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Calendars of Irish State Papers

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Calendars of Irish State Papers



This Free Space Page lists eight sets of State Papers or similar, a) from the reigns of Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth, b) the reign of James I/VI, c) the reign of Charles I, the commonwealth, Charles II, d) the papers of the Marquis of Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland under Charles I and Charles II. e) the papers of the Commissioners of the English Parliament who governed Ireland during the Commonwealth, f) papers related to the Council of Confederate Irish Catholics, g) the Carew Papers and h) John Lodge's Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica. It has been prepared for the Ireland Quaker team which is part of the Irish Roots Topics Team in turn part of the Ireland Project. See also the Ireland Project's Historical Sources of Ireland and our Irish Quaker Sources and Resources.

British History Online, which has the first three of these sets for subscribers only describes them as providing ‘summaries full enough, for most purposes, to replace the original documents …printed in chronological order … (hence ‘calendar’).’

In total there are about 50 volumes, each several hundred pages long. They include papers of all kinds, from petitions to correspondence, proclamations, memoranda, grants of land and so on. As they are organised chronologically rather than by subject, it is impossible to point you to a chapter on one subject or another – the sole exception being the single volume on ‘adventurers for land’. However, each volume has an index, including the names of all the people and places mentioned, and the on-line versions allow you to search inside. So if you want to know about Cromwell’s army, search the volume for the commonwealth (eg a search for ‘Cuppage’ shows a petition signed by Major Robert Cuppage and others about arrears due to them; the index also mentions a Major Coppage, surely the same person) and if you want to know about King Charles’s army in Ireland search the Marquis of Ormonde.

John Lodge's Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica, published in 1772, covers the same ground as the calendars of state papers for Elizabeth, James I/VI and Charles I. His records are more contemporary, but less complete.

Each volume also starts with a preface which gives a useful summary of the historical context to the period and notes the most interesting documents contained.

Another option is to search British History Online. If it points you to state papers, use the links below. For example, this search for ‘Ireland’, ‘Plantation’ and ‘16th Century’ leads you to the state papers.

The papers of the Marquis of Ormonde are organised rather more thematically.

State papers relating to Ireland for the reigns of William and Mary and Queen Anne (1689-1715) were published together with the domestic papers (those for England and Wales). PRONI holds typescript calendars for 1715-1760, and the papers for 1760-1775 are included in the calendars for the English Home Office. The UK National Archives has a useful web page explaining what is available, suggesting other useful sources and linking to images of the original documents in its collection. So does the Bodleian Library.

See also Calendar of Documents, Relating to Ireland, Preserved in Her Majesty's Public Record Office, London, 1171-1307

A large volume of Parliamentary papers relating to Ireland is available in the Ford collection on archive.org and is searchable on DIPPAM.

See also Early modern Irish sources.


Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth

The Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland, of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, published 1860-1910. The entries in the first volume (covering 64 years) are generally brief summaries of documents’ subject matter, whereas those in later volumes give more details of their contents.

1. 1509-1573; Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary & Elizabeth, Hamilton, HC (ed), Longmans, London, 1860
2. 1574-1585; Elizabeth, Hamilton, HC (ed), Longmans, London, 1876
3. 1586-July 1588; Elizabeth, Hamilton, HC (ed), Longmans, London, 1877
4. Aug 1588-Sept 1592; Elizabeth, Hamilton, HC (ed), Longmans, London, 1885
5. Oct 1592-June 1596; Elizabeth, Hamilton, HC (ed), HMSO, London, 1890
6. July 1596-Dec 1597; Elizabeth, Atkinson, EG (ed), HMSO, London, 1893
7. Jan 1598-March 1599; Elizabeth, Atkinson, EG (ed), HMSO, London, 1895
8. April 1599-Feb 1600; Elizabeth, Atkinson, EG (ed), HMSO, London,
9. March-Oct 1600; Elizabeth, Atkinson, EG (ed), HMSO, London, 1903
10. 1 Nov 1600-31 July 1601; Elizabeth, Atkinson EG (ed), HMSO, London, 1905
11. 1601-1603; with Addenda, 1565-1654, and Calendar of the Hanmer Papers.

