Abercorn Papers

Estate, family and political papers of the Hamilton family, Dukes of Abercorn, of Baronscourt, Co. Tyrone, c 1219-1963. Containing approx. 30,000 documents, the Abercorn papers are amongst one of the most important landed estate collections held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. It comprises comprehensive series of title deeds, leases, rentals, maps, accounts, correspondence etc relating to land and property held by the family in Ireland (Counties Tyrone and Donegal), Scotland (Paisley and Duddingston) and England (Middlesex and Bentley Priory), and to the political and professional careers and interests of principal family members notably the 1st Marquess of Abercorn (1756-1818); Charles Hamilton, the noted 18th century horticulturalist; Captain John Hamilton R.N. (1715-55); the 1st Duke of Abercorn (1811-85), Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1868 and 1874-76; the 2nd Duke of Abercorn (1838-1913); and the 3rd Duke of Abercorn (1869-1953), first Governor of Northern Ireland, 1922-45. Other important documents and/or series consist of charters and grants relating to Paisley Abbey in Scotland, 1219-1766, Plantation grants for the Abercorn estate in Co. Tyrone, c 1603, and a unique list of members of the Irish House of Commons compiled by the 1st Marquess's representative, Thomas Knox, in 1791, The collection also includes the literary manuscripts of the unpublished works of Lord Ernest Hamilton entitled, ‘King Arthur’ and ‘The Identity of God.’


The Abercorn Papers are particularly strong for subjects relating to, and associated with, estate management and land purchase in Ireland from the early modern period onwards, and the parliamentary, constituency and viceregal politics of 18th, 19th and early 20th century Britain and Ireland. As an estate archive, the collection is also significant for providing an important commentary on the social life and background of one of Ulster's principal landed families and the tenants that resided on their estates.

Physical characteristics

The Abercorn Papers consist of c.29,300 individually numbered documents, 759 volumes, 88 bundles and 40 P.R.O.N.I. boxes, 1219-1963 comprising a range of title deeds, leases and other legal documents, rentals, accounts, maps, reports, surveys, correspondence, photographs, newscuttings and scrapbooks.

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI Calender Reference D/623 for details and T/2541 for detailed calendar of the correspondence. Catalogues are available in PRONI search room for consultation. An introduction to the collection can be found on http://www.proni.gov.uk/records/private/aberc.htm.


Accrual Policy
Accrual Method
Accrual Periodicity

Although deposits to the Abercorn Papers have been largely static over recent years, future additions from the family seat at Baronscourt remain a possibility.

Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 24 May 2021