Deeds, estate and family papers of the Blathwayt family of Dyrham Park, 16th-20th cents.
Dyrham and Hinton
Grumbolds Ash Hundred
St. James, Bristol
Somerset: Langridge, Weston, Charlcombe
Somerset: Witcomb and Cote
Dyrham and Hinton
Hawkesbury and Thornbury
Staunton (Forest of Dean)
West Littleton in Tormarton
Wick and Henbury
Bristol and Barton Regis
Hertfordshire and Essex
Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire
Shropshire and Montgomery
Somerset: Charlcombe, Lansdown, Weston and Langridge
Somerset: Selworthy and Luccombe
Dyrham and Hinton
Surveys: Dyrham and Hinton
Surveys: East Somerset
Surveys: Cold Ashton
Leases: Dyrham, Hinton and West Littleton
Leases: Bristol and Barton Regis
Leases: East Somerset
Leases: Somerset: Porlock
Agreements, including enclosure at Dyrham and West Littleton
Porlock estate papers
Tax assessments, rates, etc.
Appointments of estate officials
Schedules of deeds
Abstracts of title
Draft and copy deeds
Building of Dyrham Park: estimates and correspondence.
Blathwayt family (in alphabetical order of Christian names)
Diaries: Blathwayt family
Diaries: Gabriel Lepipre
Diaries: Hibbert family
Diaries: E.L. Philips
Household vouchers of Crane and Pye families
Secretary Wm. Blathwayt, c.1649-1717
Wm. Blathwayt, 1688-1742
Wm. (Crane) Blathwayt, 1794-1839
Parish and Charity
St. Philip and Jacob, Bristol
Personal correspondence: Wynter family
Personal correspondence: Blathwayt and related families, chiefly Baker, Oates, and Philips (in chronological order)
Estate correspondence: Wynter family
Estate correspondence: Blathwayt family
Estate correspondence: other families
Local historical articles, notes, and prints
Family poems, sketches, Christmas cards
Estate, hunting and other printed notices, rules, etc.
Some unusual features may be remarked on. No medieval records have apparently survived, and none was listed in a catalogue made in 1772. There are notable gaps in some series of records in the first half of the 18th century after the death of Secretary Blathwayt in 1717, particularly the estate and household vouchers. The vouchers just mentioned were systematically filed instead of accounts being entered in ledgers.
Very few original bundles survive. The deeds and leases at least were sorted and listed by the steward of the estate in 1772 as they were then 'in the utmost confusion'. About half the collection was deposited c.1940 in Bristol University Library where further sorting and listing took place, in some cases breaking an existing arrangement.
There is a small number of records relating chiefly to the Porlock estate which have been deposited by a firm of London solicitors per the British Records Association in the Somerset Record Office, Obridge Road, Taunton (Cat. Mark. DD/BR/bn). A few records found later in the house, or purchased, have been acquired by the National Trust. For those deposited in Glos. R.O., see D2659, and for those kept at the house see the National Register of Archives list.
The papers of William Blathwayt (1649-1717) were dispersed at the beginning of this century, and some are held in the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library in Bethesda, Maryland
|Administrative / biographical background:
The manor of Dyrham was bought from the Dennys family by George Wynter, brother of Admiral Sir William Wynter of Lydney, in 1571. Apart from deeds and settlements (D1799/T2-4) there are few records in the archives relating to the Dyrham estate during its ownership by the Wynter family. A few deeds are signed by Sir William Wynter (see D.N.B.) including the acquittal of Captain John Wynter, 1582, for acts of piracy committed during Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the world (D1799/T3). Some account of this expedition is given in F. H. Harris, Wyntours of the White Cross - House (1923). In 1680-2 John Wynter was involved in lawsuits said to have cost him £10,000 (D1799/L9-13) which evidently severely reduced his fortune; the Elizabethan mansion house became dilapidated (D1799/C8).
In 1686 William Blathwayt married Mary, only daughter and heir of John Wynter (D1799/C8, D1799/T4, D1799/F89). He was at that time Secretary-at-War, Secretary to the Lords of Trade, and Auditor-General of Plantation Revenues; later (1692-1701) he became Secretary of State to William III in Flanders. His official career is dealt with in detail in G. A. Jacobson, William Blathwayt; a late seventeenth century administrator (Yale U.P., 1932), and by R.A. Preston, 'The life and career of William Blathwayt, civil servant and Acting-Secretary', unpublished M.A. thesis, Leeds University (c.1948).
Soon after the death of his wife in 1691, Blathwayt rebuilt the house at Dyrham. The building of the present mansion of Dyrham Park has been described in articles by J.A. Kenworthy-Brown, 'The building of Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire, for William Blathwayt between 1692 and 1702', The Connoisseur, March 1962, and M. Girouard, 'Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire', Country Life, 19 and 22 February, 1962. The gardens are described in Stephen Switzer, Icongraphica Rustica, III (1718), 113-127. There is Talman's 'First Draught of a Cascade' in the R.I.B.A. Drawings Collection. Numerous estimates, drawings, accounts, and letters survive relating to the building under the supervision of Samuel Hauduroy and William Talman (D1799/E234-245, D1799/A24-25, 101-113). Later repairs to the house, purchases of furniture, and household management are recorded chiefly in the long and detailed series of estate and household vouchers (D1799/A97-270, D1799/319-426).
The estate which William Blathwayt acquired through his marriage with Mary Wynter consisted chiefly of the manor of Dyrham and lands in Dyrham, Hinton, and West Littleton. Apart from minor changes due to the enlargement of the Park, 1691-1706 (D1799/T9) and inclosure, 1799-1818 (D1799/E152, 153) this estate remained intact. William Blathwayt's own real property was limited to some houses in Clerkenwell (Co. Middlesex) which had belonged to his father. He later bought the manors of Weston (1691), Charlcombe (1692), Lansdown (1701) and Langridge (1705) all north of Bath, which were administered with the Dyrham Park estate (D1799/T70, 58, 67, 93). The manor and estate at Porlock was administered separately. This was one of the estates devised under the will of Henry Rogers of Cannington (W. Somerset) in 1672. One of his trustees was his nephew John Wynter of Dyrham and after lengthy Chancery proceedings (D1799/L9-13), William Blathwayt obtained possession of the manor of Porlock about 1705.
The large quantities of rentals, leases, vouchers, and other records show fully how the estates were organized. Detailed pedigrees are among the archives (D1799/F1, 2). Although no member of the family achieved the distinction of Secretary William Blathwayt there are quantities of family papers, correspondence, and diaries, especially during the 19th century.
The archives themselves have had a varied fortune. The muniment room of the mansion is portrayed by an anonymous writer, possibly G. W. Blathwayt, 'In a Gloucestershire Justice-Room', Blackwoods Magazine (1907), 171-181. More recently the contents of this collection, chiefly of family and estate archives have been briefly described in B. S. Smith, 'Blathwayt of Dyrham Park archives', Archives, V (1962), 224-5, (G.R.O., PA126/7).