Papers of Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649-1709), statesman, in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection

Scope and Content

The correspondence predating the landing in England concerns diplomatic and military preparations on the Continent and in England, with a significant number written in cipher. These subjects continue to feature during the critical early years of William and Mary's reign.The 1st Earl was a leading diplomat, and was a central negotiator for both the Treaty of Ryswick and the Partition Treaties. The diplomatic papers are generally in French, Dutch or German.The Earl travelled extensively, as did his son, Viscount Woodstock, who undertook the Grand Tour and wrote many letters to his father during his travels.Portland was also involved in political life, with his papers reflecting events in England, Ireland, Scotland and Holland during the period of William's reign. He took a particular interest in Jacobite activity, both at home and abroad. Correspondents include William III and a wide range of representatives of other rulers, eminent men and officials.

Administrative / Biographical History

Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland (1649-1709), the founder of the family's fortunes in England, was a friend and adviser to William of Orange and accompanied him to England in 1688. He continued his close relationship after William was crowned, and his family's eminence in England was based on the rewards given to him, including the title of Earl of Portland.


The letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent, in chronological sequence. The majority of the letters are to the 1st Earl.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:Old Typescript catalogue, 66 pp At the National Register of Archives, London:Old Typescript catalogue, 66 pp On the World Wide Web: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.

Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Custodial History

These 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.

Related Material

Papers of Henry Bentinck, 1st Duke of Portland (1682-1726) in the Portland (Welbeck) Collection GB 159 Pw B

Longleat House, Wiltshire

British Library


N. Japiske, 'Correspondentie van Willem III en van Hans Willem Bentinck, Eersten Graaf vab Portland' (Vols. 23 and 23; Martinus Nijhoff; the Hague, 1927 and 1928)