Burlington Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Scope and Content

The majority of the papers are correspondence and accounts, relating to both estate and personal matters. There are also some official papers in the collection, notably the will of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, and the marriage settlement of Lady Charlotte Boyle.

BU1: Papers of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington

This section includes correspondence of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington, which consists of 4 volumes of copy letters concerning the management of the Earl's Irish estates. The section also includes 1 volume of accounts which concerns the rent payments received by the Earl and the payment of his employees.

BU2: Papers of Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington

This section includes correspondence of Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington, which consists of 2 volumes of copy letters concerning the management of the Earl's Irish estates. The section also includes 1 volume of Rental Accounts for the Earl's Irish Estates, dated 1700.

BU3: Papers of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington

This section includes correspondence of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, which deals mostly with the management of the Earl's estates in England, particularly at Chiswick. It also includes letters concerning the management of the Earl's Irish and Yorkshire estates, as well as including documents which outline the Earl's policy of selling extensive areas of land. The section some correspondence of a more personal nature, including copy letters relating to the health and activities of the Earl's family, as well as a printed document presented to the Earl by Josias Bateman, a former employee.

The section also includes 12 volumes and 3 bundles of accounts. These mostly concern the management of the Earl's estates in England, particularly in Chiswick and London. They also include accounts of tenants's rent, employees's salaries, and household expenses. These documents also include several bills and legal documents which relate to building work undertaken by the Earl at Chiswick House.

The section also includes the will of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington

BU4: Papers of Henry Boyle, Baron Carleton

This section includes 1 volume of copy letters to and from Henry Boyle, the brother of Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington. The letters within the volume primarily relate to Henry Boyle's Irish estates but some letters also concern his estates in Yorkshire.

BU5: Papers of Charlotte Boyle

This section includes the marriage settlement of Lady Charlotte Boyle and William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington (later 4th Duke of Devonshire).

BU6: Papers of Lady Dorothy Boyle, nee Saville (1699-1758)

This section solely comprises notes on the artwork and hanging of paintings at Chiswick House.

Administrative / Biographical History

This collection consists of assorted papers of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington (1612-1698), Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington (c.1662-1704), Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), Henry Boyle, Baron Carleton (1669-1725); Dorothy Boyle (nee Savile), Countess of Burlington (1699-1758) and Lady Charlotte Cavendish (nee Boyle), (1731-1754).

The wealth and landholdings of the Boyle family had their foundations in Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, who arrived in Ireland in 1588 and built a vast plantation of over 42,000 acres in Munster (in large part by buying out Sir Walter Raleigh). The extent and wealth of these lands were to make his son and grandson the wealthiest men in Ireland. An English peerage, the earldom of Bridlington (or Burlington) was bestowed on Richard, 2nd Earl of Cork in 1665 - this coupled with that earl's marriage match with Elizabeth Clifford, heiress of the earls of Cumberland, began the family's shift from Irish to English grandees. By the 18th century, and despite the size of the Irish estates Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, never visited Ireland.

On 27 March 1748 Lady Charlotte Boyle married William Cavendish, later to be the 4th Duke of Devonshire. Boyle was the second daughter and sole surviving heir of the 3rd Earl of Burlington. The vast inheritance that she bestowed on her son, William, 5th Duke of Devonshire, effectively doubled the holdings of the Cavendish family. Property included Burlington House in London, Chiswick House in Chiswick, Lismore Castle in Ireland, Londesborough House in East Yorkshire, and Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire, with their attendant estates. There was also a notable inheritance of art, books and architectural drawings compiled by the 3rd Earl of Burlington, 'The Architect Earl.'

Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington (1612-1698)

