RepositoryRoyal Archives
ReferenceGEO/ADD/28
CollectionClayton Papers
TitleLetters primarily from Caroline, as Princess of Wales and Queen, with a few from some of her daughters, to Charlotte, Mrs William Clayton (later Lady Sundon). c. 1716 - c. 1737 [?] and undated.
Datec. 1716-c. 1737 [?] and undated
DescriptionGEO/ADD/28/001-021, 022-027: French transcriptions and English translations of letters from Caroline, Princess of Wales, to Mrs Clayton (of which the originals can be found among GEO/ADD/28/71-141).

GEO/ADD/28/028: English transcription of a letter from Margaret Purcell to Mrs Clayton (of which the original is GEO/ADD/28/144).

GEO/ADD/28/029-040: French transcriptions and English translations of letters from Caroline, Princess of Wales, to Mrs Clayton (of which the originals can be found among GEO/ADD/28/71-141).

GEO/ADD/28/041-042: English transcriptions of letters from Anne, Princess Royal, to Mrs Clayton (of which the originals are GEO/ADD/28/148 and 147).

GEO/ADD/28/043-065 (part), 066-068: French transcriptions and English translations of letters from Caroline, as Princess of Wales and Queen, to Mrs Clayton (of which the originals can be found among GEO/ADD/28/71-141).

GEO/ADD/28/069: English transcription of a letter from Anne, Princess Royal, to Mrs Clayton (of which the original is GEO/ADD/28/145).

GEO/ADD/28/070: English transcription of a letter from Princess Caroline to Mrs Clayton (of which the original is GEO/ADD/28/146).

GEO/ADD/28/071-141: Letters from Caroline, as Princess of Wales and Queen, to Mrs Clayton (original letters).

GEO/ADD/28/142: Letter from Anne, Princess Royal, to Mrs Clayton (original letter).

GEO/ADD/28/143: Letter from Caroline, Princess of Wales, to Mrs Clayton (original of GEO/ADD/28/001).

GEO/ADD/28/144: Letter from Margaret Purcell to Mrs Clayton (original of GEO/ADD/28/028).

GEO/ADD/28/145: Letter from Anne, Princess Royal, to Mrs Clayton (original of GEO/ADD/28/069).

GEO/ADD/28/146: Letter from Princess Caroline to Mrs Clayton (original of GEO/ADD/28/070).

GEO/ADD/28/147-148: Letters from Anne, Princess Royal, to Mrs Clayton (originals of GEO/ADD/28/042 and 041).

GEO/ADD/28/149: Letter from Anne, Princess of Orange, to Mrs Clayton (original of GEO/ADD/28/021a and 065 (part)).

GEO/ADD/28/150: Letter from Princess Caroline to Lady Sundon (original letter).

GEO/ADD/28/151: Letter from Anne, Princess of Orange, to Lady Sundon (original of GEO/ADD/28/065a).

GEO/ADD/28/152: Letter from Princess Amelia to Lady Sundon (original letter).
Extent161 and a half documents (213 pages)
Physical Description152 mounted documents in 1 olive green box
LevelCollection
Admin HistoryCharlotte Clayton (née Dyve) was born c. 1679: the exact year of her birth is not known. Before August 1714, she married William Clayton of Sundon Hall who, at that time, was MP for Liverpool; in 1718 he became a Lord or Commissioner of the Treasury. According to the Dictionary of National Biography, William was a close friend of the Duke of Marlborough; Charlotte shared this friendship with the Marlborough family, apparently being a favourite of the Duchess, through whose help she was appointed a Woman of the Bedchamber to Caroline, Princess of Wales, in 1714. She was believed to exert great influence over the Princess of Wales, and was consequently very unpopular with Sir Robert Walpole (see the entry for her in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for further details).

When Caroline became Queen in 1727, Charlotte Clayton was transferred to her Household, again as Woman of the Bedchamber. Following her husband's elevation to the Irish peerage as Baron Sundon of Ardagh on 2 June 1735, she became Lady Sundon. On the death of the Queen in 1737, Lady Sundon received a pension; she herself died at her London home in Cleveland Row, St James's, on 1 January 1742 and was buried on 20 January at Sundon Hall. As she and her husband had no children, the peerage became extinct on Lord Sundon's death in 1752. A book, 'Memoirs of Viscountess Sundon, mistress of the robes to Queen Caroline, consort of George II; including letters from the most celebrated persons of her time', edited by Mrs. A.T. Thomson, was published in 1847.

A note from R.M. Hatton [?] in the box with RA GEO/ADD/28 suggests that it is likely Mrs Clayton herself made the copies of the French transcriptions and English translations of Caroline's letters. It is possible that she had difficulty in deciphering the handwriting, and thus may have made the copies; but the note suggests she may also have made the copies 'with an eye to their historical importance', since she adds notes to identify or clarify individuals or subjects referred to, sometimes rather obliquely. Since Mrs Clayton would probably have been the only one able to identify some of these, she is a strong candidate for having written the transcripts and translations.
ArrangementVarious notes have been put inside the box to explain the arrangement, as follows:-

There are two sets of numbers on the documents and their mounts: a running number sequence given in squares, usually on the mounts, and numbers in circles, usually on the documents themselves.

Numbers 071-152 (numbers in squares) are the original letters, which have been left in the order in which they were originally bound. Their original numbers are shown in circles and run from 1-80; they are basically in numerical order until number 73 onwards, when the numerical sequence is possibly replaced by an attempt at a chronological sequence of those letters which are not from [Queen] Caroline. Of these original letters, there are no transcripts of numbers 53, 71, 73 and 75.

Numbers 001-070 (numbers in squares) are transcripts (and translations, where relevant) of numbers 071-152; the numbers given in circles on these are those of the originals. An attempt was made (presumably at the time of the numbering of this collection) to arrange these transcripts chronologically, as far as any internal evidence allows and suggests. Letters concerned with Princess Amelia's illness have been placed together in a sequence suggested by Dr John Keevil, Keeper of the Library of the Royal College of Physicians, in 1952: his letter about them is also in the box with the documents.


Rather than entering every document individually, the letters have been catalogued by dual entries of both the original letters and their corresponding transcripts. They have been catalogued following the order of the transcripts (thus chronologically, as far as possible), but giving the number of the original letter in the RA reference field first. Those letters which do not have transcripts have been catalogued towards the end of this collection.
NotesThese papers came in to the Royal Archives in 1951.
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