The Crewe Collection

1809-06-19 00:00:00

Birth of Richard Monckton Milnes

Richard Monckton Milnes was born in London, the son of Robert Pemberton Milnes and Henrietta Maria Monckton. The family home was Fryston Hall, near Ferrybridge, Yorkshire.

1827-09-03 00:00:00

Richard Monckton Milnes at Trinity

Richard Monckton Milnes entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1827 and graduated with an MA in 1831. At Trinity he was drawn into a literary set, and became a member of the famous Apostles Club, which then included Alfred Tennyson, Arthur Hallam, Richard Chenevix Trench, Joseph Williams Blakesley, and others.

1837-05-03 00:25:43

Richard Monckton Milnes MP

In 1837 Richard Monckton Milnes was elected to Parliament as member for Pontefract, as a Conservative. He remained an MP until 1863.

1851-07-30 00:25:43

Marriage of Richard Monckton Milnes

Richard Monckton Milnes married Annabella Hungerford-Crewe, the youngest daughter of John Crewe, 2nd Baron Crewe and Henrietta Maria Ann Hungerford, in 1851. They had two daughters and one son, Robert.

1858-01-12 03:48:50

Birth of Robert Milnes

Robert Offley Ashburton Milnes was born at 16 Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, London, the only son of Richard Monckton Milnes, by his wife the Hon. Annabella Crewe, daughter of John Crewe, 2nd Baron Crewe.

1863-08-20 05:56:58

Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton

Richard Monckton Milnes was raised to the peerage as Baron Houghton (Lord Houghton) in 1863.

1875-10-01 01:22:03

Robert Milnes at Trinity

Robert Milnes entered Trinity College Cambridge in 1875. He received his BA in 1880 and MA in 1885.

1876-11-16 20:57:47

Fire at Fryston Hall

"...the pictures by the old masters, the rare collection of books and ancient Mss. in every tongue, from every quarter of the globe, whose collection, distribution, and arrangement were Lord Houghton's hobby and pride, whose contents he had mastered and stowed away in his brain, have been for the most part lost or dispersed." (Isabel Burton, Lord Houghton at Fryston Hall, 1877)

1880-06-03 17:45:53

Marriage of Robert Milnes

Robert Milnes married Sibyl Marcia Graham (1857–1887), daughter of Sir Frederick Graham, 3rd Baronet, of Netherby in the County of Cumberland, in 1880. They had three daughters and one son, who died in childhood.

1885-08-11 01:28:37

Death of Richard Monckton Milnes

Lord Houghton died at Vichy, France, in August 1885, aged 76, and was buried at Fryston.

1885-09-01 01:28:37

Robert Milnes, 2nd Baron Houghton

At the death of his father, Robert Milnes inherited the title of 2nd Baron Houghton and became known as the Lord Houghton.

1887-09-19 22:35:40

Death of Sybil Marcia Graham Milnes, Baroness Houghton

Robert's wife Sybil Marcia died suddenly in September 1887, at the age of thirty, leaving him with three daughters and one son, Richard, who would die three years later, in 1890.

1894-01-03 18:13:35

Robert Milnes inherits the Crewe estates

Robert's uncle, Hungerford Crewe, 3rd Baron Crewe (1812-1894), died of influenza in 1894. He had never married and the barony became extinct on his death. His estates (consisting of nearly 50,000 acres in four counties) were inherited by his nephew, Robert Milnes, son of his sister Annabella Hungerford Crewe. Robert changed his family name to Crewe-Milnes and became Earl of Crewe the following year (1895).

1899-04-20 07:02:05

Second marriage of Robert Crewe-Milnes

At 41 years of age, Robert Crewe-Milnes married Lady Margaret Etrenne Hannah (Peggy) Primrose, daughter of the 5th Earl of Rosebery, who was 18 at the time. They had a son, Richard, who died in childhood, and a daughter, Mary Evelyn.

1899-10-01 05:36:07

Crewe House

Robert Crewe-Milnes acquired Wharncliffe House, in Curzon Street, London, and renamed it Crewe House in 1899.

