Document ReferencePw K
TitlePapers of William John Cavendish Bentinck Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879) in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection
Extent31 boxes, 5395 items
AbstractPrincipal document types present include; correspondence, personal papers, estate papers
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers.
Admin HistoryWilliam John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879), lived a reclusive life at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire. Although he was M.P. for King's Lynn from 1824-1826 he took no active part in politics, allowing three years to pass between his succeeding to the dukedom and first taking his seat in the House of Lords. He did, however, have a wide-ranging network of family and friends with whom he maintained an extensive correspondence. He undertook major developments at Welbeck, and was actively involved in the management of the Portland estates, both of which activities are reflected in his papers.
Custodial HistoryThese papers constitute part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection (Pw) and were received from the 7th Duke of Portland in the first deposit from Welbeck Abbey in 1949. A second deposit was received in 1968. 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 of the 5th Duke is unusual in its extensive coverage of matters concerning his estates, houses and other properties. Its volume was undoubtedly related to his reclusive habits, and preference for written instructions and reports rather than communication in person. The correspondence is largely from the duke's various agents and solicitors, dealing with estate matters and with his special projects. He took a very detailed and informed interest in the carrying out of his various building enterprises.

By comparison with the archives of other members of his family, there is relatively little of national political significance in the papers. He did not actively pursue his political interests. It was however virtually impossible for a figure of his position to be immune from contemporary concerns, and he numbered Canning, Disraeli and Palmerston among his correspondents.

There is inevitably a significant amount of correspondence with family, aristocrats and clergy. The miscellaneous section contains correspondence, bills, lists, testimonials, and many papers relating to the Welbeck miniatures.
MgtGroupFamily and estate collections
ArrangementThe Collection is divided into two series, reflecting its arrangement on acquisition from Welbeck. The first consists of letters to the Duke, and the second series contains miscellaneous papers.
TermAdministration of estates - Great Britain
Architecture - England
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript Catalogue, 147 pp At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew: Typescript Catalogue, 147 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 will be 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 MaterialLetters to his sister Charlotte Denison, Viscountess Ossington: Reference Pw N 1-32
Letters to his father William, 4th Duke of Portland: Reference Pw H
Letters to 6th and 7th Viscounts Galway: Reference Ga
Durham University Library
Northumberland Record Office
Related RecordPwN

Click the links below to view related name indexes

Click the links below to view related place indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA1035Scott; William J. Cavendish-Bentinck- (1800-1879); 5th Duke of Portland1800-1879
NA1035Scott; William J. Cavendish-Bentinck- (1800-1879); 5th Duke of Portland1800-1879
NA75927Cavendish-Bentinck; family; of Welbeck, Nottinghamshire; Dukes of Portland
PL982Welbeck Abbey/Nottinghamshire/England
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