Catalogue ReferenceD/EDO
TitleThe Dormer Papers
Deeds and Records of Sonning and Wokingham
Description[For more information about the records in this collection please contact Berkshire Record Office.]


BUSINESS RECORDS: carpenter’s account book, 1768-1778.

ESTATE RECORDS: estate papers relating to the manor of Bulmershe, 1742-1908; James Wheble’s estates in Woodley and Reading, 1813-1859; the manor of Whiteknights, 1706-1841and Earley Court Estate, 1832-1861; papers relating to enclosure of Sonning, Woodley and Earley, including Earley Common fields and Bulmershe Heath, c.1742-20C; papers relating to canals, railways and roads, 1809-1861; arbitration bond of William Caplin of Woodley to Henry Addington, 1794; copy land tax assessments for Sonning and Earley, 1847; sales particulars for Boult’s Wharf, Reading, 1860; miscellaneous papers relating to freehold land in Earley and Woodley c1750; draft conveyances for Playhatch Farm, Eye and Dunsden [Sonning], 1830-1837; periodical ‘The Estates Roll’, 1879.

FAMILY AND PERSONAL PAPERS: probate of will for Anthony Blagrave junior, 1653; receipts of payment for legacies (Blagrave family) 1707-1718; statutory declaration and burial certificate for Francis Windsor, 1837; accounts, letters and receipts relating to Wheble Family, 1818-1884.
Out county: office copy of probate for William Soley of St Mary-le-Strand, Westminster, 1744; office copy of probate for Robert Neale of London, 1766; extract from probate of Nathaniel Barnardiston of Islington, 1771.

LEGAL RECORDS: chancery decree regarding manors of Sonning, Eye and Dunsden and Caversham, 1662; reports and judgements relating to Manor of Earley Bartholomew, 1831.

MANORIAL RECORDS: court rolls for the Manor of Bulmershe, 1794.

MAPS AND PLANS: map of Sonning, including Earley and Woodley, c.1820; draft plan of Woodley Park and surrounding lands in Sonning, 1796; Earley Mead, c.1780; map of ‘Bullmarsh Farm’, 1810; draft map showing highway diversion in Earley, c.1818; plan relating to Wheble family land in Reading, c.1890; plan of building in Kings Road, Reading, owned by J J Wheble, 1861; sketch plan of Loddon Bridge Junction, Woodley, c.1890; ordnance survey maps showing Bulmershe Estate, 1900, Reading and Newbury District, 1919; plan of Home Park Estate, Sonning, 1934; lands in Woodley and Earley including Riders and Great Goldings Copse, c.1810.

TITLE DEEDS: Wheble estates in Sonning including Bulmershe Court, 1847-1861; manor of Bulmershe, Bulmershe Court and lands [1545], 1649-1876; manors of Earley St Bartholomew and Earley Whiteknights, 1752-1861; Earley Court estate, 1830-1836; messuage in Little Hungerford, Woodley, 1747-1806; property in Earley, 1721-1886; property and land in Woodley and Bulmershe, 1714-1796; property and land in Binfield and Wokingham (including Grove House and Wokingham Parsonage), 1646-1881; messuages in Uffington, 1829; cottages in Woodley and Sonning, 1607; Woodley Lodge and lands, 1697-1822; cottages in Earley and Reading, 1803-1805; messuages in Earley and Woodley, 1836-1878; manor of and messuage in Sonning, 1810-1816; sale particulars for Caversham Park Estate, 1832-1835; abstract of title to manor of Whiteknights, 1736-1799, and abstract of judgement roll concerning the manor, c.1830, in Earley, Sonning and Reading.
Out county: farm at Andwell, Hampshire, 1784-1805; lands at Witney, Oxfordshire, 1545, 1669; lands and hereditaments in Shorthampton and Charlbury, Oxfordshire [1545], 1649-1876; licence to demise a copyhold messuage and lands, [copy of court roll, Manor of Fulham] London, 1770.

