Bedford Household Accounts

Scope and Content

Bills, receipts and business letters handled by the agents of the Dukes of Bedford. Usually each bill bears the signature of the then Duke and / or his agent sanctioning payment to be made, as well as the signature of the recipient of the money or the recipient's agent. The remaining manuscripts are records of money coming in to the Bedford estates or business letters or market reports from accredited agents of the Dukes of Bedford. The collection has been arranged in subject sections. Each section is in chronological order.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Russell family, Dukes of Bedford: The Russell family first appeared prominently in the reign of Henry VIII. John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, c1486-1555, was Lord High Steward and Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal under Henry VIII and Edward VI. He was created 1st Earl of Bedford in 1550, and had a part in arranging the marriage of Mary I to Philip II of Spain. He died possessing lands, which have remained in the family until the 20th century; these now include Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire and large parts of Bloomsbury in London. His son, Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, c 1527-1585, was an Privy Councillor under Elizabeth I and President of the Council of Wales. Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, 1593-1641, was an opponent of Charles I in the House of Lords. William Russell, 5th Earl and 1st Duke of Bedford, 1613-1700, fought first for Parliament and then for the king in the Civil War. In 1694, when his sons attainder was reversed, the 5th earl was made Duke of Bedford. John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, 1710-1771, served in the cabinets of Henry Pelham, 4th Duke of Newcastle, 1696-1754, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, 1713-1792, and George Grenville, 1712-1770. He was the leader of a faction of Whig politicians, known as the Bedford Group.


14 boxes

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Printed handlist available

Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 8, 2002

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