|Content Description||See Pl E1 - E19 below for more detail.|
In 1689 Hans Willem Bentinck (1649-1709) was created Earl of Portland by King William III, whom he had accompanied from the Netherlands. He was granted the reversion of estates, commensurate with his new status, at Theobald's in Hertfordshire, Rudheath and Dracklow in Cheshire and Soho in Middlesex. He was also granted the reversion of the Honor of Penrith in Cumberland. In addition he came into possession of Bulstrode in Buckinghamshire in 1706. These estates were inherited by his son Henry, created 1st Duke of Portland (1682-1726), and by Henry's descendants. This collection includes papers dating up to the late 1920s, during the life of William J.A.C.J. Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland (1857-1943).
The growth of the Portlands' estate was due largely to inheritance on marriage. Perhaps the most significant marriage was that of William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland (1709-1762), to Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley (1715-1785), daughter of Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Mortimer (1689-1741) and his wife, Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles (1694-1755). The 2nd Earl of Oxford (through his wife) had owned the Wimpole estate in Cambridgeshire; papers relating to this estate passed to the Dukes of Portland even though it had been sold in 1740. The marriage brought to the Portlands the Welbeck estate in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, the Marylebone estate in Middlesex, the former Ogle estates in Northumberland, and further lands elsewhere. Estates in Hampshire and in Scotland were also inherited in this way. In addition, the Dukes of Portland purchased further estates.
Messrs Baileys, Shaw and Gillett of 5 Berners Street, London, solicitors to the Dukes of Portland from the mid-1830s, inherited the earlier records in this collection from the Dukes' previous agents in London.
The collection begins with medieval deeds and runs to the formation of the Welbeck Estate Company Limited in 1926-27, with occasional later items. In between are purchases and sales covering estates from Hampshire to Caithness-shire. Property movements included losses such as the break-up and piecemeal sale of the Soho estate in the late 18th century, and the sale of Bulstrode to the Dukes of Somerset in 1810. Besides the estates inherited through marriage, smaller estates were often purchased to consolidate the family's holdings. The papers relating to the purchase of estates often include previous title deeds and settlements relating to the family of the vendor.
The 18th century material in this collection covers the 'paternal' Bentinck estates (Soho in Middlesex, Theobald's in Hertfordshire and Bulstrode in Buckinghamshire) more fully than the estates in the Midlands. It also includes estate records such as rentals, accounts, manor court rolls and correspondence as well as leases and title deeds.
19th and early 20th century records concentrate on coal in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and around Ashington in Northumberland, and also on public work schemes and urban development. In the period 1890-1930 there are many sales, particularly to the owner-occupiers of plots of land which were developed into streets in the pit villages and towns. There is also a large section of litigation related to mines and minerals, and sections relating to railway developments, ecclesiastical presentations, rectories, enclosure and estate improvements. Much of the collection at this time is focused on Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
The series has been catalogued in sections according to the geographical focus of the papers. Within sections the material is arranged chronologically. Many of the late 19th and 20th century papers, particularly in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, are bundles of conveyancing papers and correspondence and have not been catalogued at item level.