Papers of William Berry, 1785-1842

Scope and Content

Papers of William Berry

The papers forming this collection enjoy only a modest homogeneity. There are few family papers, almost all the material being correspondence addressed to William Berry, in his offices at Edinburgh during term, or else to Tayfield [Newport on Tay] outside the law terms. About half relates to the affairs of the families of Makgill of Kemback [Fife] and of Law of Drums [Fife]; Berry was related to both families. The remainder of the material represents what must have been only a very modest tithe of the paperwork of a busy writer's office, which appears to have had many dealings with Fife, particularly along the corridor from Burntisland through Kirkcaldy and Cupar and on to Newport and Dundee, with a modest interest in legal activities in Stonehaven [Kincardineshire]. As a leading local figure in North East Fife, Berry served on the principal local committees with an especial involvement in the roads and ferries, in which he also enjoyed a personal interest.

A small proportion of the collection does not relate to Berry, but it has been kept with the rest since it has the same provenance.

Most of the collection came to the University of St Andrews by purchase in 1959, but other items were added subsequently to what was already a somewhat eclectic assembly of documents. For this reason the documents were first calendared by author rather than in chronological sequence.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Berry, 2nd of Tayfield (1774-1852), Writer to the Signet, was the son of John Berry, 1st of Tayfield and Inverdovat (1725-1817). John Berry had purchased a large part of the estate of Inverdovat [Fife] in 1788, and built a house there called Tayfield. William married Isabella Henderson (1791-1871) in 1823.


Correspondence in envelopes arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent.

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Edward Hall of Gravesend for 30.10.6, 19 October 1959.

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.



Related Material

A collection of papers relating to the Berry of Tayfield family is held by Dundee University Archives. For further information, please see refer to the Dundee University Archives website