• Reference
  • Title
    Wrest Park [Lucas] Archive
  • Creator
  • Admin/biog history
    Estate collection of the Barons Lucas of Crudwell. Centred on Wrest Park, Silsoe, a seat of many of the family until it was sold in 1917, but with additional holdings in Essex, Leicestershire, Wiltshire and Yorkshire. By descent through both male and female descendants from the Wahulls, who held Silsoe at the Conquest, through the Caus family, and the Grey family (from 1465 Earls of Kent). Anthony Grey, 11th Earl of Kent married Mary Lucas, who at the request of her father had been created Baron Lucas of Crudwell (in the County of Wiltshire) in 1663 because as his only surviving child she could not inherit his title, Baron Lucas (of Shenfield), which decended to his nephew. The title descended to Mary's son, Henry, 12th Earl (later 1st Duke) of Kent. In 1718 the Duke of Kent's eldest son, Anthony, Earl of Harold, was summoned to Parliament by a writ in acceleration as Baron Lucas. For this reason Anthony is often numbered as the 3rd Baron, but in the family documents he is not so numbered and so from this point on there is a descrepancy in numbering between the family documents and many published sources. Anthony predeceased his father dying in 1723. The Duke's other two sons also predeceased him and the Duke , realising that his dukedom and many of his other titles would become extinct at his death was created Marquess Grey in 1740 with a special remainder to his granddaughter and her heirs male. On the Duke's death on the 5th June 1740 the title Marchioness Grey and Baroness Lucas passed to Lady Jemima Campbell, granddaughter of the Duke of Kent, daughter of Amabel Grey (d. 1726) and her husband John Campbell, 3rd Earl of Breadalbane and Holland. Less than a month before her grandfather's death Jemima had married the Hon. Philip Yorke (later 2nd Earl of Hardwicke). Jemima and Philip Yorke had two daughters - Amabel (1751-1833) and Mary Jemima (1757-1830). The collection held at Bedfordshire Archives is particularly rich in correspondence between the family, friends and acquaintence of the Yorke and Robinson families (L30) On the death of Jemima, 2nd Marchioness Grey and Countess of Hardwicke, in January 1797 the title of Marchioness Grey became extinct and the Barony of Lucas passed to her eldest daughter, Amabel. Amabel had married Alexander Hume-Campbell, Lord Polwarth. The marriage was childless and Lord Polwarth died in 1794. In 1816 Amabel was created Countess de Grey in her own right, with a special remainder to her sister and her sister's male heirs. Lady Mary Jemima Yorke married Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham and they had two sons - Thomas Philip (1781-1859) and Frederick John Robinson (1782-1859). On the death of his father in 1786 Thomas Philip became 3rd Baron Grantham. In 1792 Thomas Philip inherited from a distant cousin the Newby estate in Yorkshire. In 1803 he changed his surname to Weddell as part of this bequest. In 1792 he also succeeded to the Barony Robinson of Newby inheriting the title from his father's first cousin. On the death of his aunt, Amabel, Countess de Grey, in 1833 Thomas Philip became 2nd Earl de Grey and Baron Lucas of Crudwell and changed his name to de Grey as part of that inheritance. He inherited Wrest Park and immeidately rebuilt the house - as he explains to his daughter Ann in his History of Wrest House (Ref: L36/4/3). Thomas Philip, 2nd Earl de Grey, Baron Lucas married in 1805 Lady Henrietta Cole, daughter of William Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen. They had five children: Anne Florence (1806-1880); Thomas Philip (1807-1810); Mary Gertrude (1808-1892); Frederick William (1810-1831) and Amabel Elizabeth (1816-1827). On 2nd Earl de Grey's death in 1859 the Earldom of de Grey passed to his nephew, the 2nd Earl of Ripon and the Lucas Barony passed to Anne Florence. Anne had married George Augustus Frederick Cowper, Viscount Fordwich and later 6th Earl Cowper in 1833. They had two sons and four daughters. The 6th Earl died in 1856 and was succeeded as 7th Earl by his eldest son, Francis Thoms de Grey Cowper (1834-1905). On the death of Anne Florence in 1880 Francis, 7th Earl Cowper became Baron Lucas. In 1871 the Earl managed to obtain a reversal of the attainder of the Scottish lordship of Digwall and became Lord Dingwall. This title has since descended with the barony of Lucas. The 7th Earl Cowper, Baron Lucas of Crudwell died childless in 1905 and the Barony passed to his nephew, Auberon Thomas Herbert, son of Florence Amabel Cowper and her husband Auberon Edward William Molyneux Herbert. When the unmarried Auberon Thomas Herbert died of wounds after his plane was brought down by a German fighter plane in November 1916, the barony passed to his siser Nan Ino Herbert (1880-1958). Nan Herbert, Baroness Lucas, married Lt-Col Howard Lister Cooper in April 1917. Wrest Park was sold in July 1917. In 1936 Baroness Lucas deposited the first large quantity of archives with the Bedfordshire County Record Office. She also gave material to the British Museum and sold other furniture and paintings that had once been at Wrest. When Lady Lucas died on the 3 November 1958 her eldest daughter, Anne Rosemary Palmer, inherited her titles. On Anne Rosemary Palmer's death in 1991 the barony passed to Anne's eldest son, Ralph Matthew Palmer (born 7 June 1951).
