Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Domestic, Charles I

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Details of SP 16
Reference: SP 16
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Domestic, Charles I

The records of the Secretaries of State during the reign of Charles I comprising correspondence and records of their other responsibilities. Day-to-day management of the Privy Council produced proclamations, orders and council correspondence, while the secretaries' custody of the Signet involved the accumulation of petitions to the King, and the resulting signs manual which initiated the long process leading up to the issue of money or a grant.

As well as the individual letters and papers, now bound into volumes, the series contains a large number of original bundles or volumes of very varying origins and subjects. Many of these relate to musters; to the navy and the Admiralty; to various commissions and committees; to crown lands; to taxes; and to various courts, particularly the Court of High Commission for the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The series also includes papers relating to trials including the state trials of Charles I and Archbishop Laud, and of the Earl of Castlehaven for rape and sodomy.

The majority of the documents were, until the mid-nineteenth century, kept in several series (Domestic, Admiralty, Sherburn and Channel Islands, and perhaps others as well) in the State Paper Office. The series also includes Conway Papers, and the Morton Papers (family letters, etc, 1625-1638), the origin of which is unknown. In addition, official and even private papers from other high officers of state, such as the Lord High Admiral, Attorney-General Heath, and Archbishop Laud, which were for some reason in the custody of the State Paper Office, were sorted into the the series. The documents were brought together in the nineteenth century for the purpose of publication in calendar form.

Date: 1625-1649

The various series of individual letters and papers were resorted as far as possible into one chronological order, and rebound in that order,

Separated material:

Conway Papers which appeared to be private were removed to the British Museum in the nineteenth century. Secretaries of State frequently treated official papers as if they were their own private papers and, as a result, many 'state papers' will be found elsewhere. The documents in this series are much less numerous for 1630-1633 and 1641-1649. For the latter period, papers which would normally have been deposited in the State Paper Office were carried around in attendance upon the king: few found their way into the State Paper Office unless they were captured on the field of battle, or came into the possession of Parliament by some other means.

Documents too large to be bound into standard volumes are in SP 17

Some items were removed from the original collection in more recent times. Most were printed items - gazettes, pamphlets and newsletters - which were subsequently bound up as library volumes. These are now in SP 9

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 547 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in microform only
Custodial history: The Conway Papers were removed from official custody by Secretary Edward Conway during or after his term of office (1623-1628). They were restored to official custody 1857 when their owner, John Wilson Croker, formerly a member of the State Paper Commission, offered both the Conway and the Throckmorton Papers to the Home Secretary, as being, in effect, strayed public records.
Publication note:

Most of the records are calendared in Calendar of State Papers Domestic Charles I eds J Bruce W D Hamilton and S C Lomas 23 volumes (London 1858-1893). Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location.

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