Reginald Arthur Bray (1869-1950) was interested in the history of his family and their estates (see introduction to G85/- list, and G85/26/1), and it may be assumed that this deposit represents papers, probably found in Shere Manor House, which he neither needed for the management of the estate nor wanted to read himself, and felt would be of use and interest to others.
It is a rather miscellaneous group which cannot be regarded as in any way distinct from the later deposits, listed under G85/-, and includes, like them, antiquarian papers of William Bray, Nicholas family papers and papers of the Godschall family of Weston House, Albury, as well as a stray from the Loseley MSS (G52/7/8/1). There is, however, a larger proportion of the papers of R A Bray's grandfather, Reginald Bray senior.
The most significant group within these records is papers of the Nicholas family of West Horsley (G52/2/19/1-184) including Sir Edward Nicholas (1593-1669), Secretary of State to Charles I and Charles II, his eldest son John (1624-1704), Clerk to the Privy Council, and John's three sons, Edward (d.1726), Treasurer to Queen Mary, John (d.1742), and William Nicholas, all of whom died without a male heir. Included in these papers are a group relating to affairs in England and Scotland in 1641; others relating to affairs in the court in exile of Charles II in the 1650s; dispatches from Sir William Curtius, official resident of the English Crown in the Holy Roman Empire, 1639-1658; and letters to Edward Nicholas from Lord Villiers, later Earl of Jersey, at The Hague, 1695-1698.
Also of importance are pamphlets and other printed material relating to the Civil War and Sir William Waller's army in South East England (G52/6/-).
William Brays' antiquarian work is supplemented by his 'candid biographies' of contemporaries, including local figures such as Richard Lord Onslow and Admiral Keppel (G52/8/10).