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Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey

Identifier: M67567

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the call numbers L.b.1-712.


  • 1489 - 1682
  • Majority of material found within 1538 - 1630


Biographical Note

Loseley Park (as the house is now called) stands about two miles outside Guildford in what is now the civil parish of Artington, although formerly part of St. Nicolas' parish, Guildford. Loseley manor also included lands in the neighboring parishes of Compton, Godalming, Haslemere and Chiddingfold. The earliest surviving Loseley deeds (temp. John) show the de Dol family in possession. After the death of Robert de Dol in 1356 the manor was divided between the heirs of his two daughters and was not reunited until 1508. Christopher More, who then bought both moieties (one from Humphrey Sydney and one from John Westbrook), was an Exchequer official of Derbyshire extraction. He rose to be King's Remembrancer, gained a knighthood, prudently invested the emoluments of office in real property, and by the time he died in 1549 was a substantial county gentleman who had twice served as sheriff.

As various inaccurate statements have been made in print about the relation of the Loseley family to the Chancellor Sir Thomas More, it is perhaps worth mentioning that the connexion was by marriage and the similarity of name coincidental. A pedigree in Sir William More's hand (no. 1327/6) shows that Sir Christopher's sister Alice was "maried to Clarke and after to John More, kt., Justice of ye King's Bench", thus becoming one of the Chancellor's stepmothers. There is no evidence of any blood relationship.

Christopher's son Sir William More (1520-1600), who built the present house and entertained Queen Elizabeth I there, was a Chamberlain of the Exchequer and held at one time or another all the offices appropriate to a prominent man in the county - J.P., M.P., sheriff, deputy lieutenant, Commissioner of Arroy, Collector of the Loan, Farmer of the Ulnage, Verderer of Windsor Forest, deputy Swan Master for Surrey, Vice-Admiral for Sussex, Treasurer for the Lottery. The correspondence at Loseley shows that he enjoyed the Queen's favor and the confidence of great men of the day. His son George, a man of similar stamp, was also highly regarded by Elizabeth I; James I made him Treasurer to Henry Prince of Wales, Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, and Lieutenant of the Tower of London. Sir William and his son both married heiresses as well as adding to the family estates by purchase; Sir George further strengthened his position as a local magnate by buying the manor and hundred of Godalming from the Crown. The secret marriage of Sir George's daughter Anne with John Donne gave rise to the famous letters (now in the Folger Shakespeare Library).

None of Sir George's descendants played a part in public affairs comparable to that of the first three Mores, although the second Sir William (1643-1684) was active as J.P., M.P., and sheriff during his short career. Robert, the last male of the line, died in 1689; one of his two sisters died soon after, and the survivor, Margaret, who had married Thomas Molyneux of Westhoughton, Lancashire, inherited the estate. The present family of More-Molyneux are descended from this couple.

The most celebrated of the external archives in the Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey are the papers of Sir Thomas Cawarden (d. 1559), which were retained by his friend and executor Sir William More. Cawarden is best known as Master of the Revels and of the King's Tents under Henry VIII and his three successors; he was also steward of several royal manors and palaces, a commissioner for Edward VI's surveys of church goods, a leading man in Surrey affairs, and a parvenu landowner whose share of monastic spoils included properties taken from Lingfield College, Kenilworth Abbey and the Black Friars in London. All but a few of the Revels papers and many of Cawarden's other official and personal papers are now in the Folger Library. Some are in the bound volumes of "historical correspondence" retained at Loseley. The most important of the Cawarden papers now at Guildford are (1) records of the Tents Office from 1542-1558, (2) surveys of chantries and inventories of church goods (published in the Surrey Archaeological Collections), (3) paybooks, inventories, etc. relating to Nonsuch and Hampton Court Palaces, and (4) some Blackfriars deeds with interesting topographical detail.

Sir William was also executor to William Sworder, Master of Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury (d. 1575), and thus acquired papers belonging to the Sworder of Swerder family of Harlow, Essex. The collection includes many wills and inventories of other persons for whom the Mores acted as executors, ranging from John Twisilton (d. 1527), a wealthy London goldsmith, to Surrey yeomen and husbandmen.

