Papers of the Burton Family (Incorporating the Robinson Family of County Durham) of Cherry Burton

Scope and Content

U DDCB is dominated by estate papers, accounts and correspondence, though the correspondence does include information about family affairs more generally. The general estate papers have been catalogued geographically into the following sections: Beverley (1636-1662, 1874-1881) comprising the acquittances for tithes on Gelding Close paid by Edward Grey and a volume of papers about the Beverley Water Act of 1874; manor of Beverley chapter (Cherry Burton, Molescroft, Tickton, Walkington, Etton; 1599-1894) including a volume containing the papers of Gillyatt Sumner, a 1603 list of swan-marks for the East Riding, local fund and tax raising papers from the 17th century including the 1644 assessment for raising £30,000 to keep the English and Scottish armies, a 17th century list of small rents for the archidiaconate of Richmond, 18th century sacrament certificates, an extract from the will of Anne Cappe (1832) and her burial certificate for 1834 and a court roll 1862-1894; Bishop Burton (1674-1785); Cherry Burton (1396-1916) including the earliest document in the collection - a gift of 1396 of John de Burton to John Douce of a messuage called East Garth - some papers of the Johnson family including the 1731 division of the estates of William Johnson between his three sisters, some papers of the Hull merchant family the Bells including an 1803 survey and valuation of the estate of William Bell, an 1803 survey of open fields, a schedule of title deeds 1743-1811 in the custody of David Robinson, copies of the 1820s enclosure act and awards with related papers, a statement of the property bought by David Burton 1824-1853 and an estimate of his yearly income from timber in 1854, a survey and crop book of farms 1826-1828, an 1837 valuation of tithes, an 1853 survey and valuation of the farm of Mr Purdon, the 1860 accounts for building the schools of Bishop Burton and Etton and the teacher's house, some 17th century and 18th century papers for the Gee family, some 18th century manorial records in the form of surrenders and admissions, title papers of the Reverend Robert Barker 1737-1797 and those of Thomas Duesbery 1761-1807, a list of the deeds of James Pennyman 1716-1772, rentals 1778-1828 and 1854 (including rentals of tithes), the land taxes of David Burton Fowler, the 1854 sale of the advowson of the rectory, specifications for the erection of a school at Cherry Burton in 1870 with plans, costings and a file of correspondence, papers about the drainage of the estate 1851-1861, some extracts of parish registers about the Constable, Collison and Stephenson families, the marriage settlements of John Bourne and Anne Bourne (1638) and John Richardson and Margaret Carter (1697) and the wills of Daniel Woodmansey (1736), William Johnson Bell (1798), Thomas Barker (1774), William Witty (1803), Richard Booth (1770), Thomas Booth (1784), Robert Gray (1808), Arthur Barnard Trollope (1870), Robert Barker (1814), Thomas Wilson (1808), John Sandwich (1789) and John Shearsmith (1830); manor of Cherry Burton (1661-1918) comprising court rolls, jury verdicts, surrenders and admissions; Cottingham (1685) being an admission about the death of Robert Wryde; Etton (1888) being an amendment of the tithe rent charge; Leconfield (1505-1511) being two gifts; Lockington (1600-1780) including a bundle of receipts 1758-1785 for the tithe rent of Bygate Wood; Molescroft (1609) being a purchase by the Johnson family; Preston (17th century) being rough surveys and valuations; various townships (1586-1804) including the division of the rents of William Johnson in 1731 into three parts for his sisters, a list of the fee farm rents of William Tempest 1686-1693, some papers of the Gee family and the marriage settlements of William Gee and Philippa Hotham (1725), William Gee and Elizabeth Talbot (1736) and Roger Gee and Caroline Warton (1762).

