fonds UL4 - Working notes of Robert Surtees

Identity area

Reference code



Working notes of Robert Surtees


  • [early 19th century] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.01 cubic metres

1 box

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert Surtees was born in the South Bailey, Durham, on 1 April 1779, the son of Robert Surtees of Mainsforth and his wife Dorothy, daughter and heiress of William Steele, a director of the East India Company.

Surtees was educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, and then became a student of Middle Temple until he inherited the Mainsforth estate on the death of his father in 1802. In 1807 he married Anne Robinson of Middle Herrington, County Durham.

A keen antiquary, Surtees had decided to write a history of the county of Durham whilst he was still at Oxford but it more than a decade for it to come to fruition. The work was first advertised in 1812 but it was not until 1816 that the first volume of the 'History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham' appeared, followed by a second volume in 1820 and a third in 1823. The final volume was published posthumously in 1840.

Robert Surtees died at Mainsforth on 11 February 1834. In May of that year a group of his friends, led by Reverend James Raine, founded the Surtees Society in his memory. The Society is still active and is dedicated to the publication of manuscripts concerning the history of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria.

Archival history

This archive forms part of the University Library Manuscripts collection.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was gifted to the Borthwick Institute in 1974.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This archive consists of 137 sheets of manuscript antiquarian notes found in a copy of volume 1 of Robert Surtees' 'History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham', 1816. The notes relate to material in this volume.


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

Finding aids

The archive has not 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 History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham' by Robert Surtees, volumes 1-4, is part of the University of York Library Special Collections and can be requested through the Borthwick Institute (Reference: SC Q 42.81 SUR).

The archive of Robert Surtees and his family is held at Durham Cathedral Library (Reference: GB-0036-SUR)

The Surtees Society, which was founded in memory of Robert Surtees, also remains active:

Related descriptions

Notes area

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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, 04.04.17.




Accession area