Catalogue description State Papers, Henry VIII: General Series

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Details of SP 1
Reference: SP 1
Title: State Papers, Henry VIII: General Series

An artificial collection of public and private letters, memoranda and papers brought together by the editors of the Letters and Papers...Henry VIII. Unlike later SP series, SP 1 contains both domestic and foreign correspondence and papers.

The series includes official correspondence and papers generated by the secretaries of state, officials, English representatives abroad, commissioners, judges and informants. A large part of the collection consists of the confiscated official papers of Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, and Thomas Darcy, Lord Darcy. Sir Thomas More destroyed his equivalent papers after his resignation as Lord Chancellor.

The collection is particularly full in the late 1520s and 1530s with the marriages of Henry VIII with Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr, and the break with Rome, the dissolution of the monasteries, and the Pilgrimage of Grace. It also covers wars and alliances with the rest of Europe.

Access to the contents of this series is by way of the published Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII (22 volumes, London, 1862-1930). Unfortunately, this work does not give modern references to the documents in SP 1 or the many other series of documents also used: these have to be worked out from a key available at the National Archives.

Date: 1509-1547

The letters and papers were sorted from several different sources into one chronological order between the 1850s and the 1920s and were rebound in that order. Documents dated between 1 January and 24 March are arranged according to modern form (i.e. a document bearing the original date 10 Feb 1535 is placed as 10 Feb 1536). No attempt was made to indicate provenance, apart from some stamping of the papers.

Some larger treatises were bound into separate volumes.

Related material:

additional finding aid ZBOX 1/58/3

additional finding aid ZBOX 1/55/1

additional finding aid ZBOX 1/54/3

additional finding aid ZBOX 1/54/1

Separated material:

Records too large for the standard binding are in SP 2

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 246 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in microform only
Custodial history: In 1832 the Treasury was ordered to transfer letters addressed to Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell, and any other papers relating to matters of state in the time of those two ministers, from the Treasury of the Receipt of the Exchequer in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey to the State Paper Office.
Publication note:

The records are calendared in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII ed. J S Brewer, J Gairdner and R H Brodie (London 1862-1932). Transcripts of some documents are printed in State Papers Henry VIII (London, 1830-1852). These works are available at the National Archives and in good university or reference libraries.

Unpublished finding aids:

See also the Introductory Note to the SP 1 paper list available at the National Archives for a much fuller discussion of the origin and sorting of the letters and papers.

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