Eyre Family: Correspondence and Papers

Scope and Content

The collection consists of two sets of correspondence, those of Elizabeth Eyre and George Edward Eyre. Elizabeth's papers include many lengthy letters from her brother George, and a similar number from her sister Maria. George Edward Eyre's correspondence includes a series of letters from his father advising him upon his studies at Oriel College, Oxford, and at Lincoln's Inn during the 1820s. There are also letters from his business partner William Spottiswoode during the 1840s and 1850s. The collection also contains a few papers of George Eyre and of George Edward's son, George Edward Briscoe Eyre. The latter shed some light on attempts made during the Great War to preserve the New Forest from short-term military development.

1. London, 'Proposals for printing, by subscription, a Classical Vocabulary, French and English...by N. Wanostrocht, Teacher of Languages', printed leaflet of 3 pages, June 1782.

2-118. Correspondence of Miss Elizabeth (Eliza) Eyre, 1787-1849 and undated.

119-124. Papers of George Eyre, 1811-1820.

125-231. Correspondence of George Edward Eyre, 1822-1871 and undated.

232-238. Papers of George Edward Briscoe Eyre, 1875 and 1916.

239. Press cuttings and biographical notes on the Eyre and Thornton families in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, possibly compiled at Miss Mildred Westland.

Administrative / Biographical History

Elizabeth Eyre was the younger daughter of Charles Eyre of Clapham (1732-1794) by his first wife Hannah, daughter of John Briscoe of Goodhurst, Kent, whom he had married in 1771. Elizabeth's sister Maria married the M.P. Robert Thornton. Their brother George Eyre (b. 1772) was Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, Verderer of the New Forest, J.P. for Wiltshire and Hampshire, and High Sheriff of Wiltshire (1815). By his first wife Frances (d. 1820), daughter of Sir Edward Hulse, Bart., whom he married in 1803, he had George Edward (1804-1887), barrister and antiquary. George Edward Eyre's son George Edward Briscoe (b. 1840) was educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. He became J.P. for Hampshire and Wiltshire, and was elected Verderer of the New Forest in 1877.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the Library by Pauleen, Lady Chapman in 1974, in accordance with the wishes of her late step-sister Mrs. A.M.H. Westland.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was drawn partly from notes in section 239 of the collection.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.

Custodial History

The papers were in the possession of Mrs. A.M.H. Westland prior to their transfer to the Library, who appears to have inherited them from her sister-in-law Miss Mildred Westland. It has not been possible to trace any earlier reference to the material.

Related Material

The collection complements the papers of the Thornton family, MS.Add.7674, and those of William Smith and family, MS.Add.7621, in illustrating the activities of the Clapham Sect, a group of prosperous, evangelical families which flourished in South London at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Geographical Names