1904-03-24 19:52:20

Sale of Fryston Hall and Estate

In 1904, Robert Crewe-Milnes was said to have amassed debts of £600,000 (nearly £64 million today) as a result of extravagance and speculation. He sold Fryston Hall and Estate at auction. The parts of Richard Monckton Milnes's library which had survived the fire of 1876 were moved to Crewe Hall in Cheshire, and merged with the Crewe family collection.

1911-01-01 10:53:38

Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe

Thanks to the numerous successes in his political career, Robert Crewe-Milnes was created Marquess of Crewe in 1911.

1915-03-23 23:43:53

Birth of Mary Evelyn Crewe-Milnes

Mary Evelyn Hungerford Crewe-Milnes was born on the 23rd March 1915. She was named after her godmother, Queen Mary.

1922-03-31 12:37:18

Death of Richard Crewe-Milnes

Robert's son and heir, Richard George Archibald John Lucian Hungerford Crewe-Milnes, known as Lord Madeley, died at age 11.

1922-08-10 17:39:53

The family leaves Crewe Hall

The Crewe-Milnes family left Crewe Hall in 1922, and moved to their London home, Crewe House, in Curzon Street.

1931-03-23 01:53:30

West Horsley Place

West Horsley Place, Surrey, was acquired by Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe and his wife, the Marchioness of Crewe, in 1931. The Crewe library, previously at Crewe Hall, was transferred to West Horsley in the same year.

1935-10-24 18:36:43

Marriage of Mary Evelyn Crewe-Milnes

Mary Evelyn Crewe-Milnes married George Innes-Ker, 9th Duke of Roxburghe, on 24 October 1935, at Westminster Abbey. She was then known as Mary Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe.

1936-04-01 07:30:08

Sale of Crewe Hall

Robert Crewe-Milnes had offered Crewe Hall to Cheshire County Council as a gift in 1931. After the Council's refusal, the majority of the estate was sold to the Duchy of Lancaster in 1936.

1937-09-01 21:38:41

Sale of Crewe House

The books Robert Crewe-Milnes had collected and kept at Crewe House were moved to West Horsley Place when Crewe House was sold in 1937.

1945-06-20 07:28:44

Death of Robert Crewe-Milnes

Lord Crewe died in June 1945, aged 87. As he had no surviving male heir his titles became extinct.

1953-10-01 22:00:54

Divorce of Mary Innes-Ker

Mary and George Roxburghe divorced in 1953, after the Duke controversially attempted to evict her from the ancestral home at Floors Castle. After her divorce, Mary spent much of her life at 15 Hyde Park Gardens, London.

1967-03-13 05:45:24

Death of Peggy Crewe-Milnes

Mary's mother, Lady Margaret Etrenne Hannah (Peggy) Primrose Crewe-Milnes, the Marchioness of Crewe, died at age 86. Mary Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe, inherited West Horsley Place. The house became a retreat for the Duchess, as well as a convenient store for her family’s collections.

2014-07-02 01:19:06

Death of Mary Innes-Ker

Mary Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe, died in 2014, aged 99. In her will, the Duchess bequeathed her family's collection of over 7,500 books, including major and hitherto unknown works of English and French literature, to the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, where both her father and grandfather had studied. West Horsley Place ( was inherited by her great-nephew Bamber Gascoigne, the grandson of her much older half-sister Lady Annabel Hungerford Crewe-Milnes.

2015-06-01 11:39:17

From West Horsley Place to Trinity Library

The move of the Crewe Collection from West Horsley to Trinity Library was carefully planned, and preceded by months of visits to West Horsley Place, the last residence of the Duchess of Roxburghe, by the librarians, who browsed the original shelves and started making amazing discoveries.

2015-12-17 15:51:16

The Crewe Collection arrives at Trinity

"One of the most exciting undiscovered libraries in Britain" became part of the Wren Library's collections.

2016-01-31 11:39:17

Work begins on the Crewe Collection

Soon after Crewe books arrived at Trinity, the Library’s cataloguers and digitisation specialists began working on the Collection, in order to make its treasures available to the general public. Through cataloguing, digitisation, blogging and exhibition work, there is now a variety of ways for the general public to enjoy this amazing Collection.

2021-07-19 11:39:17

Crewe Collection cataloguing

4,309 bibliographic records have been created since January 2016, and the number is growing every day. All books catalogued so far can be found on the Library catalogue (click on "Find out more" to access a list of catalogued Crewe books).

The Crewe Collection

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