United Kingdom

Part I: The Tudors: Henry VIII to Elizabeth I, 1509-1603:
State Papers Domestic

“Never before have students and their teachers been able to inspect the archives that formed the backbone of the Tudor State so carefully and so easily. Here is Tudor government stripped bare, exposed in all its fabulous richness and subtlety.”

Dr Stephen Alford, University of Cambridge

• Approx. 270,000 pages of manuscripts
• 114,000 fully-searchable Calendar entries

An era of conspiracy, treason and heresy

Part I delivers the complete series of State Papers Domestic for the Tudor era, encompassing every facet of early modern government including social and economic affairs, law and order, religious policy, crown possessions and intelligence. The collection is of immense value to researchers of religious history, chronicling social unrest in England as it pitched back and forth between the religious positions of its rulers; from the boy-king Edward VI’s promotion of the Reformation, to Mary I’s bloody reassertion of Catholicism and Elizabeth’s loyalty to Protestantism and enduring suspicion of Catholic plots.

Treason and suspicion permeated many levels of Tudor government and researchers can mine a wealth of documents exposing the backroom politics of the Tudor and Stuart regimes. Accounts of espionage and treason, reports of secret agents and spies as well as descriptions of the interrogation and torture of prisoners provide insights into the anxieties of regimes struggling with the threats of internal unrest and foreign invasion.

The papers of the men that steered the Tudor government and advised the monarchy are well represented. Researchers can track the careers and influence of Cardinal Wolsey, his powerful successor, Thomas Cromwell and the principle force behind Elizabeth I’s government, Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley.

Key Themes

• Henry VIII’s relations with Europe
• The Reformation
• The Dissolution of the Monasteries
• Elizabeth I: Marriage and the Succession
• Voyages of Discovery of Drake, Gilbert, Hawkins and Frobisher
• Relations between the Crown and the nobility
• The rise and fall of the Earl of Essex
• The diplomacy of William Cecil and Francis Walsingham
• Royal succession

Source libraries and collections

• The National Archives, London: SP 1-7, 10-13, 15
• British Library: Lansdowne Collection Burghley Papers
• Calendars to all the above series and the Historical Manuscript Commission Calendars and Haynes/Murdin transcriptions of the Cecil Papers, Hatfield House


Click here to download the factsheet

Click here for sample searches in Part I