Correspondence of Sir William Henry Pringle

Scope and Content

Papers of Lieutenant-General Sir William Henry Pringle (d 1840) while serving as commander of the Second Brigade in the Peninsula, including military correspondence and records, confidential reports, casualty lists and allied documents:

  • (a) numbers 1-13: letters (15 September 1811-27 March 1814) from Pringle to his wife Harriot Hester (née Eliot, daughter of Lady Harriot Eliot), mostly written from the Peninsula;
  • (b) numbers 14-64: letters and papers (19 April 1812-August 1814) addressed to Pringle by fellow officers etc., while serving in the Peninsula, with some draft replies; numbers 24-25 (29 October 1812 and no date) are from the Duke of Wellington and numbers 20 (2 August 1812) and 28 (30 November 1812) are from Lord Fitzroy Somerset (later Lord Raglan).

Administrative / Biographical History

William Henry Pringle was born in c. 1772, the only son of Major-General Henry Pringle of Caledon. He joined the army as a cornet in 1792, and was promoted to colonel in 1809, when he was appointed to the staff of the Peninsular army. He commanded a brigade at Salamanca, the Pyrenees and Nivelle, and he received votes of thanks from the House of Commons for his service in battle in 1813 and 1814. In May 1814 he was appointed colonel of the Newfoundland Fencibles. In 1816 he took command of the 64th Regiment of Foot, and he was promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1825 when he assumed command of the 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot (Sherwood Foresters). He was made a K.C.B. in 1815. In 1806 Pringle married Harriot Hester Eliot, daughter of Lady Harriet Eliot and niece of John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham. They had one son, Colonel John Henry Pringle, and three daughters. Pringle was also a Member of Parliament. He represented the constituency of St. Germans between 1812 and 1818 and then the constituency of Liskeard between 1818 and 1832. Sir William died in London on 23 December 1840, and his widow died in October 1842.

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library through the London bookseller H.M. Fletcher at auction at Sotheby's on 8 November 1960, together with English MSS 1271-1272, for £341 including commission (Lot 170).


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, with reference to Alexander Pringle, The records of the Pringles or Hoppringills of the Scottish border (Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1933).

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1952-1970 (English MS 1273).

Related Material

The JRUL holds further material relating to the Peninsular War within the Clinton Papers, described in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 41 (1958-9), pp. 5-6; papers relating to the Peninsular War (ref.: GB 133 Eng MS 1227); and correspondence and papers of Sir James Leith (ref.: GB 133 Eng MS 1307).

Within the Pitt Collection at the JRUL are letters from Sir William Henry Pringle to John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham (ref.: GB 133 Eng MS 1271), and papers of Lady Harriot Pitt, later Eliot (ref.: GB 133 Eng MS 1272).


See the note in the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, vol. 43 (1960-1), pp. 274-5.