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Tudor papers bought by university
Hengrave Hall. Photographs copyright Suffolk County Council Education Department. Photographs taken by Chris Garnett. Additional photos by Clive Cartmel.
Hengrave Hall is a celebrated Tudor mansion built in the 1520s
A collection of historic manuscripts, dating back to the 12th Century, has been saved for the nation by Cambridge University, it has been announced.

The treasure trove of family and estate papers from Hengrave Hall, Suffolk - worth almost 1m - was in danger of being broken up and sold at auction.

But following a campaign to save the papers by Cambridge University Library their future is now safe.

The library received a 285,000 National Heritage Memorial Fund grant.

It has allowed the library to complete the purchase of the collection.

The manuscripts comprise papers accumulated or collected by various families whose main home was Hengrave Hall, a celebrated Tudor mansion built in the 1520s.

'Remarkable history'

One of the highlights is the Tudor correspondence, much of it involving Margaret Kitson, wife of Thomas Kitson, the builder of Hengrave Hall.

Other correspondents include King Henry VIII, Queen Mary and Thomas Washington, ancestor of George Washington and nephew of Thomas Kitson.

The most valuable item in the collection is thought to be from Sir Philip Sidney, the poet, soldier and statesman, who died in 1586. His letters are extremely rare.

The documents include household accounts, which give a fascinating glimpse into domestic life in Tudor times. They also have enormous value for the history of Roman Catholicism in England.

Dr Patrick Zutshi, keeper of manuscripts and university archives at Cambridge University, said: "The Hengrave Hall Manuscripts are a remarkable source for national, regional and local history over a period of seven centuries and one of the finest Tudor archives still in private hands."

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