The original arrangement G85/1-42/- reflected the various provenances and the extended period over which the records were deposited: the list was complied in three parts as cited in the provenance note above, each containing, for example, family papers (G85/17/-, G85/23/- and G85/33/-), large interrelated groups of manorial and estate records, and antiquarian papers of William Bray (including G85/2-5 and G85/41).
The present list has involved some re-arrangement of groups in an attempt to re-unite the principal series; this has involved a loss of numeric sequencing.
In most cases documents within groups have not been rearranged (the exception being the restoration of chronological series of manorial records, as noted at the beginning of the relevant groups).
Many of the series G85/16/-42/- cannot be seen as functional groupings, and are assumed to reflect groupings deposited at one time, or groupings within containers.
G85/1/ JOURNALS OF WILLIAM BRAY
WILLIAM BRAY'S WORKS AND COLLECTED RECORDS
G85/2/1/1-2 COLLECTED SALE PARTICULARS
G85/2/2-9, G85/41/ BOUND VOLUMES OF RESEARCH NOTES, COLLECTED ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS AND TRAVEL JOURNALS
G85/3/ LOOSE PAPERS AND COLLECTED DOCUMENTS RELATING TO HIS RESEARCH, AND CORRESPONDENCE; REGINALD BRAY'S OFFICE DIARY
G85/4/ LOSELEY DOCUMENTS
G85/21/ COLLECTED ROYAL GRANTS AND DETACHED GREAT SEALS
G85/5/ NICHOLAS FAMILY OF WEST HORSLEY: HISTORICAL NOTES AND COLLECTED ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE INCLUDING POLITICAL PAPERS
MANORIAL ESTATES IN SHERE, EWHURST AND CRANLEIGH
G85/6/ MANOR OF SHERE VACHERY
G85/7/ MANOR OF GOMSHALL NETLEY
G85/8/ MANOR OF GOMSHALL TOWERHILL
G85/9/ MANOR OF SHERE EBOR
G85/10, 35 BRAY MANORS: RECORDS OF THE MANAGEMENT OF SEVERAL MANORS
G85/11, 35 MANOR OF CONEYHURST
G85/12/ GODLEY HUNDRED
G85/13/ TITLE DEEDS
G85/22/ ADDITIONAL DEEDS
G85/24/ COTTAGES IN SHERE AND PEASLAKE, ESTATES OF THE SPOTTISWOODE FAMILY: DEEDS AND PAPERS
G85/14-15/ GODSCHALL FAMILY OF WESTON HOUSE, ALBURY: RECORDS
BRAY ESTATES MANAGEMENT
G85/16/ BRAY ESTATE ACCOUNTS AND LETTER BOOKS, BRAY AND WARREN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE AND ESTATE PAPERS
G85/18, 30 CASE PAPERS
G85/19/ MAPS AND PLANS
G85/20/ INVOLVEMENT OF THE BRAY FAMILY IN SHERE PARISH AND COUNTY BUSINESS
G85/25/ BRAY ESTATE DEEDS
G85/26/ BRAY ESTATE RECORDS ARRANGED BY RA BRAY
G85/27-28, 36 ESTATE ACCOUNTS
G85/29, 38 ESTATE CORRESPONDENCE FILES
G85/37 ESTATE CORRESPONDENCE LETTER BOOKS
G85/31, 34 MISCELLANEOUS ESTATE PAPERS
BRAY FAMILY AND OTHER PAPERS
G85/23/ FAMILY MEMOIR AND PEDIGREE
G85/32/ PROBATE AND SUCCESSION
G85/17/ BRAY AND MATHISON FAMILY PROBATE AND OTHER PAPERS AND COLLECTED DOCUMENTS
G85/33/ FAMILY PAPERS
G85/39-40/ COLLECTED BRAY AND DUNCOMB FAMILY PAPERS
G85/42/ REGINALD ARTHUR BRAY (1869-1950): WRITINGS ON EDUCATION AND LAND OWNERSHIP, EARLY 20TH CENT
See the introduction to G52/- for discussion of this important archive.
Bray archives: G52/-, deposited by RA Bray in 1925 comprises Bray estate records, papers of William Bray, Godschall family papers and Nicholas family papers, which are essentially part of the same archive described in the present deposit.
See also 1500/- for correspondence, family settlements and deeds, 1760-1942, and 1656/- for family pedigree and family and estate material, 1789-1951.
See 1283/- for account of quit rent for manors of Gomshall Towerhill, Gomshall Netley and Shere Ebor.
G54/- and the related deposit 1974/-, deposited by Warrens, solicitors, include material relating to the Bray estates (court books and steward's papers for the manors of Gomshall Netley, 1761-1815, Gomshall Towerhill, 1761-1870, and Shere Vachery and Cranleigh, 1832-1868; stewards' papers for the manors of Shere Ebor and Weston Gomshall) and relating to William Bray's stewardship duties and interests (records of the Evelyn family's Wotton Estate and the More Molyneux family's Loseley estate).
