Document ReferencePw H
TitlePapers of William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland (1768-1854) in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection
Extent16 boxes, 2869 items
AbstractPrincipal document types present include; correspondence, estate papers, personal papers
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryWilliam Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (1768-1854), 4th Duke of Portland, was schooled at Ealing, Westminster and Christ Church Oxford, before being sent to complete his education at the Hague. In 1790, as Marquess of Titchfield, he followed his father's path into politics and was elected M.P. for the borough of Petersfield. In 1791, however, he exchanged this constituency to become Knight of the Shire for Buckinghamshire, which enabled him to sit in five successive parliaments without having to contest an election. In 1795 he married Henrietta Scott, daughter and heiress of General J. Scott of Belcomie, and added her surname to his family name.

He succeeded his father as duke in 1809 and from this time became more and more closely associated with Canning. Indeed, through Canning's influence he accepted a Cabinet post as Lord Privy Seal and he was later appointed to the post of Lord President. The duke, however, had no real desire for political office, and after his period as Lord President ended he took little further part in national political life. He did, however, take an active interest in political affairs through the activities of his son, Lord George Bentinck.

A particular interest of the 4th Duke's was the study of shipbuilding and naval design. He arranged a number of trials with the Admiralty, in which his own and other private yachts competed with some of the fastest ships in the navy.

The duke was also a keen devotee of horse racing. He was a tenant of the Jockey Club at Newmarket, and was responsible for many improvements there, including the turf, the gallops and the building of the Portland stand.

The 4th Duke was heavily involved in the management of the family estates, and, after finding them burdened with debts when he inherited, was highly successful in reversing the financial situation. He was particularly interested in farming methods and techniques and undertook several drainage schemes, gaining a reputation as an agricultural improver.

Towards the end of his life, the Duke retired to the family seat of Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire and made repeated, though unsuccessful, attempts to persuade his son, Lord John Bentinck, Marquess of Titchfield to take over the running of the family estates.
Custodial HistoryThese papers form a sub-group of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection (Pw) and were part of the first deposit received from Welbeck Abbey in 1949 from the 7th Duke of Portland.
DescriptionMuch of the collection is in the form of correspondence and concerned with estate matters. There are two long runs of letters from the 4th Duke's estate stewards, Edward Turner (Welbeck Abbey) and George Kelk (Welbeck Abbey and Ayrshire), indicating the very active role he took in estate management - such as requesting weekly reports on the state of the animals and weather. The discussion includes planting methods, fertilisers and livestock.

Estate business is also reflected among the miscellaneous papers, which include accounts, bills, and inventories.

A considerable quantity of correspondence concerns political affairs. There is an extensive series of letters from his son, Lord George Bentinck, and from his friend, George Canning. The correspondence also reflects local politics, and there is a large section of letters from and to the duke's wife.

The papers also illustrate the Duke's interest in ship design. Much of the correspondence to his wife was written when he was at sea conducting trials, and contains day to day accounts of the proceedings.

A small additional deposit (Pw2 H) consists mainly of medical records and bills.
MgtGroupFamily and estate collections
Political and diplomatic papers
ArrangementThe letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, in chronological sequence. Unless stated otherwise, all letters are to the 4th Duke. Other miscellaneous papers are to be found at the end of the catalogue, arranged in the order in which they were removed from Welbeck.
TermGreat Britain - Politics and government - 18th century
Great Britain - Politics and government - 19th century
Administration of estates - Great Britain
Elections - England
Great Britain - Parliament - Elections
Shipbuilding - England
Agriculture - Great Britain
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript Catalogue, 73 pp At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: Typescript Catalogue, 73 pp Online: Catalogue accessible from the website for Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue. The old typescript catalogue has now been considerably upgraded and the Manuscripts Online Catalogue should be consulted for the full version.
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 J, Pw K, Pw L, Pw M, Pw N, Pw V)
Letters to his father William, 3rd Duke of Portland: Reference Pw F 1271-1311
The National Archives
British Library
Related RecordPwL

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA1045Bentinck; William H. Cavendish-Scott- (1768-1854); 4th Duke of Portland; styled Marquess of Titchfield 1768-18091768-1854
NA37893Jockey Club
NA1101Canning; George (1770-1827); Mr; statesman; Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer 18271770-1827
NA1045Bentinck; William H. Cavendish-Scott- (1768-1854); 4th Duke of Portland; styled Marquess of Titchfield 1768-18091768-1854
NA1081Bentinck; W. George F. Cavendish- (1802-1848); Lord; Lord George Bentinck M.P.; son of 4th Duke of Portland1802-1848
NA1102Bentinck; Henrietta Cavendish-Scott- (1774-1844); Duchess of Portland; née Scott; dau. of Major-General John Scott of Balcomie; wife of 4th Duke of Portland1774-1844
NA1103Kelk; George (fl 1837-1854); Mr; Steward of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire for Duke of Portland; later factor in Ayrshirefl 1837-1854
NA1104Turner; Edward (fl 1798-1822); Mr; Steward at Welbeck Abbeyfl 1798-1822
NA75927Cavendish-Bentinck; family; of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire; Dukes of Portland
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