The papers in U DDLA and U DDHA represent documentation of the unbroken succession of the Houghton and Holme estates in the Langdale and later Stourton/Langdale family. However, although these estates were kept in one family, the family itself was very large, the succession was often complicated and the papers only provide pockets of information on the Langdales themselves before the nineteenth century. Most of the personal papers and correspondence in the two collections date from the nineteenth century after the succession of the Stourton family to the Langdale estates.
The Langdales have lived in the area to the west of Beverley in the East Riding since at least the fourteenth century when Patrick de Langdale married Elena Houghton and inherited through her estates in Houghton and Etton. The family stayed in the area and intermarried particularly with the Constable and Vavasour families, many of whose title documents features in U DDLA and U DDHA. Use of the name Marmaduke entered the Langdale family when Agnes Constable of Everingham married Anthony Langdale; their son married Ann Vavasour of Hazelwood and became lord of the manors of Dowthorp, Lanthrop and Woodhall. This generation remained Catholic after the reformation and their son, Anthony Langdale of Sancton, was forced to flee to Rome and died there in 1577 (Sunderland, Marmaduke Lord Langdale, chpt.1; Allison, History of the county of York East Riding, iv, pp.108, 163).
The estates at Houghton passed down through the senior branch of the Langdale family that started with Anthony Langdale until failure of succession forced their transfer laterally to Peter Langdale (d.1617) and his son Marmaduke Langdale (b.1598). Marmaduke Langdale was knighted by Charles I in 1628 and became a devoted royalist during the civil wars. When Henrietta Maria landed at Bridlington in February 1643 he provided her with an escort and set about raising troops. He went on to become a cavalry commander of some importance, fighting at Marston Moor and Naseby. At the beginning of the second civil war he was sent to Scotland and in 1649 was sent to the defence of the Isle of Man. He spent much of the 1650s abroad and in contact with the exiled Charles II; he was made Lord Langdale in 1658. Copies of letters between him and Edward Hyde during this period are in the collection, as are extracts from his journals and papers that throw light on negotiations with the Scots in the late 1640s (Sunderland, Marmaduke Lord Langdale, passim; Dictionary of National Biography).
Marmaduke Langdale came into possession of family estates and he went to live at Holme on Spalding Moor where he bought land from the crown that had belonged to the Constables before the attainder of Robert Constable for his part in the Pilgrimage of Grace. However, his own losses due to confiscation in the civil wars were so great that it took some time for his descendants to recover. In 1626 he had married Lennox Rodes and by her had seven children, most of whom survived to adulthood. Sadly his wife died an hour after the birth of a child, in 1639. His eldest son, Marmaduke Langdale (b.1627), became governor of Hull and lived at Holme. Marmaduke Langdale died at Holme in 1661 and was buried in Sancton (Sunderland, Marmaduke Lord Langdale, chpt.1; Dictionary of National Biography).
Marmaduke Langdale junior lived until 1703 and his descendants inherited his father's title as well as the estates at Houghton and Holme on Spalding Moor. Holme Hall was restored by his son in 1718 and the present Georgian house at Houghton was built for Philip Langdale in 1765 probably by Thomas Atkinson of York. The family continued to be recusants and a year after Houghton Hall was built a mission was set up at the house for a Catholic priest. The result was that at least one third of the parish was Catholic and by the early nineteenth century the local parish church was in a state of disrepair and the vicar was in a state of anguish. When Marmaduke, 5th Lord Langdale, died in 1778, the title became extinct as he had two daughters. Houghton Hall descended to the senior male of the Langdale family, Philip Langdale, who had married Elizabeth Acton in 1775. However, they had no children and the estates moved back to the descendants of the 5th Lord Langdale through his youngest daughter Mary's marriage to Charles Philip, 17th Lord Stourton (b.1752). Mary became sole heir and on the death of Philip Langdale in 1815, 1000 acres and Houghton Hall passed to her third son, Charles Stourton (b.1787), who changed his name to Langdale (Allison, History of the county of York East Riding, iv, p.163; Pevsner & Neave, York and the East Riding, p.474; Annual report of the York Georgian Society, p.47).
In the year that Charles (Stourton) Langdale inherited Houghton Hall he married Charlotte Mary Clifford whose portion was £6000. She died only three years later and he married Mary Constable Maxwell of Everingham in 1821. They were responsible for expansion of the estates, the extension of Houghton Hall and the building of a Greek-style Roman Catholic chapel beside the house. The architect for this was Joseph Ireland. Charles Langdale was also the biographer of Mrs Fitzherbert, he was a whig MP (for Beverley 1833-4 and Knaresborough 1837-41) and a Catholic activist. His chapel was built slightly in advance of the Catholic Emancipation Bill and in 1823, when he built a Catholic school in Houghton, the attendance at the other local school dropped by half. The collections are rich in material about nineteenth century Catholic affairs and there is a lot of correspondence (Allison, History of the county of York East Riding, iv, p. 163; Dictionary of National Biography; Johnson, 'Houghton Hall', pp.37-8).
Charles (Stourton) Langdale's younger brother, Philip Henry Joseph Stourton (b.1793) succeeded to Holme Hall and was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the East Riding of Yorkshire. He was also involved in Catholic affairs at a local level and in 1846 St William's College at Holme on Spalding Moor was built for the training of Roman Catholic schoolmasters. The house and lands at Holme on Spalding Moor passed down through this junior line of the family. Philip Henry Joseph Stourton died in 1860 when he was succeeded by his son, Henry Joseph Stourton (b.1844). His daughter, Amy Mary Josephine Stourton (b.1874) married Frederic Dundas Harford, who was in the diplomatic service, and she became lady of the manors of Holme and Bubwith when her father died in 1896. In the 1920s she sold the estates and Holme Hall was a convent for fifty years before becoming the Sue Ryder home. Her only child, Joan Mary Harford (b.1897), married Sir Alexander Bannerman in 1920. In 1975 Lady Joan Bannerman deposited the (Stourton) Langdale papers in her possession in the Brynmor Jones Library (Pevsner & Neave, York and the East Riding, pp.474, 476; Clay, Extinct and dormant peerages).
Charles (Stourton) Langdale had four sons and two daughters and was succeeded to the family estates at Houghton by his eldest son, Charles Joseph Langdale (b.1822) when he died in 1868. Charles Joseph Langdale inherited Irish estates through his wife, Henrietta Grattan, who was the daughter and co-heir of the Irish nationalist, Henry Grattan, whose family papers are to be found in U DDLA. He and his wife chose to reside in Ireland and they received rents from nearly 4000 acres in the East Riding. They had three sons, Henry Joseph Langdale (b.1853), who inherited the estates after they both died in 1895, Marmaduke Joseph Langdale (1861-1934), who became a Benedictine monk, and Philip Joseph Langdale (1863-1950), who inherited the estates after his older brother died in 1923. In 1926 the Houghton Estate Company was formed, which kept the estates in the family as one of the major shareholders was J Watson (later 3rd Baron Manton) who had married Alathea, youngest daughter of Philip Joseph Langdale. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth Joyce Mary Langdale (b.1898), overhauled the estate after his death in the 1950s. She married Howard Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 2nd Viscount Fitzalan, but the marriage was unhappy and was dissolved in 1956. She then married the 10th Earl Fitzwilliam who died in 1979. She lived to the age of 97, dying on 7 June 1995. She was responsible for depositing the larger of the two groups of Langdale family papers in Hull University Archives in 1974 (Clay, Extinct and dormant peerages; Allison, History of the county of York East Riding, iv, p.163; Johnson, 'Houghton Hall', p.38; obit. 'The Times', 17 June 1995).