Papers for estates in other counties are catalogued as follows: Durham county (1606-1833) comprising largely papers of the Robinson family estates in Darlington, Herrington and Sunderland and including a Robinson family pedigree 1692-1813, the correspondence of William Robinson and his mother, Margaret Robinson 1827-1831, 17th century surveys of Cowton Grange Farm and Darlington Farm, rentals of estates in the 18th century, an inventory of the goods of Robert Robinson 1746, a 1758 warrant for the levy of window tax, the marriage settlement of Isabelle Ayton and Francis Blake (1732) and the wills of John Ward (1811), Ralph Robinson (1812), Margaret Robinson (1828), Dorothy Robinson (1708) and Ambrose Smith (1748); Huntingdonshire (1800-1811) about land in Bluntisham of the Burton family; Kent (1811) being valuations of houses and estates; London (1837-1848) being about Rotch family property; Middlesex (1796-1895); Northumberland (1769) being a single lease of Balkwell Farm; Somerset (1732); Sussex (1880-1890) being papers for Aldringham estate in Brighton; Yorkshire, North Riding (1704-1807) being papers of estates in Cowton, Goathland, Hunton, Ormesby, Rosedale, Thornton and Yarm of Edward Harle, the Robinson family and Anne, Frances and Margaret Hastings and including a rent book for Ormesby 1749-1756 with a list of tenants for 1766, 1791 rentals in Pickering, Thornton, Cloughton, Goathland and other places, land taxes in Thornton and other places 1799 and the rules and orders of a general meeting of the clergy to provide for needy clerical families, widows and orphans and an 1807 list of subscribers. Other papers in the collection include 106 bonds (1648-1835); papers in legal cases (1735-1914) and a variety of deeds (1698-1915) including admissions in the early 19th century of William Robinson into various inns of court and the royal licence for David Robinson in 1828 to take the surname Burton. The collection is rich in accounts (1721-1917) and these include a bundle of 65 miscellaneous accounts 1693-1843, a 1726 tenants' account book, accounts of Ralph Robinson 1721-1759, Ralph Robinson's general account book 1752-1757, the servants' wages of Marshall Robinson 1763-1771, the personal and household account books of Sarah Robinson and a Mrs Bramwell in the 1770s, the account book of the executors of William Ward in the 1770s, the account book of the executors of Sarah Duesbery Hughes D'Aeth, a farm labour account book of 1893-1900, lawyers' accounts 1723-1851, some accounts of David Fowler Burton including those with the North-East Railway Company, accounts relating to the estates of Samuel Ayton especially in County Durham 1725-1731, accounts relating to the Beggars' Bank estate in Sunderland 1725-1765, some household accounts 1767-1780, the accounts of David Fowler Burton with Robert Ramsay about enclosure, accounts of the executors of David Fowler Burton 1827-1835. The collection contains a separate section for a fairly extensive correspondence as well as two separate sections for papers relating very specifically to David Burton (d.1890) and David Fowler Burton (d.1931).

The section on correspondence (1698-1895) includes one letter from Richard Robinson to his brother Albert Robinson in 1698, the correspondence of Ralph Robinson 1725-1767, the correspondence of Marshall Robinson 1756-1776, letters about the Ormesby estate of the Robinsons in the 1770s, letters to Ralph Robinson 1779-1792, a letter of C B Hutchinson from Rugby School to David Burton about his son in 1875, an 1895 letter of Crust Todd and Mills about the valuation of the Cherry Burton estate, an original bundle of 176 letters to Sarah Robinson about estate and family affairs and including details of the plight of her tenants in bad times and one love letter to Mary Robinson with a refusal returned by Margaret Robinson. The section of papers for David Burton spanning 1820-1890 includes a large number of his accounts including rentals at Cherry Burton, Molescroft and Lockington 1851-1886, stocks and shares, household expenditure 1854-1879, Rugby school accounts 1876-1880, an original bundle of correspondence about the bankruptcy of Swann Clough and Co. letters about the will of Major Frederick Cowper, letters from Adelaide Hutton about the financial affairs of her husband and letters of the executors of David Burton senior. Some miscellaneous papers for David Burton include some passports to travel on the continent, a diary and commonplace book 1849-1853 and the correspondence, accounts and plans for the church at Cherry Burton dated 1851-1855. Papers separately catalogued for David Fowler Burton span the dates 1857-1931 and they include accounts for the Cherry Burton estate 1891-1904, letters about his legal and financial affairs from various senders, about 100 letters concerning the estate of Frederick Cowper and about another 100 letters concerning the financial affairs of Marshall Cowper Burton 1890-1891. A miscellaneous section in the collection spans the dates 1655-1931 and includes a pedigree of the family of Hutton of Houghton le Spring including the 1741 removal order for Elizabeth Hutton to be taken to a house of correction.

There are also 1655 epitaphs for James Pennyman, papers about local affairs such as the prosecution of Roman Catholics, management of paupers and vagrants, collection of excise and land tax and the management of local militias and regiments. There are also the 1828 grants for James Robinson to take on the surname and arms of Burton, game registers for 1840-1900, a packet of family photographs circa 1865, athletics programmes and school reports for Rugby School in the 1870s, the 1881 pass list of students for the inns of court, a printed pamphlet on the end of the Boer War, a satirical poem about the First World War and the form of burial service in 1931 for David Fowler Burton. Settlements in the collection (1704-1888) include the following marriage settlements: Richard Robinson and Thomasine Holmes (1704); Edward Harle and Anne Robinson (1711); Thomas Wilberforce and Catherine Johnson (1731); John Hedworth and Margaret Ayton (1729); Ralph Robinson and Margaret Ward (1776); Richard Hill and Eliza Johnston (1785); David Robinson and Isabelle Fawell (1812); Charles Alliston and Susan Lydia Cowper (1837); William Henry Curzon and Emily Cowper (1874) and David Burton and Mary Cowper (1845). This section also includes the correspondence of David Burton about trust estates 1872-1888. Wills in the collection (1691-1889) are those of Ralph Robinson (1691), Richard Johnson (1701), Dorothy Robinson (1708), Elizabeth Robinson (1721), Hodgson Johnson (1722), Richard Robinson (1722), Christopher Garbutt (1734), Elizabeth Johnson (1740), Thomas Mercer (1742), Mary Robinson (1743), Richard Garbutt (1744), Robert Robinson (1745), Richard Robinson (1749) Ann Johnston (1761), Catherine Wilberforce (1761), Marshall Robinson (1769), David Burton (1783), Marshall Robinson (1786), Robert Barker (1814), David Burton Fowler (1825), Elizabeth Ombler (1828), Margaret Robinson (1828), William Robinson (1833), Thomas Duesbery (1837), Thomas Fawell (1838), Francis Barbara Burton (1846), David Burton (1850), Isabella Burton (1858), Stuart Alexander Donaldson (1861), Thomas Hutton (1863), Christopher Bramwell (1866), Andrew John Cowper (1869), Marshall Fowler (1869), William Watt (1874), Adelaide Sarah Dell Hutton (1876), Susan Lydia Alliston (1879), Anne Eliza Ferguson-Fawsitt (1882), Joseph Boyes (1886) and Sarah Duesbery Hughes D'Aeth (1889). The nine items catalogued as DDCB2 include the 1875 sale documents for the mansion at Cherry Burton and 1877 and 1879 leases for the same as well as the wills of Ralph Robinson (1708), Richard Robinson (1722) and Ralph Robinson (1753).

