On my work placement at the record office I had an opportunity to research a topic of personal interest. At school, I briefly studied Richard Arkwright in history, so I was keen to learn more about him and in particular his family. I searched the catalogue and found a notebook and some of his family’s estate papers. The notebook dates from 1800-1801; an accompanying piece of paper states that it was written by Sir Richard Arkwright’s grandson(Richard Arkwright III) and it is believed that he wrote it whilst he was at university in Cambridge. He talks about the history of England from 55BC to 1423. A few years ago in school we studied the Battle of Hastings so I was curious to learn what he wrote! Unfortunately, the notebook was very difficult to read (see picture). Although, I managed to read a section on William the Conqueror: “After this complete victory, William soon clarified him-self on the English throne; indeed the two earls Edward and Stigard Archbishop of Canterbury endeavoured to set up Edgar Aethling in preference”.
His family’s estate papers included a map of Willersley Farm (which Sir Richard Arkwright owned); he purchased the farm from Thomas Hallet Hodges of Wirksworth in 1782. Also, the file includes some bills from Willersley and a record of the furniture. There was also a document which described Arkwright’s (II) property and some of his belongings after his death on 23 April 1843. In conclusion, looking at some of the items that belonged to Sir Richard Arkwright and his son has given me further insight in to his life. The notebook was very interesting and showed what his grandson did when he was younger and perhaps showcases his passion for history. There are some other things that I would have liked to find out if I had more time, such as finding out more information about the court case (about land between Peter Nightingale and Arkwright) which was briefly mentioned in the estate papers.