Catalogue description State Papers Office and other Bodies: Various Administrative Records, Precedents and Proclamations

Search within or browse this series to find specific records of interest.

Date range

Details of SP 45
Reference: SP 45
Title: State Papers Office and other Bodies: Various Administrative Records, Precedents and Proclamations

A collection of material which had some connection with either the clerks of the Secretaries of State or with the State Paper Office. The series includes a large number of Privy Council minutes and memoranda (otherwise in PC 2), a set of minutes of the proceedings of the Lords Justices during the king's absence in 1755, and a collection of manuscript drafts of proclamations read to the Privy Council in order to receive authorisation for issue as prerogative law. In addition, the series contains a large collection of printed proclamations.

There are two sets of records from the Office of the Secretaries of State: precedent books for foreign and domestic business, the precedents dating from 1514 to 1812; and fee books, 1710-1782, detailing fees received by the officers of the Secretaries of State, mostly on domestic business, and usually connected to the process of issuing warrants to move the great seals of Chancery and Exchequer in the execution of the royal power to authorise appointments, commissions and payments. The fee books can provide a quick overview of such business, as they specify the names of the payers and give brief details of the business: they are also useful for tracing the internal history of the offices of the Secretaries of State.

The series also contains administrative records from the State Paper Office, some of which were collected together to illustrate the history of the keeping and use of the State Papers from the mid-sixteenth century to 1823. Administrative records of the State Paper Office continue from 1799 to 1862 in this series, despite the amalgamation of the State Paper Office and the Public Record Office in 1852: these show the use made of the State Papers by both the Home Office and the Foreign Office.

Records of the State Paper Commission include, as well as administrative papers, a report on libraries in Great Britain and Ireland in 1838.

Date: Edward VI - 1862
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Privy Council Office, 1556-

Secretaries of State, 1782

State Paper Commission, 1855

State Paper Office, 1610-1854

Physical description: 90 boxes and volumes
Custodial history: Some of the papers, dating from the first half of the eighteenth century, appear to have been lodged in the State Paper Office as opposed to the Privy Council Office.
Administrative / biographical background:

Dr Thomas Wilson was appointed in 1578 as the first keeper and registrar of the papers concerning matters of state and council, created by both the Privy Council and the Secretaries of State.

The link with the Privy Council appears to have been relatively informal, perhaps based on the Secretaries of State using their private clerks to provide office services for the production of both council and state papers.

The State Paper Commission was established in 1825 for printing and publishing the documents of the State Paper Office, starting with those of the reign of Henry VIII.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?