Buchanan Collection

Scope and Content

The largest section of the Buchanan Collection consists of the correspondence of Sir Andrew Buchanan, 1st Baronet. Much of the correspondence is official and highlights British diplomatic interests in the majority of the countries in which Sir Andrew Buchanan served (although no records survive from his earliest postings). The papers also reflect general foreign policy interests during this period, and contain comments on news about political developments in Britain. The letters contain advice from officials in the foreign office and instructions regarding foreign policy. Correspondents include many leading British political figures, such as the Earl of Aberdeen, Viscount Palmerston, Lord John Russell and the Earl of Derby. (Bu)

The second section of the collection consists of diaries and correspondence of Sir George Buchanan during his diplomatic service in Russia and the letters, diaries, press cuttings and photograph albums of his daughter, Meriel, who accompanied him. (Bu B)

The papers of Eric Buchanan, third baronet, include a quantity of correspondence relating to the Tennant family from whom his wife, Constance Tennant, was descended. There is also material relating to his receipt of the Queen's medal at Wellington College and correspondence from Sir Eric to his wife. (Bu C)

Charles Buchanan's papers consist chiefly of correspondence with family members and material relating to his military service in India, 1928-1932. (Bu D)

The final section contains papers of Sir Andrew Buchanan, fifth baronet. This small collection contains a series of papers and correspondence relating to V.A.C. Harbord who was a page at the coronation of George V, alongside miscellaneous items on members of the Buchanan family and correspondence relating to the death of Mary Constance Victoria Mayhew. (Bu E)

Administrative / Biographical History

The Buchanan family were originally from Ardenconnel in Dunbartonshire. Sir Andrew Buchanan (1807-1882) entered the diplomatic service in 1825 and spent his early career in Constantinople and Corfu. He was in St Petersburg from 1838 to 1841, when he moved to Florence, before returning to St Petersburg in 1844. In 1852 he moved to the Swiss Confederation, and in 1853 to Denmark. After service in Madrid from 1858 and subsequently in the Hague from 1860, he held postings in Prussia (1862), Russia (1864) and Austria (1871-1878). He married firstly, in 1839, Frances Katherine Mellish (d 1854), daughter of the Rev. Edward Mellish, Dean of Hereford and grand-daughter of William Mellish of Blyth Hall and Hodsock, Nottinghamshire (1708-1791), and had five sons and four daughters. After her death he married Georgina Eliza Stuart (d 1904), 3rd daughter of Robert Walter, 11th Baron Blantyre in 1857. He purchased Craigend Castle, Milngavie near Glasgow as a family residence.

His first son, Sir James Buchanan inherited the title and Craigend Castle and died, without issue in 1901.

Sir Andrew Buchanan's third son, Eric (1830-1911), became the third baronet in 1901 and attended Wellington College, where he was a Queen's Medallist. He married in 1898 Constance Augusta (d 1914), daughter of Captain Charles Edmund Tennant, RN, of Needwood House, Burton-on-Trent, who had died in a tragic shooting accident. Eric Buchanan died in London in 1928.

Sir George Buchanan (1854-1924), fifth son to Sir Andrew, was also a diplomat. He was stationed with his family at the court of Emperor Nikolai II at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. His daughter, Meriel Buchanan (1886-1959) subsequently wrote about their experiences at this time.

Eric Buchanan was born in 1848 and attended Wellington College, where he was a Queen's Medallist. He married in 1898 Constance Augusta (d 1914), daughter of Captain Charles Edmund Tennant, RN, of Needwood House, Burton-on-Trent, who had died in a tragic shooting accident.

Charles Buchanan, fourth baronet was the first son of Sir Eric Buchanan and was born in 1899, attending Harrow School, followed by Sandhurst. He served in India as ADC to the governor of Madras from 1928 to 1932 where he married Barbara Helen Stanley in 1932. On his return to England he served as a JP in Nottinghamshire and as High Sheriff in 1962. He had two sons and two daughters and died in 1984.

His son, Sir Andrew Buchanan, fifth baronet moved into Hodsock Priory after the death of Mary Constance Mayhew, sister of Charles James Buchanan in 1966.

The Buchanan family was connected by marriage with the Mellishes of Hodsock Priory in Nottinghamshire, and succeeded the Mellishes there when the last of that family died.


The collection has been divided into five sections (Bu, Bu B, Bu C, Bu D, Bu E) corresponding to the member of the Buchanan family from which the records emanate. The early parts of the collection were bound by the Buchanan family into volumes and, although for preservation reasons the majority of material has now been remounted in fascicules, this original order has been maintained. The bulk of the letters have been sorted into the categories of Sir Andrew's 'Letters received', 'Copy letters out'. Within series, the order is chronological. The arrangement of Bu B-E has been according to provenance and within this, following chronological order.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all finding aids belongs to The University of Nottingham.

On the World Wide Web:

Catalogue accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Family and Estate Resource relating to the Buchanan family and their records, published on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

Conditions Governing Use

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

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 Manuscripts and Special Collections (email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk).

Custodial History

The Collection was transferred to the University Library in 1986 and 2007.

Related Material

Papers of the Mellish family of Hodsock (Me)

British Library

Bodleian Library, Oxford

Nottinghamshire Archives Office

Other collections listed through the National Register of Archives