Rentals, surveys and memoranda

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 2495 HMS/2
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      18 volumes The unbound books were bound in the early 20th century, but most of the items in this series have kept their original binding.

Scope and Content

This series of material relates to the management of property and land, mostly in the Cavendishes' posession. It includes rentals, surveys and memoranda books relating to Cavendish family estates in: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and Somerset. It also includes items about land that was not owned by the Cavendish family but has had some connection to the family either through marriage or in Sir William Cavendish's case because of his role as a courtier.

The rentals provide a lot of information about how much income was being returned from which estates as well as the names of tenants who resided there. They also include information about the types of property rented, the bailiffs who were responsible for collecting these rents and the frequency with which rents and heriots (a tax of money, equipment or livestock owed on the death of a tenant) were collected or tenants fined.

The surveys mostly relate to land which William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire or his mother, Elizabeth Talbot, Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury, had acquired, including from his uncle James Hardwick. The survey of Ireland and the financial account of William Brabazon in Ireland are some of the anomalies in the group in that they do not relate to land owned by the family. Howeve they may have come to be in the collection due to Sir Henry Cavendish's deployment to Ireland in 1540. Similarly the Fairfax evidences do not relate to Cavendish-owned land. However, these were acquired much later and would not have been part of the original records compiled by the earls.

The memoranda books in this series seem to mostly relate to receipts for rent and livestock, as well as notes regarding leases and inventories of various kinds. They are largely authored by upper servants of the househould and most that survive in this collection were Humphrey Poole's working documents. A lot of these memoranda books cover a large date span and may have been used by multiple people. The fact that a number of the memoranda books are rough in nature and rentals are compiled over some time in various hands by Derbyshire receivers Humphrey Poole and Richard Derrey, suggest that the collection was a result of their daily work rather than solely the records kept by the earl and countesses for their reference or examination.

The only volume here that likely had a more formal use is HMS/2/15 which contains as well as lease and rental information, copies of wills, letters patent and other indentures relating to the family and specifically property ownership. Having said this, it may well have functioned in a similar way to the other rougher memoranda books, as a reference copy for receivers when dealing with the management of the land. Countess Christian enabled the restoration of the family finances after her husband the 2nd Earl died in debt, through the careful management of land and leases and this is reflected to an extent in the indentures copied into this large book.

Unlike the financial account books, many of these volumes have kept their original binding, which is of fine material such as suede calf and vellum, suggesting they were intended to last through many decades of use.


The material here has been arranged by type: rentals, surveys and memoranda, and then chronologically within those record types. It was decided not to make further sub-series for each of these types of material as they all largely interlink and there are only 18 items in the whole series, which are catalogued to detailed item level.

Separated Material

Rental material that is evidently related to the Hardwick Manuscripts can be found in the AS (Additional Series) series at Chatsworth Archives. The item listed below are separated items in the AS series (dating from 1619-1698) that were most likely separated from the main account run due to either being located elsewhere or due to being individual sheets that may have been inserted into some of the bound volumes of HMS/2 (for the most part each reference below includes one sheet). The relevant items are as follows:

Chatsworth Rentals

AS/1009 (1619-1625)

AS/1010 (1628-1634, 1651-1657)

AS/1109 (1629-1630)

AS/1013 (1637 1641)

C/11 (1693-1698)

L/96/12 (1696)

Custodial History

Like the account books in this collection, these volumes were probably largely stored in the Hardwick Evidence Room when Eugenie Strong came to list them. However, not all the rentals were present at that time because four of them which have been housed with the Hardwick Manuscripts material since at least 2004, were not catalogued in Strong's original list (HMS/2/2, HMS/2/4, HMS/2/ 5 and HMS/2/6). Like the Additional Hardwick manuscripts series these were clearly part of the same collection, given the type of material and the subject matter.

Additionally, the Farifax evidences were added into the collection in 1898 when they were purchased by Arthur Strong on behalf of the 9th Duke of Devonshire.

HMS/2/17 was part of the Additional Series collection of material which like the C series is an artificial composite collection. Given its similarity to other memoranda books belonging to Humphrey Poole in this collection, the decision was made to transfer this volume to this series of the Hardwick Manuscripts collection.

Related Material

The following land survey may be of interest to certain researchers interested in the land holdings of the Cavendishes in the early 17th century:

William Senior's Survey of the Estates of the First and Second Earls of Devonshire, c.1600-1628 (GB 2495 CH34/2). A published version of this survey can also be accessed: Fowkes, D. V. and Potter, G. R. (eds) and Eden, Peter, William Senior's Survey of the Estates of the First and Second Earls of Devonshire c.1600 28, (Chesterfield: Derbyshire Records Society, ).

The Hardwick Charters (GB 2495 HC) also include the original deeds that relate to much of the land mentioned in these rentals and surveys.

Hardwick Drawers H/143, H/144 and H/145 contains a number of memorandums and indentures in the hands of Whildon, Humphrey Poole and Richard Derry concerning Cavendish land.

H/143/38 includes a memorandum with a rough map drawing by Poole.

Family Names