The W.A. James Collection of Manuscripts, 1559-1850

Scope and Content

The manuscripts consist chiefly of property documents (including leases, bargains and sales, mortgages and grants) relating to land primarily in Nottinghamshire but including some in Yorkshire. There are a small number of deeds relating to turnpike roads. Wills are present for members of the Egginton family, Nottingham (1640-1730) and a number of other individuals of Nottingham.

The earliest document is from 1559, the latest from 1850. The majority date from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Administrative / Biographical History

This artificial gathering is the creation of W.A. James, Librarian of Southwell Minster (after whom the Collection is named). Material was given to him from a number of different sources, much of it a gift from Mrs Becher, executrix of Mrs Handford, formerly Strutt, of Southwell. He acquired a series of documents from Westhorpe Hall, Nottinghamshire but many items bear no evidence of their provenance or the route by which they joined the collection.


Documents are listed in a single numerical sequence, which reflects their arrangement into alphabetical place sequence in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers

REPROGRAPHIC: Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

NOTE: Copyright on all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

  • In the Reading Room, University of Nottingham Library: Typescript Catalogue, 73 pp
  • At the National Register of Archives, London: Typescript Catalogue, 73 pp

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email ). The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

LANGUAGE: English and Latin.

Custodial History

The documents were given to Nottingham University in 1949 after the death of Mr James, by his express wish.