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Bateman family papers

Call Number: OSB MSS 32

Scope and Contents

The Bateman Family Papers consist of correspondence and related material connected to the family of Thomas Bateman of Manchester. The papers span the dates 1756-1818, and have been arranged alphabetically by author. They were apparently selected, bound, and annotated by William Bateman (1787-1835) around 1818, and later partially disbound. Papers relating to his brother Thomas Bateman, Jr., who died of "water on the brain" in 1810 at the age of 18, had been previously gathered and annotated by Thomas Bateman (ca. 1765-1847).

Thomas Bateman and his wife, Rebekah Clegg Bateman, were fervent Dissenters, and their correspondence both with each other and with other family members reflects their strong interest in religious matters. Many letters contain reports of sermons, prayer sessions, meditations on Bible verses, self-examinations and exhortations to lead a Christian life. Other topics include family news, discussions of health and schooling for the children, arrangements for travel and visits, and errands to be done while Thomas is in London or Manchester on business.

The letters of Elizabeth Clegg Wilson to her sister Rebekah are particularly strong in reports of church and chapel events; news of neighbors, fellow church members, and distant relatives; and analyses of her personal spiritual state. Elizabeth was particularly concerned with the quality of local ministers, and they did not all meet with her approval; in 1796 she noted of "Mr. Lindal" that "I wish he would give up preaching and go to his weaving or whatever was his trade."

Rebekah Clegg Bateman's own religious concerns are documented in the collection of her miscellaneous papers located in Box 2, folder 12. These include her "Parts" for Sabbath Day exercises; copies of prayers and hymns; and inspirational quotations from sermons.

The letters exchanged among the younger Bateman and Wilson cousins contain school and family news, humorous comments on presents and upcoming family visits, and occasional mentions of parental finances and business conditions. Thomas Bateman's 1809 letters to his brother William describe his walking tour of the Lake District and his reaction to a Fourth of July celebration by American sailors in Liverpool which was disrupted by British carpenters. Further description of his Lake District tour, as well as other personal papers, a pencil portrait of him, and accounts of his illness and death, can be be found in folders 16-18. A copy of his funeral sermon, delivered by the Reverend Peter Samuel Charrier, is located in folder 22.


  • 1756 - 1812


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Bateman Family Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 1974 from Myers, Ltd. for the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.


0.63 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence between family members. Includes letters between Rebekah Clegg Bateman and her husband, Thomas Bateman, her son, William Bateman, her father, Arthur Clegg, and her sister, Elizabeth Clegg Wilson; letters between Rebekah Bateman and her brothers, William and Thomas Bateman; one letter from Thomas Bateman to his son, Thomas; and letters between William Bateman and his brother, Thomas, and his father, Thomas. Many of the letters are written by and to children at school. Also included are hymns, poetry, prayers, and excerpts from sermons written down by Rebekah Clegg Bateman; and a travel diary written by her son, Thomas, about a visit to the Lake Country.


NB: Limited to persons represented in the Bateman Family Papers.

Arthur Clegg (ca. 1732-1818) m. Sarah Pearson (ca. 1733-1811)

----Rebekah Clegg (1766-1797) m. 1786 Thomas Bateman (ca. 1765-1847)

--------William Bateman (1787-1835) m. Mary Crompton

------------Thomas Bateman (1821-1861) m. 1847 Sarah Parker

--------Thomas Bateman, Jr. (1791-1810)

--------Rebekah Bateman (b. 1794)

----Elizabeth Clegg m. 1791 Thomas Wilson (1764-1843)

--------Rebakah Wilson (b. 1792)

--------Joshua Wilson (1795-1874) m. 1837 Mary Wood

--------Elizabeth Wilson


William Bateman was the eldest son of Thomas Bateman, a Dissenting Manchester cotton merchant, and his wife Rebekah Clegg Bateman. He was apprenticed to and later joined his father in the cotton business, but by the early 1820s he retired to Middleton by Youlgrave in Derbyshire. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Bateman undertook several excavations of barrows and tumuli in the Peak district, publishing notes on these in the Archaeologia. Some of his dig notes were arranged and published by his son Thomas, who was also an amateur archaeologist, in C. R. Smith's Collectanea Antiqua. Bateman died on June 11, 1835.

Guide to the Bateman Family Papers
Under Revision
by Beinecke Staff
June 1996
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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