was built by John Robinson probably about 1744. It was certainly standing in 1745 when he entertained some Jacobite rebels from Scotland, getting them roaring drunk on rum, before fetching the regiment from Bridlington and having them arrested and then transported to the colonies (Johnson, 'Buckton Hall', pp. 27, 29; U DDX/16/209; Allison, Victoria county history of Yorkshire: East Riding, ii, p. 83).

The manor of Buckton was held by the Buckton family from the at least the 13th century (one William de Buckton attended parliament in 1258) to the 16th century when Ursula Buckton married John Collingwood and then inherited the estate. Their son Robert Collingwood sold the manor in 1617 to Thomas Blakiston who immediately resold to Henry Robinson. The Robinsons were a family of London merchants of moderate means. Henry Robinson, who died in 1653, married Margaret Colthurst, and had several children, including another Henry Robinson, who died without issue, and John Robinson, who died in 1659. The latter left several children, including his eldest son, John Robinson (b.1640) and a younger son, Henry, who was commander of H M S 'Cornwall'. John Robinson lived until 1700; he married Adeline Conyers and their eldest son, also John Robinson, inherited the estate and went on to replace an old hall with Buckton Hall of circa 1744 (U DDX/16/209; Rudkin, 'Bempton cum Newsholme', p.21; Allison, Victoria county history of Yorkshire: East Riding, ii, p. 83).

John Robinson married Hannah Foulis and and he settled his estate on his daughter Hannah and her husband, William, another member of the Foulis family, in 1758, over a decade before he died in 1769. By this means Buckton passed from the Robinson to the Foulis family of Ingleby. The Foulis family was originally from Scotland and had a long history of public service to Scottish monarchs. William Foulis was secretary to James I in 1424 and keeper of the privy seal in 1427 and his great grandson, James, was clerk register to Queen Mary in the 1530s and 1540s. His grandson, also James, married Anna Heriot and one of their younger children, David, came to England with James VI of Scotland when he became James I of England. He was knighted in 1619 and given Ingleby as a reward for service. William Foulis was from this branch of the family (Johnson, 'Buckton Hall', p.33; U DDX/16/209; U DP166/83).

William Foulis and Hannah Robinson's son, John Robinson Foulis, married Decima Hester Beatrix Sykes, eldest daughter of Christopher Sykes, 2nd baronet Sykes of Sledmere. The documents relating to this lucrative marriage settlement are to be found at U DP/166/77-80. From these it can be ascertained that Christopher Sykes settled on his daughter a mansion and valuable land at West Heslerton, originally bought by him in 1787 (U DP166/50-52) and a marriage portion of £10,000. When John Robinson Foulis died in 1826, he was able to leave to his daughters £15,000, while the halls and lands at West Heslerton and Buckton were inherited by his son, Mark Foulis (U DDX/16/209; U DP166/82).

Over the next two decades Mark Foulis slid into financial difficulty; he did not have enough capital to run his estates and he tended to bet on the horses (U DP166/68). In 1842 he mortgaged his estates to William and Alfred Simpson of New Malton (U DP/166/17-20). Although Mark Foulis did not die until 1868, Buckton Hall and all his estates were in the hands of these trustees and others by 1856 (see for example U DP166/27, 75). Mark Foulis did not marry and folklore abounds about his occupancy of Buckton Hall. According to one story, the only sailor to survive a wreck under the cliffs at Speeton, while recuperating at Buckton Hall was so frightened by the fearful noises at night that he wished to leave in an unseemly hurry. Credence is lent to this story by the survival of letters from the privy council for trade and the customs house at Scarborough giving Mark Foulis the right to a wreck washed ashore at Buckton in 1857 (U DP166/40). The noises in the night have a non-supernatural explanation - Buckton Hall was connected to the beach by tunnels through the cliffs and as late as 1931 there was still a smugglers' hoist in the kitchen (U DDX/16/209).

After Mark Foulis died the trustees sold the Buckton estates in two lots, in 1869. Old tenants, Joseph and William Jackson, bought some of it and the Jackson family still held Buckton Hall when descendants of the Robinson family visited in 1928 and again in 1931. By that time much of the interior of the house had been destroyed by a fire in 1919 and other parts of the estate had passed through several hands (U DDX/16/209; Allison, Victoria county history of Yorkshire: East Riding, ii, p. 83).

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Purchased from Mr Pye (Books) of Hedon in May 1984 (U DP166/1-2 purchased separately in August & September 1980)

Related Material

U DP170; U DCY/18/14; U DDX/16/209; U DSY/14/47; U DDSY/101; U DDSY/104/126 (poems of Mary Ann Foulis); U DDSY/108

Related material in other repositories:

Papers of the Foulis family of Ingleby manor, Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone


  • Allison, K J, Victoria county history of Yorkshire: East Riding, ii (1969)
  • Hussey, Christopher, 'Buckton Hall, Yorkshire', Country Life, (24 Sept.1948)
  • Johnson, Francis, 'Buckton Hall', Transactions of the Georgian Society of East Yorkshire, 2 (1946-7)
  • Rudkin, Ernest, Bempton cum Newsholme cum Buckton: a short history (1946)