Skip to main content

Hanbury-Aggs Family Papers

Identifier: SFHL-RG5-058

Scope and Contents

The Hanbury-Aggs Papers represent an important resource for the study of middle class Quaker family life in 19th century London and central England. This collection illustrates a network of mutual obligation among merchants, bankers, and manufacturers arranging apprenticeships, investing in each other's ventures, serving as executors for each other's estates, a network that was cemented by a complex web of intermarriages. The Hanbury and Aggs families were directly related by the marriage of Thomas and Anna Christy Hanbury Aggs, but were further tied by kinship with many of the other important Quaker families of the day, including Gurney, Barclay, Bell, Pease, Birbeck, Kett, etc. The journals, correspondence, and estate papers are excellent sources for this documentation.

These papers also offer information on a variety of other topics. Of particular interest is the material in Series 4. Daniel Bell Hanbury's travel journals illustrate contemporary conditions in Europe (as viewed by an English Quaker) and give information about the Verona Conference, which he visited with his uncle William Allen. Allen called on Czar Alexander, the Duke of Wellington, and others to encourage the abolition of the slave trade.

Daniel Bell Hanbury's later correspondence (Series 4 & 6) with son Thomas in Shanghai provides an insight into China trade and current events in the East. The letters (Series 5) of his son, Daniel, author of Pharmacogia, and Daniel's correspondence with Thomas, who had returned from China and was living in La Mortola on the Italian Riviera, concern medicinal plants and natural science. Sir Thomas' gardens were well known and were visited by royalty and tourists.

Some material on women in the families has been preserved. The Account Books (Series 2) of Hannah Plumstead Sr. document the household expenses of an upper middle class Quaker widow at the end of the 18th century. Hannah's niece, Anna Hanbury, kept at least two journals of her travel in 1814 and 1815 which can be compared with those of her nephew, Daniel Bell Hanbury, for the same trips (Series 3 & 4). Anna Christy Hanbury (1830-1913), who later married Thomas Aggs, wrote letters to her parents while traveling in Italy and France (Series 7).


  • Creation: 1718-1914


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See

Biographical / Historical

The Hanbury and Aggs families were prominent English Quakers who were involved in a variety of mercantile and philanthropic activities, predominantly in the 19th century. Daniel Bell Hanbury was the son of Capel and Charlotte Bell Hanbury of Stanford Hill, north of London. He entered Old Plough Court Pharmacy in 1808, under the sponsorship of his uncle, William Allen, and married Rachel Christy in 1824. Their son, Daniel, was also a pharmacologist, and became a partner in Allen & Hanbury's. Thomas Hanbury, the third son, began his career as a silk merchant in Shanghai, and in 1867 purchased an old villa at Mortola on the road to Ventimiglia in northern Italy. He pursued botanical research, and his gardens were visited by royalty. Thomas Hanbury was knighted in 1901 for his philanthropy. Daniel Bell Hanbury's only daughter, Anna Christy Hanbury, married Thomas Aggs, the son of Henry and Mary Gibbins Aggs in 1861.


5.5 linear ft. (11 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Hanbury and Aggs families were prominent English Quakers who were involved in a variety of mercantile and philanthropic activities, predominantly in the 19th century. They were pharmacologists, silk merchant in Shanghai, travelers, and philanthropists (Thomas Hanbury was knighted in 1901 for his philanthropy). The collection contains correspondence, journals, business and financial papers, and other miscellaneous material. Includes Daniel Bell Hanbury's journals of his travels with William Allen, prominent English Quaker and abolitionist, to France and Germany in 1817 and 1822, as well as a visit with Czar Alexander at the Congress of Verona, and Anna Hanbury's journals of her trip to Bristol with observations on glass and pottery manufacture in 1815. Also included is correspondence with Thomas Hanbury, a silk merchant in Shanghai, concerning China trade and events in the Far East, and letters of Anna to her parents during a trip to Italy and France in 1860. Correspondence of Henry and Mary Gibbons Aggs and the 1815 European travel journals of Henry Aggs, are also noteworthy.


The collection is organized in 11 series.

Series 1: General Biographical and Genealogical Papers, 1711-1887: Papers of the families not included in Series 2-10; includes general biographical and genealogical material.

