The Wellington Papers Database

About the Wellington Papers Database

map of Crumlin estate, IrelandMS 61 forms the principal collection of the papers of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington (1769-1852). It contains approximately 100,000 items, the Duke's political, military, official and diplomatic papers covering all aspects of his career. The collection includes some 15,000 papers for the period up to 1805; approximately 25,000 for the period 1806-18; a further 30,000 papers cover the period 1819 to the end of 1832 and there is a similar quantity for the period 1833-52.

A separate summary catalogue of the archive has been published (C.M.Woolgar A Summary Catalogue of the Wellington Papers (University of Southampton Library, occasional paper 8; 1984)). A detailed catalogue of the archive is in progress and this forms the Wellington Papers Database. The descriptions that are currently available in the Wellington Papers Database focus on certain sections of the archive, namely: for 1819-32, for the period 1807-9, and for part of Wellington's tenure as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire. Material for 1809 onwards is in process and will be added to the Database.

Further information is available about the arrangement of the Database and sorting codes used in the cataloguing process.

The Wellington Papers

The archive is divided into the following sections:

  • WP1 General correspondence and memoranda, 1790-1832
  • WP2 General correspondence and memoranda, 1833-52, subject bundles, 1827-52
  • WP3 India letter books, 1797-1805
  • WP4 Hampshire Lieutenancy papers, 1828-52
  • WP5 Bound volumes of the first Duke's papers
  • WP6 Indexes to the papers of the first Duke
  • WP7 Printed and proof versions of the Dispatches
  • WP8 Colonel Gurwood's papers
  • WP9 Military archives
  • WP10 Papers of Henry Bathurst, third Earl Bathurst, as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies
  • WP11 Papers of Richard Colley Wellesley, first Marquis Wellesley
  • WP12 Papers of Henry Wellesley, first Baron Cowley
  • WP13 Papers of Henry Wellesley, first Earl Cowley
  • WP14 Papers of Henry, third Duke of Wellington
  • WP15 Maps, plans and drawings
  • WP16 Papers of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland

For further information on how the archives relate to Wellington's career see below:

Early career (includes India)
1807-18 (Ireland, Peninsular War, as Commander in Chief of the allied forces of occupation)
1819-52 (includes Wellington as Prime Minister)

Some of Wellington's Papers are well-known from nineteenth-century editions of the Duke's correspondence and there have been more recent publications.

The published papers are, however, only a fraction of what survives and much of the Spanish and Portuguese material from the Peninsular War, for instance, has not been published. During the preparation of these editions and at other stages during the first Duke's life, various other collections of papers were acquired and became embedded with his own papers ad copies were taken of correspondence in other hands. Equally, other collections of papers that Wellington held are no longer a part of the archive: the papers of George III and George IV, the responsibility of Wellington as executor of George IV, are now in the Royal Archives at Windsor (Sir Robin Mackworth-Young, `The Royal Archives, Windsor Castle', Archives 13 (1978) p. 117); letters captured by allied troops after the Battle of Vittoria and papers relating to the allied occupation of France are now in the Archives Nationales in Paris, with microfilms held at Southampton (Archives de Joseph Bonaparte roi de Naples, puis d'Espagne (381 AP) ed. C. de Tourtier-Bonazzi (Paris, 1982) pp. 87-109; and further correspondence and papers of Joseph Bonaparte, also captured after Vittoria, are in the Bibliothèque de l'Institut de France, MSS 5669-72.