(taken from a description of the Loseley Manuscripts prepared for the Historical Manuscripts Commission)


22 boxes (712 items)

Language of Materials



Consists of papers collected by the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey, dealing largely with: the Offices of the Tents and of the Revels under Sir Thomas Cawarden (d.1559); property in Blackfriars, London, owned by Cawarden and later by his executor, Sir William More (1520-1600); and the activities, personal and governmental, of Cawarden, Sir William, and Sir George More (1553-1632). Also includes 14 autograph letters signed from John Donne (1573-1631), as well as the official and personal papers of Sir Christopher More (d.1549), Sir Robert More (1581-1626), Sir Poynings More, bart. (1606-1649), Sir William More, bart. (1643-1684), and Rev. Nicholas More (d. 1684).


In this list, items have been arranged under the various members of the More family, the papers of an official nature separated from those of a more personal nature, and each divided into several categories which have been arranged chronologically. The papers of Sir Thomas Cawarden, including nearly all the manuscripts which refer in any way to the Blackfriars even when the Mores become owners of the properties, have been placed at the end. The location of any transcriptions or reproductions of particular manuscripts is noted when applicable--the abbreviated citations correspond to the items listed in Other Formats.


The Folger Shakespeare Library acquired its collection of Loseley manuscripts at five different times. The first group relating to the office of the Revels came in 1938; the second including the Blackfriars' deeds in 1939; the third consisting of the letters of John Donne in April 1940 and a little later a receipt of his; the fourth in 1941; and the fifth in 1954 after fourteen years of negotiation. They were purchased from the family via the bookseller William H. Robinson, Ltd.

Other Formats

We are in the process of updating links in this finding aid. Until all links have been updated, please go to Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey, 1489-1682 (bulk 1538-1630) to view digital images of select items.

Also available as digital images in LUNA

Some items are transcribed or reproduced in the following works: The Loseley manuscripts, edited by A. J. Kempe (London, 1836) [Kempe, 1836]; Documents relating to the revels at court in the time of King Edward VI and Queen Mary, ed. A. G. Feuillerat (Louvain, 1914) [Feuillerat, 1914]; Documents relating to the Office of the Revels in the time of Queen Elizabeth, ed. A. G. Feuillerat (Louvain, 1908) [Feuillerat, 1908]; Collections (Blackfriars records), Malone Society, vol. II, part 1, ed. A. G. Feuillerat (Oxford, 1913) [Feuillerat, 1913]; Collections, (Blackfriars records), Malone Society, vol. VI, part I, ed. A. G. Feuillerat (Oxford, 1924) [Feuillerat, 1924]; A century of persecution under Tudor and Stuart sovereigns from contemporary records, by St. G. K. Hyland (London, 1920) [Hyland, 1920]. Some items are printed or described in "The manuscripts of William More Molyneux, esq., of Loseley Park, Guilford, co. Surrey," Historical Manuscripts Commission, 7th report, part I, Appendix (London, 1879), pp. 596-681 [HMC, 1879].

Related Material

Closely related to the Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey at the Folger is another selection of manuscripts from the Loseley collection belonging to the More-Molyneux family of Loseley Park, Surrey (some medieval, but mainly ca.1500-ca.1700). The majority are available on 23 reels of negative microfilm, filmed in 1983 (Folger Film Acc. 571.1-23); ca. 1000 additional letters are available in photocopies. The microfilm and photocopies are described in a brief guide and an annotated copy of the "List of Loseley Manuscripts reproduced by the Historical Manuscripts Commission" (Z6621.G8 L595). Note that the call numbers may have been changed. Anyone wishing to cite these More-Molyneux Loseley manuscripts should consult the Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 1ND, where they are on deposit.

Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey, 1489-1682 (bulk 1538-1630)
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 1955: Processed by Folger staff ca. 1955. Initial tagging provided by Apex Data Services. Additional tagging by Folger staff.
  • March 23, 2004: PUBLIC "-//Folger Shakespeare Library//TEXT (US::DFo::L.b.1-712::Loseley Collection, 1489-1682)//ENG" "dfoloseley.xml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • January 17, 2017: This finding aid was edited by Emily Wahl to update the Title Proper from "Loseley Collection" to "Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey"

Repository Details

Part of the Folger Shakespeare Library Repository

201 E. Capitol St. SE
Washington DC 20003 USA