The papers of Richard Hurd, Bishop of Worcester, (1720-1808) and of his nephew Richard Hurd jr (1750-1827)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 3330 SS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English French Latin
  • Physical Description
      22 bound letterbooks; 3 bound commonplace books; 2 folders of loose letters; 1 folder of sermons; 4 bound vols of inventories; 6 bound vols of papers on various subjects; 6 bound vols of the manuscripts of Richard Hurd jr (Hurd's nephew); library catalogues (1783, 1789, 1909, 1819, 1844, 1980)

Scope and Content

The papers consist of:

1. Papers of Bishop Hurd

3 bound commonplace books compiled by Hurd from 1744, using the indexing system devised by Locke.

22 bound vols (in 23) containing correspondence and other documents, mainly of Hurd's but including some material which almost certainly came from Warburton. Contents as follows:

  • Vol. 1. Material on Brewood School.
  • Vol. 2 Emmanuel College Cambridge
  • Vol. 3. Lincoln's Inn
  • Vol. 4( i-ii). William Mason
  • Vol 5. Thomas Gray (including an epitaph by Mason in Gray hand)
  • Vol 6. Correspondence with Bishops
  • Vol. 7. Lord Mansfield
  • Vol. 8. Thomas Balguy, Dean of Winchester
  • Vol. 9. Portraits, details of those at the castle
  • Vol. 10 . Dr Ogden of St John's College Cambridge and the Rev. David Ball
  • Vol. 11 Dr William Heberden
  • Vol. 12. Copies of letters from George III, Queen Charlotte, Prince Frederick, Princess Augusta.
  • Vol 13. Rev William Arnald
  • Vol 14. Plans of study for the princes, 1776-8
  • Vol 15. Prof. Michaelis, Prof Heyne, General Freytag and General Bude
  • Vol. 16. Warburton, Locke and Clarendon, with details of Warburton's will and list of his papers, a letter from his widow and a copy of a letter to Pope
  • Vol. 17. Letters about the monument to Joseph Addison and Hurd's notes on him
  • Vol 18 Edward Gibbon, including an anonymous letter to Hurd from him
  • Vol. 19. Letters of eminent persons, including John Tillotson, 1677, Joseph Addison 1705, Ambrose Philips, 1733
  • Vol. 20. Various letters 1759-1805, including Richard Hurd jr, Lord North, Duke of Montagu and Lord Bruce
  • Vol. 21 Letters of condolence to Richard Hurd jr, 1808, with some on the cathedral monument to Hurd and one from the artist James Ross on the hatchment
  • Vol 22. Fees and expenses, Lichfield and Coventry 1775, Worcester 1781.

4 bound inventories of the contents of Hartlebury Castle and the Palace in Worcester

6 bound vols compiled by Hurd ("Dates of some occurrences in my own life", "On the peace of Aix la Chapelle, 1748." Gloucester Archdeaconry, "Accounts of Folkton, "A compendium of architecture", and "Archdeaconry of Gloucester and Rectory of Dursley", "Hurd's will; various deeds relating to property; miscellaneous letters and sermons.

Manuscript catalogues of the library:

  • 1783. Done by John Woodyer. 1 vol, classical only
  • 1789. Anonymous. 2 vols, classical and alpahabetical.
  • 1909. Done by James Darby.1 vol, with classical and alphabetical lists.
  • 1819. Catalogue by Richard Hurd jr of his books in the library at the old palace. 2 copies (draft and fair copy)
  • 1844. Alphabetical catalogue of the books brought from the old palace to Hartlebury. Anonymous
  • 1980 Author catalogue by Graham Cartwright. 2 vols

Hurd's will. Documents relating to property.

2. Papers of Richard Hurd jr.

6 bound vols ("A Royal visit to Hartlebury",1788, 2 copies), "Anecdotes of Bishop Hurd", "The last illness of Bishop Richard Hurd", "Executor's account 1808", "Account book of Richard Hurd junior".

Manuscript catalogues of Richard Hurd jr's library, removed to Hartlebury from the palace in Worcester in 1844.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Hurd (1720-1808) was born in Staffordshire and educated at Brewood School and Emmanuel College Cambridge. He was ordained deacon in 1742, held a curacy in Norfolk for a short while and returned to Emmanuel as a Fellow in 1743. In 1749 he met William Warburton (1698-1779) who encouraged him to pursue a clerical career. He was Rector of Thurcaston, Leicestershire, from 1756-1774, Bishop of Lichfield from 1774-1781 and Bishop of Worcester from 1781 until his death in 1808. He had two residences at the Palace in Worcester and the castle in the village of Hartlebury some ten miles away, where he spent the chief of his time, accompanied by his nephew Richard, who became Diocesan Registrar in 1783 and also acted as his uncle's secretary. Having a large collection of books of his own and having recently purchased those of William Warburton Hurd had to build a library at the castle to accommodate them. The Hurd Library was built in 1782 and the books have remained there ever since.


The papers consist of correspondence, administrative papers, and notes on various subjects.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all bona fide researchers on application to the Hurd Librarian.

Acquisition Information

The source of the majority of the papers, including those of Richard Hurd jr, is described by E H Pearce (Bishop of Worcester 1919-1930) in his introduction to The Correspondence of Richard Hurd & William Mason, ed. Leonard Whibley, Cambridge 1932. They were offered to Pearce shortly after the publication of his Hartlebury Castle in 1926 by some friends in Worcester, who through previous generations of their family had had professional connexion with the Bishop and with some survivors of his family". The commonplace books and catalogues do not seem to have been included and probably remained in the library after Hurd's death.

Other Finding Aids

In progress.

Archivist's Note

Collection level description by Christine Penney, Hurd Librarian.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and licensing rules are available on request.


None expected.

Related Material

The Worcester Record Office contains the Diocesan Archives, which include some of the Hurd papers, deposited in 1993.


  • Cartwright, Graham. A Catalogue of the Hurd Library, Hartlebury Castle: with an introductory essay, M.Litt Thesis, University of Birmingham, 1980.
  • Hurd, Richard. The Correspondence of Richard Hurd & William Mason and Letters of Richard Hurd to Thomas Gray, ed. Leonard Whibly, Cambridge University Press, 1932
  • Hurd, Richard. The Early Letters of Bishop Richard Hurd 1739-1762, ed Sarah Brewer, Church of England Record Society, 1995
  • Kilvert, Francis. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Right Rev. Richard Hurd, London, 1860.
  • Nankivell, James. Extracts from the Destroyed Letters of Richard Hurd to William Mason in Modern Language Review vol. 45, no 2, 1950.
  • Penney, Christine. A Bishop and his books: Richard Hurd and his library at Hartlebury Castle, in The Book Collector, Autumn 2011, vol. 60 no. 3.
  • Penney, Christine. Richard Hurd, Bishop of Worcester 1781-1808, and his Library at Hartlebury in Worcestershire Recorder, Autumn 2009.
  • Penney, Christine. Some Letters of Richard Hurd in Worcestershire Recorder, Spring 2012