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Papers relating to Norton Hall, South Yorkshire

Call Number: OSB MSS 226
Scope and Contents

Manuscript legal documents, correspondence, and notes relating to Norton Hall, and to other land holdings and genealogy of the Offley and Shore families.

The bulk of the collection consists of circa 100 land leases and other legal documents including marriage contracts, wills, and military commissions, most on parchment, most dated 1605-1768, with a few dated 1584-1896.

Papers documenting political philosophy and the practice of law during the Restoration period include an account book, 1670-1721, with entries listing income and detailed personal and household expenses of Middle Temple barrister Robert Offley (1634-1678), 1670-circa 1676, and his brother, Middle Temple barrister Joseph Offley (-1721), 1678-1721; and a commonplace book titled “Politica et historica,” in an unidentified 17th-century hand, possibly also by Robert Offley, with undated entries in English and Latin, most relating to philosophy, politics, government, and religion, with extensive extracts from Machiavelli, Bacon, and other 16th-17th-century authors.

Other papers, 18th-19th centuries, include correspondence and notes, 1720-1760s, most relating to land holdings of Samuel Shore (1738-1828) and his brother-in-law Francis Edmunds, 1760s, including Norton Hall and manors in Essex and Suffolk; memoirs of members of the Shore family about an Offley family inheritance dispute in 1754; and a printed catalog and map for sale of Norton Hall estate, 1850, with annotations in unidentified hands.

Other correspondence, notes, and genealogical tables, circa 1880s-1910s, document genealogy research by Offley Bohun Stovin Fairless Shore (1863-1922), his father, Offley Bohun Shore (1839-1911), and his uncle, Harrington Offley Shore (1833-1908), including research on Norton Hall, the Clarke, Offley, Shore, and related families, and the Shore family relationship to John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth (1751-1854) and to Florence Nightingale (1820-1910).

A few items relate to P. E. Davis Limited, a home furnishing business in Oxford, England, 1930s, including business and financial records of Margery Morris Davis, Percy Edwin Davis, and Percy William Davis, and photographs of two unidentified people, circa 1930s.

Language of Materials

Mostly in English; some materials in Latin.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Series III. Legal documents (boxes 6-14) is restricted due to the condition of the material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Dean Cooke Rare Books on the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection Fund, 2021.


Organized into four series: I. Offley family papers, 1630-1754. II. Shore family papers, circa 1600-1912. III. Legal documents, 1584-1896. IV. Papers relating to P. E. Davis Limited, 1924-1943.

Majority of material found within 1605 - 1912
6.76 Linear Feet (16 boxes)
Language of Materials
Language of Materials