Boyle, a royalist army officer and politician, was born on 20 October 1612 at Youghal, co. Cork, the second child but eldest surviving son of Richard Boyle, first earl of Cork (1566–1643), and his wife, Catherine Fenton (c.1588–1630), daughter of Sir Geoffrey Fenton. From 16 October 1620, when his father was ennobled, the child was known by his father's subsidiary title of Viscount Dungarvan. Knighted by the Irish lord deputy in 1623, he studied briefly at Oxford in 1629–30 and was then sent on a more extended continental tour. On 3 July 1634 he married Elizabeth Clifford (1613–1691), daughter of Henry Clifford, fifth earl of Cumberland. The alliance connected Boyle, the son of an arriviste in protestant Ireland, with an ancient aristocratic house. It brought the prospect of substantial English estates concentrated in Yorkshire, Westmorland, and Cumberland which in time would transform this branch of the Boyles from Irish to English grandees. Dungarvan was elected to the Short and Long parliaments in 1640 for the Westmorland borough of Appleby. His adherence to the king's cause led to his being disabled from sitting in parliament on 10 November 1643 and, on 4 November 1644, to his being granted an English peerage as Baron Clifford. Already in 1643 he had succeeded to the Irish earldom of Cork. Although he was not conspicuous as a royalist commander, the importance of the family into which he had married ensured that the parliamentarian authorities monitored his activities. The victorious parliament penalized him. He had paid a fine of £1631 to recover the English estates by the end of May 1650. Not until 1653 did he regain full control of his much more valuable Irish holdings under the terms of the Dublin treaty of 1647. He removed himself discreetly to the continent in the later 1640s, and for a time was with the exiled royalist lord lieutenant, Ormond, at Caen. Cork returned to Ireland on 28 May 1651, and there attended to the repair of his estate, which his wife had already begun. By the 1670s it was probably yielding an annual £30,000, making its owner the richest man in Ireland.

Cork was appointed a privy councillor in Dublin in December 1660, and installed in his father's office of lord treasurer on 6 July 1661. His high standing at the English court, together with his wealth, his wife's lineage, and his past services to the Stuarts (especially the queen mother, Henrietta Maria) secured advancement to an English earldom—of Burlington (or Bridlington)—in 1665. Other posts, such as governor (the equivalent of lord lieutenant) of counties Cork and Waterford and military governor of Hawlbowline Fort in Cork harbour (1662), attested to his pre-eminence as a proprietor in the region. For similar reasons he was appointed lord lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire, a position he held briefly in 1667 and from 1679 to 1687, and recorder of York (1685–8).

In 1667 he acquired the carcass of Sir John Denham's London mansion in Piccadilly, which was completed with a grandeur consonant with the Burlingtons' new dignity; they moved into Burlington House the following year. In 1682 an estate at Chiswick, in Middlesex, was bought, to which in 1684 the family moved permanently. After 1686 advancing years and disturbed conditions prevented further voyages to Ireland. Predeceased by his wife (in 1691) and his eldest son, Charles, Viscount Dungarvan and Lord Clifford (in 1694), he died at Chiswick House on 15 January 1698 and was buried at Londesborough, his Yorkshire seat, on 8 February. He was succeeded by his grandson Charles. Edited extract from Toby Barnard, 'Boyle, Richard, first earl of Burlington and second earl of Cork', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). By permission of Oxford University Press.

Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlington (d.1704)

Boyle was the son of Charles Boyle, third Viscount Dungarven and his first wife Jane Seymour. In 1690 he became an MP for Appleby and Governor of County Cork. In 1694 he resigned his seat and inherited his father's titles of Viscount Dungarven, Baron Clifford and Baron Clifford of Lanesborough. In 1695 he was made Lord High Treasurer of Ireland. In 1698 he inherited the titles of second Earl of Burlington and third Earl of Cork. He was also appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1698, and Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1699. In 1702 he was admitted to the Privy Council. He married Juliana Noel (1672-1753) on 26 January 1688. He died on 9 February 1704.

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753)

Boyle, architect, collector, and patron of the arts, was born on 25 April 1694 at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, the only son of Charles Boyle, second earl of Burlington and third earl of Cork (d. 1704), and Juliana (1672–1750), daughter and heir to Henry Noel, second son of the fourth Viscount Campden. He was educated at home, and at his father's death on 9 February 1704 he succeeded to his titles and estates. In 1715 Burlington was made lord treasurer of Ireland and governor of co. Cork and was sworn of the Irish privy council. In the same year he became vice-admiral of the county of York and lord lieutenant of the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire. Burlington was sworn of the privy council of England on 15 May 1729. His nomination as knight of the Garter came on 18 May 1730, and he was installed at Windsor on 18 June 1730. On 21 June 1731 he was made captain of the band of pensioners. His legal claim to the barony of Clifford was granted on 25 May 1737. In May 1733 Burlington resigned all his offices, apparently because George II failed to honour a promise to appoint him to a high household office.

