Papers of Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne (1811-1864), politician and statesman, in the Newcastle (Clumber) Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists principally of the duke's correspondence, both his private papers and copies of his official letters, while in public office. The papers include letters and reports arising from his position as Chief Commissioner for Woods 1841-1846, notably concerning various building works in London and at Windsor Castle. The extensive correspondence and related papers as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1846 reflect all aspects of the growing crisis caused by the failure of the potato crop and the government's responses to it.

The largest sections are devoted to his controversial period as Secretary for War during the Crimean War 1853-1856 and also as Colonial Secretary during the years 1852-1864. All parts of the then British colonial empire are featured in the papers but of special significance are sections relating to Australia, New Zealand, Van Dieman's Land [Tasmania], Southern Africa and British North America - including the Prince of Wales' [later Edward VII's] tour of the U.S.A. and Canada in 1860.

Particularly noteworthy correspondents include Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Lord Raglan, Lord Elgin, Lord Palmerston, William Gladstone, Sydney Herbert, Sir Randolph Routh and Sir Charles Trevelyan.

There are smaller sections of personal, family and estate papers which touch on his strained relationship with his father, the 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, with his wife, Lady Susan Hamilton - from whom he was divorced in 1850 - and with his children.

Due to the size of this collection the sections are delivered separately on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue:

Ne C 8779-12842, Political and official correspondence of Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne

Ne C 12843-14145, Personal and estate correspondence of Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne (1811-1864), was born in London and was educated at Eton and then Oxford. In 1832 he entered parliament for the first time as M.P. for South Nottinghamshire, a seat which he held until 1846 when he moved to represent the Falkirk Burghs. In 1834 Sir Robert Peel appointed him a Lord of the Treasury. Although the appointment was to be short lived, this was the first in a long line of public offices held by the 5th Duke. He was First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, Chief Secretary for Ireland and Secretary of State for War and for the Colonies at various dates between 1841-1864. Of particular note during that time was his resignation from the War Office in 1855 in the wake of disastrous actions in the Crimea. Immediately following this resignation the duke departed on a tour of the Crimea, wishing to see the situation there for himself.

The 5th Duke was a political ally and friend of numerous leading politicians and statesmen, including William Gladstone, and his political influence operated at a local as well as at a national level.

His personal life was unfortunately very unhappy. His marriage to Lady Susan Hamilton (1814-1889) was fraught with difficulties and was ultimately dissolved in 1850. His relationship with his father, the 4th Duke, was strained, as was his relationship with most of his children.


The letters are arranged in bundles, some by position held, some by the geographical area to which they relate and others in chronological sequence. Many of the papers show signs of damage, possibly from the fire which destroyed the library at Clumber in 1879.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all 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, 28 pp

At the National Register of Archives, The National Archives, Kew:

Old typescript Catalogue, 28 pp


Catalogue accessible on the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Readers are advised that the online catalogue is more comprehensive than the old typescript version, and has been enhanced by personal, place and subject indexing.

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

Photocopies 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-fonds of the Newcastle (Clumber) Collection (Ne) and are part of the political papers fonds (Ne C). They were part of the first deposit received from the 9th Duke of Newcastle in 1955 and were accepted in lieu of estate duty in 1981.

Related Material

See the fonds level record for the whole Newcastle collection (Ne), the record describing the Correspondence within the collection (Ne C), and the other constituent parts of the Correspondence section (Ne C 1-35; Ne C 36-2225; Ne C 2226-2229; Ne C 2230-4495; Ne C 4496-4666; Ne C 4667-8778; Ne C 12843-14145; Ne C 14146-14729; Ne C 14730-15406)

British Library

Bodleian Library, Oxford

The National Archives

Other collections listed through The National Archives Discovery catalogue.

Correspondence with J.E. Denison, Viscount Ossington