|Content Description||See Pl F1 - F11 below for more detail.|
From the 1690s the Earls and Dukes of Portland owned large landed estates, and at various times had large investments (early 18th century and from the 1820s to 1920s) or large debts (from the South Sea Bubble and the extravagance of Edward, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, culminating in the various trusts for sale in the time of the William Henry, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809)). The estates followed the usual pattern of strict settlement, with portions, jointures, rentcharges and mortgages raised upon them. In the 19th century more elaborate trusts were created involving real estate and securities. In the 1920s an estate company was formed for tax avoidance purposes. Some earlier settlements of the Portland's Cavendish and Ogle forebears are included.
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 consists of the settlements, trusts, mortgages and other financial papers mentioned above, including papers relating to investments and various bouts of equity litigation. Material touching the Bentinck 'paternal' and the Cavendish-Holles-Harley 'maternal' estates is treated separately until the time of the 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809). His settlements, resettlements, mortgages, trusts and financial woes form a considerable part of these records.
In the 19th century, more complex trusts involving securities more than real estate take centre stage as the family's financial difficulties rapidly gave way to great wealth. The financial affairs, wills and trusts of the younger children of the 3rd and 4th Dukes and of the 3rd Duke's brother-in-law have a prominent place.
Also included are settlements and kindred material from the Terrington, Norfolk branch of the Bentincks and other unrelated families for whom members of the Bentinck family acted as trustees; various domestic and personal financial matters; and personal and political honours and appointments.
The series has been catalogued in sections relating to the individual owners of the estates and cadet branches of the Portland family, in chronological order. Bundles of correspondence etc. have not been catalogued at item level.