This collection of 23 Boxes of solicitor’s papers includes original documents dating from 1586 to 1918 and also an eighteenth century copy of a Royal Charter of 1285. There are records from Messrs Fellows of Rickmansworth, Grover and Smeathman of Hemel Hempstead and Gayton and Hare of Much Hadham.
The bulk of the collection originates with Messrs Fellows (or Fellowes) of Rickmansworth. Thomas Fellows was a partner and later trustee of the brewery business of Salter Woodman and Company of Rickmansworth. There are several partnership agreements included, the first of which is between Samuel Salter, Thomas Woodman and John Woodbridge Pindar and dated 1805. At one time, in addition to the brewery premises, they owned or leased over eighty properties in the counties of Hertfordshire, Buckingham, Bedfordshire and Middlesex. Schedules of these together with their tenants are often included in the partnership agreements. Deeds and correspondence relating to the individual properties are also to be found within the collection. Many of the properties were copyhold, so there are also a significant number of manorial documents within the collection
In 1830 the premises in Rickmansworth was the subject of a court case between William Windale, Lord of the Manor of Rickmansworth, and the owners of the brewery over disputed entry fines.
The paper mills near Rickmansworth also gave rise to several cases. There is a printed version of a case in 1865 relating to the mill workings’ pollution of a nearby fishery. There is also a great deal of material relating to a case of trespass and damage when in 1883 Thomas Weedon of Loudwater Mill seized and impounded cattle belonging to his neighbour, Elizabeth Morgan. The following year she retaliated by blocking the mill–stream with 1400 loads of stones and rubbish.
Other items include, bankruptcies, marriage settlements, documents relating to the care of the poor, disputes, tenants that have to be ejected and many other matters too numerous to list.
A great part of the collection from Grover and Smeathman concerns the Estate of Colonel George Edward Grover. As well as including the history of Colonel Grover it includes correspondence from Sir Henry Wood relating to the time when the Colonel was in Chicago and in charge of an exhibition for the Royal Society of Arts.
There is also quite a lot of correspondence from Gayton and Hare relating to the estate of Colonel Grover. Their portion of the collection also includes conveyances of land in Barkway, matters concerning the school in Much Hadham. and disputes between landlords and tenants. Of particular interest are letters relating to the lease, to J W French, of the Maltings in Ware.
Other items of interest occurring throughout the collection include the appointment of Samuel Salter to be a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and an (unrelated) assignment of the County Jail and its inmates.
And finally one complete example from what is a very wide ranging and interesting collection.
Inexpeximus of a Charter of Edward 1, dated 5 Nov 1285, whereby Edmund, Earl of Cornwall gave to St Mary and the Rector of the Bons Hommes, brethren of the Church founded at Esserugge, all the Manor of Esserugge, together with the park, lying in the parish of Berkhamsted St Peter and in the parish of Pichelesturne, together with all rights, customs etc, nd