More of Linley collection
During 2018-2019, thanks to funding from the family, we were able to catalogue the papers of the More of Linley. The full list is now online: More of Linley (9071/A)
The collection also include papers of the Hope-Edwardes family of Netley Hall (Clare Hope-Edwardes married Sir Jasper More in 1944) – but more of this family in a later blog.
The history of the estate is fairly complicated, although not unusual. At various times, the estates of More, Linley and Larden were split between male heirs (More and Larden usually going to the eldest son and Linley to the second son) and then reunited when one branch of the family died without issue or if cousins married.
There are some deeds for the Linley and Larden estates and many mortgages of Linley Hall to raise money, as well as a few papers relating to management of the estates at Linley and More. However, these just add to the main estate collection, already online: More Collection XMO.
Being a landed family, the papers often reflect involvement in local matters, such as the building of Shelve School (9071/A/7) or acting as trustees for building the Minsterley to Church Stoke Road (9071/A/5).
The main interest in this new accession, however, is the wealth of personal papers reflecting the character and achievements of members of the family.
The earliest personal papers concern Richard More (who died 1643) and his son Samuel More (1594-1662). Unfortunately, there’s no reference to the sending away of the alleged illegitimate children of Samuel’s wife Katherine on the Mayflower Ship. Instead there are papers relating to the exploits of Richard and Samuel More during the Civil War, including Samuel’s account of the siege of Hopton Castle, which he held for Parliament against overwhelming Royalist forces (9071/A/9/1/1/4).
A significant number of papers concern Robert More, 1703-1780 who was a distinguished traveller and botanist. Plans and letters reveal the improvements he made at Linley including a hot house scheme (9071/A/9/2/1) and there is extensive correspondence relating to his botanical interests and plants discovered in Portugal and Italy. (9071/A/9/2/2). You can read more about Robert More articles by Heather Williams in the South West Shropshire Historical and Archaeological Society Journal (Summer 2018) and by Ralph Collingwood in the Salopian Recorder (Easter 2003).
Late 18th century correspondence between Robert’s sons, Robert and Thomas, reveal family attitudes to money with Robert complaining that Thomas is spending money quicker than he can count it and ‘travelling the world on my profit’ (9071/A/9/4/2/16). This set of letters provided an interesting project for students from the University of Shrewsbury to catalogue in more detail. They described their experience in a blog post last year.
There many letters to Robert More from other members of the family, including his son Henry, written from the Peninsular Campaign of 1811. (9071/A/9/4/3).
Perhaps more unusually, some papers of female members of the family have survived for example letters to Eliza More from her husband Robert and other family members, 1783-1791 (9071/A/9/5/1) and diaries of Harriet Mary More, daughter of Thomas More of Larden who married her cousin Thomas Frederick More of Linley (9071/A/9/8/1).
Finally, there are a large and interesting number of letters and manuscripts relating to the political campaigning of Robert Jasper More who was the Liberal MP for South Shropshire (1863-1865) and Ludlow (1885-1903). There is also a draft of his political memoir. (9071/A/9/11/3).
Related families – the Mores of Millichope, the Myttons of Shipton and Myttons of Cleobury North – have their own sections within the catalogue. Of these, the papers of the Myttons of Cleobury North contain extensive correspondence for Thomas Mytton, 1739-1830 (9071/A/12/4/1). Again these letters were described in detail by Shrewsbury University students.
For an archivist, the collection was most rewarding to work on due to the varied nature of the material. Each day, I was never quite sure what I would discover next. I’m sure it will prove of immense value to researchers with diverse interests.