Personal papers of Hobbes and Payne

Scope and Content

This series comprises papers that were likely kept by Thomas Hobbes and relate to his correspondence and connections with other scholars. The following were likely enclosures with letters to Hobbes: HS/E/4 letter from Christiaan Huygens to Andrew Crooke; HS/E/7 A defence of Hobbes's views on ecclesiastical authority and HS/E/6 Poem in praise of Hobbes. One item relates to his other interests: HS/E/3 is "A note of prospective glasses bought of Mr Hobbes".

Most importantly this series includes Hobbes's catalogue of the library at Hardwick (HS/E/1A) which he compiled in the late 1620s but continued to use and add to on his return to the Cavendish household in the early 1650s. It also includes notes of books and authorities written by Robert Payne and probably acquired with the other papers belonging to Payne after his death in 1651 (HS/E/1, HS/E/2 and HS/E/5). As with other material by Payne in this collection, the lists were assumed to be Hobbes's in autograph in the past.


The current arrangement is based on that in the 1977 RCHM report. The series is recorded in the 1977 RCHM report as: "Personal Memoranda", and was likely arranged in its current form around 1936.

These items have been so significantly referenced in this arrangement that this series is best maintained as it is in this current form. However, in 2021 as part of cataloguing the collection for online publication, the following items were rearranged: HS/E/7 which was formerly in the 'F' series as HS/F/2 was placed with the E series due to the F series containing only two items neither of which related to each other. This item bears more relation to the E series which contains another letter enclosure (HS/E/4). Within the series it appears the rationale was to place like material together, i,e, the items which were letter enclosures appear together after the items related to books and libraries.

Custodial History

This series was likely arranged at the time Shillinglaw catalogued the Hobbes collection in 1936. However the papers were probably extant at Chatsworth or Hardwick from the 1670s and may be among those referred to in the Royal Commission's third report on Historical Manuscripts (1872) at Hardwick which lists: ' letters to Thomas Hobbes (of Malmesbury) and some of his writings', (p. 43).