Fonds PHI - Manuscripts of Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) relating to Norfolk

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Manuscripts of Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) relating to Norfolk


  • 12th century-20th century (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

726 pieces

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Collected over 60,000 manuscripts. Phillipps referred to himself as a complete ‘Vello-maniac’.
Born in Manchester, 2 July 1792. Educated at Rugby School and University College, Oxford. Elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1820 and made a baronet the following year. Lived at Middle Hill, Broadway, then (from 1863) at Thirlestaine House in Cheltenham. Died 6 February 1872. After Phillipps's death, his vast collection of books and manuscripts was dispersed in a series of sales.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 5 May 1982 (MS 21878).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Deeds and related documents, Norfolk
Deeds, unlocated: Norfolk
Deeds, unlocated: non-Norfolk
Ecclesiastical and Monastic Estate and Administration
Manorial and Estate
General and Local Administration
City of Norwich
Personal and Miscellaneous
Additional Purchases

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The arrangement of this list is in the main a simple topographical one. Much work would be needed to establish the ultimate provenance of all of this material, so deeds and manorial records are listed under the parishes to which they principally refer, and parishes are arranged alphabetically. In the appendix are listed other Phillipps manuscripts purchased at Sotheby sales between 1967 and 1981. It is clear from endorsements and marks that much of this material passed through the hands of the late 17th- and 18th-century Norfolk antiquaries Peter Le Neve (1661-1729), Francis Blomefield (1705-1752), Thomas Martin (1697-1771) and Sir John Fenn (1739-1794). Fenn's presence is felt both in the long series of churchwardens' accounts from East Dereham, his own parish (PHI 461, 607-8, 610-11) and a small group of his own papers (PHI 613/12-20, 614). The major clearly-identifiable groups are indicated below, the Knyvett and Gawdy documents owing their presence to Le Neve and the Paston ones to Blomefield, who explored and plundered the Ashwellthorpe, West Harling and Oxnead muniment rooms respectively. The Norwich Great Hospital records were lost at an unknown date from among the Norwich City records. Provenance is established for the following:

Gawdy of West Harling PHI 300-301, 475-476, 583, 589, 613/2, 5
Hyrne of Haveringland PHI 146-156, 457, 478-485, 586
Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe PHI 93, 469-471, 540-556, 613/3
Dukes of Norfolk PHI 8, 66, 193, 284, 462-464, 466-468, 473, 487, 606, 613/13
Norwich Great Hospital PHI 25-44, 73-79, 94-103, 140-145, 168, 174-175, 197-201, 223-245, 249, 260, 263, 292-293, 306-313, 324-357, 378-383, 412-415, 423, 510-526, 621
Paston of Oxnead (including Fastolf) PHI 1, 5-24, 67-71, 116-117, 162, 207-220, 268-279, 281-283, 400, 444-445, 489-492, 527-539, 612-613


Calendaring is brief. Christian names and main place-names are modernised save where reasonable doubt exists. Surnames and minor place-names are as in the original. Occupations and parishes of parties to deeds are omitted unless they form part of the surname. Witness lists are omitted. Abuttals are indicated only when they include minor place-names or landscape features. Seals are indicated but not described unless they are felt to be unusual or outstanding. Dating of undated documents is attempted mainly from palaeographical evidence and is therefore usually very approximate. Dates are expressed in New Style, and antiquaries' notes and later endorsements are not usually recorded, save that the original Phillipps number where known is noted. The county is not stated for places in Norfolk and major towns elsewhere.

Number not used: PHI 447

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