Account books of Arnold Tuff & Grimwade

Item date: 18th to 20th centuries
Grant Value: £250
Item cost: £250
Item date acquired: 2021
Item institution: Medway Archives Centre
Town/City: Rochester
County: Kent

Elspeth Millar, Manager & Archivist, writes: Medway Archives Centre and the Friends of Medway Archives Centre are grateful for the assistance of the Friends of National Libraries in purchasing from Forum Auctions nine account books from solicitor firms in Rochester who operated (in a variety of different partnership set-ups) from the 18th century through to the 20th century. 

The National Archives Sales Monitoring Team alerted us in February 2021 to the account books at auction and we are grateful for the speed at which FNL replied in confirming that financial assistance would be available to the Friends of Medway Archives Centre (FOMA) to make a purchase. 

The auction listing stated the account books were of the firm Arnold Tuff & Grimwade. However, after delivery of the books, inspection and research, the collection of accounts books are in fact from the solicitor’s firm when they were in a variety of different partnerships models.

The earliest date we have tracked the firm to is 1849, when they were Essell, Hayward & Essell. They became Essell & Hayward by 1858; then Essell, Knight & Arnold by 1865; Knight, Arnold, Essell & Baker by 1891; Arnold, Essell & Baker by 1890; Arnold, Baker & Day by 1897; Arnold, Day & Tuff by 1913; and Arnold, Tuff & Grimwade by 1928.

Although the firms listed above were always described in contemporary accounts as solicitors, the individual partners were also notaries and always held various public officer roles (such roles as clerks to the county magistrates; clerks to the Wardens of Rochester Bridge; clerks to the Dartford and Strood Turnpike; registrars of the Archdeaconry of Rochester and Tonbridge; and clerks to the governors of various local schools). The partners’ individual roles are reflected in the account books.

The account books provide an interesting overview of professional activities of a local, and long-standing firm, as well as an insight into the economic, social, and ecclesiastical networks of the 19th and 20th century in the Medway area. For example, as the firm were registrars to the Archdeaconries of Rochester and Tonbridge it is possible to get a late 19th century insight into tithe payments due, and therefore information about land tenancy and use. Another interesting entry of note includes the sale of Woodlands House, Gillingham, to the inventor Louis Brennan in 1892.

Medway Archives Centre already holds, on permanent loan, some material from Arnold Tuff & Grimwade (and predecessor and successor firms) and the addition of these account books provides supplementary sources for the study of this historical firm and their impact locally. We would like to thank FNL for allowing us to add these additional records to the collections at Medway Archives Centre.

Item Provenance
Bought from Forum Auctions (Lot 123, February 2021)