Hengrave Hall, Suffolk: Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 12 MS.Hengrave
  • Dates of Creation
      c. 1500-1900
  • Name of Creator
  • Physical Description
      108 volumes, 24 boxes, 3 rolls, 2 box-files, 2 wooden frames, 2 large folders, 2 envelopes and 1 loose photograph

Scope and Content

The collection documents the fortunes of the Gage family and the Hengrave estate. There is material relating to the parishes or manors of, among others, Cosford, Hartismere, Samford, Stow, Thedwastre, Thingoe and Willford. The antiquarian and entomological collections of Sir Thomas Gage, 7th Baronet, are well represented, and there are several journals and sketches of nineteenth-century continental tours. There are significant collections of sixteenth-century correspondence, as well as papers relating to the Rookwood and Kytson families.

Administrative / Biographical History

The history of the Gage family can be traced back to the first Sir John Gage (fl. 1420-1475). His son, William of Firle (c. 1456-1496), was the father of Sir John Gage (1479-1556), vice-chamberlain to Henry VIII, 1528-1540. Sir John became chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, constable of the Tower and comptroller of the household in 1540, and later served as lord chamberlain to Queen Mary. He was succeeded by his son Edward, K.B., whose son Thomas was father to Sir John Gage (1577-1633), who was created a baronet in 1622.

The family acquired Hengrave Hall through the marriage of Sir John Gage, Bart, to Penelope, daughter of Thomas Darcy, Earl Rivers. Penelope was the great-granddaughter of Sir Thomas Kytson (1485-1540), who had purchased the Hengrave estate from the Duke of Buckingham in 1521, and carried out the construction of the manor-house between 1525 and 1538. Penelope settled Hengrave on her third son, Edward Gage (1626-1706), who inherited it on her death in 1661.

Edward, who also served as sheriff of Sussex, was created a baronet in 1662. The Hengrave estate passed first to his son Sir William Gage (c. 1651-1727), and then to Sir Thomas Gage (c. 1710-1741), son and heir of Thomas Gage (d. 1716), a younger son of the 1st Baronet. In 1741 the estate was inherited by Sir William Gage (c. 1712-1767), the brother and heir of the 3rd Baronet. It then passed to Sir William's cousin and heir, Sir Thomas Rookwood Gage (c. 1720-1796), the son and heir of John Gage (d. 1728), the third son of the 2nd Baronet. Through his mother Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Rookwood, Sir Thomas also inherited Coldham Hall in Stanningfield, Suffolk. He was succeeded by his son Thomas (c. 1752-1798), whose son, also called Thomas (1781-1820), became the 7th Baronet.

Sir Thomas did not inherit the Coldham Hall estate, which passed instead to Robert Joseph Gage, second son of the 6th Baronet, who took the additional name of Rookwood, and, in 1838, to Robert's younger brother, the antiquary John Gage (1786-1842), who changed his name to John Gage Rokewode. Sir Thomas Gage (1810-1866), son and successor of the 7th Baronet, inherited Coldham Hall from John Gage Rokewode in 1842, and took the name of Rokewode Gage by royal licence in 1843. He became sheriff of Suffolk in 1850. He was succeeded by his brother Sir Edward Gage (1812-1872), 9th Baronet, who changed his name to Edward Rokewode Gage by royal licence. Before becoming Baronet he had served as a major in the Scots Fusilier Guards.

The baronetcy became extinct on the death of Sir Edward in 1872. Following the death of his widow Henrietta Mary, Lady Gage (1818-1887), second daughter of the Revd Lord Frederick Beauclerk, the Hengrave estate passed to the Earl of Kenmare.

Access Information

The Hengrave Hall manuscripts are unlikely to be available for consultation from Friday 13 June 2003 until further notice.

Acquisition Information

The initial deposit was made in 1952. Since that date further material has been received from, and some items transferred to, Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds.


The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Sir John Gage (1479-1556) in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. VII (London, 1908), pp. 790-792; the entry on Sir John Gage (1577-1633) in George Edward Cokayne, ed., Complete baronetage, Vol. I, 1611-1625 (Exeter, 1900), p. 193; and the entries on the Baronets of Hengrave in the Complete baronetage, Vol. III, 1649-1664 (Exeter, 1903), pp. 251-253.

Other Finding Aids

An outline listing of the collection is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Custodial History

The collection was held formerly at Hengrave Hall, Suffolk.

Related Material

Cambridge University Library holds further sketchbooks of Sir Thomas Gage, MSS.Add.8813-8815.

Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds, also holds papers from Hengrave Hall.

Corporate Names

Geographical Names