Race against time to save historic documents for Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
The race is on to raise £17,000 in less than a week to buy historic documents relating to Norfolk, so they can be kept as a public record and not lost into the hands of private buyers, the EDP can reveal.
The sale of the contents of Morningthorpe Manor, which constitutes the lifetime work of historian Ron Fiske, starts next week.
But the Norfolk Record Office at County Hall wants to buy £30,000 worth of archives – and has until next Thursday to raise the remaining funds needed.
Items the record office wants includes land ownership records from the 15th century, diaries, business records and documents relating to the care of the poor in the 18th and 19th centuries.
County archivist Gary Tuson said: 'We are a record office and the records should be held here. I don't know how much money I will have - but we have raised nearly £10,000 from public donations already together with £7,000 from organisations – so I will be bidding for as many of the 100 items we would like on Thursday.'
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Items the record office wishes to purchase ranges in price from between £500-£1,500 to as little as £50.
Writing on the record office's website, he added: 'What all the documents identified by the NRO have in common is that they contain information about Norfolk people and places which is not available anywhere else. If these documents are bought privately, the information they contain is likely to remain hidden indefinitely.'
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He said he did not want to reveal the specific lots the record office was bidding for but many included manorial records, about the ownership of properties in the county.
Mr Fiske amassed the collection over his adult lifetime at Morningthorpe Manor but he decided to sell the property last year and in downsizing to smaller accommodation, took the difficult decision to sell almost half of his entire collection.
It has taken archivists handling the week-long sale until now to catalogue and photograph each item in what Roy Murphy, from fine art auctioneers Keys in Aylsham, described as 'one of the biggest country house sales in years.'
Mr Murphy, from Keys Fine Art auctioneers, said: 'Keys Fine Art Auctioneers are delighted to have been instructed to sell this important collection and, as expected, the contents of Morningthorpe Manor has received a great deal of interest.
'Naturally we have a duty to our client to obtain the very best value for the collection, but as Norfolk auctioneers we would be keen to see it remain in the county, so we do hope that the Norfolk Record Office are successful in their bid to raise the funds.'
Not only are historic documents on sale but items of furniture, paintings and china are also up for auction on Monday.
The contents from Mr Fiske's extensive library, including the historic documents, will go on sale on Thursday and Friday.
If you would like to help go to the record office website norah-df.org.uk or you can send a cheque payable to the Norfolk Record Office, the Archive Centre, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2DQ.
For more info on the sale, see www.keysauctions.co.uk