Papers on the Revenue of the Future James II as Duke of York

Scope and Content

Papers relating to the Revenues of James, Duke of York compiled by Thomas Povey, treasurer of the Duke's household. Items comprise:

  • No. 1: Rules concerning the management of His Royal Highness's revenue, 1662;
  • No. 2: Agreement between Sir Allen Apsley and Thomas Povey concerning fees to be received on payment of the Duke's debts, 1662;
  • No. 3: Estimate of the Duke's revenue and expenditure for the quarter ending Michaelmas 1663;
  • No. 4: Considerations touching the revenue, assignations and other payments, 1663;
  • Nos 5-6: Statements of Mr Povey's account for the Duke, 24 December 1663 - 24 March 1663/4, and 25 March 1664 - 9 April 1664;
  • Nos 7-8: Estimates of the Duke's revenue and expenses, 1664;
  • No. 9: Computation of the Duke's average revenue and expenses, 1661-5, entitled: 'A medium by which a judgement is to bee made how farr the Expense exceedes the Revenue of his R.Hs';
  • No. 10: 'A Paper delivered by mee to his R.Hs in Councill, Feb 15 1667';
  • No. 11: Draft certificate concerning money paid to the Duke's use by Sir Stephen Fox (1627-1716) and Mr Mason, 1668;
  • No. 12: Paper concerning the improvement of the Duke's revenue (water-damaged);
  • No. 13: Stable bills to be paid by the Cofferer of His Majesty's Household;
  • No. 14: A probable computation or estimate of the debts, expenses and revenue of His Royal Highness;
  • No. 15: A brief of an account of Sir Henry Wood, Comptroller of the Household of the Queen Mother;
  • No. 16: Paper concerning the distinction of debts to be paid by Sir Allen Apsley and by Mr Povey (fragment only);
  • No. 17: Label annotated 'Papers To be shewed to Colonell Worden 1677'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Povey (b. 1613/14, d. in or before 1705), was a colonial entrepreneur and administrator. Povey believed the civil war to be unjustifiable, and had taken a non-partisan stance. However, moderation became increasingly suspect; Povey was thought to be disloyal to the council of state and in 1650 a warrant was issued for his arrest. Trade now seemed a safer and more profitable pursuit than politics and in 1654 Povey helped to fit out the western design fleet. Thomas soon became a recognized expert on matters colonial and was to remain at the centre of colonial affairs for the next decade. In February 1659 Povey was elected to Richard Cromwell's parliament as an MP for Bossiney and in 1660 was among the MPs secluded in 1648 who took their seats in the reassembled Long Parliament.

In 1660 Povey became treasurer of the Duke of York's household, and in 1662 treasurer of Tangier and surveyor-general of its victualling department. In 1662 also he was made a master of requests extraordinary, with the promise of the next ordinary vacancy. However, Povey was clearly overextended and in 1665 he resigned the treasurership of Tangier. In 1666 he lost his place as the duke of York's treasurer, being replaced by Sir Allan Apsley. According to Pepys, Povey had neglected all his business and committed it to unfit hands and it is clear that his accounts were in substantial disarray. His career never recovered. On James II's accession (1685) he lost his mastership of requests, although he remained a member of the queen dowager's council. His last appearance in the Royal Society's membership lists is 1702. Administration of his estate was granted to his nephew, William Blathwayt, in July 1705.

Source: Barbara C. Murison, 'Povey, Thomas (b. 1613/14, d. in or before 1705)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the London booksellers P.J. Dobell and A.E. Dobell in December 1924 (with English MS 8 and English MS 293).


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Thomas Povey.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 294).