Fonds MC 2847 - Papers of the Turner, Palgrave and Barker Families

Identity area

Reference code

MC 2847


Papers of the Turner, Palgrave and Barker Families


  • 17th century-20th century (Creation)

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42 boxes

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Third son of Sir Francis and Elizabeth Lady Palgrave (née Turner). He joined the family bank in Great Yarmouth and married in 1859 Sarah Maria (1826-1898), sister of his aunt Hannah's husband Thomas Brightwen. Palgrave became a prominent member of the banking profession, helping to form the Bankers' Institute, as well as a financial theorist. He was editor of 'The Economist', a fellow of the Royal Society in 1882, and in 1883 served as president of section F (Economics) of the British Association, and was a founder of the British Economic Association (later the Royal Economic Society). He was the author of 'A Dictionary of Political Economy' (Macmillan, 1894, 1896, 1899).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 3 July 2012 (ACC 2012/73). Catalogued September 2013 (JHA).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Sir Robert Harry Inglis Palgrave (1827-1919), was third and longest-surviving son of Sir Francis Palgrave (1788-1861), archivist, and, through his mother Elizabeth, a grandson of Dawson Turner (1775-1858), banker, botanist, art and manuscript collector, and antiquary of Great Yarmouth. Sir Inglis made his home in, and later just outside, Great Yarmouth, the recognised family 'home', and his career in the family bank made him banker and financial adviser to a wide circle of relations. He was thus the natural recipient of their papers on the deaths of his parents, their siblings and the wider family (though not of those of his own brothers). On the death of Hudson Gurney (1775-1864), antiquary and friend of both Dawson Turner and Francis Palgrave, the letters Gurney had received from them were apparently returned to Sir Inglis. At the end of his life he lived with his daughter Elizabeth ('Elsie') and her husband, Revd Rowland Vectis Barker, at Henstead Hall, Suffolk, and devoted his energies to editing for publication the unpublished works of his father, Sir Francis Palgrave.
Dawson Turner's renowned collections, his pictures and some of his publications were sold at and before his death. However, the concern he showed as a collector for contemporary as well as 'ancient' papers also led him to bind for preservation his own wide-ranging correspondence. Those volumes remained with the family and by 1890 were in Sir Inglis's care, though owned by Turner's youngest, and longest surviving, daughter, Eleanor ('Ellen') Jacobson, widow of Revd William Jacobson (1803-1884), bishop of Chester. In 1890, Sir Inglis negotiated on her behalf the presentation of the majority of them to Trinity College Cambridge. A number of 'family' letters were cut from them by Elizabeth Barker before the transfer, and these, together with a small number of volumes of family papers, remained in Sir Inglis's custody. Those of the extracted papers which have survived in the present accumulation can generally be recognised by the remnants of the guards on which they were mounted for binding. However, a number were dispersed c 1970, some of which are now also at Trinity, and others at the Norfolk Record Office (MC 2487, Cotman letters).
Upon Sir Inglis's death in 1919, the accumulated papers, including his own, passed to his daughter, and thence to her eldest surviving son Geoffrey Palgrave Barker, who made them available to scholars, including Warren Dawson and Mea Allan (biographer of Inglis's brother W. Gifford Palgrave). Following Geoffrey Barker's death they passed to his elder son Christopher Barker who encouraged the publication of Dawson Turner, a Norfolk antiquary and his remarkable family (Phillimore, 2007), a collection of essays edited by Nigel Goodman, himself a Turner descendant.
At an unknown but apparently early date, a small group of Dawson Turner's papers was transferred to Saffron Walden Museum, perhaps as part of the collection of the first professional curator, G.N. Maynard (appointed 1880). A small part of Sir Inglis's correspondence was given to King's College, Cambridge in 1961 (ref NM/Palgrave).
The collection listed here contains papers relating to most members of the Turner, Palgrave and Barker families. The catalogue is based on that made by Mrs Elizabeth Stazicker, formerly Cambridgeshire County Archivist, when the papers were in the possession of Mr Christopher Barker. Since their deposit it has been possible to re-order the whole collection, while retaining Mrs Stazicker's groupings, and to list in detail some of the most significant runs of letters. The sections of particular importance are: 'A' the papers of Dawson Turner, 'D/3' bound volumes of letters received by his son-in-law, Sir Francis Palgrave, archivist, historian and a member of the whig Holland House set, and 'J1-2' the correspondence of Sir Inglis Palgrave, banker and economist.

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Numbers not used: MC 2847/C13, MC 2847/C15, MC 2847/J4/6

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 24/09/2012 by Drosm. Modified 22/10/2019 by Catherine.Collins.


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