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Public Lectures explore Yorkshire archives

Posted on 18 May 2003

The distinctive surnames of Yorkshire, such as Barraclough and Ackroyd, will be traced back to their origins in the Middle Ages, and the reputation of Lord Londonderry, as a ‘fellow traveller' of the Nazis and leading proponent of Nazi Germany, will be explained in a Public Lectures series celebrating 50 years of the Borthwick Institute. Both of the lectures draw upon the extensive holdings of the Borthwick Institute.

The Borthwick Institute of Historical Research cares for one of the richest collections of archives in Europe. It houses the archives of the archbishopric of York, records of important families and politicians, the archives of hospitals, schools, businesses, charities, and much else, from the 13th century to the 21st century. Among many important individual documents are Charlotte Bronte's will and the marriage bonds of Anthony Trollope and William Wordsworth.

Two other lectures in the series will explore the past and the future of the Borthwick Institute itself. The Institute takes its name from William Borthwick of Bridlington, under whose will it was endowed. It was opened in 1953 and ten years later became part of the newly-established University of York as a research institute specialising in the study of ecclesiastical history, in particular that of the Province of York.

The Borthwick is situated in the medieval guild hall of St Anthony the Hermit near the centre of York, but will be relocating to the University of York campus after having obtained lottery funding of £4,415,000 for a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility. The lectures will consider not only the future of the Borthwick on its new site, but also the challenge of electronic archives.

The lectures will all take place at 7.30pm in room P/L001 in the Physics/Electronics building. They are free and open to all.

Notes to editors:

  • Thursday 15 May, "What a place for a university!":the origins of the Borthwick by Dr Kath Webb, Borthwick
  • Thursday 22 May, Archiving the future by Mr Chris Webb, Borthwick
  • Thursday 29 May, Yorkshire's distinctive surnames by Professor David Hey, University of Sheffield
  • Thursday 5 June, Courting the Nazis? Lord Londonderry as a ‘friend of Hitler's Germany', 1933-1940 by Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, University of Sheffield
  • Other lectures open to the public include:
    • Thursday 15 May, Castle Howard and the passing of English Baroque, the Annual Patrides lecture by Dr Christopher Ridgway, Curator, Castle Howard. 5.15pm, room V/045, Vanbrugh College
    • Monday 19 May, John Wesley and Early Methodism in York an Historical Association lecture by Professor E Royle, Department of History, University of York. 8pm, room P/L001, Physics/Electronics building.
    • Wednesday 21 May, Wittgenstein and the Meaning of Life, a Royal Institute of Philosophy lecture by Professor David Wiggins FBA. 6pm, room V/045, Vanbrugh College.
  • The Borthwick Institute was established by the Archbishop of York and York Civic Trust to make available the enormous ecclesiastical archives of the north of England, dating from the 13th century. Because the Church regulated many areas of life until the mid-19th century, these records reveal many aspects of the social and legal history of England.
  • Since the Borthwick was founded in 1953, the archive holdings have grown enormously in quantity and variety. Much material has been received from private individuals, businesses, charities and families, and the archives are constantly being added to.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153