Covering a period including part of the reigns of Elizabeth and James, the UK National Archives has a series of maps, Irish maps c.1558-c.1610 extracted from the State Papers. The series contains 'more than 60 different maps depicting plantations, fortifications and townships in Ireland during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, in the 16th and 17th centuries.' These maps are extracted not from the calendars of state papers, but from the underlying documents. They are described in a research guide here with the underlying maps here. The maps can be downloaded from the National Archives; there may be a charge although at the time of writing up to 10 items can be downloaded free at one time and up to 100 in a 30 day period.


King James I/VI

The Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland in the Reign of King James I/VI, Russell CW & Prendergast JP (Eds), Longman, London, 1872-1880

1. 1603-1606, published, 1872
2. 1606-1608, published, 1874
3. 1608-1610 published, 1872
4. 1611-1614, published, 1877
5. 1615-1625, published, 1880


King Charles I, the Commonwealth, and Charles II

The Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland in the Reigns of King Charles I, the Commonwealth, and Charles II Mahaffy, R. P. (ed.) HMSO, London and Dublin 1900-1905. This set is mostly organised chronologically, except parallel volumes for Charles and Parliament during the civil war. One volume is dedicated entirely to ‘Adventurers for land’ who were granted land by Parliament in 1642 to finance Parliament’s war against those who had rebelled in 1641.

1. 1625-1632; Charles I, published 1900
2. 1633-1647; Charles I, published 1901
3. 1647-1660, published 1903
4. 1642-1659; Commonwealth. Adventurers for land, published 1903
5. 1660-1662: Charles II, published 1905
6. 1663-1665; Charles II, published 1907
7. 1666-1669; Charles II published 1908
8. Sept 1669-Dec. 1670 (with addenda 1625-1670); Charles II, published 1910


Marquis of Ormonde

The Calendar of Manuscripts of the Marquis of Ormonde KP Preserved at Kilkenny Castle in 8 volumes. The Marquis of Ormonde was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland under both Charles I and Charles II.

1. Chiefly correspondence of James, 1st duke of Ormond, 1630-1660
2. Letters of the Irish Lords justices and Irish Privy council, 1641-44. Mss. illustrative of the early life of James, 1st duke of Ormond. A brief relation of the life and memoirs of John, lord Belasyse, written and collected by his secretary, Joshua Moone. Declaration by the commissioners of Parliament of the commonwealth of England for the affairs of Ireland. Table and cellar book of Charles I. at Oxford, 1643-4
3. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1660-1675. State of the revenue of Ireland, 1661. Letters of Elizabeth, duchess of Ormond, to Captain George Mathew, 1668-1673.
4. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1675-1679. Letters of Sir Robert Southwell to the Duke of Ormond, 1677-1685. Oxford letters, 1675-1684. Household correspondence, 1675-1684. Irish wool licences and licencees, 1678-1681
5. Miscellaneous correspondence of the first Duke of Ormond 1679-1688
6. Miscellaneous correspondence of the first Duke of Ormond 1679-1688 continued
7. Miscellaneous correspondence of the first Duke of Ormond 1679-1688 continued
8. Correspondence of the second Duke of Ormond, 1688-1715

The Royal Commission also published various other Ormonde documents before the Calendars. Some of these can be found on line. Most of these are rather short, with just a few documents, but the 14th report contains two whole volumes of documents and the 10th report has one whole volume.

A fairly full set of the Commission's reports can be found here.

The National Library of Ireland has produced this paper listing the manuscripts related to the Duke of Ormond that it holds, most of which are included in the Calendars and/or the reports above, and the paper tells you which papers are in which volume.

Further documents relating to the Duke of Ormonde may be found in his biography, written by Thomas Carte (1686–1754), which has an appendix containing the Duke's letters. The 1851 edition of his work comprises six volumes, vol 1 (1613 to 1641), vol 2 (1641 to 1643), vol 3 (1643 to 1660), vol 4 (1660 to 1688), vol 5 (letters 1) and vol6 (letters 2).