MISCELLANEOUS: copy [c.1700] of a ‘view’ of Windsor Forest, 1633-1634; bond for performance of covenants, 1658; draft letter about fox-hunting, c.1810; Pedigree of Henry Jemmet and observations on title, c.1825-1827; letters referring to accounts of Mary Ann Mayo, 1845-1846; photograph of Wokingham after heavy snowfall, 1881; photograph of Robert Palmer of Holme Park, c.1890; notes about the Kendrick Family of Reading, 1625-1630 (from the Reading Borough Corporation Diary) with accompanying letter from Kendrick Girls’ School, 1947; notes, photographs, draft articles and newspaper cuttings related to the history and archaeology of Sonning, the Manor of Bulmershe and Reading by Ernest W Dormer, c.1890-c.1950.)
RepositoryBerkshire Record Office (code: GB 005)
Extent4 vols, 47 bdls, 79 docs, 1 file, 3 rolls
The manor of Bulmershe descended in the Blagrave family from the latter half of the sixteenth century until the death of George Blagrave without surviving heirs in 1789. The manor was sold to the Right. Hon. Henry Addington, afterwards Viscount Sidmouth, who sold it in 1801 to James Joseph Wheble in whose family it remained until the early twentieth century.

The name of Bulmershe Court seems to have been applied to two separate buildings. Until the early nineteenth century it referred to the house now known as Bulmershe Manor in Reading Road, Woodley. By the latter part of the nineteenth century, the name had been given to the house on whose site Bulmershe College of Education was built (this became the Berkshire College of Education, and later the Bulmershe Court Campus at University of Reading). This house formerly was called Woodley Lodge or Woodley House. Woodley House had been built by James Wheble’s father and sold to Admiral Hotham who in turn sold the house to Henry Addington and by him, it was sold to James Wheble together with the manor in 1801.

The manor descended in the Englefield family from the early seventeenth century until 1795 when Sir Henry Charles Englefield conveyed the estate to William Byam Martin who released it to George, Marquis of Blandford, later 5th Duke Marlborough. Financial difficulties necessitated the sale of the estate in 1819. The confusion following the sale included uncertainty as to who was legally next entitled to ownership of the manor. Sir Francis Cholmeley (son of Teresa Ann Englefield by her marriage to Francis of Cholmeley of Brandsby, Yorks.) laid claim to the estate and in 1824 judgement was given in his favour. In 1839 Sir Francis mortgaged the estate to James Wright-Nokes of Upminster, Essex. From 1839 to 1849 the estate passed through various hands until it was bought by Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid.

The mansion house of Earley Whiteknights, built during the second half of the eighteenth century, was pulled down in 1840 and the materials sold. Several houses, including Whiteknights Park, were erected in the grounds. The estate was sold in 1947 to become the new home of Reading University.
[See A History of Whiteknights by Ernest Smith, 1957.]

Ownership of this manor passed in the Earley eighteenth century from the Fettiplace to the Buckingham and Manley families. Elizabeth Manley, heir to the estate, married Sir John Powell Pryce of Newtown Hall, Montgomeryshire, in 1751. Because of debt the estate was mortgaged by Sir John to John Pottinger and Richard Simeon and later to Nathaniel Barnardiston. Sir John entrusted his affairs to Francis Skryme who induced him to sign a document which proved to be an authority to sell the estate. He died in 1803 and the manor was inherited by his daughters, Frances, wife of the Hon. Thomas Windsor, and Maria Anne, wife of Sir William Scott, created Lord Stowell. The latter’s daughter, Maria Anne, wife of Henry Addington, inherited the property in 1836.

The manor house was known as Earley Court.

[See Erleigh Court and its Owners, by E. W. Dormer, 1912.]

The manor was owned by the Rich family from 1654 until 1795 when it was sold to Richard Palmer in whose family the manor remained until 1912.

This was an estate apparently reserved from a grant of the manor in 1628. The Barker family owned lands here from the latter half of the sixteenth century until the sale of the estate in two parts, probably in 1762 and 1772, to Richard Palmer. The house was built around 1810 and rebuilt in 1881.

The modern civil parishes of Sonning, Woodley and Earley were formed from the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Sonning, which also previously extended into Oxfordshire. For the purposes of the catalogue all documents are catalogued under the modern parish to which they refer. The following list provides an index to the section of the catalogue concerned with title deeds of these three parishes.

Sonning, Earley and Woodley (undifferentiated): D/EDO/T1-8
Sonning: D/EDO/T 17, 23, 28, 30, 31
Woodley: D/EDO/T 16-21, 29
Earley: D/EDO/T 22-29
AcquisitionPresented in November 1952 (acc.55); April 1969 (acc. 1475)

Schedule of accessions

Acc. 55: E1-2, F1, L1, P1, T1-15

Acc. 1475: B1, E3-54, F2-10, L2-3, M1, P2-12, T16-33, Z1-17
Related Material[See also D/EX2557.]
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