Document ReferencePw
TitlePortland (Welbeck) Collection
Extent428 boxes
AbstractPrincipal document types present include; correspondence, official papers, literary papers.
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryHans Willem Bentinck (1649-1709) came to England from the Netherlands and was created Earl of Portland in 1689 by his close friend William III. He acquired a number of estates including Bulstrode in Buckinghamshire; Theobalds in Hertfordshire; and properties in Cumberland and Soho, Middlesex. His son, Henry (1682-1726), who was created 1st Duke of Portland in 1716, married Elizabeth Noel, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Gainsborough, and through her acquired the Titchfield estates in Hampshire (formerly owned by the Wriothesley family, Earls of Southampton). It was through the marriage of their son Henry, 2nd Duke (1709-1762) to Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley (1715-1785) in 1734 that the former Cavendish-owned Welbeck estates in Nottinghamshire came into the possession of the Bentinck family, Dukes of Portland.

Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley was the daughter and heir of Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741), and his wife Henrietta (1694-1755), the daughter of John Holles, 3rd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (d 1711) and Margaret Cavendish, who was the daughter and heir of Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (d 1691). Through her mother and grandmother Lady Margaret inherited not only the Welbeck estates but also many of the family papers of her Harley/Holles and Cavendish forebears. These were inherited on her death by her son William Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809) who made Welbeck Abbey his principal seat.

Papers of nineteenth-century members of the family also form part of the collection. These include the extensive official and administrative papers of Lord William Bentinck, brother of the 4th Duke of Portland, covering his career in Sicily and India, and the papers of Viscountess Ossington, sister of the 5th Duke of Portland.

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century most of the Bentinck and many of the other inherited estates were sold as were the Balcomie (Scottish) estates, which had been brought into the family through the marriage of William, 4th Duke of Portland (1786-1854) to the heiress, Henrietta Scott.

Although referred to as the Portland Collection, the papers at Nottingham are not those described by J.J. Arkwright, Papers of the Dukes of Portland, 10 vols (Historical Manuscripts Commission, 1891-1931), which are now held in other repositories.
Custodial HistoryNottingham's Portland (Welbeck) Collection was deposited from Welbeck Abbey by the 7th Duke of Portland in 1949; a second additional deposit (Pw2) was received in 1968. By the Duke's express wish the family archives were divided between the University (political and family correspondence); Nottinghamshire Archives Office (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Northumberland estate papers); British Library (Harley family papers); Hampshire Record Office (papers relating to the Duke's Hampshire estate) and the Bodleian Library (civil war papers of Reverend John Nalson). The entire Portland (Welbeck) Collection was accepted by the state in lieu of estate duty in 1986.

There are two useful published articles about the complex custodial history of both the Portland and Harley papers: R.J. Olney 'The Portland Papers' in Archives, XIX, 82 (October 1989) and Clyve Jones 'The Harley Family and the Harley Papers' in The British Journal, xv, 2 (Autumn 1989)

Political papers in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection (Pw 2Hy, Pw A, Pw F, Pw H and Pw L) were catalogued and indexed in detail in 1995-1999 thanks to a JISC (Non Formula Funding) award. A second JISC (Non Formula Funding) award in 1995-1996 enabled the literary papers (Pw V) to be catalogued. With assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2001-2002, the remaining Portland of Welbeck lists were converted to electronic form, and preservation, conservation and repackaging work was carried out.
DescriptionThe collection consists predominantly of the political, family and personal correspondence of leading members of the Bentinck and Cavendish-Bentinck families and their Cavendish (Pw1), Harley (Pw2 Hy) and Holles (Pw2) forebears.

Further information about the family members and details of their papers can be found under the references for the various sub-groups:
Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (Pw A);
Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland (Pw B);
William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland (Pw D);
Margaret, Duchess of Portland (Pw E);
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (Pw F);
Dorothy, Duchess of Portland (Pw G);
Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland (Pw H);
Lord William Bentinck (Pw J); and
William Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (Pw K).

The collection also includes smaller groups of private papers of:
Lord George Bentinck (Pw L);
G.A.F. Cavendish-Bentinck (Pw M);
Charlotte, Viscountess Ossington (Pw N);
John Achard (Pw C).

