Morningthorpe Manor Appeal

The Norfolk Record Office (NRO) is constantly adding to its collection to ensure archives which give new insight into the history of the county are protected from loss or damage and are made freely available to the general public.  In the past, the NRO has been helped to do this by the generosity of individuals and organisations who have given documents as well as money to purchase items put up for sale. The NRO has an urgent request for more help.

A collection of historically important archives is being auctioned as part of the Morningthorpe Manor Country House Sale in early September 2016.  The NRO’s archivists have identified many items in the sale which they consider to be worthy of permanent preservation and which would be of great interest to anyone interested in the history of Norfolk, but especially to local and family historians.

close up of Diss mere (mc 2382-1) ver 3

Map of the Manor of Diss of 1637 (NRO ref. MC 2382/1), which was purchased with the generous support of organisations and individuals in 2005. The map is typical of the types of documents being sold in the Morningthorpe Manor sale.

The archive being sold has been gathered over many years by a keen local collector.  Its eclectic nature means that it is very difficult to give a simple summary of its contents.  Some of the highlights are land ownership records from the fifteenth century, diaries, business records and records relating to the care of the poor in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  What all the documents identified by the NRO have in common is they contain information about Norfolk’s people and places which is not available anywhere else.  If these documents are bought privately, the information they contain is likely to remain hidden indefinitely.  As an accredited archive service, the NRO would be in a position to provide free public access to these documents within days of the sale and to carry out any conservation work which they may require.  The documents would also be made available for organised learning activities, delivered by the NRO and its partners.

The documents identified by the Norfolk Record Office as being of particular interest have been valued at £30,000.  In the limited time available, the NRO has already secured £13,000 from individuals and organisations, including £5,000 from the Friends of the National Libraries, and is looking to raise as much of the remaining £17,000 as it can before the sale.  Any contributions, both large and small, will greatly assist the NRO in purchasing as many documents from its wish list as possible.  The NRO is working with its partner organisation, the recently established Norfolk Archives and Heritage Development Foundation (NORAH), whose Charity Commission number is 1167279, to raise money.

Donations can be made either via NORAH’s website or by sending cheques made payable to the Norfolk Archives and Development Foundation to Norfolk Record Office, The Archive Centre, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DQ.  Please include your name and contact details so we can thank you and invite you to special events where you can see those documents purchased by the NRO.  Any funds not spent at the sale will be used to catalogue and conserve those documents which are purchased or used to purchase other documents which the NRO and NORAH deem to be worthy of permanent preservation.  If you would like further details, please contact the County Archivist of Norfolk, Mr Gary Tuson on 01603 222003 or by email, gary.tuson@norfolk.gov.uk.  Please note that the sale begins on Tuesday, 6 September so any donations need to reach us by this date at the latest.

Further details of the records for sale

The documents for sale are particularly useful for local and family history.  Other subjects featured in the documents include care of the poor, ecclesiastical history and architecture, elections, farming, heraldry, history of education, law and order, local industry, maritime history, military history including the Boer War, natural history including birds and ornithology, the Norfolk Broads and Norman architecture.

Many places within Norfolk are featured in the records, including the following; Alburgh, Alby, Aldborough, Anmer, Arminghall, Ashill, Aylsham, Bacton, Banningham, Barnham Broom, Barton Staithe, Barton Turf, Blakeney, Blickling, Bramerton, Brandon, Bromholme, Bunwell, Carbrooke, Castle Rising, Catton, Cley, Colby, Cranworth, Cromer, Crostwight, Dereham, Didlington, Diss, Ditchingham, Earlham, Ellingham, Feltwell, Fincham, Forehoe, Fritton, Gissing, Gorleston, Great Ellingham, Great Witchingham, Great Yarmouth, Griston, Gunthorpe, Gunton, Hanworth, Happisburgh, Hardingham, Heacham, Hempstead, Hemsby, Herringfleet, Hindringham, Hingham, Hockwold, Hockwold cum Wilton, Holkham, Horning, Horsham St Faiths, Irstead, Kenninghall, Kimberley, King’s Lynn, Knapton, Leyton, Lowestoft, Lyng, Marsham, Methwold, Middleton, Mundesley, Mundford, Neatishead, North Barsham, North Walsham, Northrepps, Norwich, Oulton, Oxnead, Palgrave, Paston, Redenhall, Runham, Saham Toney, Salthouse, Saxthorpe, Scottow, Scoulton, Shotesham, Shropham, Sloley, Smallburgh, Snettisham, Sporle with Palgrave, Stiffkey, Stratton Strawless, Swaffham, Thompson, Thurgarton, Thwaite, Toft Monks, Trimingham, Tunstead, Tuttington, Upwell, Watton, Welborne, Wells-next-the-Sea, West Raynham, Westacre, Westfield, Westwick, Whinburgh, Wood Dalling, Wormegay, Wortwell, Wymondham and Yaxham.

Of the many hundreds of names mentioned in the records, some of the more prominent names featured include Astley, Barclay, Beech, Beloe, Blake, Blomfield, Boileau, Boston, Boughen, Busby, Buxton, Carpenter, Carr, Chapman, Coleman, Crofts, Cubitt, Curtis, Denham, Dent, Fellowes, Ganning, Golder, Gunton, Hamond, Hobart, Holditch, Hubbard, Hutton, Jessopp, Kerrison, Leathes, Marsham, Mayes, Morel, Paston, Press, Preston, Riches, Ruston, Savory, Soames, Spurrell, Taylor, Tingey, Walpole, White, Windham, Wodehouse and Woodward.

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