10 Facts About Our Collections in the North Devon Record Office

The North Devon Record Office was opened in 1988 and we have been working alongside them ever since.

1. When the North Devon Record Office First Opened, they Charged for Viewing Their Collections…Except the Ones We had Put on Loan!

Our Deed of Trust ensures anyone can view our collections for free, as such the Record Office had to enter into an agreement that anyone who wished to view any of our items on loan with them were exempt from paying the charge. The Record Office charges were subsequently dropped making all of the records in their care free to view.

The North Devon Record Office Strongroom May 1988

2. The First Collection we lodged with the North Devon Record Office was also the First Collection They Accepted.

When we moved into our new home, we transferred the Barnstaple Borough Records to the North Devon Record Office. We had given the Borough Records a home a hundred years ago to safe guard their future and in 1988 we decided to transfer them to our new partners.

3. Nearly All of the First 39 Collections Deposited with the North Devon Record Office Came from Us

We deposited Several collections with the North Devon Record Office during the first few months of moving into our current home.

4. Among the Items We Deposited Is the Oldest Document in North Devon

The deed dates to around 1154 and is a grant from Oliver de Tracey to the Abbot and Monks of S. Salvator for Barnstaple Fair.

5. All Our Meteorological Records Are Deposited with the North Devon Record Office.

There are several registers of daily meteorological observations including, temperature, rainfall, pressure, cloud cover and wind directions from 1858 – 1983. These observations were taken using instruments held by the Literary and Scientific Institute and were carried on when we became the Athenaeum. You can see where the instruments were housed in several pictures of our old building.

6. Our Collections Include School and Parish Records

Before the North Devon Record Office opened its doors in 1988 many local schools and parishes deposited their items with us rather than have them be looked after all the way down in Exeter. When the NDRO opened we transferred nearly all of these records across, some on a permanent basis.

7. Before the Record Office opened a Branch in North Devon, many of our Items were Surveyed by Staff from Exeter.

Many of these surveys became the lists used when we deposited our items with the North Devon branch.

8. The Hawkins Grant of Arms is one of the Items Most Produced for Displays.

The Grant of Arms given to John Hawkins of Plymouth in 1565/66 is one of the items most produced for display due to its decorative appearance. In fact, there are two grants of arms within the document, the first for slave trading and the second, dated 1571, for the capture of Rio de la Hacha from the Spanish in 1568.

9. The Phillips Manuscript Collection is Split Between the Record Office and Our Shelves.

Many of the items in the manuscript collection were written or compiled by Benjamin Incledon who served as the Recorder of Barnstaple from 1758-1796. He also made several transcripts of memorial inscriptions across Devon and the Southwest as well as drawings of some of the seals and arms relating to Devonshire. While we have the Monumental Inscriptions and Pedigrees for Devon on our shelves, items covering further afield are on loan with the Record Office.

10. We Placed Items on Loan with the Record Office as Recently as 2011.

We are constantly reviewing and assessing our collections and occasionally still transfer suitable items to the Record Office for safe keeping. The most recent items were maps of North Devon, including estate papers for the Wrey Estate and the Chichester family.

The North Devon Record Office Strongroom December 2018

…Barum Athena

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