Papers of the Lumsden Family

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 EGR6
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      Physical composition: all items and pieces are single sheets of paper unless otherwise stated.

Scope and Content

The subfonds EGR6 includes correspondence and other papers belonging to, or relating to, James Grant Lumsden, a civil servant in the East India Company who held various administrative and judicial positions within the Bombay presidency. These items contain many references to Indian affairs, including the Indian Mutiny. The majority of other papers concern purely family and personal matters.

Related Materials in Other Subfonds

Letters written by James Grant Lumsden and his wife Mary to Mary's father and mother are to be found among the papers of Rev Harry Grey and his wife, EGR4/6/1/2 & /3. They contain detailed descriptions of life in India in the 1830s and '40s, and of the administrative structure of the Bombay Civil Service.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Grey family, Earls of Stamford, were related to the Lumsden family by the marriage in 1834 of Mary Grey (d 1885), daughter of Rev Harry Grey (1783-1860), to James Grant Lumsden, son of Lieutenant Colonel James Lumsden. Mary Grey was the sister of Rev William Grey (1819-1872), the father of the 9th Earl of Stamford.

The Lumsdens were descended from the ancient Lumsden family of Cushnie in Aberdeenshire, whose pedigree appears in Burke's Landed gentry (London: Harrison & Sons, 1898), vol. 1, p. 948. Several members of the Lumsden family served with the East India Company in India. John Lumsden, son of John Lumsden of Cushnie, was a director of the Company. His brother David Lumsden (1765-1823) rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Company's Bengal Army, and another brother, Matthew (1777-1835), had charge of the E.I.C.'s press in Calcutta. A fourth brother, James (d 1822), was Lieutenant Colonel of the 55th Regiment of Foot in the British Army. His sons, David (1812-1842) and John Richard (1808-1841), held the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain respectively in the Bengal Army. Their brother James Grant Lumsden (1807-1863) served the E.I.C. for over thirty years, holding various administrative and judicial positions in the Bombay presidency.

Biographical information on members of the Lumsden family who served in the East India Company has kindly been provided by Mr David Blake, European Manuscripts Curator, British Library Oriental and India Office Collections, whose assistance is gratefully acknowledged.


The papers of the Lumsden family have been divided into four sub-subfonds:

  • EGR6/1: Papers of Lieut. Col. James Lumsden
  • EGR6/2: Papers of Lydia wife of James Lumsden
  • EGR6/3: Papers of James Grant Lumsden
  • EGR6/4: Papers of other members of the Lumsden family

Acquisition Information

All items in EGR6 were transferred on deposit from Dunham Massey Hall to the John Rylands University Library by the National Trust on 12 September 1978.

Custodial History

It is not known how or when the papers of the Lumsden family came to Dunham Massey Hall. It is possible that the papers were assembled by Mrs Mary Ellen ('Nellie') Bignold, daughter of James Grant Lumsden. She was a close friend of Penelope Countess of Stamford and Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford, and Lady Stamford acted as her executor. Mrs Bignold may have given the papers to the Stamfords during her lifetime, or perhaps bequeathed them at her death in 1936.