Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Scotland: Warrant Books

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

Date range

Details of SP 57
Reference: SP 57
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Scotland: Warrant Books

Secretary of State's entry books of royal warrants, docquets and occasionally of royal letters relating to Scotland, and some orders in Council and commissions to inquire into such problems as the disorders in the university of Glasgow in 1718, and the regulation of legal fees. There is a chronological gap from February 1709 to 1711, and again from 1711 to 1713.

Every kind of royal appointment is catered for: legal officers from Lord President of the Court of Session to writers to the signet and clerks to the justices; local ones, such as sheriffs depute, registrars of sasines and commissary clerks; and places in the royal service in Scotland such as almoner, apothecary, armourer, falconer, printer, tailor, master of the works, master mason, wright and 'plaisterer', glazier, master of the wardrobe and so on.

There are also military commissions and appointments of governors of forts and conservators of the Scots privileges in Holland; presentations to kirks, chaplaincies and keeperships of holy places and professorships at Scots universities; and charters granting lands and rents and gifts of escheat bestowing forfeited Jacobite estates on deserving loyalists, with a few gifts of bastardy.

Warrants for payment and reward, for the arrest of suspects (for treason in the case of Jacobites) and for the reprieve and pardon of others, including remissions of capital punishment of common criminals upon condition of transportation, if civilian, or enlistment, if military, are present. There are also licences to apply inventions patented, especially after 1750, whether they were first contrived in Scotland or were to be marketed in Scotland as well as England (as in the case of Richard Arkwright's textile machinery). The inventions are mainly agricultural and industrial.

Many of the warrants appear in full in these entry books: others take the curtailed form of docquets. The longest documents are charters of incorporation. In several cases it is noted, marginally, that warrants were 'not used' or 'cancelled' - some are crossed out or are incomplete.

The royal letters diminish in number chronologically after the Union, though there was a flurry of them then and during the rebellions of 1715 and 1745. There are letters to the General Assembly of the Kirk, together with instructions to the High Commissioners appointed annually to represent the crown at its meetings. There are letters to the Scottish burghs; defence precautions and instructions to military commanders, especially in 1715.

Date: 1707-1774

The arrangement is purely chronological.

Related material:

Post-1774 warrants (to 1847) are in HO 106

Separated material:

In 1950 the first 26 volumes, for the period 1670-1709, were transferred to General Register House, Edinburgh. Most of the pre-Union material transferred to Edinburgh is in print in the Domestic Series calendars for the reigns of Charles II, William and Mary, and Anne, though the last stops in 1704. James II's reign is not covered.

Some warrants for the years 1709 to 1713 have remained in SP 44

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 10 volume(s)
Publication note:

Partly calendared in the following Domestic Series publications: Calendar of State Papers of the reign of Charles II eds M A E Green F H B Daniell and F Bickley 28 vols (London 1860-1947) Calendar of State Papers of the reign of William and Mary eds W J Hardy and E Bateson 11 vols (London 1895-1937) to 1704 only in Calendar of State Papers of the reign of Anne ed R P Mahaffy 2 vols (London 1916-1924) Calendar of Home Office Papers of the reign of George III eds J Redington and R A Roberts 4 vols (London 1878-1899). Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location.

Administrative / biographical background:

The various royal appointments and orders were countersigned before the Union by the two Scottish Secretaries of State, and soon after the Union either by the Secretaries of State for the Northern and Southern Departments or by the 'third' Secretary appointed at various times between 1709 and 1746 to deal specifically (from 1713 exclusively) with Scottish affairs. The warrants were patented to be passed under the Great Seal of Scotland (and its substitute after the Union) or the Privy Seal of Scotland.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research