Were the Tudors terrible?

*The Library has access to The Cecil Papers until 31st July 2024 as part of ProQuest Access 350.*

The Library currently has trial access to The Cecil Papers, which may help you find out.
This fascinating archive offers you crucial insights into the events of one of the most dynamic periods of history.


The Cecil Papers cover the period 1520-1668 and are a privately held archive of around 30,000 16th and 17th century manuscripts. In the main, these consist of the correspondence of William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1520-1598) and his son Robert, the 1st Earl of Salisbury (1563-1612).

For those studying or interested in the Tudor Period, particularly the Elizabethan era, these will be familiar names. Both Cecils dominated government during the reign of Elizabeth I, holding such high ranking and powerful positions as Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer.


The Tomb of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1607, April 19. [screenshot from The Cecil Papers]

Due to their prominence and importance during this period the documents cover both English domestic politics and overseas occurrences and interactions with other powers. Amongst the collection you will find documents relating to the marriages of Henry VIII, the life and death of Mary, Queen of Scots, clandestine plans to facilitate James I/VI’s accession, the Anglo-Spanish War and the early settlement of America.



Original Depositions respecting the Marriage of Henry VIII with Anne of Cleves [1540] - PDF

Original Depositions respecting the Marriage of Henry VIII with Anne of Cleves [1540] – PDF

The archive can be easily searched or browsed. Full bibliographic details are provided for each document, with a summary or transcript and links to any other relevant documents in the archive. You can view the scanned image of the original documents in the record or view as a PDF.

The Cecil Papers is an absorbing and intriguing archive with valuable primary source material for those studying this period of history.

Access at E-resources trials.
Access available until 18th March 2016.
Feedback welcome.

Access is only available to current students and staff at University of Edinburgh.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for History, Classics and Archaeology