The Edward Peacock Papers

Scope and Content

The collection comprises the antiquarian notes, transcriptions of historical documents and other papers of Edward Peacock. They include:

  • Edward Peacock's diary (Eng MS 125);
  • Edward Peacock's working notes (Eng MSS 250-286);
  • A transcript of Abraham de la Pryme's history of Winterton (Eng MS 128);
  • Various extracts and transcriptions relating to Lincolnshire families and local history (Eng MSS 129, 134-136, 218, 225-226, 232, 247-249);
  • Notes on Yorkshire recusants (Eng MS 132);
  • Civil War collections (Eng MSS 233-239, 243-244).
There are 84 manuscripts in total: Eng MSS 125, 127-136, 216-286, 426, 516.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Peacock (1831-1915), antiquary and historian, was born at Hemsworth in Yorkshire. From an early age he showed a talent for writing, contributing short articles to The Zoologist and began to write in the local newspaper The Stamford Mercury, where his short articles and letters appeared regularly for over fifty years. By 1850 he was writing to the national journal Notes and Queries, where his antiquarian interests came to the fore. In 1857, at the age of only twenty-five, he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquarians. He was also an active member of the Archaeological Institute, the Surtees Society, the Society of Antiquaries of Normandy, the Anthropological Institute, English Dialect Society, Early English Text Society and the New England Historical and Genealogical Society. For the rest of his life he contributed numerous articles on a broad range of subjects to the various magazines of his societies as well as corresponding with contemporaries who shared his interests in England, America, France, Germany, Holland and Scandinavia. He lived for most of his life at his family home of Bottesford Manor in Lincolnshire, but financial difficulties forced him to sell up in 1895 and for the last twenty years he lived in Kirton in Lindsey where he died on 31 March 1915.

Peacock's interest in history, although broad, was mainly focused on the period of the English Civil War (1642-1649), with a great biographical work, dealing with all the known notable combatants, never being completed. In his published editions of historical documents he displayed a fondness for extensive footnotes containing parallel examples and illustrative matter. Born a year before the death of William Fowler of Winterton, whose life overlapped that of Stukeley by four years, and dying five years after the establishment of the Lincoln Record Society, Peacock provides an interesting bridge between the dilettante antiquarian of the early nineteenth century and the scientific historian of the twentieth.

In 1853 Edward Peacock married Lucy, daughter of John S. Wetherell of New York, a captain in the U.S. Merchant Service. They had a large family of which Adrian Peacock became a distinguished botanist, Julian Peacock held a post at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, Mabel Peacock was author of prose and verse in dialect and Florence Peacock wrote a volume of poems and some historical essays.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the collection (Eng MSS 127-136 and 216-286) was purchased by the John Rylands Library from Miss Peacock in January 1916. Julian Peacock later gave the Library two further manuscripts, Eng MS 426 in February 1928, and Eng MS 516 in September 1929.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Klett, project archivists, with reference to: 

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (Eng MSS 125, 127-136, 216-286, 426) and Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928-1935 (Eng MS 516).

For Eng MS 130 , note that the original title in the handlist is Rental of the Church of Kirton in Lindsey, 1484-1766 .

Custodial History

Former owner: Edward Peacock.

Related Material

For other Kirton in Lindsey material in the John Rylands Library, see Eng MS 1194 .

Papers of Edward Peacock are held in several other repositories:

  • British Library, Manuscript Collections: letters to W.W. Cooper, 1867-78 (ref.: Add MS 44987); letters to J.T. Micklethwaite, 1878-99 (ref.: Add MSS 37505-37506); letters from Peacock and his daughter Mabel to C.C. Bell and Sir H.I. Bell, 1900-03 (ref.: Add MS 59506);
  • Lincolnshire Archives: transcript of Inventarium Monumentorum Superstitionis, c. 1866 (ref.: Cragg 2/39); letters to John Ross, 1862 (ref.: HILL 40/5); papers (ref.: HILL 46); scrapbook, including newspaper articles (ref.: 2 BINNALL);
  • North East Lincolnshire Archives, Grimsby: antiquarian and dialect notes (ref.: MS 579);
  • North Lincolnshire Museum, Scunthorpe: correspondence, diaries, commonplace book and papers, c. 1839-1912 (ref.:Peacock Family Archive, boxes 11-14);

Geographical Names