BROWN & MERRY (Leighton Buzzard)

This record is held by Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service

Details of BROWN & MERRY (Leighton Buzzard)
Title: BROWN & MERRY (Leighton Buzzard)
Reference: BML



The business archives deposited by the Leighton Buzzard office of Messrs. Brown and Merry complement the material from the Bedford office (ref: BMB). Together these deposits constitute an important archive which both illustrates the workings of a local office and provides a wealth of information on the locality. The loose documents and bundles of papers for the Bedfordshire parishes are especially important (ref: BML 10). The papers for parishes in other counties has been transferred to the appropriate County Record Office, but the core business records such as the valuation books (BML 2), ledgers (BML 3) and office records (BML 4) contain some out-County material and give a view of the operation of the business as a whole.


The Macnamara Estate


Among the firm's principal clients was Arthur Macnamara of Billington, whose estate (previously managed by William Paxton) was run by the firm. The Macnamara estate comprised the Billington Manor, Caddington Hall, Eaton Bray and Whipsnade estates with properties - partly in Bucks. and Herts. -in the parishes of Billington, Caddington, Eaton Bray, Kensworth, Luton (Limbury), Markyate Street, Flamstead, Houghton Regis, Slapton, Studham, Totternhoe and Whipsnade. Most of the papers cover the period from 1880 to 1915, and may have been taken over from Paxton. It is not clear when A.W. Merry became agent, but the account books for the Eaton Bray estate commence in 1897 (ref: BML 6/1/7-8). There is an agreement of A.W. Merry as agent for John Macnamara, 1906 (ref: BML 4/3/1 ii).


The Rothschilds


Material relating to the Tring Park and Ashton Wold estates has mainly been transferred to Hertfordshire Record Office, although some material remains among the core business records. There are valuation books of Feb. 1924 concerning the Tring and Ashton Wold estates (ref: BML 2/4/85-88), and further volumes in the series relating to Rothschild properties (ref: BML 2/4/141, 158, and 162-3). A few stray records held at Bedford (ref: BMTr) will probably be transferred to Hertfordshire at some future date.




The collection was received when the Record Office still operated from premises in the old Shire Hall. At the time of the move to the present building in 1969 it had not been listed, but the boxes were numbered (as boxes 114 to 155) for the move and these box numbers were used as the basis for an interim catalogue compiled by an assistant archivist in about 1980. Gradually the material has been systematically listed - beginning with the maps (now BML 1) and loose papers (BML 10) - and ending with the main business archive (BML 2-7). The superseded box list has been retained for future reference (ref: CRV 72).


The catalogue has been by prepared chiefly by temporary staff and volunteers. Special thanks are due to Robin Jenkins, David Reeve, June Masters and Brian Taverner for their work on the collection. Much of the indexing was done by Sylvia Woods.

List of contents: Outline History of the Firm; Introduction to the collection; BML 0 Ordnance Survey maps; [not listed - these are incorporated within the main CRO series of OS maps]; BML 1 Maps and plans; BML 1/1-31 Maps and plans; BML 1/32-41 Building plans; BML 2 Valuation books, 1873-1947; BML 2/1/1-3 First series, 1873-1877; BML 2/2/0-46 Second series, 1875-1898; BML 2/3/1-20 A.W.Merry first series, 1896-1924; BML 2/4/1-195 A.W.Merry second series, 1905-47; BML 2/5/1-10 A.W.Merry third series, 1932-41; BML 2/6/1-8 Miscellaneous; BML 3 Financial records, 1915-1947; BML 3/1/1-3 Ledgers, 1915-1918; BML 3/2/1 Invoices, 1938-9; BML 3/3/2 Statements, 1945-7; BML 4 Office administration and business papers, 1904-1942; BML 5 Merry family: personal papers, 1897-1947; BML 6 Macnamara Estate; BML 6/1 Estate income accounts, 1881-1916; BML 6/2 Estate payment accounts, 1881-1887; BML 6/3 Vouchers and receipts, 1882-1887; BML 6/4 Tithe records, 1842-1916; BML 6/5 Inclosure papers, 1798-1888; BML 6/6/1-2 Tenancy agreements, 1890-1905; BML 6/6/3 Farm particulars, 1881-1890; BML 6/6/4-5 Field tracings and farm maps, 1849-1906; BML 6/7 Estate administration, 1878-1913; BML 6/8 Private papers of Arthur Macnamara, 1880-1928; BML 6/9 Billington parish, 1888-1890; BML 6/10 O.S. map indexes, 1879-1880; BML 6/11 Pedley estate trustees, 1866-1916; BML 7 Lady Sophia Macnamara: Billington Manor and personal papers, 1906-1913; BML 8-9 [numbers not used]; BML 10 Sale catalogues and agency papers - arranged by parish - 1860-1963.
Date: 1832-1982
Held by: Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Extent: 10 series
Administrative History:

Outline history of the firm


1832 William Brown established business in Tring


1834 Firm established (ex.inf. advertisements of 1949 and 1962)


1893 A.W. Merry (1868-1948) articled to Joseph and Joseph John Gale, Estate Agents etc., Wallingford (BML 5/1/3)


1896 A.W. Merry takes over the business of Messrs. Hart & Son, and becomes established at 17 High Street, Leighton Buzzard. First valuation notebook begins in April 1896


1915 Consideration of amalgamation with William Brown & Co. (BML 4/3/2 i)


1915 Amalgamation of A.W. Merry, 17 High Street, Leighton Buzzard, with Messrs. Stafford and Rogers of Bedford. Trading as Stafford, Rogers and A.W. Merry from 1 July 1915 (BMB 1/1/18 and BML 4/3/2 ii-iv)


1948 Death of Arthur W. Merry


1964 Stafford, Rogers and Merry join with William Brown & Co. to form Brown and Merry


1982 Firm celebrates 150th anniversary (report in Beds. and Bucks. Observer 22 June 1982)

  • Bedfordshire
Immediate Source Of Acquisition:
  • Archives of Messrs. Brown and Merry (Auctioneers and Estate Agents) of Leighton Buzzard, deposited in the County Record Office by the firm on 27th November 1964.

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