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Ref NoD 138
TitleTitle deeds, estate records, family papers, and miscellaneous material relating to the Chequers Court estate
DescriptionThe Chequers estate had the distinction of never once having changed hands except by inheritance in over eight hundred years. It was held by the Hawtrey family from 1254 to 1597, after which it eventually passed to Sir Henry Croke, M.P., through his marriage to Bridget Hawtrey (died 1638). His grand-daughter and heiress married John Thurbarne, M.P., Sergeant at Law, from whom the estate passed by marriage to the Russells, close relatives of Oliver Cromwell. It remained in the possession of the Russells until the nineteenth century when two allied families, the Greenhills and the Franklands, succeeded in turn, both of whom assumed the Russell surname. By the beginning of the twentieth century Chequers had descended to the Astleys. Finally, following the death without issue of H.J. Delaval Astley in 1912, it was purchased by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham, who in 1921 presented the entire estate to the nation for the use of successive Prime Ministers as their country residence. For a detailed account of the rather complicated descent see Chequers by J.G. Jenkins (London, 1967).

The somewhat miscellaneous material covered by this catalogue consists as follows:
(a) Title deeds, etc., formerly kept in the Admiralty Chest (item 148 in the published 1923 Catalogue) at Chequers and listed in the Historical Manuscripts Commission's "Report on the Manuscripts at Chequers Court", 1946, under the references 148A 1-23, 148B 1-14, 148C 15-26, 148D 27-48, 148E 1-29.
(b) Family papers, etc., which were kept in the Cromwell Case (item 451 in the 1923 Catalogue) and listed in the 1946 HMC Report as 451/1-7. 9-16, 18, 21, 23, 25-26, 30-31, 33-37. Several of these documents are separately described in 'A Catalogue of the Principal Works of Art at Chequers' (H.M.S.O., 1923) as items 775 (451/1), 776-781 (451/2-7).
(c) Items 774 and 786 in the 1923 Catalogue.
(d) Additional miscellaneous documents, 1568 - 20th cent not listed either in the 1923 Catalogue or in the 1946 Report, including 19 architectural and other drawings, 1821-1870 and undated (accession AR 17/1980), and map of the estate of Dame Mary Wolley, 1629 (AR 58/1974).
(e) Estate papers, various, mostly 19th cent, presented to the Administrative Trustees by Mrs. P. Astley on behalf of Richard Astley in 1977.

Other manuscript material described in the 1923 Catalogue, mostly collected items but including some estate deeds, 1297-1660 (item 772), remains at Chequers. Only one document, the notebook of Sir John Croke, 1595-1607 (D 138/22/1) appears to have been included in the Historical Manuscripts Commission's published report on the manuscripts of Mrs. Frankland-Russell-Astley of Chequers, (H.M.S.O., 1900), pp.1-18. The remainder of the papers abstracted in that report did not pass to the Trustees.

References to the 1946 Report and the 1923 Catalogue are given, where applicable in square brackets.


1 - 10 DEEDS
1 Aylesbury and Bierton, 1780
2 Dinton and Princes Risborough, 1637
3 Ellesborough, 1504-1918
4 Great Kimble, Little Kimble, Bishopstone, Stone, 1495-1859
5 Ludgershall, 1394
6 Stoke Mandeville, c1250
7 Wendover and Great Missenden, 1525
Out - county
8 Aldbury, Hertfordshire, 1399
9 Staple, Wingham, Woodnesborough, Kent, 1499-1750

10 Marriage and other settlements, 1677-1759

11 Wills and testamentary papers, 1681-1804

12 Estate papers, 1568-1918
13 Maps and plans, 1629-1805
14 Designs for alterations and additional buildings at Chequers, c1821-c1841

15 Heraldry and genealogy, 16th cent - 1875
16 Commonplace books, notebooks, etc., 1659 - 19th cent
17 Sermons, 18th cent
18 Diaries of members of the Frankland family, 1838-1841
19 Passport of Sir Robert Frankland Russell, 1844
20 Notes, articles and catalogues of manuscripts at Chequers Court, 1911-1916, 20th cent
21 Correspondence, 1692-1848
22 Official papers, 1599-1717
23 Final miscellaneous, c1641-1662, 17th cent
Related MaterialSee also D 137
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