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Some of the highlights of our collections are:

The Children’s Journal


The journal was created by Georgiana Grenfell of Taplow Court for her children. It starts as though written by the children themselves, but in 1870 it becomes her own personal journal. It is a fascinating snapshot of an influential, affluent family in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but is particularly interesting for the information it gives about the lives of the children as they grow into adulthood and the relationships with a number of well-known public figures from the time.
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Charter to Incorporate the Borough of Buckingham by Letters Patent of Mary I

The earliest mentions of the borough of Buckingham date back at least to the early medieval period and its fortification as a ‘burh’ in 915. This status had not received any formal acknowledgment by the monarch until this Charter of Incorporation, granted by Mary at the start of her reign. The grant formalised the town’s elevated status within the county (for instance allowing it to maintain a separate gaol) and its national voice (through representation in parliament). Buckingham’s charter is, however, the only one that survives in the county from the reign of Mary, making this document a critical one for those studying Tudor Buckinghamshire.
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Posse Comitatus


In 1798, the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire ordered that the strength of the county be ascertained to enable him to respond effectively to ‘Riot, Insurrection or Invasion’. The resulting records (the Posse Comitatus or ‘Power of the County’) aimed to list every man in the county aged 15 to 60 not already serving in arms. Their importance comes not just from their inherent usefulness as a source, but also from their unique character. Buckinghamshire is the only county for whom these returns have survived in their entirety.
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Scrapbook labelled `Wycombe Family Notes', compiled by Charles W Raffety

Among the papers of Lord Carrington held here is a scrapbook compiled by Charles Walter Raffety with no obvious connection to the family. It contains a wonderful miscellany of drawings, notes, newspaper cuttings and other information about a series of landmarks and luminaries of Wycombe. Taken together, it provides a quirky and engaging picture of the town over the course of the 18th and 19th Centuries with the occasional diversion into earlier periods. Subjects include people of local importance like George Harman, mayor after the Municipal Corporations Act, as well as figures with national eminence like Benjamin Disraeli and Hannah Ball, an early exponent of the Sunday School movement.
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Arrangement for the attack and Line of Battle, off Copenhagen


As a collection, the Fremantle papers are a superb source of information on a range of aspects of late 18th and early 19th Century British naval life. They are particularly strong in the period to 1815 and thus cover naval activity throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Perhaps the most eye grabbing section is that concerning the 1801 Battle of Copenhagen among Sir Thomas Francis Fremantle’s papers. Famously the battle at which Nelson ‘turned a blind eye’ to Admiral Parker’s order to withdraw, the line of battle was reproduced by Sir Thomas in a letter home.
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