How to look for State papers domestic 1660-1714

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally

Pay for research

Use our paid search service or find an independent researcher

Visit us

Visit us in Kew to see original documents or view online records for free

1. Introduction

The state papers domestic are the accumulated papers of the secretaries of state relating to domestic affairs. They contain information on almost every facet of early modern history in the form of letters, petitions, returns, memoranda, orders in council, warrants and newsletters.

Most records and calendars mentioned in this guide are available online via State Papers Online (institutional subscription required). Those not online are flagged in the guide.

2. Charles II

Most of the papers of this reign are in SP 29 (1660-1685, seen on microfilm) with many warrants, licences, commissions, pardons, etc. in SP 30 (1660-1688). SP 29 is especially rich in letters and orders relating to naval policy (including Navy Board Papers 1664-1673) and post civil war resettlement; the rest of the class consists of the usual types of state paper – correspondence, petitions, orders in council, warrants, etc., with many papers on domestic security and intelligence (including material on the Rye House Plot).

Most of the papers are calendared in the Calendar of State Papers Domestic Charles II, eds. M A E Green, F H B Daniell, F Bickley, 28 volumes, (London, 1860-1947). The calendars also refer to documents in the Colonial Office and Admiralty classes, the state papers foreign, the state papers interregnum, docket books and proclamations amongst others; fuller details can be found in the keys pasted into the front of each volume.

As a general principle where items are numbered in the calendar they are in the main series of letters and papers; this includes those numbered items which include ‘Adm paper’ in square brackets at the end. From 1667 most references to volume numbers in SP 29 appear in square brackets at the end of the extract. Where ‘Case’ appears in a calendar entry it is referring to an item in SP 30.

3. James II

Papers covering 1685-1688 are in SP 31, described in the Calendar of State Papers Domestic, James II, ed. E K Timings, 3 volumes, (London 1960-1972). The calendars provide modern document references (apart from volume one which contains a key at the front of the text) to a variety of document classes. As in the calendars for the previous reign they include references to related material in ADM 77, SO 1, SP 44 and the state papers Ireland amongst others.

4. William and Mary

The main series of papers is SP 32 (1689-1702, SP 32/1 to SP 32/17 on microfilm) and SP 33, covering the same dates (SP 33/A to SP 33/D on microfilm). Both classes refer to all aspects of government – especially finance, military and naval policy, Ireland, and intelligence on Jacobite activity. SP 32 is described more fully in the Calendars of State Papers Domestic, William III, ed. W J Hardy, E Bateson, 11 volumes, (London, 1895-1937); SP 33 is uncalendared and includes duplicate Exchequer assessments from 16 counties for grant in aid to the crown in 1692 (a key is provided in the Introductory Note). Many of the secretaries of state during this period took their papers with them when they left office; as a result many can be found in private collections (for further information see the Introductory Note to the class list). The calendars refer to many classes including SP 42, SP 44, SP 45, ADM 77 and ADM 78, and may cross refer to the Calendar of Treasury Books (see below). Initially all the references are given in square brackets at the end of each entry, but from 1698 the calendars carry modern references.

5. Anne

The main series of letters and papers in SP 34, and various supplementary classes are described more fully for 1702-1704 only, in Calendars of State Papers Domestic, Anne, ed. R P Mahaffy, 2 volumes (London, 1916 and 1925). These calendars work in the same way as those described above. For the whole reign there is an excellent new detailed list, with an index, of SP 34 only, available in the standard list set. This has also been published by the List and Index Society, as vols 258-260 (1995).

6. Other relevant material, Charles II-Anne

Other relevant material can be found in:

  • SP 41 State Papers Military, 1640-1782 (not yet available online)
  • SP 42 State Papers Naval, 1689-1782 (not yet available online)
  • SP 44 State Papers Domestic Entry Books, 1661-1828
  • SP 45 State Papers Domestic Various, Edward VI to 1862
  • SP 46 State Papers Domestic Supplementary, 1361-1829

For a fuller description of the miscellaneous classes see the relevant introductory notes.

Supplementary material can also be found in:

  • PRO 30/32 Leeds papers, 1661-1717
  • PRO 30/70 Hoare (Pitt) 1667-1946
  • SO 7 Signet Office King’s Books 1661-1851
  • SO 8 warrants for King’s bills, series I, 1661-1800

See also the Calendars of Treasury Books and Papers and Calendars of Treasury Books for general information on all aspects of government in the late 17th century and especially military and naval policy.

Guide reference: Domestic Information Research Guide 18