Document ReferencePw E
TitlePapers of Margaret Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1715-1785) in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection
Extent1 box, 81 items
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryMargaret Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1715-1785), (daughter of Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741) and his wife Lady Henrietta (née Cavendish Holles, 1694-1755) married William, 2nd Duke of Portland (1709-1762) in 1734. By the terms of her mother's will she inherited the Cavendish estates, and so brought the Welbeck estate into the Bentinck family. The duchess fell into dispute with her son, the 3rd Duke, over the running of the estates, and also disapproved of his politics. She was a close friend of Lady Bute, and consequently became an intimate of the royal family. The duchess had an avid interest in botany.
Custodial HistoryThese papers constitute part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection (GB 0159 Pw) and were received from the 7th Duke of Portland in the first deposit from Welbeck Abbey in 1949. By the Duke's express wish the family archives were divided between The University of Nottingham (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 Dukes' Hampshire estate) and the Bodleian Library (Civil War papers of Reverend John Nalson). The entire Portland archive from Welbeck was accepted by the state in lieu of estate duty in 1986.
DescriptionThe correspondence concerns family and social news, as well as reflecting the duchess's interest in botany. Most of the miscellaneous papers relate to plants and fungi, although there are a few papers concerning history and works of art. The correspondents include several contemporary women of note, including the 'blue stocking' Elizabeth Montagu (1720-1800) and Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1756), who became governess at Welbeck.
MgtGroupFamily and estate collections
ArrangementThe Collection is divided into two series, reflecting its arrangement on acquisition from Welbeck. The first consists of correspondence, primarily to the Duchess, and the second series contains miscellaneous papers..
TermGreat Britain - Social life and customs - 18th century
Botany - Early works to 1800
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript Catalogue, 4 pp At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: Typescript Catalogue, 4 pp Online: Catalogue available through the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue. Access to the old typescript catalogue was also made available online during the national Access to Archives (A2A) project in 2000-2004. This catalogue is now available through Discovery, hosted by The National Archives ( The version on our own Manuscripts Online Catalogue includes detailed summaries of letters and is more up to date.
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 fonds record for the Portland (Welbeck) Collection as a whole (Pw); and also the separate records for each of the other constituent subfonds (Pw 1, Pw 2 Hy, Pw B, Pw C, Pw F, Pw G, Pw H, Pw J, Pw K, Pw L, Pw M, Pw N, Pw V)
Letters to her son William, 3rd Duke of Portland: Reference Pw F
Hampshire Record Office
British Library
Related RecordPwF

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CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA1046Bentinck; William (1709-1762); 2nd Duke of Portland1709-1762
NA1079Bentinck; Margaret Cavendish (1715-1785); Duchess of Portland; née Cavendish-Harley; dau. of 2nd Earl of Oxford; m 2nd Duke of Portland 17341715-1785
NA1090Montagu; Elizabeth (1718-1800); Mrs; née Robinson; author1718-1800
NA75927Cavendish-Bentinck; family; of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire; Dukes of Portland
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