Mickleton and Spearman Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Original manuscripts and transcripts relating particularly to the history of North-East England, with much of national interest, from the Middle Ages to the early 18th century. The collection includes substantial 17th century correspondence, and much material on the administration of the Palatinate of Durham and the working of the Palatinate courts.

Administrative / Biographical History

This antiquarian collection was assembled in the 17th and 18th centuries by members of the Mickleton and Spearman families, Durham lawyers and antiquaries. It descended through the Spearman family to the Wasey family, who presented it to Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham. The collection was then divided. In 1817 Barrington gave 107 volumes and rolls to Bishop Cosin's Library in Durham and over 80 volumes to the Inner Temple Library. One volume (formerly Phillipps MS 29312, now Mickleton & Spearman 108) was added to the collection in Durham by gift from Henry Gee in 1918. Bishop Cosin's Library now forms part of Durham University Library and the University of Durham has since 1937 been its trustee.


In order of pressmark.

Access Information

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

See Administrative/biographical history above

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue online

Cursorily listed in manuscript list ascribed to Sir Henry Ellis, with very inadequate index.

Fuller listing of many volumes in partial draft catalogue by F.J.W. Harding, with rudimentary card index.

Detailed descriptions of the medieval manuscripts (nos 27, 57, 89) in the Draft Catalogue of Medieval Manuscripts in the University Library.

Separated Material

The Library has microfilm of the related volumes now in the Inner Temple Library, which are described in J.C. Davies, Catalogue of manuscripts in ... the Inner Temple (London, 1972).

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Published account of the formation of the collection: Sheila Doyle, The Barrington Manuscripts: from Durham to the Inner Temple, The Law Librarian 23 no.2 (June 1992), 66-74.

Brief account of the collection by F.J.W. Harding published in The Durham Philobiblon 1, (1945-55), 40-4.