Manors of Ham and Petersham: these manors were demised by the Crown to William Murray, only son of William Murray, minister of Dysart, Fife. William (the son) was introduced to court by his uncle Thomas, tutor to Charles I while Prince of Wales and afterwards his secretary. Shortly after Charles I's accession William Murray was appointed one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber (Manning & Bray, History of Surrey 1804, vol 1, p304). The grant of the manors of Ham and Petersham in 1636/7 was a further mark of royal favour which culminated in 1643 in the creation of the Earldom of Dysart and Barony of Huntingtower in Scotland. Since, however, the warrant was not passed under the Great Seal during Charles' lifetime, the title was never used officially by William Murray.
He was succeeded c.1654 by his elder daughter Elizabeth who had married c.1647 Sir Lionel Tollemache, 3rd bart, of Helmingham, Suffolk. Sir Lionel died 1668/9 and his wife, Countess of Dysart in her own right, in 1698, when she was succeeded by their eldest son Lionel, 4th bart and 3rd Earl (The Complete Peerage). Thence the earldom of Dysart and the lordship of the manors of Ham and Petersham descended together in the Tollemache family until the twentieth century.
Manor of Kingston Canbury: this manor is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey but was held at an early date by Merton Priory whence derives its suffix of Canbury - a contraction of Canonbury (Place-Names of Surrey, English Place-Name Society, vol XI, 1934). After the Dissolution the manor, with the rectory and advowson of Kingston, was the subject of various Crown leases until granted in 1640 to William Murray who, however, in the following year assigned it to the Earl of Elgin; after some other conveyances the manor, rectory and advowson were sold in 1671 to Nicholas Hardinge (Victoria History of Surrey vol III, 1911, p513) whose descendant George Hardinge esq sold the manor to Wilbraham, 6th Earl of Dysart: the purchase of the manor is presented in the court book (K58/1/2/4 p37) on 4 September 1800.
Leicestershire and Lincolnshire estates: Lady Louisa Tollemache, eldest sister of the 5th and 6th Earls of Dysart, succeeded to the title on the death of her brother Wilbraham in 1821. She had married in 1765 John Manners of Grantham Grange, Lincolnshire, a grandson of John, 2nd Duke of Rutland. Their son, Sir William Manners bart of Hanby Hall, Lincolnshire, took the surname Talmash by royal licence of 4 April 1821. Sir William, styled Lord Huntingtower from 1921, predeceased his mother and it was consequently his son, Lionel William John Talmash (afterwards Tollemache) who became 8th Earl of Dysart in 1840. From the Manners marriage of the Tollemache heiress, considerable interests were acquired in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland..
Suffolk estates: the original Suffolk properties of the Tollemache family were bequeathed by Wilbraham, 6th Earl of Dysart, by will dated 5 December 1804, to the heirs (later Barons Tollemache) of his younger sister, Lady Jane (Halliday), (d.1802). Consequently the only document in this collection relating to Suffolk is K58/5/1/2
Welsh estate: also from the Manners' interest derives the small parcel of documents relating to rents from estates in Wales (K58/17/40).
The 8th Earl of Dysart died at 34 Norfolk Street, Strand, Middlesex on 23 September 1878. His will, which was drawn up in 1873 after the death of his son, William, Lord Huntingtower, left all his real and personal estate to trustees for twenty-one years from the date of his death, to the use of this grandson and heir in tail male and with very numerous bequests to other relations and dependants. The will was proved 6 December 1878 and Order made on 7 December 1878 by the Master of the Rolls that the trusts should be executed and the usual and also Special Accounts and Enquiries be made (see K58/18/-). Trustees, in fact, continued to act after twenty-one years had elapsed because of a continuing need to administer the investments from which annuities were paid to various legatees and because the first tenant-in-tail did not attain his majority until 5 April 1915. On 12 June 1934 the 9th Earl of Dysart (with the consent of the next heir) conveyed to Buckminster Estates all his life interest in the Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Surrey estates. Buckminster Estates also took over the responsibilities of the trustees of the 8th Earl's will (K58/13/181-2).
The 9th Earl of Dysart died 22 November 1935, when the earldom, being a Scottish title heritable in females, devolved upon his niece Wenefryde Agatha, only child of the Earl's elder sister Lady Agnes by her husband Charles Norman Lindsay Scott. The baronetcy and the entailed estates went to the deceased Earl's cousin, Sir Lyonel (Felix Carteret Eugene) Tollemache, whose son, Sir (Cecil) Lyonel Tollemache, deposited these papers.
These papers were collected with the permission of the late Sir Lyonel Tollemache from Ham House stables in September 1953, through the good offices of Mr R Lee of Ormeley Lodge Ham
They were records which had been delivered up after transferral of the Tollemache family business from one firm of solicitors to another. The major portion of the records had formerly been stored in the Chancery Lane safe deposit which was blitzed during the 1939-45 war and subsequently flooded by fire-fighting hoses. Most unfortunately no attempt was made to remove the papers for some months afterwards and when this was finally done considerable decomposition had set in, particularly where records had been stored on the floor of the safe. Many of the documents now included in this list show signs of these vicissitudes.
The deposit includes court rolls and other manorial records of the manor of Kingston Canbury, 1604-1922 (K58/1/-); the manor of Ham, 1509-1933 (K58/2/-), the records of which include a group of medieval deeds, pre-1305-1582 (K58/2/3/1); the manors of Ham and Petersham combined, c.1490-1694 (K35/3/-); and the manor of Petersham, 1509-1933. The extensive series of deeds includes many relating to acquisitions in Ham and Petersham and the development of the Surrey estate in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. For the Tollemache's important 17th century mansion, Ham House (in Petersham) there survive inventories of the furniture and books, 1844 (K58/8/290-291), and a catalogue and valuation of the contents, 1911 (K58/8/296).
A further group of papers relates to the preservation of Ham and Petersham Commons and of the view from Richmond Hill, and of the exploitation of the right to extract gravel, 1844-1939 (K58/12/-).