Bray and Warrens, solicitors: letter books of Bray and Warrens, 1785-1872, are deposited in the London Metropolitan Archives.
William Bray: for manuscript volumes of Owen Manning's materials for the history of Surrey with additions by Bray, see 1917/-. Bray's study of the Loseley MSS is evident in his endorsements on many of the documents; notes, a working index and bound volume of publications on the MSS have remained among the Loseley records, refs LM/- and 6729/-. Similarly, notes and correspondence with William Upcott, publisher of Memoirs illustrative of the Life and Writings of John Evelyn are held among the Evelyn archives at the British Library.
Correspondence with John and John Bowyer Nichols, printers, is held at Yale University Library: copies of these are held as Z/300/- and Z/357/-.
Further antiquarian collections by William Bray are held at the British Library Add MSS 6167-6178, and the Bodleian Library, Oxford. A letter concerning Lindsay's history of Southwark is held as G21/14.
Records relating to William Bray's work as a solicitor include 6710/-, 878/-, and Zs/301/-.
|Administrative / biographical background:
The Shere Manor estate
The Bray estates in Surrey were first accumulated during the early 16th century. The manor of Shere Vachery and Cranleigh was granted by Henry VII to Sir Reginald Bray (d.1503), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Privy Councillor, who came from Worcestershire and was concerned in the building of St George's Chapel, Windsor (for his estates, see G85/13/146); Sir Edward (d.1558) bought other manors, including Shere Ebor, Coneyhurst, Gomshall Towerhill and Gomshall Netley, comprising land principally in the parishes of Shere, Ewhurst and Cranleigh.
The estate included most of the houses in the villages of Shere and Gomshall, with Gomshall mill, and farms from the North Downs almost to the Sussex border. There are a considerable number of documents from the fifteenth century onwards that relate to the wastes of the manors: 'a thousand acres in the Churt' (G85/18/1), the area of heathy land on the greensand now called the Hurtwood (now reckoned 2,000 acres) which rises to Pitch Hill [Coneyhurst Hill] (843 feet) above Ewhurst. Grants of small plots on which to build cottages nibbled into it from the early 17th century, particularly at places along the roads to the south where the hamlets of Felday and Peaslake developed. The waste was valued not only for pasture, and turbary, but as a source of ironstone (Lady Jane Bray, widow of Sir Edward, had a furnace in Coneyhurst Hill supplying her forge at Vachery Pond G85/4/4; see also G85/13/204-208), oak timber and building materials. Many detailed eighteenth and nineteenth century vouchers record sales of building and road stone, timber, turf, gravel and clay. William Bray planted large numbers of fir trees, and later forestry would became an increasing preoccupation of the estate.
By 1740 when the estate was inherited by George Bray, elder brother of William Bray, it had been reduced to three manors (Shere Vachery and Cranleigh, Gomshall Netley and Gomshall Towerhill) with their tracts of waste, Towerhill and Cold Kitchen Farms [Cole Kitchen], and Gomshall Mill with Horton Mead (see G85/26/1/43 for William Bray's account).
Even before he succeeded to his brother George's estate in 1803 William Bray had helped with its management (G85/27/1, G85/16/30, G85/16/9 and 10), and he himself bought back much which had been sold by the family during the preceding century and a half (eg the manor of Shere Ebor in 1772, see G85/13/293).
From 1828 a series of settlements vested the estate in trustees, usually solicitors from the family firm Bray and Warren, later Warrens (see particularly G85/13/801-841).
Although he had a house in Shere for most of his life, William Bray, a younger son, pursued a busy professional life in London as a solicitor, as a Clerk to the Board of Green Cloth, 1761-1810 (see G85/2/3), and as Treasurer to Smith's Charity and to the Society of Antiquaries (G85/3/4/1-2 and 22).
After serving his articles with John Martyr in Guildford (the first volume of his diary G85/1/1 gives a vivid picture of life in the town in 1756-7) William Bray went into practice as a solicitor in London, until 1774 in partnership with his friend Abel Jenkins.
He did not hold office in the county, except, after 1808, as a JP, but his position as steward of many Surrey manors gave him unrivalled opportunities for first hand topographical study as well as for studying court records, an essential part of his research for the great three volume work The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey (1804-1814) which he took over from the Rev Owen Manning (d.1801).
He said himself that 'from an early part of his life he had attended to the History of his native soil' (History vol I, Preface, p vi), and it is evident from the dates on the research notes which were bound into volumes towards the end of his life (G85/2/3, p30) that in the 1760s he was already collecting all kinds of material relating to the history of Surrey.
