The most substantial material relates to John Courtney (1734-1806) and his son, the Reverend John Courtney (1769-1845). The bulk of the material for the former is at DDX/60/1-7 and comprises four journals ('Diary of Occurrences etc') for the years 1759-1767 and 1788-1805, a letter book 1787-1791, a book of rentals 1796-1806 and the household account book kept in the final two years of his life.
The bulk of material for his son is at DDX/60/8-15 and solely comprises correspondence about the rentals and tenancy agreements on his properties in Beverley and other places. DDX/60/16 is the correspondence of his lawyer with his widow just after his death.
Between DDX/60/17 and DDX/60/49 there are miscellaneous papers which include the wills of Richard Kirkby (1590), George Wilkinson (1616) and James Hall (1641), as well as a number of seventeenth-century sales and settlements, especially in Hessle, of the Baxter, Clarke and Hall families. Eighteenth century documents largely relate to the land ownership of John Courtney's grandmother, Elizabeth Nelson, and his mother's family, the Featherstones, all of Beverley. He inherited property from his uncle, aunt, mother and grandmother and a copy of a settlement (1764) relating to this considerable inheritance is at DDX/60/47. There is also an 1801 plan of his estate at DDX/60/38 and a plan of the lands belonging to his son in 1813 at DDX/60/42.
DDX/60/50 is a bundle of letters dated 1769-1828; these are addressed to the older John Courtney, his wife, Mary Smelt (d.1805) and to the Reverend John Courtney. They come from the Smelts and Franklands (including Thomas Frankland, 6th baronet, MP and botanist), all members of Mary Smelt's family. They contain much family news, though letters from Major William Smelt (later General) and Lieutenant Leonard Smelt are very informative on the Canadian War of 1812 (he is very critical of the conduct of the army) and of a dangerous voyage to India in 1814 respectively. This bundle of letters contains biographical notes by Sir Christopher Courtney about the correspondents represented and family members mentioned in the letters.