This series consists largely of the deeds, books, papers and writings of the Scudamore family of Holme Lacy and Ballingham, Herefordshire. These were inherited by the widowed, childless and lunatic Frances Scudamore, duchess of Norfolk, in 1815, whose estate then became subject to Chancery supervision. In 1816, a schedule of the deeds, books, papers and writings was commissioned from Thomas Bird, a Hereford solicitor, and this remains the basis of the current list and the running numeration. (The schedule, now IND 1/23396, gives fuller details than the catalogue.)
The papers were transferred from Chancery custody in 1881, and remained intact until 1899, when deeds relating to the Holme Lacy estate and pedigree material were claimed by the Earl of Chesterfield as heir under the Chancery settlement of 1827. Descriptions of these claimed items are included in the catalogue, with the running number given in square brackets: however the current location of these records is unknown. They are believed to have been destroyed by enemy action between 1939 and 1945.
The surviving contents of the Scudamore archive include:
- property deeds relating to the Scudamore estate in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Monmouthshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, and Southwark in Surrey;
- correspondence of John Scudamore (c1490-1571), a crown receiver to the Court of Augmentations, much of which relates to the dissolution of the monasteries;
- correspondence of John, 1st Viscount Scudamore (1601-1671), ambassador to France, friend of Archbishop Laud, and supporter of Charles I, which pertains to both his private and public business in England, and illustrates the vicissitudes of the Thirty Years War on the continent;
- the Llanthony by Gloucester cartularies and registers;
- a collection of treatises intended for canon law students at Oxford in the late fourteenth century;
- Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe book, 1561-1585, which recorded deliveries of materials to ladies-in-waiting to make items for the queen, deliveries to tailors of stuffs to be made up for the queen, gifts of clothing to courtiers, and jewels lost;
- manorial court rolls from Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Essex and Norfolk;
- personal and estate accounts, election accounts, rentals, and material relating to charities founded by the family;
- papers generated by the transfer of the archive to Chancery;
- property deeds of the 11th duke of Norfolk, which have no Scudamore interest;
- a few maps, drawings and architectural plans, particularly of Holme Lacy;
- and a collection of wills, receipts, bonds, pardons and marriage settlements.
Other Scudamore muniments may be found in the British Library under the following references: Add MSS 11041-11059, 11407, 11689, 11816, 35097, 35207 and 45140-45148; Add Charters 1308-1372 and 1815-1973. Some Scudamore records also remain in Herefordshire, in the Cathedral Library, Hereford, and in the City Library, Hereford.
The exhibits in this series entered the office of John Springett Harvey, master in Chancery, after the lord chancellor had, on 7 August 1816, instructed Thomas Braithwaite, steward of the duchess of Norfolk, to commission Thomas Bird, a Hereford solicitor, to compile an inventory of them. Frances Scudamore, widow of Charles Howard, 11th duke of Norfolk, being childless and deemed lunatic, was provided for until her death on 22 October 1820. Her archive entered Chancery as exhibits in connection with her maintenance.
An early printed source making use of these records is Matthew Gibson, A View of the Ancient and Present State of the Churches of Door, Home-Lacy and Hempsted; endowed by the Rt Hon John, Lord Viscount Scudamore with some memoirs of that ancient family; and an Appendix of Records and Letters relating to the same subject (London, 1727). The Llanthony cartularies are calendared in G R C Davis, Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain: a short catalogue (London, 1958), pp 60-61. Several Scudamore letters appear in W J Tighe, 'Two documents illustrating the marriage of Sir John Scudamore of Holme Lacy and Mary Shelton', Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club, 44, 1984, pp 420-30.