Papers : 1618 - 1830.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .W9M3P3
Category: Family
Creator: Wykeham-Martin Family.
Description: 1 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            The Wykeham-Martin manuscripts in the County Hall, Maidstone, Kent, England, were once part of a much larger collection of family papers until a portion of the collection was sold in recent years. While the title given to the Papers contains the names of only two families, Wykeham and Martin, the collection also includes Culpeper/Colepeper and Fairfax family manuscripts. The four families were connected by marriage, and other family relationships, through the three centuries  that are repesented in the microfilm edition of the Papers.

During the English Civil War, John Culpeper, the only son and heir of Sir John Culpeper, first took the Parliamentarian side in the conflict, but later became a Royalist when he disagreed with the Parliamentarian's extreme measures. As a result, he lost his lands through forfeiture. After the British monarchy was restored, he was created Baron Colepeper of Thoresway, Lincoln in 1640, and around 1650 he purchased Leeds Castle. In 1649, King Charles 11 granted several Cavaliers the Neck of Virginia in compensation for the loss of their estates during the Civil War. Lord Culpeper came to Virginia and consolidated the Cavalier lands. He returned to England in 1660 where he died soon after. Later, his English estates were returned to his wife.

Lord John Culpeper was succeeded by his oldest son, Lord Thomas Culpeper, who was appointed Governor of Virginia, but had little desire to go to the colony except when forced to do so by the King. His relationship with the colonists was stormy, and when he returned to England in 1683 he was relieved of his post. At his death the title passed to his brothers who had no heirs, and eventually the title became extinct

Catherine Culpeper, the only surviving child of Lord Thomas Culpeper, inherited Leeds Castle, estates on the Isle of Wight, and 300,000 acres in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She married Thomas, the fifth Lord Fairfax, in 1685, and at her death in 1719 her lands passed into the Fairfax family. Their son, the sixth Lord Fairfax, was a well educated and able gentleman who came to Virginia, encouraged settlement, and played a significant role in public life. He built Greenway Court in Winchester, Virginia, and was the only resident British peer in the Colonies during the American Revolution. In 1782, he was succeeded by his brother, Robert, who died without issue, whereupon Leeds Castle, along with the family lands and the title, passed to other members of the Fairfax family. From there through somewhat complicated family connections, the inheritance passed to the Martin and Wykeham families.

            The Papers are comprised almost entirely of letters. They have been arranged by families and those that relate of the Culpeper, Fairfax, and Martin families have been sorted to the item level description and arranged by recipient. The large series of letters for Fiennes Wykeham-Martin has not been sorted in detail.

The arrangement of the Papers is outlined in a finding aid that has been microfilmed at the beginning of the reel. Each group of letters begins with a brief paragraph describing the content of the material that follows. The heading also indicates the number of letters in the section. Each recipient's letters are numbered, arranged chronologically, and grouped within a specific period of time. In general, the Papers relate to the problems of settlement in America, and revolve around the large property in Virginia which descended from the Culpeper family and was finally escheated after the American Revolution.

In the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, it was agreed that Congress would recommend to the individual States that property taken from the Loyalists should be returned. The weakness of this clause was the fact it was only a recommendation, and that allowed the States to ignore the provision. In almost every State, the Loyalists' lands were not restored to their rightful owners. For the Culpeper/Fairfax/Martin family it meant the loss of property that had been in their families for generations. For other large Loyalist land owners whose lands were confiscated, including Sir John Johnson, the DeLancey and Robinson families, and many others, the situation was similar.

Originals: The original records are held in County Hall, Maidstone, Kent, England.
Archival Ref. No.:
Finding Aids:
            An introduction prepared by Dennis Rubini, Exeter University, has been microfilmed at the beginning of the reel. It includes valuable biographical information about the families concerned, a genealogical chart illustrating the relationships between the families, background information on the family's lands in America, an item level contents list of the letters that are included in the microfilm and a bibliography.

A table has been created by the author of the Loyalist Collection which coordinates each family name with the corresponding sections of recipients' letters and the dates of the sections. This table makes it convenient for researchers to focus on the letters of a particular recipient within a specific period of time. This finding aid is available in print with the Loyalist Collection Finding Aids and on the World Wide Web.

Electronic Finding Aid Record: Wykeham-Martin Family Table of Families.pdf
Notes: The Wykeham-Martin Papers is one of several titles in the series, British Records Relating to America in Microform, which are published under the auspices of the British Association for American Studies by Microform Limited.

The excellent introductory material provided by the editor of the Papers has been the source of much useful information in the preparation of this Inventory description.

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