Burlington was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 1 November 1722 and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 5 February 1724. On 21 March 1721 he married Dorothy Savile (1699–1758), lady of the bedchamber to Queen Caroline, eldest daughter and coheir of William Savile, marquess of Halifax, and Mary, daughter of Daniel Finch, earl of Winchilsea. They had three daughters: Dorothy (1724–1742), who married George, earl of Euston; Juliana (1727–1731); and Charlotte (1731–1754).

He resided annually in three of these seats: his London town house, Burlington House in Piccadilly; his suburban seat on the Thames at Chiswick in Middlesex; and his country seat at Londesborough in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Although his Irish estates provided the major source of revenue for his architectural projects on his English estates, Burlington never visited Ireland.

Burlington was an 'Architect earl', who practised architecture not from economic necessity but as a passionate avocation. Burlington's interest in architecture began during the four and a half years between his two Italian sojourns. About 1717 he was probably responsible for replacing James Gibbs with Colen Campbell as the architect responsible for remodelling Burlington House. This change reflects his evolving tastes from Gibbs's baroque classicism to Campbell's more rigorous classicism based on the architecture of Andrea Palladio. Under Campbell's tutelage at Burlington House and in the garden at Chiswick, Burlington learned the practical aspects of architecture. When he returned to Italy in 1719 he had made architecture his muse. On returning to London in November 1719, Burlington began what became his lifelong architectural project: the transformation of his suburban estate at Chiswick, Middlesex.

Burlington also took a keen interest in music and literature. Throughout his life Burlington patronized composers, librettists, musicians, and the Italian opera, and held musical performances in his various residences. George Frideric Handel may have stayed at Burlington House during his first brief London sojourn of 1710–11. On his return to London in 1712, Handel was given an apartment at Burlington House, where he wrote the opera Amadigi di Gaula (1715), the libretto of which is dedicated to Lord Burlington.

Burlington's major support for writers came through his munificent patronage of publication subscriptions. Not only did he subscribe to ninety-seven separate publications, but in many instances he subscribed for more than one copy. The majority of his subscriptions were devoted to literature (twenty-eight) and history (twenty-six), with only nine to architecture, and the remainder to travel, music, science, and religion. He was an ardent supporter of contemporary poets. Another form of patronage that Burlington extended to writers and artists was residence at Burlington House. William Kent, described by Horace Walpole as 'a proper priest' to Burlington's 'Apollo of Arts' (Walpole, 56) and Burlington's artistic confidant, was a permanent resident and the poet John Gay, whose Epistle to Burlington was part of his Poems on Several Occasions, was a guest for long periods during the 1720s.

Burlington died on 3 December 1753 at Chiswick and was buried in the family vault at Londesborough on 15 December 1753. Charlotte, his youngest daughter and sole heir, married William Cavendish, fourth duke of Devonshire. She inherited the barony of Clifford, and the Boyle family's landholdings in Ireland, Yorkshire, and elsewhere passed to the Devonshire family.

Edited extract from Pamela Denman Kingsbury, 'Boyle, Richard, third earl of Burlington and fourth earl of Cork', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; updated online 2008). By permission of Oxford University Press.

Henry Boyle, Baron Carleton (1669-1725)