A significant part of the collection is the Portland Literary Papers (Pw V).
MgtGroupFamily and estate collections
Political and diplomatic papers
Literary and cultural records
16th-19thC manuscripts
ArrangementThe collection is arranged in a series of sub-groups formed by the personal papers of individual members of the Harley/Holles/Cavendish/Cavendish-Bentinck families.
TermAdministration of estates - Great Britain
Great Britain - Politics and government
Patronage, Political - Great Britain
International Relations
Elections - England
Great Britain - Colonies - Administration
India - Politics and government - 19th century
Family - Great Britain
English poetry
Netherlands - Politics and government
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: 12 Typescript Catalogues At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: 12 Typescript Catalogues Online: Catalogues for most sections are available through website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue. For some sections, the online catalogue is more comprehensive than the typescript versions. Some sections of the catalogues to this collection were also made available online during the national Access to Archives (A2A) project in 2000-2004. See individual sections for details. Due to the size of this collection the sections are delivered separately on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue. You can narrow down a keyword search to a particular area of the catalogue by including the Document Reference number shown below in the search (e.g. Pw 1, or Pw J): Pw 1 Papers of the Cavendish Family, 1563-1707 Pw 2 Papers of the Holles Family, 1571-1728 Pw2 Hy Papers of the Holles Family, 1571-1728 Pw A Papers of Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649-1709) Pw B Papers of Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland (1682-1726) Pw C Papers of John Achard 1721-1770 Pw D Papers of William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland (1709-1762) Pw E Papers of Margaret, Duchess of Portland (1715-1785) Pw F Papers of William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738-1809) Pw G Papers of Dorothy, Duchess of Portland (1750-1794) Pw H Papers of Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland (1768-1854) Pw J Papers of Lord William Bentinck (1774-1839) Pw K Papers of William Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879) Pw L Papers of Lord George Bentinck (1802-1848) Pw M Papers of G.A.F. Cavendish-Bentinck (1821-1891) Pw N Papers of Lady Charlotte Denison (née Bentinck), Viscountess Ossington (1806-1889) Pw V Portland Literary Papers There is a Family and Estate Resource relating to the Cavendish-Bentinck family and their records, published on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website:
ReprodnNotePhotocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialSee the separate sections within the Portland (Welbeck) Collection.
See also the Portland (London) Collection (Pl); the Newcastle Collection (Ne); papers of the Bentinck family, Counts of the Holy Roman Empire (BK); and Research Papers and Correspondence of Professor Arthur S. Turberville concerning 'A History of Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire and its Owners', c.1925-1939 (Tp).
British Library
Nottinghamshire Archives
Other repositories through The National Archives Discovery catalogue
Related RecordPwB
Ne C
Publication NoteProfessor A.S. Turberville, 'A History of Welbeck Abbey and its Owners' (2 vols. 1938-39)

Click the links below to view related name indexes

Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA1043Bentinck; H. William (1649-1709); 1st Earl of Portland; diplomat and adviser of William of Orange; alias Hans Willem1649-1709
NA1044Bentinck; Henry (1682-1726); 1st Duke of Portland; 2nd Earl of Portland; cr. 1716; styled Viscount Woodstock 1689-17091682-1726
NA1049Achard; John (-1770); tutor to 2nd Duke of Portland-1770
NA1079Bentinck; Margaret Cavendish (1715-1785); Duchess of Portland; née Cavendish-Harley; dau. of 2nd Earl of Oxford; m 2nd Duke of Portland 17341715-1785
NA905Bentinck; William H.C. Cavendish- (1738-1809); 3rd Duke of Portland; succ. 17621738-1809
NA1046Bentinck; William (1709-1762); 2nd Duke of Portland1709-1762
NA1045Bentinck; William H. Cavendish-Scott- (1768-1854); 4th Duke of Portland; styled Marquess of Titchfield 1768-18091768-1854
NA1080Bentinck; Dorothy (1750-1794); Duchess of Portland; née Cavendish; dau. of 4th Duke of Devonshire; m 3rd Duke of Portland 17661750-1794
NA1081Bentinck; W. George F. Cavendish- (1802-1848); Lord; Lord George Bentinck M.P.; son of 4th Duke of Portland1802-1848
NA1082Bentinck; William C. (1774-1839); Lord1774-1839
NA1016Scott; Charlotte (1806-1889); Viscountess Ossington; née Cavendish-Bentinck m 1827 J.E. Denison Viscount Ossington1806-1889
NA1035Scott; William J. Cavendish-Bentinck- (1800-1879); 5th Duke of Portland1800-1879
NA75739Harley; family; Earls of Oxford
NA75774Bentinck; family; Earls of Portland
NA75925Cavendish family; family; Dukes of Newcastle upon Tyne
NA75927Cavendish-Bentinck; family; of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire; Dukes of Portland
NA75942Holles; family; Earls of Clare
NA75960Holles; family; Dukes of Newcastle upon Tyne
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