Fonds AYL - The Aylsham Papers

Reference code



The Aylsham Papers


  • 13th century-20th century (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1,466 pieces

Name of creator


Administrative history

The partners were (successively) John Adey, William Repton, and William Henry Scott.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on March 1969 (numbered AYL 2-25), 13 May 1969 (numbered AYL 26), 18 July 1969 (numbered AYL 27), 30 July 1969 (numbered AYL 28), November 1969 (numbered AYL 29-253), 18 August 1970 (numbered AYL 254-414b), 13 January 1972 (numbered AYL 415-569), 26 September 1972 (numbered AYL 570-579), 26 February 1973 (numbered AYL 600-641), 30 May 1973 (numbered AYL 642), 11 December 1973 (numbered AYL 643-656), 14 February 1974 (numbered AYL 657-787), 29 April 1976 (numbered AYL 788-795), 3 March 1977 (numbered AYL 796-927), 11 April 1978 (numbered AYL 928-952), 29 June 1994 (numbered AYL 953-972), 18 April 1996 (numbered AYL 973-1051), 14 June 1996 (numbered AYL 1052), 9 and 21 March 1977 (numbered AYL 1053-1087), 5 September 1977 (numbered AYL 1088), 12 July 2002 (ACC 2002/82 numbered AYL 1089-1162), 6 February 2003 (ACC 2002/263 numbered AYL 1163-1228), 29 October 2003 (ACC 2003/103 numbered AYL 1229-1230), 14 November 2006 (ACC 2006/219 numbered AYL 1231-1236), and 8 July 2013 (ACC 2013/99 numbered AYL 1237). List amended February 2018 (JHA).

Scope and content

The Aylsham collection consists of the papers of Adey, Repton and Scott, Aylsham solicitors, and their clients. The greater part of the collection was acquired between 1969 and 1977, with a number of smaller subsequent acquisitions. This catalogue replaces the original catalogue in which items were numbered and listed in the order in which they were acquired. These original numbers have been retained, but have been re-arranged in this catalogue to bring together the records of the most important clients.

The firm's own records have been reassembled, as have the private papers of the various partners: those of William Repton (died 1858) contain material relating to his brother Humphry Repton (1752-1818), the landscape gardener.

The largest sections within the collection derive from the major clients of William Repton, namely Robert Lee Doughty (1749-1817) of Hanworth, William Windham (1750-1810) of Felbrigg, Thomas, 6th Viscount Ranelagh (1763-1820) and his heirs, the Harbord family of Gunton, barons Suffield, and the Anson family who purchased some of the estates of the Paston family, earls of Yarmouth. Each client deposited significant numbers of title deeds and legal papers, which have been augmented, in most cases, by solicitors' correspondence, and papers of Repton and his successors acting as agents for the estates. They contain few personal papers, with the exception of the Doughty papers: these include the papers of Robert Doughty (c 1616-1670) of Hanworth, justice of the peace, those of his maternal grandfather, John Browne of Poringland, and great-uncle Thomas Browne, secretary to the bishop of Norwich, and of the Brownes' cousin, Sir Arthur Heveningham (c 1546-1630), all of which are a rich source for the study of local government in Norfolk.

Where possible, records of minor clients have also been grouped together, and there is a section for wills and testamentary papers. The collection also reflects the activities of the solicitors in local elections, as trustees for charities, as stewards of manors, and their involvement in numerous enclosures.

There are also sections for miscellaneous deeds relating to freehold and copyhold property. These reflect the firm's conveyancing activities, mainly in north Norfolk, but also contain small groups of early title deeds which may belong with the papers of the major clients, but which have been impossible to place, as several of Repton's clients held land in the same parishes and manors.

The catalogue is structured as follows:

Records of Adey, Repton and Scott, solicitors of Aylsham
Papers of the Repton family, some relating to Humphry Repton, the landscape gardener (1752-1818)
Private papers of William Henry Scott, solicitor of Aylsham
Business and private papers of H.J. Gidney, solicitor of Aylsham, and other members of the Gidney family, ironmongers of East Dereham
Manorial Records
Heveningham, Browne and Doughty papers
Papers of the Windham family of Felbrigg
Miscellaneous papers of the Heveningham, Browne, Doughty, and Windham families
Miscellaneous deeds and papers of the Paston family, earls of Yarmouth, mainly relating to their estates at Oxnead, etc., which were subsequently purchased by the Anson family
Miscellaneous deeds and papers of the Anson family, mainly relating to their estates at Oxnead, Buxton, Skeyton, etc.
The St Faiths estate
Papers relating to estates of the Harbord family, barons Suffield, at Gunton, Roughton, etc.
Deeds and papers relating to the estates of the Walpole family, earls of Orford
Papers relating to estates of Flower and Gay families in West Beckham, Thurgarton, Southrepps, Aldborough, etc.
Rush family
Bundles of papers relating to families and individuals, in alphabetical order
Wills and testamentary papers
Records of businesses, apprenticeships, bankruptcy, etc.
Papers relating to local government, poor law, utilities, etc.
Papers relating to parliamentary and local elections
Papers relating to roads and railways in north Norfolk
Papers relating to various charities
Papers relating to enclosures
Papers relating to tithes, advowsons, glebes, etc.
Sale particulars, property in North Norfolk
Small groups of title deeds, mainly to freehold property
Miscellaneous maps and plans
Miscellaneous legal papers

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Number not used: AYL 601

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

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Finding aids

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Collection of 'family correspondence reflecting personal and legal affairs of Humphry Repton and his family and his work as a landscape gardener' held at the Huntington Library California (HL MSS HM 40834-40959).

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