Historical Records> Wolley Manuscripts Matlock Index> This page
The Wolley Manuscripts, Matlock
A Major Collection of pre 1828 Pedigrees, Charters, Documents, Deeds & Wills
  About the Wolley Manuscripts
The Wolley Manuscripts,
Abbreviations & Conventions
Place Names
Places In Matlock
6666 & 6667
6667 - WOLLEY
6668 6669
6670-5 6676-80
6681-86 6687-90
6691-6 6697-6715
Other Pages & Info
Contact the Library
for a copy
(see Matlock References)
Charters & Early Deeds
Matlock Miscellany
Also see:
Wolley Manuscripts Derbyshire
Click link to return to Wolley Manuscripts Derbyshire or use "Back" on the toolbar

Historical background

The Wolley Manuscripts are a remarkable collection of fifty three folio volumes, for a projected county history of Derbyshire. They were amassed by Mr. Adam Wolley of Matlock (he lived at Masson House in Matlock Bath), who bequeathed them to the British Museum in 1828. Mr. Wolley had collected these papers for over fifty years, pasting the manuscripts into his bound books, but he did not complete his project. In his Will he described his collection as 'all the volumes or books bound in rough calf lettered on the back "Charte Antique" '; he directed that the Museum should keep his collection 'for the use and inspection of the public'.

'They form numbers 6666 to 6718 of the Additional Manuscripts' (Cox: DASJ Vol XXXVII Jan 1911, p.131). Cox wrote that Adam Wolley's family had been established in Derbyshire from at least as early as the reign of Henry III and the Wolley families links with Matlock and Riber are well documented (see Matlock Pedigrees).

Where they are held and how to find out more

Part of the PCC Will of Adam Wolley of Matlock

What each volume contains

The following has been extracted from articles written by Rev. Charles J. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A. that were published in the Journals of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.

6666 - 6675
'form a collection particularly designed to assist in a scheme for a general history of Derbyshire, consisting of Terriers, Court Rolls, Rentals, Petitions, Inventories, Letters, and other Original Papers ; also copies of Inquisitions, Wills Charters, Seals, Fines, Decrees, Surveys, Legal Briefs, Cases, Pleas, Abstracts of Titles, Particulars of Properties on Sale, Church Notes, Parish Register Extracts, Lists of Sheriffs, Pedigrees, Grants of Arms. Many of the latter class are in Mr. Wolley's own hand. They form ten thick folio volumes.' (DASJ Vol XXXVII, p.132)
Also see:
DASJ Vol XXXVII Jan 1911 Volumes 6666 - 6670
DASJ Vol XXXIV 1912 Volumes 6666 - 6675

6676 - 6680
'Legal Briefs and Cases, Copies of Proceedings in the Court of Law and Equity, and of Arbitrations, all relating to Mines and Mining Operations in the County of Derby' (5 large folio volumes)
(DASJ 1913, p.172)

6681 - 6683
'General, Legal, and Historical Collections relating to the same subject, three volume folio'
(DASJ 1913, p.172)

6684 - 6686
'Fair Copies of Charters and other Ancient Documents relating to Derbyshire ; two folio volumes, with an Index of the Contents of each volume subjoining it.'
(DASJ 1913, p.172)

6687 - 6696
'Abstracts of Titles, Drafts of Wills and of Marriage Settlements, with copies of Legal Documents, Pedigrees, and Miscellaneous Memoranda, being further Collections for a General History of Derbyshire, in ten large folio volumes.'
(DASJ 1913, p.173)

6697 & 6698
"Fair Copies of Charters & other Ancient Documents relating to Derbyshire ; two Folio , Volumes, with an Index of the Contents of each Volume subjoined to it."

Is another big book, filled with extracts from old records which were then either in the Rolls Chapel or in the Tower. The great majority of these now appear in printed calendars.