There is also a report by Russell and Prendergast (authors of the Calendars of State Papers under James I/VI) on the Carte Papers held in the Bodlian Library, Oxford (these were the papers collected by Thomas Carte for his life of Ormonde. The report is a mixture of description of the collection and selected quotations from them.

Unfortunately, other manuscripts, including some of genealogical interest, appear not to have been published and are probably only available to consult at the National Library of Ireland.


Parliamentary Commissioners under the Commonwealth

Following Cromwell’s victory in Ireland, Commissioners of Parliament for the Affairs of Ireland were appointed and acted as the civilian power from 1651 to 1659. Robert Dunlop produced a calendar of the commissioners’ papers, which can be viewed as complementary to the Calendar of State Papers for the Commonwealth.

Ireland under the Commonwealth, being a selection of documents relating to the Government of Ireland from 1651 to 1659, Robert A Dunlop, Manchester University Press, 1913,

1. Introduction and 1651-October 1652
2. October 1652-December 1659

The second volume contains a combined index to the two.

Ireland's virtual record treasury contains (as part of the British Library's Egerton Papers) two documents relating to the Parliamentary Commissioners for Ireland (under refs BL Egerton MS 1761 and BL Egerton MS 1762).

Prendergast Commonwealth Papers. In the an appendix to the Fourteenth Report of the Deputy Keeper of Public Records in Ireland, Bernard Burke wrote a short piece (pages 14-17) describing fifty-six volumes of papers relating to the Commonwealth in Ireland, now sadly destroyed. Much of the content of these papers was copied by J.P. Prendergast (author of The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland and the Calendars of State Papers under James I/VI). His records remain in the King's Inn Library in Dublin, where they can be consulted. A large part of them has been published in Archivium Hibernicum and can be consulted free on JSTOR. Brown, David, et al. “Calendar of Transcribed Material from the Council Office Books at Dublin Castle Held in the Prendergast Papers, King’s Inns Library, Dublin 1 [with Index].” Archivium Hibernicum, vol. 72, 2019, pp. 50–283. It has a name index at the back.


Irish Confederation

John T Gilbert (1829-1898), who served as secretary of the Public Record Office in Ireland, wote the magesterial A History of the Irish Confederation 1641-1649 containing a narrative of affairs in Ireland (7 volumes) Dublin, MH Gill & sons 1882-1891.

The synod of the Irish Catholic Church met in Kilkenny in 1642. Its members pledged allegience to Charles I but also to a Council of Confederate Irish Catholics. The Confederacy was based in Kilkenny and formed an alternative government of Ireland from 1642 until the end of Cromwell's Irish campaign. Its army was one of four which took part in the Irish Confederate Wars.

Although described as a history, the work is mostly a calendar of documents. Gilbert explains in the preface to the first edition that all the documents of the Confederation were thought to have been destroyed, so that he had to assemble what he could find from different sources. The documents have a general historical significance for Ireland during the Confederate Wars as well as for the Confederation itself.

He combines the Calendar with a more-or-less contemporary history of Ireland and the Confederation written by Richard Bellings (?-1677) an Anglo-Irish Catholic who was its secretary. Each volume starts with a preface which summarises the context and the most important documents in the calendars. There are indices to volumes 1 & 2 at the end of volume 2 and to volumes 3 - 7 at the end of volume 7.

