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Documents of Title

The earliest surviving records of Norwich Cathedral are royal, episcopal and private grants to the Priory from the time of its establishment in Norwich in c 1095, with one royal charter addressed to the Bishop of Thetford predating the move. The medieval arrangement of these documents is shown in the inventory of muniments [DCN 40/12] and by pressmarks on the documents themselves:
A-B Royal grants issued to the Priory
C Royal grants pertaining to the Bishopric
D-F Episcopal charters.
G Final concords.
J-Z Private grants arranged topographically and by Official.

The possessions of the Infirmarer, Pitancer and Hostilar are included under the villages in which they also had estates. The inventory does not include records of the possessions of the Almoner, Chamberlain or Refectorer nor of the Dependent Cells. Papal Bulls and the Acta of Archbishops are also omitted, although Papal Mandates for particular churches are included as title for those churches.
A large number of grants are transcribed into cartularies (known usually as registers), normally without witness or dating clauses. There is no overall cartulary for the Priory, but there are cartularies for the larger departments: Master of the Cellar, Almoner, Cellarer, Chamberlain and Sacrist.

Listed as follows:

DCN 40 Registers, Cartularies, Inventories of Muniments (including St Benet's Cartulary)
DCN 41 Royal Charters
DCN 42/1 Archiepiscopal
DCN 42/2 Papal
DCN 43 Episcopal
DCN 44 Private Grants, etc.: Norfolk And Out County
DCN 45 Private Grants, etc.: Norwich City
DCN 46 East Anglian Religious Houses

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.

Gurney Family

Title Deeds and Estate Papers, 12th century-1966; Family Settlements, 1741-1810; Wills and Related Documents, 1662-1865; Manorial, 1404-1804; Personal Papers, [1699]-1966; and Business Records, 1715-1896.

Trustees of the Norwich Municipal (General) Charities

The givers of charitable benefactions often found it convenient to appoint the corporation of Norwich trustees and estates where this was the case are described in the Charity Commissioners' report of 1893 on the Norwich Municipal Charities. The Charity Commissioners' original report of 1839 on the Charities of Norwich led to the appointment of the trustees of the Norwich Municipal (General) Charities, who inherited many of the evidences of title to these estates.

The documents received from the corporation in many cases complement those described in the 'Muniment Room Handlist' pp. 68-85. Account books for some of the charities and volumes containing copies of charity founders' wills are listed on page 62.

Main Deposit

Family settlements, Family wills, Manorial, Estate, Estates parted with but deeds retained, Trust estates, Farm and other accounts, Suits, Pedigree evidences, Offices and Dignities, Household accounts, Family letters, Family journals, diaries, notes etc., Maps, and Miscellaneous documents.


Leases, rentals and surveys, and other papers. Listed as follows:
DCN 47 Ledger Books (i.e., Lease Registers)
DCN 47A General Leases of Dean Gardiner
DCN 48 Original Leases: Norwich City
DCN 49 Original Leases: Norfolk and Out-County
DCN 50 Tithe Rent Charge Papers
DCN 51 Rentals and Surveys not bound into volumes
DCN 52 Rentals and Surveys in volume form
DCN 53 Inclosure Papers
DCN 54 Nar Valley Drainage
DCN 55 Lynn And Fakenham Railway
DCN 56 Dilapidations: Houses In The Close
DCN 56A Dilapidations: Canonry Houses
DCN 57 Estate Papers: The Precinct
DCN 58 Estate Papers: Norwich City Estates
DCN 59 Estate Papers: County And Out County

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.

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