This is a thin folio volume of " Derbyshire Church Notes," by Mr. John Reynolds, of Plaistow, about the year 1750. They refer to the churches of Alfreton, Beeley, Chapel-en-le- Frith, Chesterfield, Crich, Darley, Dronfield, Edensor, Elvaston, Norton, Spondon, Staveley, and South Wingfield. Each account has been cited in full or in substance in my [i.e. Cox] four volumes of "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire".

121 paper folios. On the cover Adam Wolley wrote:
'This MS. seems formerly to have been the commonplace book of Roger Columbell, of Darley Hall, in the county of Derby, esquire, who died anno. 1605 ; it was given to me by Mr. Herbert Greensmith Beard, of Stancliffe Hall, anno. 1792.
"Adam Wolley, junr."
It consists of 121 paper folios, and is chiefly concerned with poorly written copies or abstracts of deeds, wills, and manorial notes relative to the Columbell estates at Darley ; the earlier pages were evidently written by someone older than Roger Columbell, for they are quite early in the sixteenth century. Towards the end of the volume it is more of the nature of a household account book. After the fortieth folio is passed, the book is occasionally interlarded with quaint receipts or charms, and with items of expenditure.
(DASJ 1913, p.192)

Catalogued " Transcripts of several Political Tracts and Pamphlets, 1620-1698, in a Folio Volume." [Cox notes] As none of these have any connection with Derbyshire, nothing need to be said here of their contents.
(DASJ 1913, p.197)

214 folios. "Forms of deeds and Miscellaneous Memoranda in the Handwriting apparently of Mr. Henry Wigley, of Middleton, in a Folio Volume."
'The contents are generally of a legal character .. Intermingled with the legal formula are a few distinctive Derbyshire entries as to actions taken in the local courts at Wirksworth ... entries made in the latter part of Elizabeth's reign, through that of James I and during the earlier years of Charles I.' (DASJ 1913, p.198).

A small quarto in the neat handwriting of Mr. John Reynolds, of Plaistow. It was begun in the year 1750. There are a variety of scraps of Derbyshire pedigrees. Many of the notes are cited in "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire" and "Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals" [both by Cox] The historical events pertaining to the borough of Derby, 1554-1697, appear in the second volume of Glover's history.

Another small quarto in the handwriting of Mr. Reynolds, of Plaistow, half blank. The remainder consists of extracts from Thoroton's "History of Nottinghamshire".

67 folios of memoranda books, written by Mr. John Reynolds of Plaistow. (DASJ 1913, p.205)

'... an account of Roman coins found in Derbyshire.' (DASJ 1913, p.206)
Also see: DASJ Volume VII, pp.216-230.

Tithes of Draycott, STS.

Abstracts of Inquisitiones post mortem, from Henry VII to 44 Elizabeth.

Series of Transcripts of Chartae Antique, temp. Richard I, John, and Henry III, which used to be kept in the Tower.

Extracts from the Charter and Close Rolls, 1-19 Henry III, relating to Derbyshire.

Cornish stanneries.

Transcript of chartulary of Tutbury Priory, with extracts relative to Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

'... printed particulars of Derbyshire estates offered for sale. (1810-1824)' (DASJ 1913, p.206)

Purely theological. Folio book belonged to William BURTON of Lindley, LEI, 1623.

Copies of Year books, chiefly of the reign of Edward III.

Concerned with early Latin divinity.

Where they are held and how to find out more

The Wolley Manuscripts are now held at the British Library and form part of the Additional Manuscripts.
Onsite contact information for the British Library

The unpublished catalogue and card indexes are held at County Hall Local Studies Library. The library has a microfilm of the documents in the Wolley Collection available for readers, and this may be viewed by prior appointment with the library. If you cannot visit the library in person, but wish to have photocopies from the film, it might be helpful for you to know that the fees set for 2001 were 55p for microfilm copies sent by post plus 2.50 per order for handling and postage.
Onsite contact details for County Hall Local Studies Library
Derbyshire County Council web site may have more up to date information about fees

Derbyshire Archaeological Society have a limited number of back issues of their annual journal available to purchase but you will need to enquire for availability of volumes before 1950.
Derbyshire Archaeological Society