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Bradfer-Lawrence Collection Deelarchief
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Antiquarian Papers

H.L. Bradfer-Lawrence was a keen collector of antiquarian papers. This section includes material by Guybon Goddard, Anthony Norris, Benjamin Mackerell, Sir John Fenn, Revd G.H. Dashwood, and G.H. Anderson. There are separate sections for the papers of Edward Milligen Beloe (BL/BE), Revd George Hunt Holley (BL/HO), Revd George Munford (BL/MF) and for H.L. Bradfer-Lawrence's own papers (BL/LW). Most of the papers listed in this section relate to north-west Norfolk or to King's Lynn.

Sir John Fenn; 1739-1794; antiquary; East Dereham, Norfolk

Castle Rising

This is a collection of miscellaneous items put together by Harry Bradfer-Lawrence who was agent to the Howard family and steward of the manor in the early 20th century. Most of the earlier papers relate to control of votes for parliamentary candidates in what was a pocket borough.

Drainage, Harbours and Navigation

This section contains papers relating to North Norfolk land drainage, inland navigation and the harbour of King's Lynn. Most of these papers came from the archive of the Bagge family of Gaywood: those relating to the drainage of Marshland and the surrounding are were among the papers of Thomas Dixon whose property was inherited by the Bagges, and those relating to inland navigation and King's Lynn harbour reflect the Bagges' interests as merchants and ship owners. Other records, such as the Norfolk Sewers books, were probably purchased - a few have a note of provenance. There are also miscellaneous papers relating to drainage in other sections of the Bradfer-Lawrence catalogue.

Families, Individuals, Autographs

This section consists primarily of correspondence and papers purchased by Harry Bradfer-Lawrence. Many are single items, for example interesting letters written by notable people mainly from North West Norfolk, and miscellaneous commissions and appointments collected for their signatures. There are small groups relating to Norfolk families (Hovell of Hillington), and to individuals who came from Norfolk (such as the artists John Sell Cotman and James Stark) or had Norfolk ancestry (Admiral Sir Sidney Smith). Very few give any indication of when or where they were purchased.

In addition to the purchased material, there are a number of items from the collection of Edward Milligen Beloe which was given to Bradfer-Lawrence by his widow. There are also two scrapbooks containing autographs of individuals from King's Lynn and North Norfolk. For these, Bradfer-Lawrence clearly raided the papers of Philip Case, King's Lynn attorney, and the Bagge family of Gaywood, which he was given by their descendants. Most of the items selected were bonds, bills and receipts; regrettably, the autograph volumes also contain signatures cut from bonds and deeds.

National and Local Government

This section contains miscellaneous items relating to national and local government, probably the most important of which are the muster rolls for Norfolk, dating mainly from 1577, which were transcribed in Norfolk Record Society, Vols VI-VII.

Inclosure Papers

This section contains inclosure commissioners' papers, acts, awards, etc. Most of these are for the Bagge family's estates at Gaywood and Mintlyn, Islington and Tilney, and Stradsett but there are many miscellaneous items which were acquired by H.L. Bradfer-Lawrence from local solicitors and as gifts.

King's Lynn

This is a collection made by the antiquary Harry L. Bradfer-Lawrence of items relating to King's Lynn. These came from a number of different sources. The majority are from the papers of Philip Case, attorney of King's Lynn, and his relations, the Bagges, who were aldermen and mayors of King's Lynn. Others were acquired by purchase from the collections of other Lynn antiquaries such as E.M. Beloe and G.H. Anderson, and as single items in various salerooms. There is some overlap with sections BL/CS 2-3 (papers of Philip Case), and BL/AQ 2 (King's Lynn antiquarian papers).

Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence Papers

This section contains business and personal papers of Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence (1887-1965) both as land agent for a number of estates in North West Norfolk, and as an antiquary and author. 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. BL/LW contains research papers for his publications, with MSS and proofs, antiquarian notes on King's Lynn, Castle Rising, etc., calendars of his collection of medieval deeds, and antiquarian correspondence including letters relating to the affairs of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society and the Norfolk Records Society, and to his purchases of books and manuscripts.

Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence; 1887-1965; antiquary; King's Lynn, Norfolk

Manorial Records

This section contains all the manorial records in the Bradfer-Lawrence collection apart from those for the manor of Stradsett which are to be found in BL/CS 6, with some miscellaneous items for Gaywood, Grimston and West Walton. The two largest sections in BL/MA are for the records of the manors of Gaywood and Islington, both of which belonged to the Bagge family of Gaywood for whom H.L. Bradfer-Lawrence was land agent. Most of those in BL/MA 60-67 belonged to the Townshends of Raynham and are related to items in BL/T 13, all of which were presumably purchased when much of the Townshend archive was dispersed. The few items for Castle Rising in BL/MA 57 may have been acquired by Bradfer-Lawrence in his capacity as steward.
The other manorial records belonged to a variety of families, and were acquired from local solicitors, booksellers, and by gift. Where provenance is known, this is stated.


Miscellaneous items: some were acquired by Bradfer-Lawrence from the collection of E.M. Beloe, others were purchased from dealers, or were given to Bradfer-Lawrence by friends.

Medieval Deeds

Harry Bradfer-Lawrence collected medieval deeds throughout his life. The bulk of these, in BL/MD 1-11, relate to the estates of the Townshend family of Raynham: they were sold by the family in the late 19th century and turned up in sale rooms for many decades. Apart from these, Bradfer-Lawrence acquired deeds from the widow of the Lynn antiquary E.M. Beloe, and from many local solicitors. He also purchased many single deeds and small groups relating to north west Norfolk, many of which have fine seals. Notes of provenance are included the catalogue. He numbered these deeds in bundles or boxes; although the rationale behind his arrangement is a mystery. He subsequently removed many deeds for scrapbooks or exhibitions so most of these series contain gaps. Although this section contains primarily medieval deeds, he also numbered some later documents and these have been left in situ. Further medieval deeds are to be found in BL/O.

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