How to look for records of... Jacobite Risings 1715 and 1745
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
1. Why use this guide?
The Jacobites supported the restoration of the Stuart line to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland after the accession of William and Mary (1688-1689). They were a very real threat to the governing order until 1745, with the most significant invasion attempts occurring in 1715 and 1745.
This guide highlights key records and published sources for the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745.
If you are researching this period or tracing a Jacobite ancestor this guide can help you.
2. Essential information
Start by reading a specialist publication on the Jacobite Risings. See section 10 for a list of recommended publications.
These can help you identify relevant records held at The National Archives and elsewhere. They do not cover all the potential records but are a good place to start.
Often, to identify relevant records you will need to use indexes and calendars which summarise documents in particular record series. The sections below will tell you which finding aids to use.
3. Administration and policy
For insights into government policy on the Jacobite issue, political and military correspondence, and other material such as lists of prisoners and trial papers, the following record series are particularly useful:
- state papers Scotland series II: SP 54
- state papers domestic George I: SP 35
- state papers domestic George II: SP 36
Use advanced search in Discovery, our catalogue, to search by keyword (for example, Jacobite) within SP 54.
To identify relevant SP 35 records use the following finding aids:
- calendars in List and Index Society vols 139, 144, 155 and 165
- index in List and Index Society vol 173
Work is underway to add these descriptions to our catalogue. This means in the future you will be able to do keyword searches.
SP 36 contains 163 volumes. You can search the first 72 volumes by keyword in our catalogue. There is also a four-volume manuscript list of the whole series, in the reading rooms in The National Archives at Kew. Work is currently underway to catalogue SP 36/73-105.
Other series of state papers contain supplementary information. In particular:
- military in SP 41, which you can search by keyword
- naval in SP 42, which you can search by keyword (cataloguing work currently underway)
- entry books in SP 44 (see catalogue description for series for finding aids)
- Scotland, out-letter books in SP 55 (cataloguing work currently underway)
You can also view all these records and calendars via State Papers Online (institutional subscription required). Many are also searchable on State Papers online as well as via our catalogue.
For Treasury records relating to the 1715 rising, look at the
- calendar of Treasury Books Vols. 29-30 (HMSO, 1958-1959)
- calendar of Treasury Papers, Vol 5 (HMSO 1883)
For the 1745 rising look at the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers, Vol 5 (HMSO 1903).
5. Military and naval campaigns
War Office and, to a lesser extent, Admiralty records contain a lot of information about the campaigns against the risings.
The most useful series are likely to be the following which you can often browse by date:
- Secretaries of State: state papers foreign, military expeditions in the Duke of Cumberland SP 87 subseries
- War Office, marching and militia orders in WO 5
- Secretary of War out-letters in WO 4 and departmental out-letters in WO 7
- Admiralty and Secretariat, papers in ADM 1 and out-letters in ADM 2. For help searching ADM 1 see our research guide on finding naval correspondence.
The records of the Court of King’s Bench contain:
- some of the treason trials which followed both risings in KB 8, the Baga de Secretis
- a diversity of legal records, many relating to the 1745 rising including draft indictments, some trial transcripts and list of prisoners, in KB 33
See our research guide on the Court of Kings Bench (crown side cases) 1675-1875 for further information.
The Treasury Solicitor Papers in TS 11 and The 1745 Rebellion Papers in TS 20 are rich in material on the judicial and administrative aspects of proceedings against those captured in 1745. They include trial records, lists of prisoners and papers relating to their backgrounds and fates. You can search these by keyword in our catalogue. Pardons are in The Patent Rolls: C66.
Although trials of prisoners held outside London were heard by Special Commissioners and the routine criminal business of the assize courts were largely suspended after each rising, a few documents and entries relating to rebels are among the assize records.
See the following ones in particular:
- the north-eastern circuit in ASSI 41-47
- the Palatinates of Chester in CHES 21 and CHES 24, Durham in DURH 17 and DURH 19 and Lancaster in PL 25-28
The estates of many rebels were forfeit to the Crown.
After the 1715 rising a Forfeited Estates Commission was established. You can search by keyword the papers in FEC 1 and books in FEC 2 of the Commissioners for England and Wales. They are also described in The Records of the Forfeited Estates Commission (PRO Handbooks no 12, HMSO 1968).
The records of Greenwich Hospital in ADM 74-80 contain many estate and some family records of the Earl of Derwentwater whose lands, after forfeiture, passed to the Hospital. A smaller collection of records relating to forfeitures after the 1745 rising are in T 64.
8. Other resources at The National Archives
View our classroom resources for the 1715 rising and for the 1745 rising. You can download documents and each one comes with a transcript. These resources come with teachers’ notes and additional links to other archives and websites that you may find useful.
9. Other archives
The National Records of Scotland holds the records of the Forfeited Estates Commissioners for Scotland, together with many other valuable sources.
The Royal Archives holds the Stuart Papers 1579-1823 (the papers of the Old Pretender, Prince James Francis Edward Stuart and of his sons, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, and Prince Benedict).
The private papers and estate records of politicians, members of the armed forces, local officials and landowners can also provide useful detail. Find information about such collections from our catalogue and the National Register of Archives (Scotland).
10. Published sources
TB Howell, A Complete Collection of State Trials and proceedings for high treason and other crimes and misdemeanors (London, 1816) vols XV and XVIII. These include the trial records of some of the more notable prisoners. Some of the texts are derived from the reports of Sir Michael Foster, one of the trial judges, who himself compiled A Report of Some Proceedings on the Commission for the Trial of the Rebels in the Year 1746 … (3rd edition, ed M Dodson, London, 1792).
RC Jarvis, Collected Papers on the Jacobite Risings (2 vols, Manchester University Press, 1971-1972). Gives references to unpublished material in The National Archives and elsewhere
RC Jarvis, The Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745 (Cumberland County Council, 1954). Extracts from the Lieutenancy and Quarter Sessions records of Cumberland. No parallel study has yet been published for other counties
B Lenman, The Jacobite Risings in Britain 1689-1746 (Methuen, 1980). Gives full references to a wide range of published material
J. Riding, Jacobites: A New History of The ’45 Rebellion (Bloomsbury, 2015)
The Prisoners of the ’45 edited by BG Seton and JG Arnot (Scottish History Society, 3rd series, vols XIII-XV, 1928-1929). Contains a tabular analysis of the career and fates of most prisoners, with references to the documents on which the study is based.
Szechi, The Jacobites, Britain and Europe 1688-1788 (Manchester University Press, 1994)
Szechi, 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion (Yale University Press, 2006)
Please note, none of these printed sources exhausts the available manuscript material.