Fonds COL - The Colman Manuscript Collection

Identity area

Reference code



The Colman Manuscript Collection


  • 1251-1952 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1,034 pieces

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Archival history

The core of the Colman Library, the work of Jeremiah James Colman (d 1898) and Russell James Colman (d 1946) was William Enfield's library, acquired in 1878. Collecting policy thereafter was fairly omniverous but manuscript material relating to the religious and cultural history of Norwich and Norfolk, the local history of the area immediately south-east of Norwich where the family's property and commercial interests lay, and family history were important. It should be noted that manuscript material that has remained with the printed part of the library in the County Local Studies Library (including, for example, manuscript items bound into printed books) is not covered by this list.

J.J. and R.J. Colman do not seem consistently to have recorded the provenance of their manuscript collections, though some acquisitions correspondence was entered in the out-letter books of the family business (see COL/11/42). It is evident that only some of the manuscript holdings are listed in the printed catalogue of the Colman Library, 'Bibliotheca Norfolciensis' (Norwich 1896); these are indicated in the table that follows. For a manuscript copy of 'Bibliotheca Norfolciensis', compiled in 1881, see COL 11/48/1-2. The annotated and updated copies of 'Bibliotheca Norfolciensis' kept with the printed sections of the Library in the County Local Studies Library add little further in this respect. 'Bibliotheca Norfolciensis' states that since 1878 material was acquired from the collections of James Bulwer (sale 1879), G.A. Carthew (sale 1883), Daniel Gurney (sale 1881), Lord Stafford (sale 1885), Robert Rising (sale 1885), T.P. Burroughs of Great Yarmouth, and S.W. Rix of Beccles (sale 1894). It seems from COL/11/30-31 that the bulk of the Bulwer MSS was not purchased until 1921, however. Other major acquisitions were MSS of Sir John Fenn, probably purchased at the Frere sale in 1896, and the archives of the United Friars Society of Norwich, acquired before 1926 (COL/9/29). In the following table only immediate provenance is indicated; some of the material had of course previously passed through a number of antiquaries' and collectors' hands.

The Wesley MSS were presented to the Methodist Church in 1937 (see COL/7/2(a), COL/11/38, 39).

COL/1/108(a) B.R. Marriner 1921
COL/1/206-208 Robert Rawley 1929
COL/2/25 Bib. Norf. p. 138
COL/2/30-40 probably acquired with COL/2/52-96
COL/2/3(a) Bib. Norf. p. 334
COL/2/52-96 Rising sale 1885
COL/3/1 T.G. Bayfield 1886; Bib. Norf. p. 336
COL/3/4 Bib. Norf. p. 344
COL/3/9 Bib. Norf. p. 345
COL/4/4 Bland
COL/5/2 T.G. Bayfield 1886; Bib. Norf. p. 336
COL/5/11 Bib. Norf. p. 352
COL/5/12 Bib. Norf. p. 360
COL/5/16 Bib. Norf. p. 343
COL/5/17 Bib. Norf. p. 344
COL/5/19-24 S.W. Stevenson; Bib. Norf. p. 339
COL/5/25 Bib. Norf. p. 474
COL/5/28 Bib. Norf. p. 361
COL/5/31,32 Bib. Norf. p. 338
COL/5/34 Bib. Norf. p. 355
COL/5/36 Bib. Norf. p. 355
COL/6/1,2 T.G. Bayfield 1886; Bib. Norf. p. 577
COL/6/3 Bib. Norf. p. 581
COL/6/5 ?A.W. Morant 1882; Bib. Norf. p. 580
COL/7/1, 1(a) S.W. Stevenson; Bib. Norf. pp. 304,343
COL/7/2 Hengrave Hall; Bib.Norf. p. 239
COL/7/9 Bib. Norf. p. 453
COL/7/11 Phillipps
COL/7/12 Bib. Norf. p. 12
COL/7/16-21 Dr Rigby; Bib. Norf. p. 158
COL/7/29-34 ?Lord Stafford; Bib. Norf. p. 230
COL/7/43-53 Puttick and Simpson 1899
COL/7/27 ?Daniel Gurney
COL/8/10 ?Lord Stafford
COL/8/17 Bib. Norf. p. 366
COL/8/18 Bib. Norf. p. 280
COL/8/25 ?Daniel Gurney; Bib. Norf. p. 78
COL/8/27-28 Bib. Norf. p. 124
COL/8/29 Bib. Norf. p. 479
COL/8/30-35 G.A. Carthew; Bib. Norf. p. 83
COL/8/73-75 Bib. Norf. p. 344
COL/8/88-113 Frere Sale
COL/8/114-121 A.W. Morant 1882; Bib. Norf. pp. 291-2, 580
COL/9/1-204 possibly S.W. Stevenson, save no. 29 which was given by Norwich Castle Museum in 1926
COL/12/4 Bib. Norf. p. 103

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office in 1955, 1967 and 1973 (1967 and 1973 numbered COL/1/110-112, 206-208, COL/7/3 1989 COL/12/25), 10 July 2012 (ACC 2012/77 numbered COL 11/48), and 3 September 2013 (ACC 2013/189 numbered COL 12/26). List amended 19 November 2013 (JW).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Title deeds
-Norfolk COL 1/1-203
-Non-Norfolk COL 1/204-220
Estate, manorial and personal COL 2/1-51
-Ellis of Northrepps/Rising COL 2/52-110
-Windham, Browne, Amyot and Bennett letters COL 2/111-113
Ecclesiastical and parish COL 3/1-10
Norfolk, County and official COL 4/1-4
Norwich, City and official COL 5/1-36
Gt Yarmouth, Borough and official COL 6/1-5
Literary, Pious, Musical and Autobiographical COL 7/1-37
-De Hague COL 7/38-42
-Crotch COL 7/43-56
Antiquarian, Topographical and Genealogical COL 8/1-82
-Nonconformist COL 8/83-87
-Fenn COL 8/88-113
-Morant COL 8/114-121
United Friars' Society COL 9/1-204
Brunswick Club COL 10/1
Colman Collections and Norwich School of Artists COL 11/1-51
Colman Family and personal COL 12/1-23
James Bulwer - Hobart papers COL 13/1-42

  • Other original documents COL 13/43-114
  • Antiquarian COL 13/115-205
  • Wodderspoon antiquarian COL 13/206-211
  • Personal and parish COL 13/212-227

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Numbers not used: COL 3/8, COL 9/46/14, COL 13/93, COL 13/217

Conditions of access and use area

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Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 20/07/2004 by Droip. Modified 09/10/2019 by Catherine.Collins.


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