Document ReferenceCl
TitleFamily and Estate Papers of the Clifton Family of Clifton, Nottinghamshire, late 12th century-1945
Datelate 12th century-1945
Extent72 boxes and 46 volumes
Various maps
AbstractThe collection consists of family and estate papers, including correspondence, deeds, manorial records, political papers and accounts from 12th to the 20th centuries.
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers, but fragile items may be withheld pending conservation.
Admin HistoryThe Clifton family took their name from the south Nottinghamshire village with which they were associated from the Middle Ages. The family held the Manor of Clifton from the 13th century, and built up a considerable number of estates in the area. They lived at Clifton Hall until the estates were sold in the 20th century.

In the late 12th century Cecily, daughter of Gervas de Clifton, married Roger de Cressy of Hodsock, Nottinghamshire. In 1382 Sir John Clifton married Katherine, daughter of Sir John Cressy. It was through these marriages that the Clifton family eventually acquired Hodsock and other estates in the north of the county, as well as in adjacent parts of Yorkshire.

With the sale of Hodsock Priory to the Mellish family (see GB 0159 Me) in 1765 the Cliftons began to concentrate their estates in south Nottinghamshire. When Sir Robert Clifton, the 9th Baronet, died in 1869 without issue the estates descended to Hervey Juckes Lloyd Bruce, whose son in 1919 changed his family name to Clifton.
Custodial HistoryThe main archive was transferred to the Library by the Clifton family in 1947-1948. A second transfer was made in 1958. There have been small additional accruals.
DescriptionAlthough the collection lacks some of the essential elements of a full estate archive (there is for instance no series of maps and plans) it provides general coverage for the history of the estates and the Clifton family over almost 700 years and includes some series of exceptional interest, notably the deeds. Parts of the archive have suffered through poor storage conditions in the past, and some series of papers are particularly fragile.

The early accounts include rentals and other papers relating to the family estates, with those of the 17th and 18th centuries being a mix of estate, general, personal and household accounts. Many of the entries are bundles of vouchers. By the late 18th and 19th centuries, most are personal and household accounts. The second deposit includes a separate series of rentals, taking the coverage to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although information about the 20th-century estate and individual tenants is patchy, there are letter books of Henry Haynes, agent for the estate (1926-1931), and a series of husbandry books in the second deposit includes estate labour diaries of the 1930s-1940s.

The series of title deeds (Cl D) from the 12th to the 18th centuries provides exceptionally good evidence of the family's property holding, which lay primarily in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, and the process by which it expanded through marriage and purchase. Areas covered include in particular Blyth, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick, Oldcoates, Styrrup, East Markham and Cotgrave in Nottinghamshire, and Bawtry in Yorkshire. A few properties in Lincolnshire and Derbyshire are also recorded. Settlements, including marriage settlements, and wills are found with the deeds. They include 16th-century manuscripts relating to the Pierepont, Frechevile and Thorold families. Within the same deeds series are also records of bonds and other financial undertakings, together with a number of pardons and grants of official office.

There is a small but significant collection of correspondence. Early writers include Sir Gervase Clifton (d.1588), or those engaged in the business of the trustees during the minority of Sir Gervase's heir. The bulk of the letters come from the time of the later Sir Gervase Clifton (d.1666), with a few from the 18th century and later. Members of the Clifton family, their connections and friends, make up the majority of the correspondents. Family and estate matters feature strongly in the letters, and a number of the letters are by women in the family, but public and political affairs are sometimes discussed.

A series comprising fifteen inventories (1467 to 1740) record household goods of various members of the Clifton family and others linked to them.

A bundle of miscellaneous estate papers overlaps in interest with legal and family papers. It includes papers on a wide range of subjects, in some cases fragmentary and indicative of how much has been lost from the archive.

The legal papers in the collection include records of the shrievalty of the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, notably from the periods in the 16th century when office was held by a member of the Clifton family. Further papers relate to causes in which the Cliftons or their connections were involved, or cases in which they were interested though not directly concerned, 17th to 18th centuries.

The public career of Sir Gervase Clifton (1587-1666) is recorded in a series described as 'Legal, parliamentary and political papers'. This is a sub-group of particular interest, including records of cases before parliament, 1599-1635, copies of political speeches, petitions addressed to the King or parliament, and other miscellaneous papers concerning Clifton's period as an M.P. for Nottinghamshire and his political interests. A few later items (18th century) refer to local parliamentary elections.

A small bundle of papers and pamphlets, gathered together as 'Literary Manuscripts', includes a series of verses in English and Latin (17th century), together with theological notes and papers.

Manorial records from the early 14th to the 18th centuries relate to a number of the Nottinghamshire estates, including Broughton, Clifton cum Glapton and Wilford, Kinoulton, Stanton on the Wolds, Blyth, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick and Oldcotes, as well as manors in Derbyshire, Dorset, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire. These records include court rolls, surveys and terriers, as well as valuations and accounts.

Although no maps were present in the main collection, surveys survive from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including records for Kinoulton, Blyth, Hodsock, Carlton in Lindrick and Oldcoates as well as Clifton and Wilford.

A series of miscellaneous papers includes a number of household notes with culinary or medicinal recipes, as well as a number of plans for buildings or alterations. There are two volumes of newspaper cuttings from the war in South Africa, 1899-1900.
MgtGroupFamily and estate collections
ArrangementThe archive has been arranged chronologically within series identified by type of document (correspondence, deeds, etc.). The second deposit has been separately listed, as Cl 2, but follows similar subdivisions.
The early deeds (12th to mid-16th century) are listed individually. The later deeds, from mid-16th to 18th centuries) are subdivided by county and place, and in some cases described as bundles.
TermAdministration of estates - England - Nottinghamshire - History
Great Britain - Politics and government - 17th century
Local government - England - History
English poetry - 17th century
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript Catalogue to bundle level, 59 pp, and Calendar of Deeds, 60 pp At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: Typescript Catalogue to bundle level, 59 pp, and Calendar of Deeds, 60 pp Online: Details from the Typescript Catalogue are available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections. The Calendar of Deeds is not currently available online. Family and Estate Resource relating to the Clifton family and their records, published on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website:
ReprodnNotePhotocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialUniversity of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections: Records concerning property in Nottingham and Wilford, Nottinghamshire owned by Lt. Col. Percy Robert Clifton, 1901-1920 (Reference MS 397)
University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections: Fragments of Court Roll for the Manor of Hodsock, Nottinghamshire, 1344-1375 (Reference MS 29)
Related RecordMS397
Publication NoteP.R. Seddon, 'Marriage and Inheritance in the Clifton Family during the 17th century', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society, vol. LXXXIV, 1980
P.R. Seddon, 'Sir Gervase Clifton and the Government of Nottinghamshire 1609-1640', in Transactions of the Thoroton Society, vol. XCVII, 1993

Click the links below to view related name indexes

Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA179Clifton; Gervase (-1588); Sir-1588
NA180Clifton; Gervase (1587-1666); 1st Baronet; cr. 1661; M.P.1587-1666
NA75929Clifton family; family; of Clifton, Nottinghamshire
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