SACKVILLE OF KNOLE MSS
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- Description: Deeds and estate papers of the Sackville, Cranfield and other related families in Kent, Sussex, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Essex and other counties, 13th to 20th centuries; family and official papers of the Sackville, Cranfield, Whitworth, Bourchier and other related families, 16th to 19th centuries.
INTRODUCTION TO THE CATALOGUE OF THE FIRST ACCESSION (c.1960)
This is a large accumulation, which despite its size gives an impression of incompleteness, having suffered many vicissitudes during its history. Most of the papers of Thomas, 1st Earl of Dorset, and of the family before his time were kept at the family's London house, Dorset House in Fleet Street, and were destroyed, with the house, in the Great Fire of 1666. In the late eighteenth century, Nathaniel Wraxall, who sought the patronage of the third duke of Dorset, and attempted to arrange and publish some of the papers, removed a large number of documents from Knole. These were only recovered with difficulty by the family in 1802, and were returned in a confused state, bearing Wraxall's scribbled notes upon them. Following the partition of the estate between the two daughters and co-heiresses of the third Duke in 1828, many title deeds for the part of the estate taken by the younger sister, Elizabeth, Countess De La Warr, are noted, in an old schedule of title deeds, as having been handed over to Lord De La Warr. Other family papers also found their way from Knole to Buckhurst (the Sussex seat of the Sackville family which passed to Lady De La Warr), including the bulk of the official papers and correspondence of Charles, lord Whitworth (1675-1725). (See HMC 3rd Report, under De La Warr MSS.) The muniments were also reported on by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in their fourth and seventh Reports, but not all items listed there have been located.
In addition, the catalogue in the Kent Archives Office [now Kent History and Library Centre] does not include all the manuscripts which have survived. Some items have been retained at Knole for exhibition purposes. Some manorial documents for Knole and neighbouring manors are in Sevenoaks Public Library [transferred to KAO as U1000]. The bulk of the personal and official papers of Lionel, 1st earl of Middlesex (1575-1645) are held by the Historical Manuscripts Commission for the purposes of publishing a calendar of them [also later transferred to Kent Archives Office as U269/1].
In spite of these factors the collection listed here contains many items of great interest and variety, and comprises the papers of the Sackville family and of a number of other families related to them by marriage. The Sackvilles were a Sussex family whose chief seat was Buckhurst in Withyham. In 1566 the reversion of the manor of Knole was granted by the Crown to Thomas Sackville who in 1567 was created Lord Buckhurst and in 1604 Earl of Dorset. He succeeded Burghley as Lord High Treasurer in 1599. Not till 1603 did he gain possession of Knole, the fine house which in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had belonged to the see of Canterbury. As has already been stated, few of his papers survive. There is also little for the second, third and fourth Earls. Many papers of Richard, 5th Earl of Dorset, however, are in the collection. He appears to have been a voluminous writer, making copious notes and drafts and endorsing many title deeds, accounts and other papers with notes in his own hand. There are many official and personal papers too for Charles, 6th earl of Dorset, Lionel, 1st Duke of Dorset and John Frederick, 3rd Duke of Dorset.
A quantity of manorial documents, title deeds and estate papers for estates in Kent, London, Sussex, Essex, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire survive in the collection, dating from medieval times in the case of the Sussex, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire estates, till the present century.
George, 4th Duke of Dorset, was killed in a hunting accident, in 1815, aged twenty-one. The title passed to his father's cousin Charles Sackville Germain and on his death in 1843 became extinct, but the estate remained the property of Arabella Diana, Duchess of Dorset, widow of the 3rd Duke, till her death in 1825, when it passed to her two daughters, the co-heiresses of the 3rd Duke. By 1828 arrangements had been completed for the partition of the estate. On the death of the elder sister Mary, Countess of Plymouth, in 1864, her share of the estate, which included Knole, passed to her sister, Elizabeth, Countess De La Warr, but was settled on the younger sons of Lady De La Warr and remained distinct from the part of the estate which had been allotted to Lady De La Warr in 1828 and which passed to successive Earls De La Warr. The final arrangement was not effected without lengthy lawsuits, concerning which there are many papers in the muniments.
Of the other families represented in these Manuscripts, the largest section concerns the Cranfield family. Richard Sackville, later 5th Earl of Dorset, married probably in 1641 Frances Cranfield, daughter of Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex. On the death of Lionel, 3rd Earl of Middlesex in 1674, his nephew Charles Sackville succeeded to the Cranfield estates, though this was disputed by Charles's mother, Frances, Countess of Dorset. Charles Sackville was created Earl of Middlesex in 1675 and in 1677 succeeded his father as Earl of Dorset. As has been stated, the personal and official papers of Lionel, 1st Earl of Middlesex, are being listed by the Historical Manuscripts Commission [later transferred to KAO as U269/1. Nevertheless,] there are a few personal papers of the second and third Earls of Middlesex and many manorial documents, title deeds and estate papers for the Cranfield estates in Bedfordshire, Sussex, Hertfordshire, Essex, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire in U269.
The Warwickshire and Gloucestershire property came to the Cranfield family from the Greville family and there are many deeds and papers in the collection connected with this family, from the time of William Greville of Chipping Camden (d.1401), a wool merchant and citizen of London, till 1635. Lionel, 3rd Earl of Middlesex, married in 1655, Rachael, widow of Henry, 5th Earl of Bath, and some personal and official papers of Lord Bath, as well as accounts and estate papers for his property in Devonshire are in the collection.
Charles, 6th Earl of Dorset, married, in 1674, as his first wife, Mary, widow of Charles, Earl of Falmouth, so that some of Lord Falmouth's personal and official papers passed to the Sackville family.
John Frederick, 3rd Duke of Dorset, married in 1790, Arabella Diana, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Charles Cope, and some documents concerning the Cope estates in Oxfordshire remain among the manuscripts. The Duchess married secondly in 1801 Charles, Lord Whitworth, who brought many papers into the collection. These include a large mass of Lord Whitworth's official papers as a diplomat and as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a few papers of his great uncle, Charles, Lord Whitworth, also a diplomat, as well as many papers connected with the career of Lt. Col. Sir Francis Whitworth of the Royal Artillery, brother of Earl Whitworth. There are also some manorial documents, title deeds and estate and family papers of the Whitworth family and the related families of Wyndham and Strode in Staffordshire, Kent, Somersetshire, Glamorganshire and Worcestershire.
The main classes in the catalogue are those normally used for cataloguing estate and family collections in the Kent Archives Office. The main headings are: Manorial, Title, Estate, Family, Correspondence, Accounts and bills, Official, Ecclesiastical and Charity, Legal, Business, Miscellaneous, Maps.
The arrangement of the catalogue has thus largely been dictated by the standard form used in the Kent Archives Office, by the number of documents existing in the collection for each of the main sections, by the original bundling where this survives and by subsequent re-arrangements of the documents prior to their deposit in the Kent Archives Office, as well as by a desire to give clear indications of the groups of documents which survive for various families within the muniments as a whole and of the main territorial divisions.
- Held At: Kent History and Library Centre
- Accession Number: CKS-269
- Document Order #: U269
- Date: 1225x1945
- Level: fonds
- Access Status: Open
- Rules: ISAD(G), 2nd edn
- Contact: Kent History and Library Centre,