Date range: 17th–19th centuries.
This collection was donated to the John Rylands Library in 1968 by Mr Lewis H. Orford, a Manchester solicitor who served as a governor and trustee of the Library and was its honorary secretary for over twenty years.
The collection contains deeds and personal papers formerly belonging to several families:
- the Brewis family of Manchester and Buckinghamshire
- the Scholes family of Manchester
- the Oldham family of Stockport
- the Taylor and Town families of Shropshire
- branches of the White family in London and Manchester, including papers relating to the surgeon and man-midwife Charles White (1728–1813)
- the Lees family of Hollingworth, Cheshire.
Most of the deeds and other papers relate to properties in Manchester and its environs: Blackley, Cheetham, Broughton, Stockport, Sale, Cheetwood, Salford, Gorton, Levenshulme and Hollingworth. However, there is material for properties further afield: at Ibstone in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, Richard’s Castle and Brimfield in Herefordshire, Ludlow and Stanton Lacy in Shropshire, Audley in Staffordshire, and Bethnal Green in Middlesex.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the collection, however, is that it contains the residuary papers of Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands, founder of the John Rylands Library. These include:
- probate copies of her will and that of John Rylands, and accounts of her executors
- papers relating to the memorial monument for the Rylands family
- photographs, plans and documents concerning the building of the Library
- deeds and papers relating to properties owned by Mrs Rylands and sold after her death, including inventories and auction catalogues recording the contents of Longford Hall and her London house
Catalogue available online via ELGAR.