fonds Mor - Morrell Deeds

Identity area

Reference code



Morrell Deeds


  • [12th century]-1826 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.16 cubic metres

3 boxes and 4 rolls

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Bowes (‘J.B.’) Morrell was born in 1873, the son of William Wilberforce Morrell, a bank manager in York and author of ‘The History of Selby,’ and Lydia Hutchinson, a Quaker. He attended Bootham School, a Quaker establishment, in the 1880s, and joined Rowntree’s Cocoa Works at the age of 17, going on to become the company's Finance Director by the age of 25. In 1902 he married Bertha Spence-Watson at the Friends Meeting House in Newcastle upon Tyne. They had three children.

A lifelong Liberal, Morrell was a passionate advocate of the importance of the Liberal and provincial press and of effective municipal government. In 1906 he became a director of the Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust, which financed many Liberal newspaper and publishing companies. Morrell served on their boards, and became chairman of Westminster Press in 1933. He was also twice Lord Mayor of York and chaired the City’s finance committee for 25 years. In 1940 he published The City of our Dreams, outlining a vision of York’s future which greatly influenced post war planning.

J.B. Morrell was a leading benefactor of York. In 1938 he helped Dr John L. Kirk found the York Castle Museum on the site of the old female prison. In 1945 he co-founded the Ings Property Company Ltd, later the York Conservation Trust, with his brother Cuthbert Morrell and in 1948 he co-founded the York Civic Trust with Oliver Sheldon, Dean of York, Eric Milner White, and Noel Terry.

He was also instrumental in the movement to establish a university in York through the Civic Trust’s creation of the Academic Development Committee, succeeded in 1956 by the York Academic Trust. The Committee and Trust ran a programme of academic activities with the intention of establishing York as a candidate for a new university, including the foundation of the Borthwick Institute for Archives in St Anthony’s Hall in 1953. The Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust, which he chaired, was the major financial sponsor of the new university and the academic activities which preceded it. In 1955 Morrell persuaded the Trust to buy Heslington Hall and its grounds and later gave them as the nucleus of the University site. The University of York opened in 1963 and the university library was named in his honour.

J.B. Morrell died 26 April 1963 at the age of 90.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was gifted to the Borthwick Institute by J.B. Morrell in 1954. Further additions were made to the archive by J.B. Morrell in 1959, 1960 and 1961.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Papers relating to the Belt family of Bossall, including papers and copies of documents in a dispute between Leonard Belt and Tempest Milner over lands in Barnby near Bossall, 1531, 1655-1657, letter from Thomas Hoyle, mayor of York, to Robert Belt, alderman of York, 1632, Elizabeth Belt's appointment of Duncan McLaren as gamekeeper in the manor of Bossall, 1794, probate records and related papers principally for the Belt family, 1590-1746, account of the monuments and tombs belonging to the Belt family in Bossall church and churchyard, 1826; papers relating to the manor of Bossall, including deeds, late 12th century-1744, abstract of deeds and court rolls of Bossall from Domesday to 1690, 1826; papers in a dispute over tithes in Bossall, 1757, 1793; account of Bossall church and a list of the rectors and vicars of the parish of Bossall, 1826; assorted deeds concerning lands and property at Bielby, 1380, Barneby, 1448, 1656; Bykerton and Tokwyth, 1534, York, c.1203-c.1217, 1655; and Kingston upon Hull, 1819; grant by Henry VIII to the Priory of St John the Baptist, Nunappleton, of a stay of dissolution of the monastery, 1538; grant by Philip and Mary to Thomas Warde and Henry Vavasour of lands and appurtenances in Doncaster, Dringhouses, Bishopthorpe, Middlethorpe, Copmanthorpe, and lands in other counties, 1557; grant of title of Baronet to Henry Griffith of Agnes Burton of York, and his male heirs granting additions to coat of arms, 1628; list of questions to be asked on behalf of the Parliamentary party, 1643/4; copy of letter from Sir Marmaduke Langdale when a prisoner in Nottingham Castle, 1648; exemplification of Bill Dedimus Potem Cause concerning last will and second and third codicils of Sir Griffith Boynton of Burton Agnes, 1732.


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.

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
  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The personal and professional papers are J. B. Morrell 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, 12.05.15.




Accession area