Series 2: Capel Hanbury II (?-1769) Papers, 1733-1894: Primarily the estate administration papers of Capel Hanbury and of the family of his wife, Mary Lunn, including the Lunns and Plumsteads. Capel Hanbury, a birthright Friend, was the only son of Elizabeth Newton and Capel Hanbury, a Bristol soap merchant. Capel, the son, entered into partnership with his cousin, John Hanbury, as Virginia tobacco merchants. In 1750, he married Mary (d. 1793), daughter and heir of William Lunn, Vintner, at St. Botolph's, London. This Series is composed of account books and contracts and probated wills relating to the estates of the family of Mary Lunn Hanbury, including her parents, William and Mary Miers Lunn, sister and brother-in-law, Hannah Lunn Sen. (d. 1807) and Robert Plumstead (d.1760), and their children, Hannah Plumstead Jr. and Mary Plumstead Bevan (the wife of Joseph Gurney Bevan). Joseph Gurney Bevan was the only child of Timothy Bevan and Hannah Gurney, his second wife. The younger Bevan took over the business at Plough Court Pharmacy from his father, and, when he retired, passed it on to Samuel Mildred and his clerk, William Allen. The latter assumed sole control in 1797. Joseph Gurney and Mary Bevan died without issue.

Series 3: Capel Hanbury III (1764-1835) Papers, 1780-1849: Papers of Capel Hanbury, his wife, Charlotte Bell, and Capel's sisters, Anna Hanbury and Charlotte Hanbury Allen, wife of William Allen. Capel Hanbury, one of at least five children of Capel and Mary Lunn Hanbury of Stamford Hill, was a birthright Friend. Capel and his brother, John, married two sisters, Charlotte Susanna (d.1839) and Elizabeth (respectively), daughters of Daniel Bell and great granddaughters of Robert Barclay. Kitty Bell, another sister, married Johnny Gurney and was the mother of Elizabeth Fry and Joseph John Gurney. Another brother, William Hanbury, was stationed in India with the Army and probably died there after 1780. Charlotte Hanbury married William Allen, and Anna Hanbury remained unmarried. Capel and Charlotte Bell Hanbury had two sons, Cornelius and Daniel Bell Hanbury. Capel became established at Ware as a corn merchant and later as a dealer in malt.

Series 4: Daniel Bell Hanbury (1794-1882) Papers, 1785-1882: Papers of Daniel Bell Hanbury, his wife, Rachel Christy, and Rachel's family. Daniel Bell Hanbury was born at Stamford Hill, north of London, the son of Capel and Charlotte Bell Hanbury. He was educated by private tutors and at Tottenham Green, and entered Old Plough Court Pharmacy in 1808, under the sponsorship of his uncle by marriage, William Allen. In 1817, he accompanied Allen, his aunt, and George Majolier to Congenies via Paris and Lyons, and, in 1822, with Allen to the Congress of Verona where he observed Czar Alexander I, Metternich, and Wellington. In 1824 Hanbury married Rachel, daughter of Thomas and Rachel Christy of Bloofield, Essex and Clapham, London; together they had seven children. That same year he was made a partner at Plough Court, and the name was changed from William Allen and Co. to Allen, Hanbury's and Barry. Daniel Bell Hanbury retired from the business in 1868 and died in 1882, buried in Wandsworth, London.

Series 5: Daniel Hanbury II (1825-1875) Papers, 1831-1874: Papers of Daniel Hanbury. Daniel Hanbury was born in 1825, the eldest son of Daniel Bell and Rachel Hanbury. He attended a private school near Croydon, and was apprenticed to his father at the age of 16. In 1857, he passed an examination as Pharmaceutical Chemist, and was made a member of the Pharmaceutical Society. In 1868, on the retirement of his father, Daniel and his cousin, Cornelius Hanbury, became the two active partners in Allen and Hanbury's. However, his interests lay more in research and writing, and he retired from business only two years later. He never married and died from an attack of typhoid fever.

Series 6: Sir Thomas Hanbury (1832-1907) Papers, 1855-1899: Papers of Thomas Hanbury, his wife, Katherine A. Pease Hanbury, and sons, Cecil and Danny. Born in Clapham the third son of Daniel Bell and Rachel Hanbury, Thomas Hanbury began his career as a silk merchant in Shanghai from 1853 to 1871. While in China, he collected specimens of medicinal herbs for his brother, Daniel. In 1867, Hanbury purchased an old villa at Mortola on the road to Ventimiglia in northern Italy, close to the French border. He married Katherine Aldham Pease, daughter of Thomas Pease, in 1869 and they had three children, Danny, Cecil, and Horace. In Italy, he was honored for his contributions to the people of the area, and founded museums and educational institutions. He also carried on botanical research, and his gardens were visited by royalty. Thomas Hanbury was knighted in 1901 and died six years later.

