Catalogue description WESTMORLAND OF APETHORPE

This record is held by Northamptonshire Archives

Details of W(A)
Reference: W(A)

Archives of the Earls of Westmorland and the Mildmay family with estates in Apethorpe, Wadenhoe, Wood Newton, Tansor, Nassington, Yarwell, Cotterstock, Glapthorn and Oundle, Woodstone, Stanground and Farcet (Huntingdonshire), Medmenham (Buckinghamshire), Tudeley, Hale and Hadlow (Kent), Bicknacre (Essex), Woodrow and Seend (Wiltshire) and Sharlston (Yorkshire).


Oundle manorial accounts 1471-1511. Yarwell inclosure agreement 1577. Estate rentals and accounts from 16thC. Fine late 16th/early 17thC. household accounts and commonplace books. 19thC. household accounts and rentals. Inventories of 1629 (1st Earl and Ldy. Despencer), 1691 (3rd Earl), 1705, 1774 and 1842. Largely uncatalogued estate papers, early 18thC. and 1760s. including papers on Rockingham Forest, the Nene Navigation, coal mining, 18thC.


Papers of 6th Earl as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, early 18thC., and of the 11th Earl at Florence 1830s, 19thC. family correspondence including letters from the Crimea 1854-1855 and from Grenville Murray, 19thC. journalist.


Papers of Sir Walter Mildmay as Under Treasurer of England, late 16thC. Lady Mildmay's 'Advice to her children'. Papers on claims to the Barony of Abergavenny, late 16thC-18thC. 17th/18thC. papers on Emanuel College, Cambridge. Papers on the Lyme Regis election 1781. Papers of John Scrope as Secretary to the Treasury, early 18thC. Household accounts of Edward, Duke of York 1409-1410, Thorney Abbey accounts 1441-1442 and charters for Woodstone, Fotheringhay College accounts, early 16thC. and accounts of Thomas Wingfield of Kimbolton (Hunts.) 1560-1582

Date: 1150 - 1915
Related material:

(Further Westmorland papers, mainly relating to Ldy. Georgiana Fane's claim on the estate, 1782-1862, exist in a British Record Society deposit, ref. Ah.)


(Papers of the 10th Earl in Ireland at in the National Archives of Ireland. Further archives of the family down to the 7th Earl's death and of the 11th Earl are in the Kent Record Office. Military and diplomatic papers of the 11th Earl are also in the Bodleian Library.)

Held by: Northamptonshire Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Fane family of Tudely, Kent

Mildmay family of Apethorpe, Northamptonshire

Mildmay family, Earls of Westmorland

Physical description: 70 boxes.
Immediate source of acquisition:

Accession 1950/88, 1951/147, 1952/1

  • Cambridge University, Emmanuel College
  • Scrope, John, d 1752, Judge
  • Nevill family of Mereworth Castle, Kent, Marquesses of Abergavenny
  • Apethorpe, Northamptonshire
  • Nassington, Northamptonshire
  • Wood Newton, Northamptonshire
Administrative / biographical background:

Sir Thomas Fane of Tudeley (Kent) married Mary Nevill, the heiress of Lord Abergavenny of Mereworth Castle (Kent) and Lady Le Despenser in her own right. Their son Sir Francis (d.1624) made another impressive marriage, with Mary the daughter and heiress of Sir Anthony Mildmay and he inherited the Mildmay estates and their great mansion at Apethorpe. Sir Francis was made Earl of Westmorland in 1624 and entertained James I at Apethorpe. Mildmay, the 2nd Earl (d.1666) was a poet. The 6th Earl (d.1736) inherited an estate in Yorkshire through his wife Catherine Stringer. The senior line died out with John, the 7th Earl (d.1762), High Steward and later Chancellor of Oxford 1754-1762. He was an important patron of architecture and rebuilt Mereworth Castle in a ground breaking Palladian style.


Mereworth was inherited by the 7th Earl's sisters but the Earldom and Apethorpe estate went to a distant cousin with estates in Somerset. The family controlled the parliamentary seat of Lyme Regis (Dorset). John, the 10th Earl (d.1841) was notorious for his elopement with the heiress of the banker Robert Child in 1782. He was a friend of William Pitt the younger and held several government posts including the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland 1789-1795. His son John, the 11th Earl (d.1859), was a composer but made a career first as a soldier: he was A.D.C. to the Duke of Wellington in Spain. Later he was a notable diplomat serving in Florence 1814-1830, Berlin 1841-1851 and Vienna 1851-1855. Francis William, the 12th Earl (d.1891), was also a soldier and was Lord Raglan's A.D.C. in the Crimea. The 13th Earl sold Apethorpe in 1892.

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