Documents concerning Handley Park, Northants., 1630s

The main body of papers relating to University College’s estate at Handley Park, Northants., is catalogued at UC:E14, and the complex history of how it came into the College’s possession is given there. However, in addition to the papers listed there, the College owns an additional group of documents relating to the disputes between the College and the heirs and executors of Sir Simon Bennet, who had bequeathed the property to the College on his death in 1631.

These documents were all presented to the College by Lord Boothby, it seems in two instalments: UC:P164/L1/1 was given in 1964, and UC:P164/L2/1–4 in 1965. UC:P164/L1/1 had been given to Boothby by a collector called Maurice Benjamin, who himself had acquired it from Bernard Quaritch, a dealer in Grafton Street. The dealers in turn had bought the document in 1955. How the other documents came into Boothby’s possession is not known.

Evidence in UC:P164/C1/2 shows that all these documents originated from the archives of Temple Newsam Park. Temple Newsam Park was owned by the Ingram family, who became Viscounts Irwin (or Irvine) in 1661. In 1904, the house descended to Edward Wood, later Lord Irwin and Viscount Halifax. He sold the house in 1922, and sold these papers in 1936 (the house is now owned by Leeds City Council and is open to the public). Most of the estate papers were purchased in 1938 by Leeds Public Libraries, and are now held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds, but a few papers like these went into private hands.

The connection with Handley Park lies in Sir Arthur Ingram (c. 1570–1642), who had bought Temple Newsam and who was the ancestor of the Viscounts Irvine, fort he was also the father-in-law of Sir Simon Bennet, and became one of the trustees for his will. These papers were therefore have been created by and for him at this time, and retained amongst his own papers.

Recatalogued in August 2016.

    UC:P164/L1 - DOCUMENT GIVEN IN 1964

UC:P164/L1/1    n.d. (1630s?)
    Copy of an Act titled “An Act for the establishing the Fellowes and Schollers of ye foundacion of Sr Simon Benet in ye colledge of ye great Hall of the University of Oxon commonly called University Colledge and for their perptuall succession and mayntenance”.
        Sir Simon Benet had left his estate at Handley Park to University College, a bequest contested by his heirs intermittently until 1662. This document is a draft for an Act of Parliament to confirm the bequest, and settle how the revenue from Benet’s estate is to be used. It is undated, but Cox thought it was written during the early stages of the proceedings, in the later 1630s.

    UC:P164/L2 - DOCUMENTS GIVEN IN 1965

UC:P164/L2/1    n.d. (late 1630s or early 1640s?)
    Memorandum from the trustees of Sir Simon Bennet’s will on how the land at Handley Park is to be leased, and how it should support eight Fellows and eight Scholars, with four of the Scholars and Fellows selected from Bennet’s kin. The document is undated, but seems to relate to the state of affairs with the Bennet benefaction before the outbreak of the Civil War.

UC:P164/L2/2    n.d. (late 1630s or early 1640s?)
    Case concerning Sir Simon Bennet’s will, in which his trustees set out their proposals for eight Fellows and eight Scholars to be supported by his foundation, with four of the Scholars and Fellows selected from Bennet’s kin.

UC:P164/L2/3    n.d. (late 1630s or early 1640s?)
    Draft proposals for the execution of Sir Simon Bennet’s foundation. This proposes up to ten Fellows and ten Scholars.

UC:P164/L2/4    7 Feb 1641/2
    Accounts written by Thomas Walker setting out expenses for the building of the quadrangle of University College, and for the lawsuits over the Bennet benefaction.


UC:P164/C1/1    20 Apr-9 May 1964
    Correspondence relating to the gift of the document to University College, and its past history. Correspondents include Lord Boothby, John Maud, David Cox, and Bernard Quaritch Ltd. [6 items].

UC:P164/C1/2    8 Jun 1936 & undated
    Note by David Cox, and two pages from an auction catalogue reporting on the sale of the Temple Newsam Papers, property of Viscount Halifax. UC:P164/L2/1–4 are listed as Lot 207, and UC:P164/L1/1 as Lot 208.