Catalogue description Papers of the Stevens family of Bradfield

This record is held by Berkshire Record Office

Details of D/ESv
Reference: D/ESv
Title: Papers of the Stevens family of Bradfield

The Stevens family was somewhat unusual in its care in preserving the papers of many of its members; this care extended to the papers of families whose daughters married members of the Stevens family, in particular the letters to William Townesend, an Oxford mason, from Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough (D/ESv (B) F30) and also those of the Pern family, (D/ESv (B) F31-35), which are of interest as illustrative of a clerical family in the eighteenth century.


The papers had been divided into two portions, held by different members of the family, both of whom have deposited their portions in the Berkshire Record Office. Since the papers are so closely linked and each catalogue is complementary to the other, this introductory note is intended to refer to both D/ESv (B) and D/ESv (M).


These two linked collections descended to different branches of the family and were separately deposited, but are clearly one original archive, namely the estate and family papers of the Stevens family of Berkshire and Oxfordshire (later of Bradfield, Berkshire), 1614 - 1937. Items of special interest include letters and orders to Henry Stevens, wagonmaster general to Charles I, 1643 - 1644; the papers of Thomas Stevens, founder of Bradfield College, 1818 - 1881, and the letter books of the College, 1861 - 1878; the papers of William Townsend, a mason employed on the construction of Blenheim Palace, 1722 - 1732; papers of Joseph Brooks, agent to the Duke of Marlborough, 1779 - 1809; and papers of Captain John Stevens of London, mariner and merchant, 1742 - 1777. There is also a collection of marriage licences straying from the Bradfield parish records, 1759 - 1835.

Date: 1614-1937
Related material:

Deeds relating to trusts, etc., consequent upon Thomas and Susanna's marriage settlement, and the deed of the Revd. John Marriott's and Elizabeth Stevens's marriage settlement (1843) are in D/ER T26.

Held by: Berkshire Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Stevens family of Bradfield, Berkshire

Physical description: 17 series
Immediate source of acquisition:

Acc. 1089, Acc 963

  • Bradfield, Berkshire
Administrative / biographical background:

The earliest member of the Stevens family whose papers are preserved here is Henry Stevens of Easington in Oxfordshire, Waggon Master General to Charles I during the Civil Wars. Later members of the family held land in Wargrave and Henley; John Stevens of London left a legacy founding the Green Coat Charity at Henley in 1718; various references to the Green School suggest that administration of the charity was largely in the hands of the family (see (M) P54-55, 68, 73-74).


The family's first connection with Bradfield was in 1740, when the Revd. John Stevens, son of Thomas Stevens of Henley, became rector of the parish. From then until 1881 the successive rectors were all members of the family. The last rector, the Revd. Thomas Stevens, was founder of Bradfield College and left a large amount of his correspondence on its affairs. The manor of Bradfield was purchased by Henry Stevens, brother of John, probably in 1751. Henry and two of his sons were ecclesiastical lawyers, proctors of Doctors' Commons [the names of Henry's sons, Henry, junior, and John Stevens, are in the Proctors Term Fees vol.1 in Lambeth Palace Library]. Other members of the family were barristers, or were merchants connected with the East India Company. John Stevens of Badgemore was a sea captain who appears to have carried on private trading with the East after his retirement.

Link to NRA Record:

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research