The collection includes working records of the Houghton estate, office papers of the Pell family and collections relating to various generations of the Walpole family, including a large collection of political papers collected by Sir Robert Walpole. The larger part of Sir Robert's papers consists of reports, memoranda and petitions. This material includes abstracts of all papers signed by the lords of the treasury, 1718-1740, Walpole's own memoranda and his notes for speeches. The collection is grouped into four main classes:
Army and Navy, Foreign, Domestic (Treasury; parliamentary and political papers; papers relating to conspiracy and public order; pamphlets, essays and papers relating to the press; papers relating to ecclesiastical affairs; miscellaneous), Trading and Colonial, and Miscellanea.
3,400 letters, including some from the leading politicians of the time. Around 550 letters date from 1700-1707, and deal almost exclusively with personal affairs or local Norfolk politics.
Miscellaneous household and estate books from the early sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, with vouchers and bills from the early eighteenth to the nineteenth century.
The remainder of the collection
Private papers of Sir Robert Walpole's predecessors and successors, papers of the Pell family, miscellaneous bound volumes and working papers of the Estate Office.