Sub-sub-fonds ETN 1/22/1-11 - Overbury Steward & Eaton solicitors papers

Identity area

Reference code

ETN 1/22/1-11


Overbury Steward & Eaton solicitors papers


  • 1792-1998 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

3 bundles, 6 files, 2 photographs

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Name of creator


Administrative history

The practice was started in c 1788 by John Steward (1766-1829). According to a typescript history of the firm, written by Tom Eaton in 1974 (see MC 1113/2, 805X7), John Steward's name first appears in the 1801 'Norwich Directory', where he is given as an attorney-at-law and his address is given as Upper Heigham. John Steward was an alderman for the Conesford Ward in 1807, Sheriff of Norfolk in 1808 and Mayor of Norwich in 1810. The typescript also records that John Steward's offices were at one time located on Bank Street, Norwich, before they moved to King Street House in Upper King Street, Norwich, where the firm practised until 1922. Following his death on 11 October 1829, John Steward was succeeded in his business by his third son, Edward Steward (c 1807-1874) alias 'the boy alderman'. Edward's first wife was Charlotte (née Fisher) and the practice was known for a time as Steward and Fisher. Edward Steward was admitted as a freeman of Norwich in 1827 and was Sheriff of Norfolk in 1833. Edward and Charlotte had three daughters one of whom, Helen Maria, married Walter Overbury who subsequently became Edward Steward's partner and succeeded to the business in 1874 following Edward Steward's death. Walter Overbury subsequently went into partnership with John Wilson Gilbert and the practice then became known as Overbury and Gilbert. In 1891 Walter Overbury dissolved partnership with John Wilson Gilbert and entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, Campbell Steward (c 1863 -1917), the youngest child of Edward Steward and his second wife, Sarah (née Taylor). Walter Overbury and Campbell Steward practiced at King Street House under the name of Overbury and Steward. In 1898 when Frederic Ray Eaton (1874-1962), who had been articled to Campbell Steward, qualified as a solicitor, Walter Overbury, Cambbell Steward and Frederic Eaton entered into an agreement by which the last (Frederic Eaton) was to go into partnership with the others at a certain date or with the survivor of the others in the event of a previous death. Walter Overbury died in 1903 and the firm became known as Overbury, Steward & Eaton. Frederic Eaton purchased 3 Upper King Street, Norwich from F.W. Colby for £1, 950 in June 1922 and in the same year the office of Overbury, Steward & Eaton moved from King Street House (later demolished) to 3 Upper King Street. Campbell Steward died in 1917 without issue and Frederic Eaton practised alone until 26 March 1948 when his eldest son, Thomas (Tom) Christopher Eaton (1918-2010) entered into partnership with him, having been articled to him from September 1936. Keith Flatman, MA LLB (Cantab) joined the firm as an assistant solicitor from Wisbech on 1 January 1955 and was taken into partnership with Frederic and Tom Eaton on 26 March 1957. Frederic Eaton retired from the firm on 25 March 1962 after 70 years association and died on 30 December 1962. In 1967, Michael Frederick Barten Baker, LLB, who had joined Overbury, Steward & Eaton as an assistant solicitor in 1961, went into Partnership with Tom Eaton. In March 1970, both John Stuart Rushmer and Alan Robert Kefford, LLB, who had been articled to Tom Eaton, were taken into partnership in the firm and in September 1970, Alexander George Munro, MA, LLB (Cantab), joined the firm from Mills & Reeve becoming a partner in March 1971. In July 1974, a branch of Overbury, Steward & Eaton was opened in Wymondham, Norfolk. In c 1999, Ben Keane succeeded Tom Eaton as a senior partner of Overbury, Steward & Eaton. On 6 April 1999, Overbury, Steward & Eaton merged with Woolsey and Woolsey under the new name Overburys (trading name of the partnership Overbury Steward Eaton & Woolsey). Tom Eaton retired as a consultant of the firm in 2005. In January 2006, Overburys purchased Raymond Thompson, solicitors of Diss. Overburys continues to practice to date (August 2012) and is located at 7 Upper King Street, Norwich.

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Includes partnership, financial and estate records, as well as papers and photographs relating to the history of the firm.

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For other papers created and collected by Tom Eaton during his professional career as a solicitor, see ETN 1/4/1-48.

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