Catalogue description State Paper Office: State Papers Ireland, Elizabeth I to George III

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Details of SP 63
Reference: SP 63
Title: State Paper Office: State Papers Ireland, Elizabeth I to George III

State Papers relating to Ireland dating from the accession of Queen Elizabeth I in 1558 until 1782 when the Home Office was created. They are mostly letters to and from the Secretaries of State, including many from the Lords Lieutenant, and a number of royal letters. The series includes a few letter books of the Secretaries of State (1661-1690); a collection of historical notes and documents (largely materials for a history of Waterford) compiled by Dr Meredith Hanmer, an Irish antiquary; papers relating to adventurers for land in Ireland, 1642 to 1659 (ie receipts for subscriptions for the support of the Parliamentary cause in return for promises of lands in Ireland, and papers relative to claims arising therefrom); Colonel John Blaquière's registers of correspondence as Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant (1772-1776); and petitions concerning the relocation of the Customs House in Dublin (1774 and 1781).

Date: 1558-1782

The papers were rearranged and rebound into a chronological sequence by the State Paper Office in the nineteenth century, preparatory to the publication of its calendars. This chronological rearrangement was carried so far that enclosures, in order that they might be placed in correct date order, were often separated from their accompanying letter. The arrangement, however, has remained largely unchanged since the publication of the list for the series in 1914.

Related material:

The 'Philadelphia Papers' transcripts of state and private papers, mainly of Sir Arthur Chichester (Lord Deputy 1605-1616), are of particular importance as the original documents no longer survive.

For Record Commission transcripts see PRO 31/8

Separated material:

Large documents are in:

SP 65

SP 66

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 480 volume(s)
Access conditions: Available in microform only
Custodial history: Some of the volumes were once in private hands (eg the Conway Papers, and Blaquière's registers, which were purchased in 1848).
Publication note:

The records up to 1670 are included in theCalendar of State Papers relating to Ireland 24 vols (London 1860-1910). This calendar is considered defective however for the period up to 1585. From 1671 to 1704 the records are included in theCalendar of State Papers Domestic Series 35 vols (London 1895-1972). Records from 1760 are in theCalendar of Home Office papers of the reign of George III 4 vols (London 1878-1899). It should be noted however that all these works are sometimes selective. Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location.

Unpublished finding aids:

A typescript calendar is at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland for records in this series dated between 1715 and 1760. The reference is TSPI. The calendar entries describe documents relating to Northern Ireland in greater detail.

Administrative / biographical background:

By the eighteenth century it was established practice for the Lord Lieutenant's secretary to send 'public' despatches (formal acknowledgements and requests, papers concerning routine military matters, etc) to the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, which was responsible for Irish affairs, and for the Lord Lieutenant himself to send 'private' despatches, often in his own handwriting, to the Secretary of State on policy and political issues, sometimes endorsed as 'secret and confidential' or 'most secret'.

On financial matters, however, the Lord Lieutenant corresponded directly with the First Lord of the Treasury and this correspondence is not included in the series, although letters to the Treasury often duplicated those to the Southern Department.

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