Hudleston Papers

Scope and Content

Manuscript, printed and photographic materials amassed by Hudleston during the course of a varied career. The collection relates chiefly to Northern families and clergy, as well as to the history of the North of England and of Bristol andGloucestershire, and also includes some original records of Gretna Green marriages.

Among the papers are: extensive (chiefly manuscript) notes on and transcripts of an immense range of historical documents from a great variety of record repositories, libraries and private sources, the originals of some of which are no longerextant; photocopies and photographs of many documents and printed sources; some original documents; examples of Hudleston's world-wide correspondence on genealogical and historical topics; biographical indexes; pedigrees; notes, drafts and texts forhis writings and lectures; and many printed items, including pamphlets, offprints and press-cuttings.

Some sections of particular interest are: an alphabetical card-index of biographical information relating to the clergy of the Northern Province of the Church of England from the Reformation to the 20th century but especially strong for the 18thand 19th centuries; approximately 600 folders of notes, pedigrees etc. relating to the histories of individual, chiefly northern, families, together with a series of envelopes containing smaller amounts of material on other families and a number ofbox-files, cartons etc. of material on particularly well-documented families; preparatory material for and drafts of his articles and books, together with the unpublished typescript of a book on Durham families and heraldry (a companion to hispublished books), and a series of cards containing manuscript entries for a companion volume on Northumberland families, plus a smaller number of cards on the armigerous families of Sussex; a series of original registers and loose sheets recordingthe irregular marriages which were performed by Robert Elliot and his predecessor(s), including Joseph Paisley, at Springfield, Gretna Green from the late 18th century until about 1839, together with a card-index to the names in the entries whichwas prepared by Hudleston; a series of volumes containing many of the newspaper articles on the history of Bristol and the surrounding area which were written by Hudleston.

Administrative / Biographical History

Roy Hudleston (1905-1992) was born in Stroud in Gloucestershire. He started work as a journalist on the Bristol Times and Mirror in 1923, and in 1932 transferred to the newly-formed Bristol Evening Post. His career in journalism was interrupted by war-time forestry work but in 1945 he wasappointed editor of the Penrith Observer. In 1955 he moved to become Bursar of Hatfield College and part-time lecturer in Palaeography in the University of Durham. Although he retired from his college post in 1965 heremained in Durham until 1970 as a full-time lecturer in Palaeography, based in the Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic (now incorporated in Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections department). His retirement was spent firstin Ambleside in Cumbria and then in Hove in Sussex.

Hudleston was also a distinguished genealogist and historian. In 1949 he was elected a Fellow of The Society of Antiquaries in recognition of his significant work in the fields of local history and genealogy, his life-long abiding interests.Spurred on by his fascination with the history of his own ancestors, particularly the Hudlestons of Millom Castle and Hutton John, Cumbria, he began writing local history articles at an early age, and some of these appeared in the Stroud News while he was still at school. He subsequently published many articles on Bristol's history in the local press, and was also a regular contributor to the Transactions of the Bristoland Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, of which he later became President.

In Durham he arranged and catalogued substantial groups of the Howard of Naworth Papers and of the Durham Diocesan Records which were deposited with the University, and from 1966 until 1979 he was editor of the publications of the SurteesSociety, the chief records-publication society for the North-East of England. He was also a long-standing member of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, serving as editor of its Transactions from 1956 to 1974 and as its President from 1960 to 1963. He did a great deal of work for that Society's parish-register section, as well as himself writing many articles for its Transactions over the years. Much of his research came to fruition with the publication in 1975 of a book entitled An armorial for Westmorland and Lonsdale, prepared with Robert Boumphrey and J.(Fred) Hughes and followed in 1978 by the appearance of a companion volume on Cumberland families and heraldry. He was elected as the first President of the Cumbria Family History Society and only retired as editor ofthat society's newsletter shortly before his death.


Many sections of the papers were considerably jumbled on their arrival in Durham and the collection is still being sorted and arranged.

Conditions Governing Access

Most items in the collection can now be produced for searchers provided that arrangements to consult them are made in advance.

Acquisition Information

These materials were bequeathed to Durham University Library by (Christophe) Roy Hudleston, who died on 8 February 1992. A further donation of material was received on 15 September 1992 from Mrs. Anne Cooper, daughter of Mr. Hudleston. Fourprinted offprints etc. were donated on 16 October 1997 by Miss Nancy Hudleston, sister of Mr Hudleston, and a further small donation to be added to the collection was received on 11 March 1998 from Mr J.B. Nelson of Illinois, USA.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue of part of the collection is in progress

word-processed summary list of the documents containing the Gretna marriage entries and the dates covered.

Separated Material

Cumbria Record Office: Hudleston family papers

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assistwhere possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material. Permission to reproduce or publish items or sections of items housed in this collection must also be soughtfrom: Margaret McCollum of Durham University Library, Roger Norris, and Mr. J. Hughes of Kendal, Cumbria, Roy Hudleston's literary executors.


Hudleston's index to the Gretna Green marriage records is currently being edited and expanded for publication by the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society.  “Claverhouse”, Irregular border marriages (1934)  [Readdie, J.A]., Robert Elliot's Gretna marriage records. Some Northumberland and Durham entries, Northumberland and Durham Family History Society journal, vol. 22 (1997),no. 1, pp.19-20; no. 2, pp. 56-57; no. 3, pp. 96-97; no. 4, pp.127-30. These give details of entries where one or both spouses had a County Durham or Northumberland connection, plus a brief introduction to the records.  [Readdie, J.A]., Dramas of Gretna Green, Northumberland and Durham Family History Society journal, vol. 22, no. 1 (1997), pp. 17-18. Contains transcripts of some extractsfrom the marriage records.