fonds MET - Metcalf Family Papers

Identity area

Reference code



Metcalf Family Papers


  • 1697-1980 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.01 cubic metres

1 box

Context area

Name of creator

(fl 1863-1980)

Biographical history

William Day Metcalf, sometimes spelled Metcalfe, was born at Rothwell in 1863. In 1892 he married Annie Louisa Towse at Leeds and the couple had two children; Mary Grace Day Metcalf born in 1893 and John Savile Metcalf born in 1895. In 1901 the family were living in Pendleton, Lancashire, where William was employed as a chartered accountant’s clerk. By 1911 William was a licensed victualler in Boston Spa. He later settled at Church Fenton. William was a member of the Yorkshire Dialect Society (founded 1897) and held the position of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer throughout the 1930s.

Mary Grace Day Metcalf became a nurse. She served in the First World War at Salonika (today Thessalonika) in Greece and afterwards undertook rehabilitation work on the Bulgarian-Albanian border. Later she lived in Church Fenton, working as a midwife and health visitor in the West Riding of Yorkshire. She never married and died in 1980 at the age of 87.

John Savile Metcalf was educated at Carlisle Grammar School and in 1910 he went to sea as an apprentice on the Runciman shipping line. At the outbreak of the First World War he was made a Midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve. In April 1915 he earned the D.S.C., or Distinguished Service Cross, for his command of a picket boat at the Gallipoli Landings, in which action he was wounded in the arm. By September 1915 he was serving aboard the destroyed Faulknor, followed by the Saumarez between December 1916 and May 1917, the Seal between May and October 1917, and Ettrick between January and December 1918. He was demobilised in 1919, having achieved the rank of Lieutenant, and subsequently joined the Orient line. In 1928 he received the R.N.R decoration and in 1934 he was promoted to a Royal Naval Reserve Commander. In 1935 he married Dora Greene.

During the Second World War Savile Metcalf assisted with the evacuation of troops at Narvik and St Nazaire as commander of the Orient line ship RMS Ormonde. In 1940 he was appointed Commodore of East Coast Convoys at Southend and in 1942 he was put in charge of auxiliary patrols at Scapa Flow. In later 1942 he was made Commodore of Atlantic Convoys and in 1943 he was sent to America to take command of the aircraft carrier Ranee. He was made Captain in 1944 and took command of the HMS Guardian. He was released from service in 1946 and was subsequently employed by the Admiralty. He died in 1975.

John Savile Metcalf and Mary Grace Day Metcalf are commemorated by a stained glass window in St Mary’s Church, Church Fenton.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 2013.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers of William Day Metcalf, comprising correspondence concerning property in Church Fenton, 1921; extracts from historical sources concerning Church Fenton, 1928; poem to commemorate the marriage of John Savile Metcalf and Dora Greene, 1935; incomplete typescript pages concerning local customs and superstitions, n.d; typescript of presentation concerning Yorkshire dialect, 1937; and section of an ordnance survey map of Church Fenton, n.d.

Papers of Mary Grace Day Metcalf, comprising a copy of her birth certificate, 1980; press cutting of her obituary, 1980; and an undated photograph of her in a nurse’s uniform.

Papers of John Savile Metcalf, comprising night order book of the HMS Ettrick, January-November 1918; and 3 photographs of an officer on board ship, 1927.

Deeds, comprising deed of enfeoffment between Francis Roper of Morthing, Rotherham, and George Brookes of Ranfield, Co. York, 21 March 1697; indenture between Robert Hyde of the county of York and William Allen of Rotherham concerning land in Grasbrough in the lordship of Kimberworth, 1745; surrender to Silas Saul of land in the Manor of Botchardgate, 1812.

Postcards, comprising 1 postcard of Skeldergate Bridge, York, undated; 1 postcard labelled ‘Boston Spa 9.7.21. Sir Robert Baden Powell unlocking the door’, 1921; and 1 postcard labelled ‘1911 Admiral Hawke Boston Spa’, 1911.

Photograph of the Blacksmith’s Shop, Gretna Green, [1908]; proof specimen of Church Fenton entry in the Royal Record for the coronation of George VI, c.1936; typescript account of Leeds Geological Association’s excursion to Oulton Brewery, n.d; typescript ‘Church Fenton, Yorks, W.R., Glebe Terriers from the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research’, n.d; photocopy sketch and description of stained glass window design at St Mary’s Church, Church Fenton, n.d.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

The HMS Ettrick night order book, 1918, may require conservation work, please contact the Borthwick Institute for further information.

Finding aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued. Please contact the Borthwick Institute for further information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The parish records of Church Fenton are also deposited at the Borthwick Institute.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 28.04.16.




Accession area