Napier Family Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Eng. lett. c. 234-54, d. 230-47, d. 296-7, d. 299, e. 101-3; Eng. hist. c. 488, d. 306; Eng. misc. b. 96-9, b. 104, c. 471-80, c. 485, c. 505, e. 603-7, f. 399-402; French c. 37-8, d. 32; Ch. London and Middlesex 514, Ireland 18
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English, and French.
  • Physical Description
      78 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Napier family papers, consisting of:  

  • Papers of Sir William Napier and his wife Caroline, 1801-61, including correspondence, papers relating to Sir William's History of the war in the Peninsula, and papers relating to other works
  • Correspondence of H.E. Fox and H.S. Fox, 1786-1842
  • Papers of Col. George and Lady Sarah Napier, 1780-1874, including correspondnece, the will and probate of Colonel George, and a notebook containing lists of the correspondence of Colonel George and Lady Sarah Napier
  • Papers of Sir Charles James Napier, 1800-53, including correspondence and a notebook containing drawings and water-colours
  • Papers of other members of the Napier family, 1788-1933, including miscellaneous family correspondence and papers

Administrative / Biographical History

The Napier family includes Sir William Francis Patrick Napier (1785-1860), general and historian; his wife Caroline Amelia (d 1860); his parents, Colonel George Napier (1751-1804) and Lady Sarah Napier (d 1826); and his brother, Sir Charles James Napier (1782-1853), general and colonial governor. Also represented in this collection are Caroline Napier's father and brother, Henry Edward Fox (1755-1811), general and colonial governor, and Henry Stephen Fox (1791-1846), diplomat. Details, for all except Caroline Napier and Lady Sarah Napier, are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The collection was given to the Library in three parts in 1962-3.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

M. Clapinson and T.D. Rogers, Summary Catalogue of Post-Medieval Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford. Acquisitions 1916-1975. (Oxford, 1991), vol. I, nos. 41203-80.

A detailed catalogue of the collection is available in the Library and at the National Register of Archives.

Related Material

Other Napier family papers are held by the British Library (Add. MSS. 49086-49172).


A number of the papers are printed in W.F.P. Napier, History of the war in the Peninsula (London, 1828-40), H.A. Bruce, Life of General Sir William Napier (London, 1864), and W.N. Bruce, Life of General Sir Charles Napier (Edinburgh, 1885).