Fonds WAL - Walpole of Wolterton estate records

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Walpole of Wolterton estate records


  • 1259-1875 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

approximately 148 boxes

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Horatio Walpole (1678-1757), first Baron Walpole of Wolterton, was brother to England's first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole (d. 1745). A diplomat, he served as ambassador in France and Holland. He built Wolterton Hall and purchased the Mannington Estate. He married Mary Lombard in 1720. Their son, also Horatio (1723-1809), succeeded his father as the 2nd baron.

Sir Robert Walpole was succeeded by his son, Robert (d. 1751), 1st baron Walpole of Walpole and the 2nd earl, and then by his grandson, George, the 3rd earl and 2nd baron. George died without heirs in 1791, and was succeeded as 4th earl and 3rd baron by his uncle, Horace Walpole, the famous man of letters and builder of Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. With the death of Horace in 1797 the earldom of Orford became extinct.

It was revived by Horatio (d. 1809), 2nd and 4th baron Walpole, who was created the 1st earl of Orford under the new creation. Horatio married Rachel, daughter of the duke of Devonshire. The title was inherited by their son Horatio (1752-1822) the 2nd earl; Horatio's son, also Horatio (1783-1858) the 3rd earl; and his son, another Horatio (d. 1894). The latter abandoned Wolterton Hall and moved to Mannington. He was succeeded by his nephew Robert (1854-1931) as the 5th earl; Robert's father had been Frederick Walpole (1822-1876) of Rainthorpe Hall, antiquary, and his wife, Laura (d. 1901). Robert restored Wolterton Hall and moved back there from Mannington in 1905.

When the 5th earl died in 1931 without a son, the new earldom of Orford became extinct. He was succeeded by his cousin, Robert (1913-1989) who became the 9th baron Walpole of Walpole and the 7th baron Walpole of Wolterton. He traced his line back to Thomas, the brother of Horatio (d. 1809) 1st earl of the second creation. Robert's parents were Horatio Walpole (who was killed in action in 1918) and Dorothea Montgomerie; this branch of the family had lived at Stagbury Park, Surrey. Robert married Nancy Jones (d. 2002). Their son, Robert (Robin) Walpole (b. 1938) became 10th Baron Walpole of Walpole and 8th baron Walpole of Wolterton in 1989 on his father's death. Robin married twice: Judith Schofield and Laurel Ball.

The Walpoles sold Wolterton Hall in 2016 and now reside at Mannington Hall.

In using the records it is easy to become confused between the different lords Walpole and earls of Orford. Sir Robert Walpole's son Robert was created the lst baron Walpole of Walpole in 1723. When Sir Robert was made the 1st earl of Orford in 1742, Lord Walpole also became the courtesy title of the eldest son of the earl of Orford. So George, later 3rd earl of Orford, was known as Lord Walpole between the death of his grandfather Sir Robert in 1745 and his succession to the earldom in 1751. In 1756, Horatio Walpole, brother to Sir Robert, was created lst baron Walpole of Wolterton. In 1797 his son, Horatio, the 2nd baron Walpole of Wolterton, also became 4th baron Walpole of Walpole on the death of Horace, 4th earl of Orford.

When the earldom was revived, Horatio 2nd and 4th baron Walpole was created the 1st earl of Orford under the new creation. However sometimes (particularly in the notes of the antiquary, Frederick Walpole) he is referred to as the 5th earl of Orford, with the 2nd earl of the new creation also being called the 6th earl and the 3rd earl also being known as the 7th. The courtesy title was revived, so from 1806 to 1858 Lord Walpole was the eldest son of the earl of Orford. When the 5th earl of the new creation died in 1931 without a son the new earldom of Orford also became extinct. The 5th earl was succeeded by his cousin, who became the 9th baron Walpole of Walpole and the 7th baron Walpole of Wolterton.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office in 1963 (NRS 27328); transferred from Norwich Central Library, which received the records in 1957. Additional manorial records received on 8 January 2013 and added to this catalogue in summary form.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Deeds etc.: Norfolk
Deeds etc.: Non-Norfolk
Walpole Family and Estate, and miscellaneous papers.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

This is a partial revision of an older list whose arrangement was topographical rather than archival, and consequently some estate and family papers appear among the deeds in the first section rather than in the final section of the list. List compiled in 1982.
Number not used: WAL 1201/4

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Related units of description

For other records relating to the Walpole Collection, see WLP, MC 152/1-8, MC 286, BR 2706.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 25/07/2005 by Droip. Modified 05/03/2019 by Droab.


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