Legal Papers of the Willoughby Family of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire, Middleton, Warwickshire, and Birdsall, Yorkshire; 1628-1953

Scope and Content

The papers consist mainly of correspondence, deeds, abstracts of title, drafts and copies of settlements, with a small proportion of accounts, relating to the succession of the family estates and the sale and purchase of estates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It complements material in other parts of the entire Middleton Collection, taking the history of the estate from the death of Henry, 6th Lord Middleton in 1835 until the Second World War.The papers relate to the various family estates including Stapleford and Carlton le Moorland, Lincolnshire and Langford and South Muskham, Nottinghamshire; North Wheatley and Saundby, Nottinghamshire; Cossall, Radford, Lenton, Trowell and Wollaton, Nottinghamshire; Middleton, Warwickshire, various land in Yorkshire; Applecross, Ross-shire and various London properties.A considerable number of papers relate to mineral rights and coal mining activities and there are also conveyances of pieces of land to railway companies, reflecting nineteenth-century industrial developments.The group of papers which relate to the succession of the family estates include copies of wills, marriage settlements and other family documents. These papers relate particularly to the succession of Henry, 6th Lord Middleton (d 1835); Digby, 7th Lord Middleton (d 1856); Henry, 8th Lord Middleton (d 1877) and to the deaths of Digby, 9th Lord Middleton in 1922 and Godfrey Ernest, 10th Lord Middleton, in 1924.

Administrative / Biographical History

The archive consists of papers generated in the course of legal business undertaken for the Willoughby family by the London firm of solicitors, Messrs Purchase, Pollock and Treadwell of London (formerly Pollock & Co. and prior to that, Parke and Pollock). The surviving papers primarily concern land transactions.During the period in question, title to the Willoughby estates was governed by three main documents; the settlement deeds of 1848 and 1876 and the will of the 7th Lord Middleton, 1857. The family sold lands in Gloucestershire in 1858. Further sales occurred in 1867 of lands in Nottinghamshire (Newark, South Leverton, Langford and Sturton), Warwickshire (Hurley) and Derbyshire (Totley). The most substantial sales were those of 1924 and 1925 following the death of the 9th Lord Middleton in 1922 and of the 10th Lord Middleton in 1924. These sales took place in three parts: the Middleton estate (Warwickshire), the Newark on Trent estate of lands at South Muskham (Nottinghamshire), Carlton le Moorland and Stapleford (Lincolnshire) and the Wollaton estate (Nottinghamshire).There were also a number of purchases made during this period. The Wharram Percy estate (Yorkshire) was bought in 1833, and the Applecross estate (Ross-shire) in 1862. The latter was sold again in 1929.


The collection is divided into two main series. Settlements and family documents relating to the succession of the estates form one series. Estate papers relating to the acquisition and the sale of the estates form the other series. Within the two series, material is further sub-divided, and arranged chronologically. Bundles have in almost every case been left as received from the firm, and original labels have been quoted in descriptions.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:Typescript Catalogue, 67 pp At the National Register of Archives, London:Typescript Catalogue, 105 pp On the World Wide Web:Catalogue available from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.Access to the typescript catalogues also available online on the national A2A (Access to Archives) website.

Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Custodial History

The papers were acquired in 1962 from the solicitors of the Willoughby family.

Related Material

See also the fonds entry for the entire Middleton Collection (Mi); and items in the other parts of the collection (Mi1, MiAX, Mi2 and Mi4)