Boyle, Henry, Baron Carleton (1669–1725), politician, was born on 12 July 1669, the third and youngest son of Charles Boyle, Baron Clifford of Lanesborough (1639–1694), and his first wife, Lady Jane Seymour (d. 1679), the youngest daughter of William Seymour, second duke of Somerset. He was a scion of a prominent Anglo-Irish aristocratic family; his grandfather was Richard Boyle, second earl of Cork. After Westminster School he was commissioned into the army, almost certainly through the offices of his uncle Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester. He did not share the legitimist views of his Hyde relations, however, adopting instead the moderate whiggery of his father. In November 1688 he had joined the desertion of James II for the prince of Orange. He entered parliament for Tamworth, his father's old constituency, in May 1689, but after losing the seat at the general election in 1690 went to Ireland to run his grandfather's huge estates in counties Cork and Waterford. He served briefly in the Irish parliament, where he was noted for his great skill and 'quickness'. In 1692, having resigned his army commission, he was elected MP for Cambridge University, of which his cousin Charles Seymour, sixth duke of Somerset, was chancellor. Identifying himself with the 'country' opposition, he shone as a speaker and scrutineer of government activity, and obtained election to the commission of accounts during the years 1695–7. Tiring of opposition, however, he crossed to the court party during the winter of 1697–8, and his effective advocacy of the court's financial measures brought him appointment as a lord of the treasury in May 1699 and advancement to chancellor of the exchequer in 1701, which latter office he retained until 1708. From 1704 until 1715 he was also both lord treasurer of Ireland and lord lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Urbane and superior, he avoided political infighting wherever possible, preferring the steady routines of treasury business, from which he profited handsomely. Following the 1705 election, when he became MP for Westminster, Boyle emerged as one of Godolphin's chief lieutenants in the lower house, and in February 1708 he replaced Robert Harley as secretary of state in the southern department. His leadership over the court whigs, the high point of his career, ceased, however, towards the end of 1709 as the ministry succumbed increasingly to the dominance of the junto whigs. Early in 1710 he was a manager in the Sacheverell trial, but, unable to face the battles engendered by ascendant toryism, he declined re-election later in the year and withdrew from politics altogether. Following Queen Anne's death in 1714 he was, inevitably, tipped for the highest offices under the incoming whig ministry, but received only a barony. He supported Lord Sunderland's government during the 'whig schism' and in 1721 was appointed to the cabinet rank of lord president; he was retained as such by Walpole. Boyle died, unmarried, at his London residence, Carleton House, on 14 March 1725, leaving estates in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, and Petersham in Surrey, plus a personalty in excess of £27,000. According to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Carleton was the real father of Kitty Hyde [see Douglas, Catherine, duchess of Queensberry and Dover], daughter of Jane Hyde, countess of Clarendon and Rochester, and her husband, Henry, Lord Hyde. The veracity of the story remains unclear, but certainly both Kitty and Jane benefited in money and jewellery from Carleton's will. He was buried in the family vault at Londesborough, Yorkshire, on 31 March 1725.

A. A. Hanham, 'Boyle, Henry, Baron Carleton (1669–1725), politician', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; updated online 2008). By permission of Oxford University Press.

Dorothy Boyle (nee Savile), Countess of Burlington (1699-1758)

Boyle [née Savile], Dorothy, countess of Burlington (1699–1758), portrait painter and caricaturist, was born in London on 13 September 1699 and baptized on 24 September at St James's, Piccadilly, the elder daughter of William Savile, second marquess of Halifax (1665–1700), and his second wife, Lady Mary Finch (bap. 1677, d. 1718), daughter of Daniel Finch, second earl of Nottingham and seventh earl of Winchilsea. At the age of eighteen Dorothy, with her younger sister Mary, inherited the Halifax estates and thus became a highly marriageable proposition. On 21 March 1721 she married the 'architect earl', Richard Boyle, third earl of Burlington (1694–1753). Henceforward the couple's lives chiefly revolved around three houses: Burlington House, Piccadilly; Chiswick House, Middlesex; and Londesborough in the East Riding of Yorkshire. William Kent, painter, designer, and landscape gardener, shared their lives for nearly thirty years.

Lady Burlington took a keen interest in design, particularly in the creation of the Burlingtons' new villa at Chiswick; she also shared her husband's love of music and the theatre. She served for ten years (1727–37) as one of Queen Caroline's eight ladies of the bedchamber and received permission to copy portraits in the Royal Collection. Off duty she rode to hounds.

Chiefly Lady Burlington took pleasure in portraiture. She was largely self-taught, having learnt by copying. Otherwise, apart from a portrait in oil of Princess Amelia (uniquely signed 'D. Burlington/pinxt'), she asked only family and friends to sit for her. But, as Horace Walpole noted, she also had a 'talent for caricatura'—for catching swift likenesses, often sardonically inscribed, on whatever fragment of paper or card came to hand. About thirty of these survive, including a sketch of Alexander Pope playing cards and a study of Queen Caroline on her deathbed, later inscribed by Pope with irreverent verse.

