Grafton (Wakefield Lodge) 1541-1933, 4453 docs. & 28 boxes, ref G & MAPS 433-465, 4208-4268

Northamptonshire Record Office

Foreward by Crispin Powell

The Honour of Grafton, a group of manors in the south east of the county, was granted to Catherine of Braganza, Charles II's Queen, for life in 1673. On her death it was passed to the Earl of Arlington. By the time she died in 1705 Arlington was also dead, so the Honour passed to the 2nd Duke of Grafton - his grandson and heir. The Dukedom had been created for one of Charles II's natural sons by Lady Castlemaine. Wakefield Lodge was rebuilt by the 2nd Duke as his residence in Northamptonshire but the main Ducal seat is Euston in Suffolk. The Dukes of Grafton retained their Northamptonshire estates until 1921.

Holdings at the Northants Record Office include:
  • Large collection of papers concerning the Northamptonshire estates of the Dukes of Grafton in Grafton Regis, Abthorpe, Alderton, Ashton, Blakesley, Blisworth, Cold Higham, Furtho, Grimscote, Greens Norton, Hartwell, Heathencote, Passenham, Paulerspury, Potterspury, Roade, Stoke Bruerne, Shutlanger, Whittlebury and Yardley Gobion. Survey of the Honour in 1660 & c1705 (ML1289).
  • Series of estate maps and drafts by Joseph Collier and William Baker 1725-29, surveys of estate 1727 (G1654) & 1756 (ML 1293).
  • Extensive estate and household accounts and voucher bundles 1738-1914 including wages for servants and labourers in the 18thC.
  • Separate series for stables to 1885. Rentals 1747-1888, 1891-1914.
  • Architectural drawings for estate buildings, 19thC., including model farms.
  • 18thC manor court papers.
  • Copy of an early 17thC. map of Whittlewood Forest and forest papers.
  • Papers on siting railway station at Blisworth 1838-1845 and 19thC. inclosure.
  • Family deeds including 1769 Divorce Act, grants and appointments.
  • Wakefield Lodge inventory 1863, picture lists 1897, 1905.

Note: Many of the later 19thC. papers have been badly damaged by damp.