  • Accession numbers 1243-1245, 1290, 1323, 1465, 2068, 2521, 2890, 3246, 3903, 5871
  • Archival history
    1871 Historic Manuscripts Commission 2nd Report, Appendix, p. 4. A few of these items were later deposited with Bedfordshire Archives; some were sold (see L35). The estate MSS. were not covered by H.M.C. In 1917 Wrest Park was sold and all Manuscripts, Documents and Letters, formerly kept in the Muniment Room and in various attics at Wrest Park, were disposed of as follows:- '1. Manuscripts 1918. Catalogued by Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge 34 New Bond Street, London, W.1. See 'Wrest MSS. 1917' in Catalogue Shelf, 22 Sussex Sqre. 1920. Valued by E. Meynell. See 'valuation of MSS. E. Meynell' in Catalogue shelf, 22 Sussex Square. 2. Documents. December 1919 - September 1920. Examined by I.H.Jeayes, Esq., The Mead House, Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk. All of interest are reported on in his 'Descriptive Catalogue of Charters and Muniments 1920' of which, 1926, one copy is at the National Provincial Bank, Lancaster Gate Branch, and two others at Sussex Square. The most important Nos. 1 - 967 and Appendix 1 -139 are stored at the National Safe Deposit, 1 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4 in Messrs. Linklater & Paines' name. The remainder, Nos. 972 - 1032 which Mr Jeayes reported as being without interest, (as they relate to property not now belonging to Lady Lucas and have not been demanded by the present owners) , are stored in 3 wooden cases & tin trunk at Allen's Depositories. Those stored at Allen's are not insured but those stored at the National Safe Deposit are insured by Linklater & Paine, 2 Bond Court, Walbrook, London EC4 for 300. 1925. Seals stored at Allen's Nos. 969 - 971 and insured for 40. Allen's Depositories, Wyfold Road, Fulham, London. INSURANCE. Those documents at National Safe Deposit are insured for 300 by Linklater & Paines. Those at Allen's Depositories are insured for 300. including the Letters and Bailiff's Accounts.' DEPOSITS WITH THE COUNTY RECORD OFFICE 1936 Nan Cooper, Baroness Lucas, deposited nearly all the items covered by Jeayes' catalogue, Jeayes' appendix, Jeayes' bundle list, and the B.R.A. College of Arms list. She retained some items indicated & on Jeayes' list, & Jeayes' 1008,1026,1027). I H Jeayes catalogue was retained for material that had been itemised (see separate LJeayes) Material not itemised by Jeayes was sorted and listed. 1942 Nan Cooper, Baroness Lucas, sent to Bedford for war time storage the 3 cases from Allen's and a tin trunk. 1950 Nan Cooper, Baroness Lucas, reclaimed the 3 cases and tin trunk and sent another box for temorary storage, (which contained Jeayes' 1005,1026,1027). 1952 Nan Cooper, Baroness Lucas, reclaimed the box sent for temporary storage in 1950 (Acc 2068), but deposited nearly all the items marked as retained on the 1936 lists. The deposits in 1951-2 included some material originally listed by Jeayes but not deposited in 1936. A catalogue of this material was completed in 1954. 1959 Anne Palmer, Baroness Lucas, deposited the letters (L30.Acc. 2521) Further desposits were received from Ann Palmer, Baroness Lucas in 1963 and 1970-75. Further rearrangement and relisting of material followed. In 1985 the Lucas atlas was deposited (L33/286). In December 1993 the archive as deposited between 1936-1985 was accepted in lieu of Capital Transfer Tax by Her Majesty's Government. The collection was allocated by the Secretary of State to Bedfordshire Record Office on long term loan with the wish that the catalogue should be completed as a matter of priority. Funding was applied for and received for the calendaring of over 5000 letters (L30) and most of the work was carried out between 1995-1999. Final enhancement of the L30 catalogue was made in the early 2010s. This material is listed in 33 separate series, mainly arranged under subject headings. In 2008 a box of material relating to the picture collections was deposited on the instruction of a member of the Palmer family. This material was catalogued as L34. In 2023 The Baron Lucas deposited material that had been previously retained by the family. This material is on deposit from the family. Some material was added to L34 and, for ease of managing the terms of deposit, the rest was catalogued in the new series L35 and L36, a small amount of the material being cross referenced to material in the earlier series.
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