Medieval Deeds in the Mellish Collection, c.1160-1361, with a letter from Napoleon Buonaparte [Bonaparte], 1790

Scope and Content

The letter from Napoleon Buonaparte, dated June 1790, is addressed to M. L'Abbé Raynal. It includes a reference to Napoleon's brother, Joseph, and an invitation to Paoli to return to Corsica.

The deeds include several grants to Colne Priory (Earls Colne) Essex, by various members of the de Vere family, Earls of Oxford, 12th-14th centuries, and to the Priory of Hatfield Regis (Hatfield Broad Oak), Essex in the 14th century. Two of the deeds appear in J.L. Fisher (ed.) 'Cartularium Prioratus de Colne', 'Essex Archaeological Society Occasional Publications', i, 1946.

Administrative / Biographical History

This small group of documents forms part of the larger Mellish archive. They relate to grants by the de Vere family, Earls of Oxford, and their tenants, to the Priories of Earls Colne and Hatfield, Essex. Both priories were founded by members of the de Vere family in the twelfth century. The de Veres do not appear to have any obvious connection with the Mellish family. A charter of 1220-21 of Robert de Vere of a gift of the church of Abington, Cambridgeshire to the monks of Hatfield Regis, Essex, which was amongst an earlier deposit of Mellish papers was thought to be present as a result of the antiquarian activities of Charles Mellish (1737-1797).


The deeds are arranged according to priory and chronologically within these two divisions.

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Typescript Catalogue

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Catalogue accessible from the website for Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

The catalogue is also available online on the national A2A (Access to Archives) website.

Custodial History

The deeds were discovered in Hodsock Priory some time after the initial transfer of Mellish family material to Nottingham University Library. The documents were received by the Library in 1980, and placed with the earlier Mellish papers. A letter from Napoleon Buonaparte is listed with the deeds. Although there is no direct connection between the letter and the deeds, it was discovered at Hodsock in the same box and transferred to the University Library at the same time.