Documents Safeguarded for Future Study

Recently two historically important volumes were offered for auction at a saleroom in Derby, but fortunately were spotted in the auction catalogue by Clare Herbert. Those of us who looked at the catalogue were convinced that these volumes were of great importance to mining historians, and to those studying other aspects of Peak District history too.

Steve Thompson visited the saleroom in advance of the auction, and was allowed to use an office to study and photograph the volumes. The smaller volume dates back to the 1820s, but the larger one, of over 300 pages, bears the signature and date “J Mander, 1790”. It contains detailed copies of some very early indentures and articles of agreement, as well as precise transcripts of documents dating from the 13th to the 17th century.

This examination further convinced us of their value, and that the Society should make every effort to purchase them for deposition in the PDMHS Collection (D6967) in the Derbyshire Record Office at Matlock, where they will be held in secure archival storage, and will be freely available to historians for study.

Richard Shaw agreed to attend the auction to bid on behalf of the Society. The auctioneer’s estimate was £300 to £500, and Steve had been told during his visit that they expected “little interest outside Derbyshire”. How wrong can one be !!!

Bidding, most of it online, on this lot was at first fast and furious, but finally came down to a few online bidders versus Richard in the saleroom. The price reached £1,000, then £1,100, and Richard finally secured the lot with a bid of £1,200 (about £1,500 with the buyer’s commission).

This purchase has been something of a triumph for the Society, as we have not only ensured that they will be available for study in Derbyshire, but have prevented them from being taken abroad, as there were bidders from Australia and the USA !!!

The Society would like to appeal to members to offer donations to help cover the high cost of this purchase. Contributions can be:

  • sent to the Hon. Treasurer at the Peak District Mining Museum, Matlock Bath (cheques payable to PDMHS Ltd., and including a note that the donation is for the purchase of Lot 3739),
  • made by PayPal via the special acquisitions page on the Society website mentioning “Lot 3739”,
  • or if you wish to contribute by online banking please contact for details.
  • If you are a UK tax payer please confirm that we can claim Gift Aid, that means we can collect a further 25% from HMRC.

All contributions will be most gratefully received.

Details of the Society’s Collection and our Special Acquisitions can be found here:-, and this includes a link to the online catalogue of Derbyshire Record Office Collection D6967.

One of the title pages showing the much faded signature “J Mander 1790”.
The auction house kindly permitted Steve to photograph the hundreds of pages of the volumes before the auction.  This meant we would have a record of the contents even if we were not able to win the auction.