TitleSheffield Church Burgesses Trust [DRAFT CATALOGUE, JAN 2020]
AdminHistorySheffield was one of the numerous seignorial boroughs established by charter of a tenant-in-chief in the thirteenth century. By the same charter of 1297 granted by Furnival, the free tenants of Sheffield acquired the borough in fee farm. The corporate body which developed in response was the Burgery, which was evident from 1498.

The functions of the Burgery were both spiritual and secular. Consequently, the Burgery was sequestered under the Act for the Suppression of Chantries of 1548. In the Marian Counter-Reformation, the functions were restored, but under distinct and separate trusts. By letters patent of 1554, the Twelve Capital Burgesses and Commonalty of the Town and Parish of Sheffield were incorporated to oversee the spiritual and ecclesiastical aspects of parish and parish church. The principal responsibilities of the Burgesses were therefore the repair of the fabric, administration of trust property, payment of stipends of the vicar and curates and some charitable expenditure. The Burgesses also presented to the office of the 3 assistant ministers of the parish church of Sheffield and paid the stipends.

In the nineteenth century, these responsibilities were somewhat modified. The 1854 Chancery Scheme regulated the expenditure of income, 5/7 to ecclesiastical and 2/7 to secular purposes. The most significant change, however, was the creation of new parishes to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding urban population. In 1874, the Charity Commissioners granted the Burgesses additional powers for endowing new parish churches.
DescriptionTwo celebrated Sheffield professional families were responsible for the production of many of the Burgesses' archives. James Wheat (d.1805) was appointed Law Clerk to the Burgesses in Mar 1766, and established his practice in Paradise Square from 1777. On 24 Jun 1778, Wheat was elected one of the Burgesses. This family and practice continued to serve as Law Clerk, through to John James Wheat (1825-1915) and John Bristow Wheat (1858-1936). After the death of the latter, the practice and the clerkship changed hands. Where original arrangements survive, they are undoubtedly the work of the Wheats, and have been retained.

The other family was the Fairbanks who acted as surveyors for the Burgesses. The Fairbanks were responsible for the maps and plans, the plans inserted in the margins of building leases, but also for the specifications for houses in building leases. As many of these houses are still extant, the townscape of parts of Sheffield bears additional testimony to the influence of the Fairbanks.

Although the administrative papers of the Burgesses are a fine, continuous series, it is, perhaps, the documents which throw additional light on Sheffield's topography which will be of immediate interest. The development of the Burgesses' property in Sheffield in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century complements what is known of the development of the far larger Norfolk estate. The rentals, 1743-1949, are useful, but the building leases (for 99 years) are even more so. They furnish an additional list of builders, joiners, carpenters, and their activities. The leases specify the number of dwellinghouses to be erected and their value, indicating the scale of individual builder's operations and the initial character of the housing. Furthermore, something of the policy of the Trust is detected. The bundles of deeds of mortgage and assignment of leasehold property illumine the finances of builders and an aspect of the urban property market.

Charters, Wills and early Deeds 1304-1696

Minute Books 1798-1959

Minute Books of Committees of the Burgesses 1903-1956

Account Books 1557-1939

Ledgers 1904-1954

Registers of Leases 1610-1942

Rentals 1816-1957

Vouchers 1555-1796

Miscellaneous Administrative Papers c1555-1822

Counterpart Leases 1702-1755

Building Leases 1737-1856

Counterpart Leases 1737-1835

Expired and Surrendered Leases 1766-1939

Miscellaneous Counterpart Leases and Assignments 1737-1898

Miscellaneous Counterpart Leases, Assignments and Surrenders 1792-1934

Leases and Assignments 1609-1945

Deeds of Exchange and other Conveyances 1783-1871

Investment Papers 1827-1952

Later Accounts 1853-1947

Legal Papers 1768-1933

Benefice and Endowment Papers 1793-1936

Papers relating to the appointment of Assistant Ministers and Organist 1842-1886

Antiquarian and Legal Papers of J Newton Coombe 1879-1941

Maps and Plans 1768-1851

Additional Papers 1554-1936

(Acc. 1978/77)
Letter books

(Acc. 2007/28)
Supplementary royal charter to permit election of women by amending wording on original charter 2003.
Date1304 - 1977
Extent1,225 items
AccessConditionsAccess is restricted to some documents. Applications to consult these documents must be made to:

Mr G. J. Smallman
The Law Clerk,
Wrigleys Solicitors LLP
3rd Floor Fountain Precinct
Balm Green
Sheffield S1 2JA

Tel: 0114 267 5594
Fax: 0114 267 5630
RelatedMaterialThe Wheat collection also includes leases relating to the Burgesses, as might be expected. Equally, the Fairbank collection includes material relating to the Burgesses' estates. A survey of 1794 probably related to CB 1633 (volume of plans, 1768, revised to 1794) is Arundel Castle MSS.X.1.
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