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British Country Houses, Gardens, and Castles: Primary Sources

This page is intended to guide users through the resources needed to study Castles, Country Houses and Gardens of England, Scotland and Wales.

Primary Sources at Yale



Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later.

See Tools for Discovery for tips on identifying materials relevant to your research.

Yale Digital Commons

Yale Digital Commons

Search across Yale's collections of art, natural history, books, maps, photographs, audio and video recordings and other resources. Collections include: Center for British Art, University Art Gallery, Peabody Museum, Lewis Walpole Library and Library Map Collection.

Key Primary Sources

Archival Resources

Yale Finding Aids Database

This database consists of finding aids for archival and manuscript materials at Yale University. Finding aids represent holdings from:

Archive Finder 

Describes over 200,000 collections of primary source material housed in thousands of repositories across the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Archives Hub

The Archives Hub provides a gateway to thousands of the UK’s richest archives. Representing over 180 institutions across the country, the Archives Hub is an effective way to discover unique and often little known sources to support your research.

The National Archives

As the offical public archive of the United Kingdom government, the Archive holds records covering more than 1,000 years of history. Government records which have been selected for permanent preservation are sent to The National Archives.

The National Archives Manorial Documents Register

The Manorial Documents Register identifies the nature and location of manorial records. The MDR is partially computerized – Wales, the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, the three Ridings of Yorkshire, Shropshire, Surrey, Middlesex, Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire North of the Sands (the Furness area, part of Cumbria since 1974), Dorset, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire are available online. However the majority of the counties have not yet been computerized and information is still only available by visiting our searchroom or writing in with an enquiry.

The National Archives: National Register of Archives Family and Estate Index

The Family and Estate Index includes references to the nature and location of papers of titled families, the landed gentry and other families.