Amazingly studious and industrious, Bray had a ready pen. Verses are scattered through his youthful papers; he published one volume of travels in Great Britain (Sketch of a Tour into Derbyshire and Yorkshire, 1777, anon; 1783 by William Bray), and the material for others is here (G85/2/5 and G85/3/5); among uncompleted projects for which drafts exist are an explanatory study of Domesday Book (G85/2/7) and an historical account of the Royal Household (G85/2/3). Bray also contributed many articles to the Gentleman's Magazine and Archaeologia, and was the first to bring the diaries of John Evelyn to public notice (1818-1827): for further discussion of Bray's published work, see the introduction to Z/300.
When William's only son to survive infancy, Edward, died in 1814, Edward's second son Reginald gave up reading for the Bar and took his father's place with his grandfather; this Reginald (called by the family R Bray senior, a practice followed here), became an expert in manorial law (pamphlets by him are in G52/4/-). The firm of solicitors became Bray and Warren after Augustus Warren, already a partner, married Reginald's sister Henrietta in 1818 (and built a house in Shere), while the connection between the two families became even closer when the grand-daughter of R Bray senior married Augustus Warren's grandson Bertram (Miss Rachel Warren, the depositor of many of these documents, was their daughter.)
R A Bray
R Bray senior (whose elder brother Edward died in 1866) lived to a great age, and when he died in 1879 his son Reginald More Bray was well established in a career at the Bar, becoming later a County Court and then a High Court Judge; he apparently left much of the running of the estate first to agents of his trustees, and then to his eldest son Reginald Arthur (1869-1950).
R A Bray, a socialist with an interest in education who had worked in Lambeth and Camberwell, and served on the LCC Education Committee, took over day to day management of the estates in 1904; it is fully documented, from that date to his death, in letter files and letter books (G85/29, 37, 38), as well as in account books of various types. R A Bray was responsible for the summoning of the last manor courts for the four Shere manors, held at the White Horse in Shere in 1910 (G85/42/5), and was concerned that all should be done in due form. He also Managed the water company started by his father in Shere in the early 1890s, which became the Hurtwood Water Company and supplied a far wider area than Shere village (sold to the Guildford and Godalming Water Board in 1952), as well as Lord Farrer's small estate in Abinger.
A member of Guildford RDC and for many years chairman of Shere Parish Council and a JP, his letters are concerned with very many aspects of the business of village and county, and even some national issues, such as gypsies. He was involved in several enterprises that brought town children into the country, and a draft of his book The Town Child is among his papers (G85/42/4).
R A Bray's papers include a discussion of the future of the Shere area (G85/31/7) and a radical solution to the problems facing landowners (G85/42/5).
20th century successors to the estate
R A Bray was a bachelor and was succeeded by his brother Sir Jocelyn, the depositor of the older records in this collection. The 1976 deposits of 19th and 20th century papers were made by Mrs Handa Bray, grand-daughter and heiress of Sir Jocelyn (d.1964).
Works and collected papers of William Bray
Large quantities of William Bray's drafts, working notes, copy documents, contemporary printed material and collected original documents were bound by him into volumes, probably during the 1820s. This deposit includes 10 of these volumes (under the references G85/2/- and G85/41/-), some now disbound, as well as loose papers of like material (G85/3/-, G85/5/1/-, G85/17/-).
Several similar volumes, together with Richard Symms Collections for the History of Surrey, and Sir Nicholas Stoughton's MSS, were deposited by Bray in the British Museum Library in 1820, Add MSS 6167-6178. Bray arranged for further volume compilations on behalf of the More Molyneux family of Loseley House, of 'historical' correspondence and some other papers from the Loseley Manuscripts (16th to early 18th cent): those volumes which survive (with some alterations) are now held under the reference 6729/-.
The volume compilations demonstrate Bray's exhaustive historical investigations, and his interest in contemporary events and developments (modern transport undertakings such as the Surrey Iron Railway, turnpikes and canals; the organisation of the militia; and local societies: for some of which Bray's appears the only surviving evidence). Included are some of Bray's questionnaires (G85/2/6) sent to acquaintances with local knowledge in the course of completing the History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, and various contributions attributed to correspondents. However, the majority of volumes, despite two implied series 'Notes of old records' and 'collections from old deeds' are not the product of a methodical arrangement of his materials, either thematic or topographical.
A small but significant proportion of Bray's papers (aside from his contemporary printed collections) are original archive documents which he appears to have acquired in the course of his studies. For example, several documents which are clearly Loseley manuscripts are to be found in the bound volumes, as well as a series from a bundle marked 'given...by Mr Molyneux', (G85/4/1-15). Other documents appear to have originated from the Onslow family archives, eg G85/2/4/1/71-79 (it also appears that some of these British Library volumes in fact belonged to Richard, Lord Onslow); others come from the Evelyn family (inter alia the intermediary source of the Nicholas papers: see introduction to G85/5/- below). Further examples are to be found within the Bray estates series, including deeds - the earliest in the archive - relating to Walesby, Lincs (G85/13/1-8) and records of Godley Hundred court (G85/12/1-2).