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I have Good News and Bad News

duckweed

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#1
I think I have found where the missing documents for Norton Manor etc. which have been missing for over a hundred years. They are in one of two places. Seemingly in the early 1800s they were in the hands of a Samuel Mitchell antiquarian who rescued them from a hayloft. When he died he willed his papers to the British Museum. The British Library certainly has the charter for Norton Lees, and nobody seems to know how it got there. He also gave some things to a friend called Bateman who had a museum for a while but whose whole collection became part of Weston Park Museum Sheffield.

Now for the bad news. The Bateman collection was moved into storage when they revamped Weston Park and due to spending cuts they have no archivist. I can't find anything online and its a long way to the British Library just on speculation.

Problem is that it might even be there and they not know it. Archives everywhere have more documents than they ever have time to catalogue. I've already waded through box after box in Sheffield Archives that have one word and a number and there are bundles of dusty documents tied together with no description of them in the catalogue

Most of what is listed is usually been done by some family history or local history group of enthusiasts. A lot of archives are still relying on card index systems.
 

woodlander

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#2
So near yet so far it seems. Maybe the journey would be worth taking a chance? Either way, your tenacity (terrier trait :biggrin:)deserves reward - good luck with it. :)
 

leefer

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#3
I think I have found where the missing documents for Norton Manor etc. which have been missing for over a hundred years. They are in one of two places. Seemingly in the early 1800s they were in the hands of a Samuel Mitchell antiquarian who rescued them from a hayloft. When he died he willed his papers to the British Museum. The British Library certainly has the charter for Norton Lees, and nobody seems to know how it got there. He also gave some things to a friend called Bateman who had a museum for a while but whose whole collection became part of Weston Park Museum Sheffield.

Now for the bad news. The Bateman collection was moved into storage when they revamped Weston Park and due to spending cuts they have no archivist. I can't find anything online and its a long way to the British Library just on speculation.

Problem is that it might even be there and they not know it. Archives everywhere have more documents than they ever have time to catalogue. I've already waded through box after box in Sheffield Archives that have one word and a number and there are bundles of dusty documents tied together with no description of them in the catalogue

Most of what is listed is usually been done by some family history or local history group of enthusiasts. A lot of archives are still relying on card index systems.

Surely then Duckweed it is worth trying to find out ware they stored them after the revamp,my guess is they are still in Sheffield.....hope you can locate them.
 

duckweed

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#4
I know where the Bateman collection is stored. I have no way of accessing them as it requires an Archivist to be present and due to the spending cuts they don't have one. This means that Phd students have been cut off from their area of research, new finds are not catalogued or conserved properly.

So there are people who have bigger problems than me. I suggested to the University and the Museums that they jointly employ a tutor/archivist which they are quite enthusiastic about as that would clear the log jam, but that is going to take some time because the Museums are in crisis due to several of their grants being stopped because of the spending cuts. They have about halved their opening times as it is. There was talk of them closing one of their art galleries but that has been averted for a year.
 

leefer

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#5
So where is the common sense in this area,surely there must be plenty of retired people or university folk interested in this area of history that could easily archive and bring these documents back to the fore,surely it dosn't need a profesional archivist to be at hand before such documents can be looked at or logged.
About time some of the local authorities allowed people such as yourself to be trusted with our heritage because otherwise some of this stuff will never be seen again.
So ware in your mind are these documents stored Duckweed...in London?
 

duckweed

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#6
Well they always have used local amateurs to catalogue but the Bateman collection has a lot of very delicate items and priceless items which is why no amateur could be let loose on such things on their own. Too many historical artefacts have been lost in the past because of poor care.

I am talking about in the case of charters etc of items up to 600 years old.

Also the collection is in a secure unit which houses several million pounds of artefacts paintings etc. Not only is it secure, it is special storage kept at a specific temperature and humidity to protect everything. They can't allow free access to just anybody.

I have been there before with a Museum Sheffield employee to see somethings they had stored about Bishops House. The security puts you in mind of Mission Impossible.
 

duckweed

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#7
If as I think the documents were the ones left to the British Museum in Samuel Mitchell's will then they are in the British Library. I know there is correspondence between him and another historian there and the Charter for the land on which Bishops House stands, so maybe the rest is there too?
 

leefer

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#8
Interesting couple of men were Bateman and Mitchel....seems they were into archeology more than the more cultural side of Sheffield.
Really hope you can locate them records Duckweed....is there no way of asking the British Library if they have them or not...fact is if i knew they were there i would make a day of it there if you were unable to.
 

duckweed

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#9
Unfortunately there is a third destination turned up. He also deposited some things in the Bodleian in Oxford. I still think bearing in mind the charter was there the British Library is the best bet. I shall have to just contact them and see what they know. I would love to find them. There are so many questions they could answer. As well as being a major find as there has been no record of them for over a 100 years.
 

duckweed

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Well I have a reference for the charter British Library ref Add Ch, 27329. So hopefully if it was part of a collection catalogued at the same time it might give them a place to start.
 

leefer

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Thats good then,i will quote it,i am sure even if they or Oxford do not have any of the material they will have better resources than you and i to give us an idea of where it may be stored...............will pop in soon,not sure if i will need an appointment either way i will ask about about the collection etc.
 

duckweed

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#14
Well we know also if the records came as part of his will he died in Sept 1868 so it would arrive probaly 1869/70

The death is announced of Mr Mitchell, of Sheffield, well known for many years as a zealous antiquary.

In 1831 Mr Mitchell, in turning over the records in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, found in the 40th volume of Dodsworth's collection evidence of the fact that Sheffield had been destroyed by fire during the civil wars in the time of Henry III, an event which had subsided into oblivion.

About this time, in conjunction with his friend, the late Thomas Bateman, of Youlgrave, Mr Mitchell was engaged in exploring the barrows of North Derbyshire. The result of these explorations was described at the time in a volume by Mr Bateman and tbe well known Museum at Lombardale was enriched by numerous trophies, testifying to the perseverance of the explorers.

Mr Mitchell was a valued contributor to various antiquarian publications. On the formation of the Sheffield Architectural and Architectural Society at the beginning of this year, Mr Mitchell, though in failing health, came forth to render his assistance, and was appointed one of the vice presidents.

Mr Mitchell died in his sixty sixth year.

The Building News - September 25, 1868.

This is a reference given in the National Archives National Register of Archives

Mitchell, Samuel (1803-1869) Antiquary
GB/NNAF/P146105 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/P39688)


Scopeantiquarian collections and papers rel to Derbys and YorksRepositoryBritish Library, Manuscript CollectionsRecord ReferenceAdd MS 28108-19
 

leefer

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#15
Thats good stuff.

I will do my best when visiting Duckweed,if they dont have any info then i am sure they will be able to give you some pointers with a bit of luck.
 

duckweed

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#16
We live in hopes. If they say they have loads of stuff but not catalogued. maybe I can get funding to go down there and look through it. My brother lives in London so could get free digs. So would just need them to fund my fairs and food.
 

leefer

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Duckweed,let me find out first if they have any records in Swindon(i doubt it as i talked to a friend who seems to think it is mainly old books in the Swindon branch)though from the link it seems they do have some old documents....my guess is if they are down here may still be in Oxford,as i say hopefully when i go in(hopefully Tuesday after work) i may get an idea of to where they are.
So could you just make a little list of what it is important for me to ask for once through the door of the old tin hut full of old treasure:)
 

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