Catalogue of Wolley Charters
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Image © The British Library Board
Image © The British Library Board
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For an overview of the scope of the catalogue, see the About page.

The catalogue is a work in progress. All the Wolley Charters are described and no new data remains to be added, but further editing and standardisation of names may be expected to facilitate searching.

It is not yet possible to cross-search the Catalogue of Wolley Charters in conjunction with other British Library databases.

For other manuscript material in British Library collections relating to Derbyshire, its neighbouring counties and families, see Manuscripts Online Catalogue at However, please note that at present descriptions of only a few of the manuscripts bequeathed with the charters by Adam Wolley (Additional MSS 6666-6718) are included there. Summary records for the rest of the collection will be added later in 2005.

Quick search

Enter a single term (word or number), a hyphenated term, two consecutive terms or terms joined by 'and', 'or' 'and not'.

For place and personal names, you may enter either the modern spelling or a variant.

Truncate with a * if you are uncertain of the spelling.

Capital letters and quotation marks are not required.

e.g. duckmanton
  john statham
  jeayes and 2219
  french and not vellum

If your search terms are matched anywhere in the description, even if they are in different parts of the record, an extract will be displayed on the Search Result screen. Click on the Wolley Charter number to see the full record.

Advanced Search

On the Advanced Search screen, you can direct your search to particular parts of the record. You may enter search terms in more than one box.

Charter Ref. No.

If you know the number of the charter in the Wolley Collection, enter it here as a lower case roman number, followed by a full stop and an arabic number.

e.g. ix.37

Name search

Personal names are recorded in the form found in the document, but where the same person or family occurs with different spellings elsewhere in the collection, or where the modern form of name can be established with certainty, variants are being added in brackets to facilitate searching. Please note that whilst most of grantor and grantee names have been edited in this way, work on the witness names is still in progress.

Enter surname, forename or both, combining and truncating with* as for the Quick search.

e.g. sacheverell or saucheverel
  ralph sacheverell

In medieval names, two key components may not be searchable as adjacent terms. For example Richard son of Adam de Stanton will be found by entering 'Richard and Stanton' but not by entering 'Richard Stanton'.

Click in the appropriate box to search Witness, Grantor or Grantee names separately or together.

Browsing names

Alternatively, click on Browse indexes of names to see lists of the personal names of witnesses, grantors and grantees arranged in alphabetical order and displaying variant spellings which appear in the documents.

To jump to a chosen point in the alphabet, click the appropriate letter on the heading bar.

Click on a name to copy it to the Name box on the Advanced search screen, then click the Search button.


Place names are entered in their modern form if known. You are advised to search on this form for parishes and larger geographical units. Original spellings with their modern equivalents are recorded in the Full list of places.

e.g. kingsmead
  kirk hallom

Place names occur frequently in this catalogue as components of personal names. If you are seeking a place as the subject of a transaction you may retrieve some unwanted hits.

The Place name search option targets those names which occur in the Contents field, not the Full list of places. If you wish to search on the original spelling of a place name in the Full list, you should use the Quick search option.


To search on a single year, enter the same date in both boxes as start and end date.

e.g. 1574 to 1574

To search on a span of years, enter corresponding start and end dates.

e.g. 1300 to 1320

To search for everything before a certain date, leave the first box empty and enter the date in the second box.

e.g. to 1190

To search for everything after a certain date, enter the date in the first box and leave the second box empty.

e.g. 1700 to

It is not possible to search accurately on regnal years.

Type of document

Enter a term (in the singular) describing the type of document.

e.g. will

Remember that you can combine this with other elements in the Advanced search

e.g. Type of document   release
  Year   1230 to 1270


Enter any word or words which you would expect to find in the Content description. This free text search will find keywords which are not proper names and do not occur elsewhere in the record. It will also find field boundaries etc. in their original spellings.

e.g. water-mill
  peppercorn and rent
  dyngley bank


Enter one or more languages in full.

e.g. french
  latin and english


The medium is the material on which the charter is written. In this collection, the medium is either paper or vellum [used for all types of animal skin].


Use this field to search for charters mentioned in selected secondary sources such as Birch's Catalogue of Seals.

e.g. birch


Enter words relating to the colour, method of attachment, device, owner etc.

e.g. brown wax
  ralph pippard

Failed searches

Some common reason why searches fail are:

Typing errors and variant spellings.
Use the Modify search button and try again.

Forename and surname are not adjacent.
Insert 'and' between the elements and try again.

Some elements of medieval names treated as adjuncts rather than surnames.
Insert 'and' between key elements and try again.

Not all personal names are standardised in modern or preferred form [witness lists are only partially edited].
Use Browse list to identify variants.

Advanced place name search does not retrieve all toponyms or original spellings.
Enter search term in Quick search and try again.

Quick search retrieves too many hits.
Use Advanced search to target or combine fields and refine name search by function.

The Wolley Charters do not refer to the persons or places sought.

Contact details

If you have any queries about the content or use of this catalogue, please contact

Rachel Stockdale
Department of Manuscripts
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7749
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7787

If you wish to purchase reproductions of Wolley Charters, please see