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Papers of Robert Bennet

Identifier: B46763

Scope and Content

This collection contains the call numbers X.d.483 (1-209).

The Papers of Robert Bennet contains mostly his official papers and reflect the shifting fortunes of the Parliamentarians and Royalists. The bulk of the papers listed here were written between 1642 and 1663 and arose out of his official position - commissions, orders, warrants, testimonials (134-139), a muster-roll (11), an examination and a list of prisoners taken at Penzance in 1648 (20-21), and mostly autograph letters signed to and endorsed by Bennet. Among Bennet's correspondents are his brother William, England's public minister in Hamburg "Lord" Richard Bradshaw, Colonel Anthony Buller, Francis Buller, Colonel Thomas Ceely, the Council of State, Major-General John Desborough, Francis Godolphin, Sir William Godolphin, Richard Lobb (not the M.P.), Vice-Admiral Robert Moulton, John Moyle, Sir Henry Pollexfen, Sir Richard Prideaux, Colonel Anthony Rous, and the Earl of Stamford. Several of these letters touch on the exchange of prisoners in the Scilly Islands and the ransom of captives in Sally where Bennet's brother William was a merchant. A number refer to Scotland and Ireland and the assessment and raising of troops for Ireland; two give news of the siege of Limerick in Sep. 1651 (99-100). Richard Lobb prevailed upon Bennet to get Parliament to remove certain customs on fish and tin. Occasionally a draft of Bennet's has survived; one is to John Rushworth (148); two are petitions to Cromwell about his arrears (116-117).

Among the personal papers is a detailed description by Dr. Hannibal Vyvyan of the disease Bennet was suffering from in 1649 and of the treatment he recommended (155), and a group of letters from and to fellow members of his Church at Looe (173-177). Bennet was an Anabaptist and was to attend the meeting of the Assembly of the messengers of the Churches at Wells on April 7, 1656; two of these letters discuss a Sister Cornish who was in danger of being lost to the Quakers. Two letters are from Sir Richard Vyvyan (181-182). A letter written in 1673 to his brother William discusses certain lands they are considering buying; in one corner of a manor near Dartmoor was a waste "inhabited time out of mind by a people of an unknown origin usually called the Gubbinses" (193).

There are also several miscellaneous manuscripts including The office of an attorney by John Mulys of Halmpstone, Devon, with a few lines of verse (196); a copy of the letter from the "agitators" to Sir Thomas Fairfax and others, April [28], 1647 (198); Reasons wherefore the officers of the mint should be freed from payment of any assessments, ca. 1650 (200); The humble proposals of the ministers who presented the petition to Parliament, [March 1653] (202); The resolution on religious toleration, December 15, 1654 (206); a report of a speech by Cromwell to a Parliamentary Committee refusing the kingship [April 13, 1657] (207); reports of other speeches by Cromwell to officers of the army [February 4-11, 1658] (208); and The alarum, a paper presented to the speaker of the House of Commons criticizing the King's ministers, April 1671 (209).


  • 1603-1678 (bulk 1642-1663)
  • Majority of material found within 1642 - 1663



Collection is open for research.

Biographical note

Colonel Robert Bennet of Hexworthy near Lawhitton, Cornwall, was one of the leading Parliamentarians in the southwest during the Commonwealth. (See: Oxford DNB; Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, XVIII, p. 251 and XXII, p. 146; and Cornwall in the Great Civil War, by M. Coate.) He rose steadily in Parliament's favour as this collection shows. He was already a captain of a train-band in 1629. In 1642 he was appointed captain of a train-band of foot by the Parliamentarian, Lord Robartes. Two years later he was made a lieutenant-colonel and soon a colonel. He was treasurer of the Western Brigade from 1645 to 1647. By the beginning of 1649 he was governor of St. Michael's Mount and remained so till the Restoration. For a short time about 1649 he was governor of Pendennis Castle. In a letter of January 31, 1662 (147b), he refers to himself as having been "commander-in-chief [of all the forces in field and garrison in the county of Cornwall]" (words within the brackets deleted in the manuscript) at this time. By 1650 he was a commissioner for the militia of the county of Cornwall. From about December 1648 till the Restoration he was a member of all the Parliaments with the exception of the Second Protectorate Parliament of September 1656. In 1653 he was appointed a member of the Council of State; in 1659 he was summoned to sit in the Committee of Safety. Sometime in the early 1650s he purchased the Honor and Castle of Launceston.


209.0 items (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



Contains mostly Bennet's official papers and reflect the shifting fortunes of the Parliamentarians and Royalists. Many of the official papers concern or are from both houses of Parliament, and the Council of State. Among the personal papers are several concerning law-suits and other business matters, a few deeds, Hannibal Vyvyan's directions to Colonel Bennet when he was sick in 1649 (155), and letters to and from fellow Anabaptists at Looe, 1656. A few miscellaneous documents seem to have no direct bearing on Colonel Bennet; two report on speeches of Cromwell, [1657-58], (207-208), one more fully than any copy hitherto known.


