Fonds MC 7 - Neville Diaries and Papers

Identity area

Reference code

MC 7


Neville Diaries and Papers


  • 1731-1973 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

852 files

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Late in life, Neville mutilated the diaries and letters, apparently in an attempt to remove compromising or politically embarrassing matter. Many of the excised passages were later restored by Francis Howes. On Neville's death in 1840 his papers passed to a neighbour, Revd Francis Howes (d 1844), a Minor Canon of Norwich Cathedral. Howes transcribed the early diaries and some of the correspondence, afterwards destroying the originals. In this list, unless otherwise stated, transcripts of documents are by Howes. From Howes' son the papers passed to the antiquary Hargrave Harrison. On his death in 1896 they were purchased by L.G. Bolingbroke and from his family they came to Basil Cozens-Hardy. Sylas Neville was born in 1741, apparently in London. In 1768-1769 he came to Great Yarmouth and settled at Scratby Hall. The years 1772-1776 were spent mainly in Edinburgh where he qualified as a doctor of medicine. 1777-1780 were spent in foreign travel, mainly in Italy. On his return, after visits to London, Edinburgh etc., he settled at Norwich in 1783 and there spent the rest of his life, intending to practise medicine but in fact subsisting increasingly on charity and the proceeds of begging letters. He died in 1840.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 3 and 10 October 1974 (MS 21546 numbered MC 7/1-852).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Diaries, letter books, accounts, MS and papers relating to Sylas Neville, with other letters etc. of Douglas family, John Gifford and Miscellaneous.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Number not used: MC 7/472
Previously listed as MS 21546.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

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

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Publication note

The diaries were edited and published by Mr Cozens-Hardy in 1950 ('The Diary of Sylas Neville 1767-1788', Oxford University Press), save the foreign diary, 1777-1780, which was prepared for publication (see MC 7/26) but not in fact published. It is summarised on pp. 257-264 of the published diary.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 30/10/2004 by Droip. Modified 15/08/2019 by Catherine.Collins.


Accession area