Hidden Stories in the Archives

The Trust is aiming to raise funding to create two posts, an Archivist and Assistant, to work for a two-year period on cataloguing some of the backlog of collections that has built up over several years. A scoping exercise was carried out recently to establish the scale of the backlog and to get an idea of the content that lies hidden in these manuscripts and documents from families and businesses, which have been donated to the Archive Service.

There are collections from 47 estates stored in over 1000 boxes and from these twelve were inspected in more detail to learn more about the content. The tables below give an idea of what was found and show that cataloguing would allow the public and researchers access to a fascinating glimpse of the past.

CollectionReview of Content
Woodhorn Record Office 
Allendale of AllendaleDocuments from early 16c to 21st century covering a wide range of political, financial, and legal issues. Estate papers with ledgers, day books, rents, and plans of farms.
Bosanquet of RockLetters of Elizabeth Gaskell and Freya Stark and diaries of family members. Family records, letters, estate records and papers from the Eugenics Society. Documents cover date range from early 17c to 20cth.
Clayton of ChestersRecords regarding the Clayton Estates in Northumberland with deeds and papers relating to coal and fireclay industries from 17 – 20c. John Clayton was a noted antiquarian who helped preserve much of Hadrian’s Wall by purchasing land along its length, including the forts at Housesteads and Vindolanda. Papers in the collection relate to these land purchases and will add significant material to the Wall’s history.
Gibson of HexhamRecords of the Gibson family covering the 17th – 20th centuries. The Gibsons owned many properties and lands throughout Northumberland and the deeds for many are in the collection. There is also extensive correspondence, both family and business, along with 19c military service documents
Renwick of RothburySir George Renwick owned coastal steamer and road transport businesses during the 19c and had interests in projects such as the world’s first floating repair docks. In addition to documents, there is a strong photographic element in the collection. He had a distinguished career in public life as well as business.
Craster of CrasterThe collection holds the estate and personal papers of the Craster and Wood families, who played a major role in the history of Craster and Beadnell and associated fishing communities. The documents cover a range of topics including 18c military records, and estate management relating to farming and fishing, including details of fishing disasters. Also interesting material relating to 18c Grand Tour, military service in India, and many other issues.
Greenwich HospitalPlans, printed notices, terriers, deeds, game books, tenancy agreements, photographs and other papers relating to the Greenwich Hospital Northern Estates. Includes photographs. Mainly 18-20th century material.
CollectionReview of Content
Berwick Record Office 
Hughes/ Simpson of Middleton Hall, WoolerEstate and personal papers of the Hughes Family from Middleton Hall near Wooler. Includes papers from 1719 to 20c. Unique collection of papers. Includes links to papers held in the National Library of Australia (part of family emigrated) and interesting World War 1 material. Material needs to be amalgamated.     
Phipps of BarmoorDeeds, plans, accounts and estate papers relating to the Phipps family of Barmoor. Most relate to Samuel Phipps and concern his properties in London, Yorkshire and Northumberland. There are some manorial documents. The Phipps were predecessors of the Sitwell family. Mostly 18th century.
Crossman EstateEstate papers, deeds, correspondence, sales particulars, plans, and photographs relating to the Crossman family with some records from the Sibbit and Selby families, for Cheswick House, properties on Holy Island and in Goswick.
Grey of MilfieldWills, accounts, correspondence, valuation of Milfield Hill, medical remedies, pedigree correspondence, receipts, plans and deeds dating from 1542-1932. Relating to the Grey family, Sir John Hussey Delaval, and the Burn Family.
Ford & Etal EstateEstate plans and maps, building and castle plans, plans to create gates, water supplies, drainage, village houses and cottages, Crookham School village maps, farm plans, some colliery plans. 18 – 20c.