Sir Charles Cornwallis Collection mssHM 47873-47925

Gayle Richardson
The Huntington Library
April 2020
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: Sir Charles Cornwallis collection
Creator: Cornwallis, Charles, Sir, -1629
Identifier/Call Number: mssHM 47873-47925
Physical Description: 1.2 Linear Feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1582-1627
Abstract: Letters and documents related to the life and career of the Jacobean diplomat and courtier Sir Charles Cornwallis.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Sir Charles Cornwallis collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from H.P. Kraus, Rare Books and Manuscripts, January 27, 1981.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Charles Cornwallis (1553/54-1629) was an English Jacobean diplomat and courtier of Beeston, Suffolk and Harborne, Staffordshire. Cornwallis was born at Brome Hall, Suffolk, in 1553/54. His father, Sir Thomas Cornwallis, had been Comptroller of the Household to Queen Mary I. Charles Cornwallis was knighted in 1603, elected to Parliament for Norfolk in 1604, and in 1605 appointed resident ambassador to Spain, where he was particularly concerned with protecting English seamen and English commercial interests. Cornwallis returned to England in 1609, and the following year joined the household of Prince Henry, the Prince of Wales, whom he served as treasurer until the Prince's death in 1612. Cornwallis was sent to Ireland as a commissioner to investigate Irish grievances in 1613, but the following year was suspected of opposing the King in Parliament, and was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower for a year. Sir Charles married, first, Elizabeth Farnham of Fincham, Norfolk, with whom he had a son, William, the noted essayist; his second wife was Anne or Elizabeth (Barrow) Skelton; his third was Dorothy, daughter of Bishop of London Richard Vaughan and widow of Bishop of Norwich John Jegon. In 1604 Cornwallis had purchased the manor of Smethwick, with Harborne, in Staffordshire, to which he eventually retired and where he died in 1629.

Scope and Contents

A collection of 54 items which includes letters from Sir Charles Cornwallis to Sir Bassingbourne Gawdy, Sir John Hobart and others, dealing chiefly with his private financial and family affairs, lawsuits, and patronage. There are a few letters (but little information) about Spain, where he was resident ambassador from 1605 to 1609, and about Parliamentary elections. In addition to the letters there is a small amount of documents, including documents relating to Cornwallis family history.

Processing Information

Processed by Mary Robertson, circa 1985. In 2020, Gayle Richardson created the finding aid derived from legacy in-house summary report.


Arranged alphabetically.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Diplomats -- England -- History -- 17th century
Families -- England -- History -- 16th century
Families -- England -- History -- 17th century
Great Britain -- Politics and Government -- 1485-1603
Great Britain -- Politics and Government -- 1603-1714
Spain -- History -- 17th century
Documents -- Great Britain -- 16th century
Documents -- Great Britain -- 17th century
Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 16th century
Letters (correspondence) -- Great Britain -- 17th century
Cornwallis, Thomas, 1518 or 1519-1604
Gawdy, Bassingbourne, -1606
Gawdy, Framlingham, 1589-1655
Hobart, John, 1593-1647

Box 1, Folder 1-54

Sir Charles Cornwallis collection 1582-1627