fonds Wenlock - Deeds and papers of the Wenlock family

Identity area

Reference code



Deeds and papers of the Wenlock family


  • [12th century]-1920 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.52 cubic metres

26 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

(fl 1641-1932)

Biographical history

The title of Baron Wenlock of Wenlock in the County of Shropshire was created in 1831 for Sir Robert Lawley, 6th Baronet of Spoonhill. Sir Robert was the eldest son of Sir Robert Lawley, 5th Baronet, and his wife Jane Thompson, the sister of Beilby Thompson of Escrick, Yorkshire, MP for Hedon and Thirsk.

The Lawley baronets were descended from Sir Thomas Lawley, the son of Francis Lawley of Spoonhill near Much Wenlock, MP, who was created 1st Baronet of Spoonhill in 1641. Until 1851, the family seat was at Canwell Hall in Staffordshire. The Lawleys also held land in Shropshire, including the site of Great Wenlock Priory which they acquired in 1639, and acquired the manors of Angram and Hutton Wandesley in Long Marston at some point prior to 1839.

Beilby Thompson died in 1799 and the Escrick estate passed to his brother Richard and then to their nephew, Paul Beilby Lawley, a younger son of Sir Robert Lawley and Jane Thompson. Upon inheriting the estate, Paul assumed the name of Thompson, becoming Paul Beilby Lawley Thompson, although his heirs carried only the Lawley surname.

In 1834 the younger Sir Robert died childless and the title of Baron Wenlock was subsequently revived for his younger brother Paul Beilby Lawley Thompson who also became 1st Baron Wenlock. He married Caroline Neville, the daughter of Richard Griffin, 2nd Baron Braybrooke, and on his death in 1852 the title and estates passed to their eldest son, Beilby Richard Lawley, 2nd Baron Wenlock. In 1858 the 2nd Baron purchased the manor of Riccall, adding to the considerable holdings the Lawleys had already inherited in Riccall parish through Beilby Thompson.

The title of Baron Wenlock continued to descend through the male line until 1932 when it became extinct with the death of Arthur Lawley, the 6th Baron. The Lawley estates left the family in 1912 when Beilby Thompson, 3rd Baron Wenlock, died without male issue. Consequently his estate passed to his daughter Irene Constance who married Colin Gurden Forbes Adam in 1920, whilst the title passed to Beilby’s brother Richard.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in the 1950s. An addition was made to the archive in 1986.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Lawley family settlements, drafts, copies and related documents, 1717-1807; papers relating to offices and patents, c.1820-1839; papers relating to Angram and Hutton Wandesley, including title deeds, 1372-1823, leases, 1769-1775, and associated legal papers, c.1819-1823; deeds relating to properties in various counties, including Shropshire, Essex, Berkshire, Durham, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Kent, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Cornwall, Cheshire, and Warwickshire, 12th century-1826; records of the manor of Riccall with Newbald and Cowthorpe, including court rolls, 1573-1795, court papers, 1684, 1732-1856, rentals, 1782-1793, minute book, 1803-1809, call roll, 1810-1825, and related papers, 1709-1831; court roll for the manor of Acaster Malbis, 1867-1920, with notes of the attendance of tenants, 1867-1915.


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

Deeds and papers of the Forbes-Adam (Thompson/Lawley) family, Barons Wenlock, of Escrick and Skipwith, are held by Hull University Archives.

Further court rolls and court books for the manor of Riccall are held by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society.

Further court rolls for the manor of Acaster Malbis are held by North Yorkshire Record Office.

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, 12.06.15.




Accession area