Love, Pearson, Ferens and Marshall Papers

Scope and Content

Two boxes of deeds and miscellaneous legal and family papers, chiefly referring to the Love, Pearson, Ferens and Marshall families of Durham City and County Durham, ca.1836-1920. These families were inter-related by marriage and were prominent in the business, industrial and professional life of Durham City and the surrounding area.

The deeds and related papers illustrate in particular the importance of Joseph Love (1796-1875) and Robinson Ferens (died 1892) as colliery owners and property developers in the neighbourhood of Brancepeth, Bedburn, Willington, Inkerman and Shincliffe, all in County Durham. The collection also includes family papers, mainly relating to the Pearson, Love and Ferens families, and some papers concerning the business affairs of John Edwin Marshall (died 1868), a Durham City solicitor.

The contents of the collection are arranged in the following groups of material:

  • SGD 51/1-28:- Deeds re Brancepeth colliery and Beechburn colliery in North Bedburn township, County Durham, and a Methodist New Connexion chapel in Monkwearmouth, County Durham, and Pearson, Love and Ferens family deeds, wills, correspondence and papers, ca.1846-1876.
  • SGD 51/29-56:- Deeds re Coxhoe, West Parks in Brancepeth parish, Willington, Cornsay Fell and the Inkerman colliery, and Shincliffe, all in County Durham, ca.1836-1875.
  • SGD 51/57-83:- Love and Ferens family deeds, papers, wills and other probate material, ca.1880-1920.
  • SGD 51/84-104:- Marshall business papers, Marshall and Ferens family papers, and deeds relating to Durham City and to Hartlepool and Harton, County Durham, ca.1854-1896.
  • SGD51/105-107:- Papers of Colonel H. Lawson, 1910.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph Love (1796-1875), son of William Love, a miner of New York, near South Shields, County Durham married in 1825 Sarah, daughter of Isaac Pearson, timber merchant, of North Shields, Northumberland. Joseph Love became a wealthy miller, shipowner, property developer and colliery owner, associated in particular with Chester-le-street, Shincliffe and Willington, County Durham and Durham City. He was a generous supporter of the Methodist New Connexion.

Joseph and Sarah Love had one son, Isaac Pearson Love, who died in 1854, leaving an only child, Joseph Horatio Love, born in 1853, who subsequently lived at The Hawkhills near Easingwold, Yorkshire. Isaac Pearson Love's widow Sarah (née Stephinson) in ca.1857 married Robinson Ferens (died 1892), originally a draper of Durham City and Willington, County Durham. Robinson Ferens became a member of the Methodist New Connexion perhaps in ca.1857. After his marriage he was appointed manager of Joseph Love's collieries. He later joined with Love as a partner in developing new collieries and after Love's death in 1875 had sole direction of the collieries, becoming wealthy.

Joseph Ferens (1829-1885), a draper of Durham City and a brother of Robinson Ferens, married in ca.1858 Mary Marshall, apparently from the Marshall family of Durham City solicitors. Their son, Henry Edward Ferens, born ca. 1864, also became a solicitor in Durham City. One of his sons was H. Cecil Ferens (1899-1975), another Durham City solicitor, who became legal secretary to the bishop of Durham and Durham diocesan registrar.


The basic arrangement is chronological within groups but items found together in a bundle or envelope have been kept together and deeds or papers concerning a particular property, topic or individual, which in isolation would lose some of their significance, have in general been put together.

See also under Scope and content.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic of the University of Durham (since 1990 part of the Archives and Special Collections department of Durham University Library) on 13 October 1977 by Mr. V. Ferens of Cleadon, Co. Durham, brother and executor of the late H. Cecil Ferens.


Part of : Small Gifts & Deposits

Other Finding Aids

An item-level catalogue of the contents of SGD 51, including pedigrees, is available: online catalogue

Custodial History

This material had all come into the possession of H. Cecil Ferens, a descendant of many of the families represented in the collection (see Administrative/Biographical history).

Related Material

SGD 40: Papers of H. Cecil Ferens.


Durham directory and almanack (1876), 44-47, obituary of Joseph LoveDurham directory and almanack (1893), 65-67, obituary of Robinson Ferens  Fynes, R., The miners of Northumberland and Durham (1873/1923), especially 225 ff.  Milburn, G., Piety, profit and paternalism Methodists in business in the North-East of England, c.1760-1920 (Wesley Historical Society, 1983), especially 29-30 (re Robinson Ferens) and 35-36 (re Joseph Love)  Moore, R.S., Pitmen, preachers and politics (1974)