Fonds BL/T - Bradfer-Lawrence Collection: Townshend Papers

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Reference code



Bradfer-Lawrence Collection: Townshend Papers


  • 1660-nd [c 1853] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 bundle, 2 envelopes, 32 files, 5 folders, 57 gatherings, 1 packet, 1,603 papers, 15 parchment, 2 rolls, 14 volumes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in King's Lynn in 1887. He became a land agent and worked in Norfolk until 1935 when he was appointed managing director of Hammond's brewery in Yorkshire. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1924 and published a number of works connected with the history and archaeology of Norfolk. From his youth, he was an avid collector of books and manuscripts. His successful career as a businessman enabled him to make substantial purchases from the leading London dealers, and to build up a massive and important collection by the time of his death in 1965. According to his wishes, his executors deposited those manuscripts relating to Norfolk in the Norfolk Record Office in 1967, a similar gift of his Yorkshire manuscripts being made to the Yorkshire Archaeological Society at the same time. Died 1965.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Sir Roger Townshend, Knight 1484; Sir John Townshend, Knight at Cadiz 1596, Sir Horatio 1st Viscount Townshend created Baron Townshend of Lynn Regis 1661, Charles 2nd Viscount Townshend Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk 1709, 3rd Viscount Townshend appointed Lord of the Bedchamber 1723, George 1st Marquess Townshend Lord lieutenant of Ireland, High Steward of Tamworth, Yarmouth and Norwich 1767-1772, George 2nd Marquess Townshend created Earl of Leicester 1784, George Ferrers 3rd Marquess Townshend 1778-1858, John 4th Marquess Townshend 1798-1825, John James Dudley Stuart 6th Marquess Townshend Mayor of King's Lynn 1928. At Raynham Hall.

Archival history

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Scope and content

This part of the Bradfer-Lawrence papers relates to the Townshend family of Raynham Hall, Norfolk. These papers were presumably among those sold in 1911 and 1924 when the bulk of the great Raynham Hall archive, calendared by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1887, was dispersed. This dispersal is described by A. Hassell Smith in his introduction to The Bacon Letters (Norfolk Record Society, XLVI). Many of the papers passed into the hands of dealers who subsequently sold them in small lots. Harry Bradfer-Lawrence purchased a number of letters in batches, mainly in the 1920s and 1950s. The most significant of the Townshend papers catalogued here are the diplomatic papers of Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1674-1738) and the papers of his grandson the 1st Marquess Townshend (1724-1807) relating to the raising of militia and yeomanry for the defence of East Anglia during the Napoleonic wars. Where possible, references to items listed in HMC 10: 11th R.IV (Townshend) have been given.

The seven great 'bailiwicks' of the Townshend estate were at: Stanhoe; Langham and Morston; Stibbard and Ryburgh; Stiffkey; South Creake; East and West Rudham; and East Raynham. The Bradfer-Lawrence collection contains a vast number of deeds for these areas, many of which are Townshend documents of title. However, because Bradfer-Lawrence acquired his papers from a number of sources it cannot be assumed that all deeds to land in parishes or in manors where the Townshends had property came originally from the Raynham Hall archive, and these bundles of deeds have not been transferred to this section. Similarly although many estate papers and some volumes of accounts are to be found in this list, others were included in Bradfer-Lawrence's original numbered groups and it has been thought best to leave these groups intact within the main Bradfer-Lawrence collection. All bundles catalogued in this list have been cross-referenced with their previous reference number from the main Bradfer-Lawrence list.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

BL/T 1 Early Townshend Letters

BL/T 2 Horatio, 1st Viscount Townshend (c 1630-1687)

BL/T 3 Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend (1674-1738)

BL/T 3/1 Foreign affairs: correspondence as ambassador to the United Provinces, 1710-1712
BL/T 3/2 Foreign affairs: miscellaneous correspondence and papers, 1710-1730
BL/T 3/3 Foreign affairs: letters from Horatio Walpole, French ambassador, 1728-1729
BL/T 3/4 State Papers, 1700-1730
BL/T 3/5 Scotland and Jacobites, 1704-1729
BL/T 3/6 Miscellaneous papers and correspondence, c 1702-1737

BL/T 4 Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington (c 1673-1743)

BL/T 4/1 State Papers, 1731-1743
BL/T 4/2 Miscellaneous papers and correspondence, 1731-1742
BL/T 4/3 Letters and papers about William Wood's method of making iron with coal, 1730

BL/T 5 Elizabeth (1674-1741), wife of James, 5th Earl of Northampton

BL/T 5/1 Letters, 1713-1716
BL/T 5/2 Letters, 1734
BL/T 5/3 Letters, 1737-1742

BL/T 6 Charles, 3rd Viscount Townshend (1700-1764)

BL/T 7 Charles Townshend (1725-1767)

BL/T 8 George, 1st Marquess Townshend (1724-1807)

BL/T 8/1 Military papers, 1761-1787, nd
BL/T 8/2 Letters 1758-1787
BL/T 8/3 Letters from Thomas de Grey, 1767-1773
BL/T 8/4 Letters 1790-1807
BL/T 8/5 Letters and papers relating to Norfolk Militia and Volunteers, 1793-1804
BL/T 8/6 Letters 1768-1800

BL/T 9 George, 3rd Marquess Townshend (1778-1855)

BL/T 10 Wills, Executorship Papers, and Settlements

BL/T 11 Documents of Title

BL/T 12 Estate and Farm Accounts

BL/T 13 Manorial and Estate Papers

BL/T 14 Household Accounts and Papers

BL/T 15 Lawsuit Papers

BL/T 16 Townshend Miscellanea

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