J.J. Howe Collection

Scope and Content

A collection of mostly deeds and court papers from Durham in particular, but with material also from various other parts of England, and beyond, probably gathered together by Cuthbert Mills Carlton (1832-1892). He was a Durham journalist,antiquarian and author of History of the Charities in Durham, (Durham 1872) and The Monumental Inscriptions of Durham, (Durham 1880). The Durham material features documents from the chancery court. This includes afile of documents for a case between Nicholas Hodgson and Thomas King in 1616 and papers for a variety of cases in 1643, along with files and particular cases from the later eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries. The deeds include groups for"Hunters" tenement in Fleshergate in Durham and a dyehouse in Watergatestreet, property in Ryhope and South Shields, and Bradley Hall and manor from the later seventeenth and earlier eighteenth centuries. Outside Co Durham, there is a collection ofdeeds concerning Elizabeth Williams, widow of Thomas Williams of Gloucester, who remarried John Essington in 1671, and the consequent settlements of property, covering Gloucester and Breconshire, along with isolated items for London and Greenwich,Kent, and a quantity of material for Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Arguably the collection's most significant group of material is from the diocese of Durham, including part of a probate act book for 1588, three precedent books from the sixteenth andseventeeth centuries, a quantity of bishop's transcripts for Co Durham parishes, and a 1716 terrier for Northallerton vicarage. There is also material from the city of Durham, featuring lists of jurymen, alehouse owners, members of the saddlers' andcurriers' companies, and an extensive set of bills for the 1807 election. In addition, there are some transcripts of early 19th century parish registers from Montreal (Canada).

Carlton also made extensive extracts from records himself, and the collection includes a number of indexes to wills and marriage licences, and extracts from other Durham records, some acquired from the London record agents Drury and Page.Carlton's own writings are few, but there are some papers on various topics and chapters for possible histories of Durham.

All this came to Howe from Carlton, and Howe was also given by Canon Greenwell, James Raine's Testamenta indexes of marriage bonds, administrations and wills compiled in 1826, with an index to that volume, compiled by R.W.

Administrative / Biographical History

Howe was second and then chief clerk of the Durham District Probate Registry where he worked from 1886, retiring in 1929, and dying in 1937.


The material is numbered in bundles

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed to Durham Cathedral Library by Howe in his will of 1935, proved in 1937. Transferred into custody of Durham University at 5 The College, July 2016 (accession Misc.2013/14:66)


  • 5TC

Other Finding Aids

Separated Material

Howe bequeathed 6 volumes of manuscript extracts from wills, administration bonds, probate act books and marriage bonds from the diocese of Durham, 1576-1735 and 1889-1894, with an index, to Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central Library where they are inthe Family History Room, reference L929.3. He also bequeathed manuscripts relating to the Ancient Guilds of Freemen of Durham to the Durham town clerk and an index to Dublin wills to the registrar of the Newcastle and Durham Probate Registry; thesehave not yet been identified.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Reprographics Officer at Durham Cathedral Library (library@durhamcathedral.co.uk). The Library will assist where possible with identifyingcopyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

A copy of C.M. Carlton's The Monumental Inscriptions of Durham, (Durham 1880) in Durham Chapter Library (ref. L929.5) has Howe's name in it, dated 1886.


For Carlton, see various newspaper obituaries pasted inside the copy of his The Monumental Inscriptions of Durham, (Durham 1880) held in the searchroom at Durham Cathedral Library