The organisation of the volumes is

1. 1641-1643. Preface (p iii – p lxxxv), list of illustrations, contents, History by R Bellings (1641-1643)(1-166), Calendar of documents (1641-1642) by JT Gibert (167-304)
2. 1641-1643 cont. Preface (iii-cxix), list of illustrations, contents, Calendar of documents (1642-1643) (1-386), Index to vols 1&2 (387-410)
3. 1643-1644. Preface (iii-vii), list of illustrations, contents, History by R Bellings (1-20), Calendar of documents (21-333), Addenda (334-386) including a catalogue of people outlawed for high treason, (340-386)
4. 1644-1645. List of illustrations, preface (iii-lxvi), History by R Bellings (1-25), Calendar of documents (26-358), addenda (364-382)
5. 1645-1646. Preface (iii-xvi), Contents, List of illustrations, History by R Bellings (1-33), Calendar of documents (34-360)
6. 1646-1648. Preface (iii-vii), list of illustrations, contents, History by R Bellings (1646 only) (1-48), Calendar of Documents (49-306), appendices (307-433)
7. 1646-1649. Preface (iii-viii), list of illustrations, contents, History by R Bellings (1646-1649) (1-130), Calendar of documents (1648-1649) (131-279), appendices (1642-1649) (280-354), addenda (Correspondence of Bellings with Ormonde & others 1649-1651) (355-371), index to vols 3-7 (381-409)

John Gilbert also wrote A contemporary history of affairs in Ireland, from 1641 to 1652. (Dublin: For the Irish archaeological and Celtic society, (3 vols), 1879-1880). As well as the history, each volume has a large appendix containing (mostly) original documents relevant to the history of Ireland, some dating back before the period of the history.


Carew Papers

Although not exclusively state papers, the UK National Archives describes the Carew Papers as Diverse and important papers for the history of Ireland, especially during the reign of Elizabeth I, including copies of some documents not now known to survive.

George Carew (1555–1629), 1st Earl of Totnes, served under Elizabeth and James in the plantation of Ireland starting in 1574. He was appointed president of Munster in 1600 and prepared a survey of Ulster in 1611. According to his entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography Aided by the renowned antiquarian Robert Cotton, he assiduously collected official papers relating to sixteenth-century Ireland, with particular reference to his own career and the war in Munster from 1600 to 1603, and purchased rare medieval Irish annals and documents.

Many of his papers held by Lambeth Palace were collated into six volumes of calendars between 1867 and 1873. Lambeth Palace describes its collection here. These calendars are mostly chronological like the state papers and also have useful prefices and indexes. Other Carew manuscripts are held by the Bodleian Library, Oxford. (The two collections were described in Report to the Right Honourable the Master of the rolls, upon the Carte and carew papers in the Bodleian and Lambeth libraries, Public Record Office, Longman, London, 1864.)

Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts preserved in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, ed J. S. Brewer and William Bullen (6 volumes, Longman's, London, 1867-1873):

Also based on Carew's documents and experience is Pacta Hibernia - Ireland appeased and reduced. First published in London in 1633 Pacta Hibernia offers an impartial, contemporary account of affairs in Ireland during the latter stages of the Nine Years War (1593-1603), as well as details on the conduct of the campaign in Munster. Irish historian Standish O’Grady characterises Pacata Hibernia as ‘the most famous of the Anglo-Irish historical classics’. Its author, Thomas Stafford (1576?-1655) was Carew's secretary, an officer in his army and possibly his illegitimate son. The book was compiled under Carew's direction and appointment.

A second edition published in 1810 can be found here vol 1 and vol 2.

A further valuable collection of Carew's documents is the 'Hardiman Atlas.' This is a collection of 80 old maps of Ireland collected by Carew and later catalogued by James Hardiman. It is available free on line from Trinity College Dublin.


Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica

When he was Deputy Clerk and Keeper of the Rolls, Dublin, John Lodge (1692-1774), wrote Desiderata Curiosa Hibernica: or, A select collection of State papers; consisting of Royal instructions, directions, dispatches, and letters. To which are added, some historical tracts. The whole illustrating the opening of the political systems of the chief governors and government of Ireland during the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth, James the First, and Charles the First (D Hay, Dublin, 1772). This covers some of the same ground as the calendars of state papers listed above. Mr Lodge's publication was in two volumes

  • Volume 1 covering the period 1578 - 1607
  • Volume 2 covering the period 1615 - 1654

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