Papers uncover historical gems

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A COLLECTION of papers about an ancient family who resided in a local village has revealed some important historical treasures.

East Riding Archives and Local Studies, based at the Treasure House in Beverley, has announced that the papers about the Calverley-Rudston family, who resided in Hayton for many years, have been catalogued and are available online.

Dating from the 14th to the 20th Century, they offer a comprehensive representation of the family’s national and international contribution to history.

One gem revealed by the papers is The Irish Warrants, which are a unique set of orders issued by Thomas Wentworth, Lord Deputy of Ireland in the 1630s.

They are all the more important as, in 1922, Ireland was in the throes of a civil war and sadly many of its early records were destroyed by fire.

The cataloguing project, called ‘Crown, Colonies and Countrymen’, has enabled the warrants to be brought to the attention of Irish scholars who are currently researching them.

The collection also contains the will and inventory of Sir John Rudston, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1528. This is considered to be a particularly exciting discovery as inventories in such detail from this period are rare.

The project also found that a woman called Ann Rudston suffered mental illness and was placed in a private asylum, from 1805 to 1855. The letters from the proprietor to her brother touch on aspects of her illness and the care provided to her.

Another descendant, George Calverley-Rudston, was reputed to have met with American showman ‘Buffalo Bill’. George was sent out to America in financial disgrace and his letters to his father at Hayton give an insight into George’s character and life in the Wild West during the early 20th Century.

Joanna Larter, collections officer, said: “This collection has revealed some real human interest stories and hopefully the exhibition will show that archives are about real people from history and that their experiences are really not that different from people today.”

In collaboration with East Riding Museums Service, these stories will be told in the form of an eight-week exhibition which is scheduled to run from Saturday, 11 February to Saturday, 7 April at Beverley’s Treasure House.

Funding for the project came from the National Cataloguing Grants Scheme, which is jointly managed and funded by the Pilgrim Trust and The National Archives.

The East Riding Archives and Local Studies were able to make a successful bid for a grant despite the demand for funding being very competitive.

When the online catalogue is launched this month it is hoped it will add to the research-potential of the Calverley-Rudston family. The website is www2.eastriding.gov.uk