Papers of the Mellish family of Hodsock, Nottinghamshire; 1664-1991 (predominantly 1800s)

Scope and Content

The letters of Henry Francis Mellish to his sister Ann (Me 4 C 1, 1808-1816), relate closely to a group of copy letters from Henry Francis Mellish which are catalogued as Me 2L 4/3 (1808-1809), and which together provide a significant account of events in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War.

Other correspondence has been grouped by recipient, principally Ann Chambers, Elizabeth Jane Mellish, William Leigh Mellish and Margaret Mellish. A large bundle of abstracted correspondence dates from 1660-1670 and is concerned with a legal dispute between Edward Mellish and Mr Sherrington. Me 4 C 11 contains the correspondence and papers of George Samuel Mellish, a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery serving in India and including letters to his family, bills, receipts, and assorted ephemeral items.

Four deeds relate to land in Blyth, Ramsgate and the marriage of Samuel Mellish and Joane Harvey (1663-1807)

The estate papers (1704-20th century) primarily date from Ann Chamber's ownership of Hodsock (1817-1855) and include assorted household and farm accounts, inventories, and correspondence with her agent John Horncastle (1816-1830). Also present are printed catalogues for various sales and auctions (1839-1861).

The section of family and personal papers contains a variety of material including a small amount of antiquarian and genealogical notes as well as a number of certificates, and a postcard photograph of Hodsock Priory.

A small quantity of manuscript volumes have been grouped together, containing journal entries, genealogical notes, travel accounts and diary entries relating to tours of Europe and Egypt are of particular interest; most of these volumes are anonymous but an attempt has been made to identify the owner based on the content. (Me 4 J 1-5). Three further notebooks have been used to record cavalry manoeuvres, minutes of East Kent Commission of sewers and various recipes. (Me 4 J 6-8).

Printed material includes newspaper cuttings and ephemera as well as published volumes and pamphlets, mainly belonging to Henry Mellish.

Administrative / Biographical History

This section forms part of the larger Mellish archive (Me), and consists of a number of small accruals which relate to several members of the Mellish family.

Henry Francis Mellish (1782-1817), the son of Charles Mellish (1737-1797) and his wife Judith née Stapleton, inherited the Mellish estates on the death of his father, but sold the Blyth estate in 1806 and made Hodsock the main family residence. He became aide-de-camp to General Ferguson under the Duke of Wellington, and served in the Peninsular War Campaign. He was noted for his interests in horse racing and gambling.

On his death in 1817 the Mellish estates passed to his sister and co-heir Anne who married William Cecil Chambers in 1811. The latter died in 1817 and when his widow died in 1855, Hodsock passed to her cousin, William Leigh Mellish (1813-1864), the son of Edward Mellish (1767-1830) and Elizabeth Jane née Leigh (b.1785). After the death of William, his widow Margaret née Cunard (1820-1901) remained at Hodsock overseeing a rebuilding project in 1874 to a design by George Devey. On her death Hodsock was inherited by her son Henry Mellish (1856-1927), meteorologist, who never married, and after the deaths of his two unmarried sisters, Agnes (1848-1934) and Evelyn (d. 1935) Hodsock finally passed to his cousin, Mary Constance Mayhew (1901-1982) née Buchanan. Mary was the great granddaughter of Frances Katherine Mellish (d. 1854), sister of William Leigh Mellish, who married Sir Andrew Buchanan (1807-1882), 1st baronet. Mary moved into Hodsock Priory in 1942, selling off some of the surrounding land and house contents by auction in 1946. In 1966 her life interest was bought out by her nephew, Sir Andrew Buchanan, 5th baronet.


Material has been arranged in chronological order within the various sections.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

On the World Wide Web:

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

Custodial History

The papers were acquired between 1995 and 2007.