Catalogue description Papers of the Middleton family of Belsay.

This record is held by Northumberland Archives

Details of ZMI
Reference: ZMI
Title: Papers of the Middleton family of Belsay.

The archives at Belsay cover the acquisition of, tenure and disposition of real estate, manorial administration, estate administration and personal papers relating to both public offices and private interests. A subsidiary group of records within the latter class relate to public undertakings, such as turnpikes and railways in which the Middletons had a financial or administrative interest. Notices of the more interesting and important items are included in the first report. In addition, transcripts have now been made of a selection of the political correspondence (mainly letters on elections) of Sir Charles Miles Lambert Monck. The Wallace correspondence has not been listed, as the owner proposes to deposit this in a suitable repository. The letters of Isabella Cooke form a third box of correspondence. The individual items in this box are of no great importance, but, taken as a whole, they give a very good impression of the life of a Victorian lady of leisure. In particular, her locked diary is a very good guide to the feelings and sentiments of the age, in particular to the "high moral tone" adopted in the face of disappointments and bereavements. The journals on travel-though not particularly original or well written - are again a useful guide to the attitude and ideas of the Victorian lady. There is also a series of very carefully kept reading lists, giving a brief, but decidedly personal criticism of each book.


Property. The following brief details regarding the acquisition and sale of land are a useful guide to the date range of the various groups of title deeds included in the archives.


Belsay. The Book of Fees records that the Middletons held the manor of Belsay in socage and Thornbrough for one knight's fee in 1242 but no record remains of how these properties were acquired.


Edington. Bought by Ralph Middleton in 1609 from the Eures for £540 and sold by Sir Arthur Middleton in 1901.


Whalton. Bought by Ralph Middleton between 1611 and 1640.


Dromonby (Yorks). Bought by Thomas Middleton 13 April, 1623 from the Constables for £520; sold by Sir John Middleton in 1700 for £4,000.


Tritlington and Choppington. Bought 12 June, 1628 for £3,050.


Netherworsall. Bought by Robert Middleton from the Constables 6 November, 1574.


Choppington and Cleaswell Hill Collieries (leasehold). Sold by Sir John Middleton c.1700. (also Tritlington and Swinburn).


Calton (Yorks). Lambert estate, sold by Sir William Middleton May, 1727.


Albury Hatch, Essex. Left to Anne, wife of Sir John Lambert Middleton by her cousin, Mrs. Frances Bladen and sold by Sir Charles M. L. Monck 1820.


Lincolnshire Estate. Principally Caenby and Glentham - acquired as a result of the marriage of Jane, daughter and heiress of Lawrence Monck of Caenby with Sir William Middleton (20 April, 1774) and sold by Sir Arthur Middleton 1871.


(a) Belsay MSS. There are large quantities of deeds, (including a few medieval ones), estate papers, etc. relating to the Northumberland property; many of the deeds concerning the Yorkshire, Durham, and Essex estates, inherited from the Lambert, Ettrick and Hodges heiresses respectively were probably handed over at the times when those properties were sold, but some wills, estate papers etc., remain at Belsay. There are particularly fine series of modern Northumberland Estate Accounts and Labourers day-books. The personal papers of Sir Charles Monck, bart. (ob. 1867) are of considerable interest and importance. There is a notable absence of the main classes of manorial documents: it is possible that they may be discovered in the offices of a local lawyer, successor of a former steward as it is unlikely, being important legal documents, that they would have been deliberately destroyed. There are also some papers relating to coal mines and lead mines.


(b) The Caenby MSS consist of a considerable quantity of deeds from the 12th century, and a few manorial documents from the 14th, (but no Court Rolls earlier than the 16th); estate papers from the late 17th, with enclosure and drainage acts of the 18th and 19th centuries; all referring to the estates inherited from the Monck heiress, and formerly belonging to the Tournays.


1-6 Deeds and estate papers, Northumberland, also Dromonby, Yorkshire, and a few co. Durham


7 Deeds and estate papers, Yorkshire (Lambert estate


8 Deeds and estate papers, co. Durham


9 Accounts and correspondence, Albury Hatch, Essex


10 Wills and marriage settlements


11 Legal papers


12 Estate accounts, correspondence etc


13 Tithe and ecclesiastical papers


14 Lambert papers


15 Family letters and historical collections; papers of Sir Charles Monck


16 Political papers of Sir Charles Monck


17 Public offices


18-19 Turnpikes and railways


20-21 Historical collections on Middleton family


22 Seals


23-32 Lincolnshire estate records (part II of report)


33 Cooke papers


34 Deeds and papers returned from estate office and solicitors


- Books (accounts, diaries etc.)


- Loose items (pedigrees, patents, plans)


- Miscellaneous files on Sir Charles Monck


Appendices: (i) extracts from diaries


(ii) calendar of charters in Lambert pedigree


Index to marriage settlements and wills


A description of the lay out and scope of the Belsay archives is available in the first report of the National Register of Archives on this collection. The storage arrangements described there have been for the most part preserved during the process of listing and indexing the collection in detail, but a few modifications have been necessary. For example, the boxes have been re-numbered. Their contents have been sorted out so as to group related classes of records together in cases where a box contained a miscellaneous accumulation of bundles. The original bundles have, however, been preserved scrupulously except in cases where the original archive order had been disturbed as a result of Sir Charles Monck's decision to burn parts of the archive, or in the course of Sir Arthur Middleton's historical and antiquarian researches, and also in the course of business and administrative routine which involved production of individual or selective groups of documents in connection with mortgages, marriage settlements, law suits etc. In such instances these abstracted documents and 'artificial' parcels of deeds have been returned to the boxes and bundles from which they were originally removed if their correct position is indicated by the old archive marks or in the schedules and notes included in the collection.


Catalogue is divided into 3 Main areas


Part I Belsay Estate ZMI/B1 - ZMI/B22 & ZMI/B33 - ZMI/B64


Part II Caerby & Etentham ZMI/B23 - ZMI/B32


Part III Supplemental ZMI/S

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

Middleton family, baronets, of Belsay Castle, Northumberland

Access conditions:

ZMI B1/II/1-ZMI B1/II/10 Missing since 1962

  • Belsay, Northumberland
  • Caenby, Lincolnshire
  • Glentham, Lincolnshire
Link to NRA Record:

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