Guide to the Papers of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington [MSS 280]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Manuscript Number MSS 280
Last Updated May 2021
Extent 1 folio box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract An original letter and invitation by Arthur Wellesley, together with notes by his biographer Herbert Maxwell and other family history source material (mostly copies) relating to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

This collection comprises original and copied source materials relating to the life and career of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.  The papers belonged to the Duke’s grandson, George A. Wellesley, a resident of Sydney, Australia who gifted his personal collection of Wellingtonia to the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra in 1939-1940.  As well as a handwritten letter and invitation in the Duke’s hand, the material includes a short sequence of notes made by Wellington’s biographer, Herbert Maxwell (with whom G.A. Wellesley was in contact), and copies of other Wellington family history-related papers.  There is evidence suggesting that a proportion of the material was gathered and used by Maxwell for the purpose of his biography, then passed to G.A. Wellesley and absorbed into a small body of other papers held by the family.

Date Range of Content

1843, c1906-1948

Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1 May 1769–14 September 1852) was an Anglo-Irish soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. He won a notable victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

References: Duke of Wellington retrieved 20 May 2020 Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington retrieved 20 May 2020


Administrative Information

Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Open Access

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: Copying of material for private study and research is approved 

Preferred Citation

Papers of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 280, Box [Number], Folder [Number]


The collection was donated to the Bridges Memorial Library, Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1939 (manuscripts) and 1940 (books) by Wellesley’s grandson, George A. Wellesley of Vaucluse, Sydney.  A small addition of original Wellington correspondence and cuttings was made in February 1976, before the collection was transferred to Special Collections, UNSW Canberra following the closure of the Bridges Library in the 1980s


Additional Information

Related Material

The principal archive of the Duke of Wellington’s papers is housed at the University of Southampton (MS 61), comprising more than 100,000 manuscripts and other source materials.

A summary list of additional archival collections relating to Arthur Wellesley (held elsewhere in Great Britain and internationally) is available on the National Archives (UK) website at

Separated Material

This collection originally included a small group of historically significant publications, the early works formerly belonging to the private library of Duke of Wellington (thereafter added to by his descendants), some bound in red leather and bearing the Duke’s armorial binding. These works have been catalogued separately, and form the Wellesley Collection, housed within Special Collections rare books. 

Of special interest is the copy of Maxwell’s Life of Wellington (1906) which is annotated with interesting notes by the biographer and observations made by Wellesley’s grandson (G.A. Wellesley), and a scrapbook (c1940) documenting Wellington’s state funeral, compiled by a member of the family of the coach makers who made the carriage bearing his coffin:

Arthur Wellesley, 1769-1852. Despatches, correspondence, and memoranda of Field Marshal Arthur, Duke of Wellington, 1867-1880. London: J. Murray, 1858-80 (35 volumes, including supplementary volumes)

Arthur Wellesley, 1769-1852. Memoir of the Duke of Wellington.  London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1852 (1 volume)

Francis L. Clarke. The life of the most noble Arthur Marquis and Earl of Wellington: with copious details and delineations, historical, political and military ... London: J. and J. Cundee, 1813? (2 volumes)

Great Britain. Adjutant-General's Office. General orders. London: T. Egerton, 1810?- (5 volumes)

George Hooper. Wellington. London: Macmillan, 1900 (1 volume)

Herbert Maxwell, 1845-1937. The life of Wellington: the restoration of the martial power of Great Britain. 6th edition. London: Sampson Low, Marston, 1907 (1 volume)

William Maxwell,1792-1850.  Life of Field-Marshal His Grace the Duke of Wellington: K.G., G.C.B., G.C.H., etc. etc.  6th edition. London: Bickers, 1862 (3 volumes)

William Napier, 1785-1860. History of the war in the Peninsula and in the south of France: from the year 1807 to the year 1814, to which is prefixed a reply to Lord Strangford's observations, also a reply to various opponents, together with observations illustrating Sir J. Moore's campaigns. 3rd edition, London: Thomas and William Boone, 1835-1840 (6 volumes)

R.B. Oubridge. Copy of the official programme of his [Wellington’s] public funeral [together with] copy of ode on the death of the Duke of Wellington by Lord Tennyson.  Scrapbook consisting of typescript sections, photographs and clippings, compiled by a member of the family of coach makers who made Wellington’s funeral carriage, c1940 (1 volume)

Thomas Reide.  The staff officer's manual: in which is detailed the duty of brigade majors and aides de camp in camp, garrison, cantonments, on the march and in the field. London: T. Egerton, 1806 (1 volume)

Alexander Innes Shand, 1832-1907.  The war in the Peninsula, 1808-1814. London: Seeley, 1898 (1 volume)

Henry Torrens, 1779-1828.  A course of drill and instruction in the movements and duties of light infantry, founded upon the regulations for the exercise of infantry in close order, and the regulations for the exercise of riflemen and light infantry. London: Printed for T. Egerton, 1808 (1 volume)


Subject Keywords


Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, 1769-1852 – Archives

Generals – Great Britain – Biography

Prime ministers – Great Britain - Biography

Great Britain - History, Military - 1789-1820

Personal Names

Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, 1769-1852

Herbert Maxwell, Sir, 1845-1937

Corporate Names

Great Britain. Army



Prime ministers


Container List

Folio 1

Folder 1

Handwritten cover letter by Arthur Wellesley (July 1843) and invitation to Lord Lyndhurst, signed the ‘Duke of Wellington’

Reproduction of drawing of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington by Robert Dighton (c1752-1814)

Miscellaneous biographical notes

Extracts from the diary of Charles Greville (1794-1865) - handwritten notes found in The life of Wellington : the restoration of the martial power of Great Britainby Sir Herbert Maxwell, 6th edition (part of Wellesley Collection of rare books)

Extract from The Unknown Dominion by Bruce Hutchinson (page 161)

Family tree and notes - handwritten


‘There Really is a No. 1 London’ by Webster Fawcett, from Pocket Book Weekly, 30 August 1947, pp. 40-41

‘The Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo’, from Better Business, November 1948, pp. 77-78


‘Wellington Would Have Laughed at Europe’s New Napoleon’, Everybody’s Weekly, 17 May 1941, p. 5

‘Wellington the Man’ by Desmond McCarthy, The Listener, 18 September 1941, pp. 401-402

‘The Lord Warden’, The Listener, 2 October 1941, p. 461

‘Walmer Castle: PM’s Post-war Home’ by N. Cramer, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 May 1944

Miscellaneous newspaper cuttings