The Harbord of Gunton Archive

Item date: 13-19th centuries
Grant Value: £5,000
Item cost: £115,000
Item date acquired: 2010
Item institution: Norfolk Record Office
Town/City: Norwich
County: Norfolk

The substantial personal and estate archive of a prominent and well-connected family owning nearly 12,000 acres in Norfolk. The estate papers and manorial records comprising the bulk of the collection provide a wealth of local information, particularly about that part of Norfolk between Cromer and North Walsham, location of the core of the Harbord estates, although they also relate to the scattered Harbord properties extending from Suffolk to the north Norfolk coast. The earliest deeds date from the 13th and 14th centuries, but most of the estate papers and correspondence dates from the seventeenth century onwards. The extensive family correspondence covers domestic, estate, local and national affairs, and starts with the miscellaneous papers of Sir Charles Harbord (1596-1679), Surveyor-General of Crown Lands to Charles I. A remarkable series of letters relating to Sir Charles’s third son, Charles Harbord, discusses naval operations under the Earl of Sandwich, and deals with Charles’s death at the Battle of Solebay in 1672, the first naval action of the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The most significant and complete group of personal papers – that part of the archive of the greatest national significance – are the eighty so bundles of correspondence of the 3rd Lord Suffield (1781-1835), together with other personal papers, including his travel diaries, speeches and notes. The letters are primarily political, covering subjects such as the abolition of slavery and conditions in the West Indies, political corruption, prison reform, the poor laws and corn laws, beggars, law enforcement bills, and political news. His numerous correspondents include Joseph John Gurney, Robert Peel, Elizabeth Fry, Thomas Fowell Buxton, Lord Liverpool, Lord Melbourne and Rowland Hill.

Map of the Grunton Estate (1823-1835). FNL Grant to Norfolk Record Office 2010. Image courtesy of Norfolk Record Office.
Map of the Grunton Estate (1823-1835). FNL Grant to Norfolk Record Office 2010. Image courtesy of Norfolk Record Office.