Manuscripts of William Hargrove, York local historian

Scope and Content

The collection includes manuscripts for Hargrove's 'York Biographies', as well as volumes of handwritten notes regaring the history of York more generally, including Yorkshire people and places. An index to all the volumes can be found in HAR/8.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Hargrove was born in Knaresborough, Yorkshire, on 16 October 1788, the youngest child of Ely Hargrove and his second wife. His father intended him to join the church, and he was placed under the care of his godfather, Robert Wyrell, at that time curate of Knaresborough. Wyrell recommended, however, that Hargrove be trained as a journalist, and as a result he was accordingly apprenticed to Mr Smart of Huddersfield.

Following his apprenticeship Hargrove returned to Knaresborough, before purchasing the York Herald, a weekly newspaper, in 1813. He moved to York, and the first number of the York Herald under his management was published on 13 July 1813. He was editor of the paper for the next 35 years, and during that time expanded the staff to include a reporter, and a correspondent in nearly every town in Yorkshire. Hargrove subsequently bought the shares in the business of his two sleeping partners.

In October 1818 Hargrove entered the corporation of York as a common councilman for Bootham ward. He defended Queen Caroline in the York Herald, and announced her acquittal in 1820 by torchlight from the steps of the Mansion House. In 1827 he successfully promoted, along with Charles Wellbeloved, a scheme for the erection of a Mechanics' Institute, of which he became the first secretary and treasurer. In 1831 he was elected a sheriff of York.

In 1818 Hargrove published a 'History and Description of the ancient City of York'; comprising all the most interesting information already published in Drake's "Eboracum," with new additional content and illustrations. He had initially planned to reprint Francis Drake's Eboracum, but did not have enough support.

Hargrove also published the York Poetical Miscellany; being selections from the best Authors, in 1835. He was a contributor to the poets' corner of the York Herald and the York Courant, and to magazines. He also issued A New Guide for Strangers and Residents in the City of York. ... Hargrove's pocket edition, illustrated in 1842.

Hargrove collected the Roman and medieval remains excavated in and around York. About ten years before his death he transferred the whole collection to the museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. He died at York on 29 August 1862.

Conditions Governing Access

Material is available subject to the usual terms and conditions of access to Archives and Local History collections.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aids for this collection can be found online by searching the Explore website (

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Laura Yeoman, Archives and Local History Public Services Manager, May 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.