Series 7: Thomas III (1822-1896) and Anna Christy Hanbury Aggs (1831-1913) Papers, 1824-1911: Papers of Thomas Aggs and his wife, Anna Christy Hanbury Aggs. Anna Christy Hanbury Aggs was the only daughter of Daniel Bell and Rachel Christy Hanbury. In 1861, she married Thomas Aggs, the son of Henry and Mary Gibbins Aggs, at the Westminster Meeting House. Thomas Aggs was born at Tottenham and had been placed in the Marine Alliance Companies office by Samuel Gurney. He subsequently worked as an insurance broker and charterer of ships. In 1865, he suffered a business failure, but Friends asked to look into his affairs determined that he was not at fault.

Series 8: Thomas Aggs I (1750-1824) Papers, 1665-1851: Papers of Thomas Aggs and his wife, Lucy Gurney Aggs. Thomas Aggs was the son of John and Sarah Kett Aggs. He married Lucy Gurney (1753-96), daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Bartlet Gurney in 1775 and worked as a dyer.

Series 9: Henry Aggs I (1780-1859) Papers, 1815-1875: Papers of Henry Aggs and his wife, Mary Gibbins Aggs, and of the Gibbins family. Henry Aggs was born in Norwich and was apprenticed as a Girdler, completing his tenure in 1818. Two years later, he married Mary, the daughter of Joseph Gibbins, a banker, at Birmingham. He worked as a Stock Broker and, at his death, was described as a Proprietor of Shares in Joint Stock Companies.

Series 10: Henry Gurney Aggs III (1866-?) Papers, 1887-1914: Papers of Henry Gurney Aggs. Henry Gurney Aggs was a banker. He married and had one son.

Series 11: Miscellaneous Materials, 1790-1894, n.d.: This Series includes materials that are Anonymous or cannot be attributed to another Series.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Jane Hommel, 1987

Although there was little order within the collection when it was received, these papers were probably collected by a number of family members, including Henry Gurney Aggs, Henry Aggs, and Anna Christy Hanbury Aggs. They were passed through John Gurney Hanning, son of Henry Gurney Aggs. (He assumed the surname Hanning at the time of his marriage). The donor was his daughter, Jane Hommel.

Separated Materials

The following materials are stored in ++Oversize Files:

  1. Ser. 2. Marriage Certificates and Agreements, 1748-1750.
  2. Ser. 2. Probated wills, contracts and agreements, 1733/34-1819.
  3. Ser. 3. Business and Estate Papers
  4. Ser. 3. Probate of will of Ann Reece, Anna Hanbury, exec.
  5. Ser. 3. Settlement of the John Hanbury Estate
  6. Ser. 3. Capel Hanbury et. al.
  7. Ser. 4. Passport, William Allen, 1822. French, includes signature of the Duke of Wellington and the Kaiser's seal, stamps of various continental cities.
  8. Ser. 8. Estate Administration and Business. Includes wills and probates of John Gurney Aggs, Lucy Aggs, and Thomas Aggs, also a dissolution of partnership (1812).
  9. Ser. 9. Passport, Henry Aggs, 1815.
  10. Ser. 9. Estate papers, includes probates of wills of Thomas Aggs and release of legacy under the will of John Gurney Aggs.
  11. Ser. 9. Business and legal, includes settlements and grants, etc.


  1. Anderson, Verily. Friends and Relations: Three Centuries of Quaker Families. (BX7791.G9A6)
  2. Chapman-Huston, Desmond. Through a City Archway: The Story of Allen and Hanbury's, 1715-1927. (RS76.G78)
  3. Cripps, Ernest C. Plough Court: The Story of a Notable Pharmacy, 1715-1927. (BX7748.B8A5)
  4. Windsor, David Burns. The Quaker Enterprise: Friends in Business. (BX7748.B9W5)

Processing Information

Received unprocessed. Correspondence, business, financial, and miscellaneous papers have been arranged in Series according to originator in linear family groups. Papers of in-laws and collateral family members, except where the former warrant a Series of their own, are included with the work of the related linear family member. For example, letters are sorted by writer; linear family respondents' correspondence were put in their own series, and collateral and miscellaneous correspondence received placed in the former. Estate papers like wills and codicils appear in the decedents Series, but accounts and administrative papers are in the Series of the Executor.

In 2015, the collection was consolidated into eleven boxes.


An Inventory of the Hanbury-Aggs Family Papers, 1718-1914
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA