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Manuscript Collection

Collection Title: Kitson (John) Letters

Collection Number: M153

Dates: 1826-1837

Volume: 4 Items

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

John Kitson resided in Thorpe Market, a small town near the city of Norwich, in the county of Norfolk, England, during the first half of the nineteenth century. Norwich is the regional capital for the East Anglian region of England, and is situated northeast of London. Between 1831 and 1837, Kitson apparently worked in the Registry and Public Records Office in Norwich, processing and indexing legal documents such as divorce papers and wills. He may also have served as a solicitor in the Norwich area. No other information is available concerning the life of John Kitson, although a researcher may wish to make further enquiries from the following addresses. For information regarding marriages, births, deaths, and census indexes, contact: Norfolk County Record Office, Central Library, Norwich, NR2 1NJ, England.

For the Lawyers Index, which includes a large number of entries for nineteenth century country solicitors, contact the address below, which was correct as of 1989: T. Cockerill, The Old Mill House, Western Colville, Cambridge, ENGLAND.

Scope and Content:

This collection contains four letters written between February 1826 and March 1837. Three of the letters are addressed to John Kitson of Norwich, Norfolk, while the other is addressed to Richard Shaw of Gillingham, Norfolk. All are handwritten and in relatively good condition.

The first letter, dated February 23, 1826, is addressed to John Kitson. It is a reply to an inquiry by Kitson concerning several legal matters, including the details of a particular will (no name) and problems concerning the executors of the document. The writer advises Kitson to be careful in his counsel concerning the will. Also included in the letter are details concerning the divorce of a Reverend Hewlett, an affair that also warrants caution on Kitson's part, due to problems between Hewlett and the opposing counsel, Mr. Jones. Finally, the item offers insight into documentation of legal matters during the first half of the nineteenth century, as the writer instructs Kitson on the preparation of legal briefs and depositions. The letter is signed but unfortunately the name is illegible. From the familiar tone of the contents, however, the author must have been a close associate of Kitson.

The second letter is addressed to John Kitson at the Registry Office, Norwich, and is dated March 2, 1831. Written by Alex Stewart, a lawyer based in Dumfries, Scotland, the letter concerns the affairs of James Craig, also of Dumfries, who apparently died on January 17, 1767. Stewart wishes to be sent a copy of Craig's will, as he believes the widow of James Craig is not the rightful heir to his property and land. The alleged rightful heirs are Stewart's clients, who are listed only as "friends of Craig".

The third item is addressed to Richard Shaw of Gillingham, Norfolk. It is a double sheet of paper containing a printed document from the London Stamp Office, on the front, and a handwritten letter on the inside page. The letter was apparently written by the attorney for Richard Shaw's estate. Dated July 6, 1831, the document from the Stamp Office is a request for unpaid duties concerning the will of Daniel Pettet, of which Richard Shaw was the executor. The document is signed by Thomas Gywnne, Controller of Legacy Duties. The handwritten letter, dated August 2, 1832, is in reply to the request from the Stamp Office, and informs officials that Richard Shaw is dead. It further states that the matter was brought to the writer's attention by Benjamin Brundell, executor of Shaw's estate. Finally, it informs officials of the Stamp Office that Daniel Pettet's assets were consumed by his widow during her lifetime, and there is nothing left on which to pay duties.

Dated March 4, 1837, the final item in the collection is a printed list of the General Committee of Governors and Guardians of the Foundling Hospital. The list contains the names and addresses of 62 individuals, including King William IV. On the reverse side is a handwritten letter addressed to John Kitson from Charlotte Safford of London. Ms. Safford appears to be seeking Kitson's assistance in securing a position with the hospital. She informs Kitson that she must supply references as to character and conduct, and that these references must be submitted by March 13.

This collection may be of value to those interested in legal matters in England during the first half of the nineteenth century, as the letters offer colorful insights into several legal cases and provide details concerning the preparation of legal documents.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: December 9, 2004