Robert Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine: Diary

Scope and Content

Diary, 30 folios, 'Relation of the Embassy of the Earl of Castlemaine sent as Ambassador to Rome by James the Second in the year 1686'. The diary was probably compiled by a member or members of Castlemaine's suite: (fo. 2) title-page, in Italian and English; (fo. 3) diary, in Italian, 13 Apr. 1686 - 13 July 1687 (the hand changes at folio 26); (fo. 29) a note, in English, 4 Oct. 1693; (fo. 30) 'Octr 10.93'; (fo. 30v) a note, in Italian. On fo. 2v is '45' (circled).

Administrative / Biographical History

Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine (1634-1705), diplomat and author, was the eldest son of Sir James Palmer of Hayes, Middlesex, and Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire, by his second wife, Catherine, daughter of Sir William Herbert, K.B. Palmer was born at Dorney Court on 3 September 1634, and educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, which he entered on 25 March 1652. He was admitted a student at the Inner Temple in 1656, but was not called to the bar. In 1661 he was made Earl of Castlemaine, co. Kenny. Castlemaine was a member of the small cabal of Catholics who formed James II's secret council, and was selected by the king as his ambassador when he decided to establish overt relations with the papacy. Castlemaine left England in February 1686 on his mission to Pope Innocent XI. He returned to London in August 1687, and was given a place on the privy council. He died at Oswestry on 21 July 1705.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased 1924.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to Sidney Lee, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. XV (London, 1909), pp. 148-150.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.


An alternative and differing account is given in Michael Wright, An account of His Excellence Roger Earl of Castlemaine's embassy (London, 1688).

Geographical Names