Correspondence between Lord and Lady Burlington over the years suggests that their relationship was amicable; each was in the habit of addressing the other as 'My dear Child', while a letter from Lord Burlington to his wife (23 September 1735) declares that 'Hearing from you, is the most agreeable thing in the world to me'. In Jean-Baptiste Van Loo's portrait group The Third Earl of Burlington with his Wife and Two Daughters (1739; collection Trustees of the Lismore estate) Lady Burlington is depicted holding a palette of oil colours. Behind her is a black servant, almost certainly James Cambridge, of whose head she made a sensitive pencil study. The two daughters are Dorothy and Charlotte, only survivors into adulthood of a son and three daughters born to the Burlingtons between 1724 and 1731. Dorothy married Lord Euston in 1741, dying unhappily within a year; Lady Burlington's portrait of her from memory was engraved by John Faber jun., privately published for friends. The younger daughter, Charlotte, married (1749) William Cavendish, marquess of Hartington, later fourth duke of Devonshire, and died in 1754, leaving four children; it is through that marriage that material relating to Lady Burlington (including all drawings and correspondence mentioned here and not otherwise located) is at Chatsworth. Lord Burlington died in 1753, leaving everything to his countess for her lifetime. Overtaken by illness and solitude Lady Burlington fell to raging: Walpole reported to Seymour Conway on 19 September 1758 that 'she breaks out all over—in curses and blasphemies' (Walpole, Corr., 37.571–2). She died in her bedchamber in Chiswick House on 21 September 1758.

Edited extract from Judy Egerton, 'Boyle [née Savile], Dorothy, countess of Burlington,' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; updated online 2008). By permission of Oxford University Press. Lady Charlotte Cavendish (nee Boyle), (1731-1754).

Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Cavendish (nee Boyle) (27 October 1731 - 8 December 1754)

Boyle was the second daughter and sole surviving heir of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and Dorothy Savile. She married William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington (later 4th Duke of Devonshire and Prime Minister) on 27 March 1748 in Pall Mall, London. Lady Charlotte Boyle was known as the Marchioness of Hartington from 1748 until 1753. She was also known as 6th Baroness Clifford, a title which was gained suo jure. She died in Uppingham, Rutland, from smallpox.


BU/1: Papers of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington

BU/2: Papers of Charles Boyle, 2nd Earl of Burlingotn

BU/3: Papers of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington

BU/4: Papers of Henry Boyle, Baron Carleton

BU/5: Papers of Charlotte Boyle

BU/6: Papers of Lady Dorothy Boyle, nee Saville

Access Information

The collection is open for consultation. Access to the archive at Chatsworth is by appointment only. For more information please visit the website.

Other Finding Aids

An item-level catalogue of the collection in PDF format can be found on the Chatsworth website.

Alternative Form Available

The Public Record office of Northern Ireland has photocopies of much of the estate correspondence - Chatsworth Papers (T3158)

Conditions Governing Use

Copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study and personal research purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Much of the material remains in the copyright of Chatsworth House Trust, but some is also subject to third-party copyright. It is the responsibility of researchers to obtain permission both from Chatsworth House Trust, and from the any other rights holders before reproducing material for purposes other than research or private study.

Custodial History

These papers had been brought together as a collection by the early 2000s. They are likely to be remnants from several other collections that were not catalogued when those collections were created – such as the Bolton Abbey Manuscripts (GB 2495 BU) and the Londesborough Papers (GB 2495 LP). These papers have been created by members of the Burlington family, or their agents, and may have one time resided variously in the estate office at Londesborough, Bolton Abbey or Lismore Castle, or in the strong rooms at Devonshire House and Burlington House.

Related Material

For 17th century correspondence of the Boyle family, see the Cork Manuscripts (GB 2495 CM). For legal material relating to all the Boyle estates, see the Currey Papers (GB 2495 L). For material relating to the Londesborough and Bolton Abbey estates see, respectively, the Londesborough Papers (GB 2495 LP) and the Bolton Abbey Manuscripts (GB 2495 BA). For the 18th century correspondence of the 3rd Earl of Burlington, the Countess of Burlington, and their family members and friends (such as William Kent, Alexander Pope etc.) see the 1st Correspondence Series (GB 2495 CS1).


For references to some of the material in secondary sources see: Barnard, Toby and Toby Christopher Barnard, A New Anatomy of Ireland (2003); Barnard, Toby and Jane Clark, Lord Burlington: Architecture, Art and Life (1995); Corp, E., Lord Burlington: The Man and His Politics (1998); R. T. Spence, 'Chiswick House and Its Gardens' , Burlington Magazine (1993), 135, 525-31.