Administrative / Biographical History

The papers in this collection fall into two basic categories: title deeds and related papers from 1396 for estates in Cherry Burton bought by the Burton family from Sir James Pennyman in 1783 (papers for the Burton family themselves before this date do not feature significantly in the collection) and title deeds and related papers for estates, in County Durham and Sunderland in particular, owned by the Robinson family, and Robinson family papers. The Cherry Burton and Durham and Sunderland estates became amalgamated through lateral inheritance. David Burton (who assumed the name Fowler to satisfy the conditions of a will) died childless in 1828, whereupon the Cherry Burton estates devolved upon his great-nephew, David Robinson (b.1787), who was the grandson of the sister of David Burton (Fowler), Elizabeth Burton. Her daughter, Sarah Hicks, had married Marshall Robinson of Sunderland in 1785 and their eldest son, by the terms of his great-uncle's will, assumed the name and arms of the Burton family in 1828. Papers about this are in the collection. Papers about the Robinson family, including a rough pedigree and much correspondence, are also quite extensive; they predate Burton family papers in the collection and indicate that the Robinson family had held considerable estates in Durham and Sunderland from at least the late seventeenth century (Ward, East Yorkshire landed estates, pp.62-3).

David Robinson (Burton) married in 1813 Isabella Fawell and they had two sons and four daughters. The Cherry Burton estate inherited by them was enclosed a year later, in 1829, giving them 1085 acres and the family continued to own just over 1000 acres until the early twentieth century. David Robinson (Burton) was a justice of the peace and became deputy lieutenant of the East Riding. He died in 1854. He was succeeded to the estates by his eldest son, David Burton (b.1820), who carried on his father's tradition of being very active in local affairs. He also became a justice of the peace and deputy lieutenant of the East Riding and in addition he became the first chairman of the East Riding County Council. His first wife predeceased him and in 1845 he married Fanny Cowper, the daughter of Frederick Cowper of Carleton Hall and Skelton in Cumberland. There are papers in the collection relating to his will (Ward, East Yorkshire landed estates, pp.62-3; Huzzard, Cherry Burton, passim).

David Burton died in 1890 and was succeeded to the estates by his son, David Fowler Burton (b.1857), who pursued an army career. He married Mary Sophia Whitaker in 1884, daughter of the rector of Leconfield and Scorborough. They had three sons, David Cecil Fowler Burton (b.1857), Robert Claude Burton, Ralph Thornton Burton, and one daughter, Evelyn Mary Burton. In 1916, David Fowler Burton split up and sold the estates, just retaining the mansion and surrounding 42 acres. The family continued to live in Cherry Burton Hall, David Fowler Burton dying in 1931. His eldest son died without issue while on active service in India in 1897 and his other two sons were ultimately outlived by his daughter, Evelyn. In 1915 she had married Edward Bickersteth and she moved back into the Hall in 1933. It was finally sold off in 1945 and the family papers passed down to the trustees of her estate before being deposited in the East Riding Record Office (Ward, East Yorkshire landed estates, pp.62-3; Blewett, Cherry Burton, pp.9, 21, 29; Huzzard, Cherry Burton, passim).

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Other Finding Aids

Entry in Landed family and estate archives subject guide

Custodial History

U DDCB deposited in the East Riding Record Office in 1958 by the executors of Mrs Evelyn Bickersteth and transferred to Hull University Archives in 1974. U DDCB2 deposited in 1981.

Related Material

From the papers of Crust Todd and Mills, Solicitors U DDCV/146/2; U DDCV/168/22-23; U DDCV(2)/62/63-63


  • Blewett, Geoffrey, Cherry Burton: a glimpse of the past (1988)
  • Huzzard, Betty, Cherry Burton past and present (1953)
  • Ward, J T, East Yorkshire landed estates in the nineteenth century (1967)