The Papers of Robert Bennet were originally bound in two volumes by Sir Thomas Phillipps (Phillipps no. 11015), and at that time arranged chronologically and paginated in the upper right hand corner.

When the volumes were acquired by the Folger, they were in disrepair and the volumes were disbound in order to repair some of the contents. The contents were then divided into three series, arranged chronologically within each series: Series 1. Official Papers; Series 2. Personal and Business Papers; and Series 3. Miscellaneous Papers.

Place names and personal names have been modernized and the manuscript spelling given within parentheses if it differs noticeably from the modern version. The places mentioned are all in the county of Cornwall unless otherwise noted. A cross-reference guide relating the previous page numbers to the current shelfmarks is available from the Curator of Manuscripts.


The Papers of Robert Bennet belonged to Sir Thomas Phillipps who had acquired the papers at the William Upcott sale at Evans', June 22, 1846, lot no. 37. The Dictionary of National Biography seems to be referring to these manuscripts in its account of the discovery of an iron chest containing the correspondence of Colonel Bennet in a wing of the old house at Hexworthy which was being torn down about 1840. Richard W. Cotton saw this collection and printed three of the letters in his Barnstaple ... during the Great Civil War (1889), but for many years it was lost from sight until it turned up in 1965.

A note of their acquisition at the Upcott sale and their Phillipps number are written on one of the covers. In the Catalogus liborum manuscriptorum in Bibliotheca Phillippica, no. 11015 is described as "Ex Biblio. Ignoti - Colonel Robert Bennet's correspondence during the Civil Wars. 2 vols...Letters of Cromwell," while No. 12102 is described as "Ex Bibl. Wmi. Upcot. 1846 - Colonel Robert Bennet's correspondence during the Civil War and Commonwealth... See No. 11015 in this catalogue)."

Acquisition Information

The Papers of Robert Bennet were acquired by the Folger Shakespeare Library from H.W. Edwards. Edwards acquired the collection from Sotheby's, June 28, 1965, lot no. 55.

Other Formats

We are in the process of updating links in this finding aid. Until all links have been updated, please go to Papers of Robert Bennet, 1603-1678 to view digital images of select items.

Also available on microfilm, Film Fo. 3115 (reduction ratio 12:1, 59 feet).

List of Names

Acland, Elinor
X.d.483 (154)
Acland, Elizabeth
X.d.483 (154)
Acland, Hugh, ca. 1543-1622
X.d.483 (154)
Acland, John, d. 1650
X.d.483 (154)
Aldworth, Robert
X.d.483 (164)
Allen, -
X.d.483 (178)
Allen, Francis
X.d.483 (132)
Allen, William
X.d.483 (198)
Arthur, John
X.d.483 (24-25)
Arundell, -
X.d.483 (97)
Arundell, John, 1576-1654
X.d.483 (97)
Arundell and Sacherely
X.d.483 (21)
Ashfield, Richard
X.d.483 (132)
Baron, Jonathan
X.d.483 (99)
Basset, Ann (Trelawny), Lady
X.d.483 (81)
Bassett, -
X.d.483 (97)
Bennet, Ann (Kekewich?)
X.d.483 (168)
Bennet, Richard, ca. 1575-1619
X.d.483 (152)
Bennet, Robert
X.d.483 (195)
Bennet, William, b. ca. 1612>
X.d.483 (133) X.d.483 (143) X.d.483 (147) X.d.483 (186) X.d.483 (192-193) X.d.483 (30-31) X.d.483 (194)
Berners, Jo[siah?]
X.d.483 (165)
Biglestone, Peter
X.d.483 (108) X.d.483 (113)
Biscoe, T
X.d.483 (132)
Bishop, -
X.d.483 (90)
Bolton, Charles Powlett, Duke of, ca. 1630-1699
X.d.483 (205)
Bond, Dennis, 1588-1658
X.d.483 (85)
Bradshaw, John, 1602-1659
X.d.483 (42) X.d.483 (48) X.d.483 (54-56) X.d.483 (82-83)
Bradshaw, Richard, fl. 1650
X.d.483 (110)
Brimley, Lawrence
X.d.483 (27)
Browne, Digory
X.d.483 (136)
Buck, Thomas
X.d.483 (187)
Buller, Anthony, b. 1613
X.d.483 (13) X.d.483 (22) X.d.483 (29)
Buller, Francis, 1630-1694
X.d.483 (169)
Buller, Francis, ca. 1603-1677
X.d.483 (43) X.d.483 (84) X.d.483 (26)
Bunbury, John
X.d.483 (86) X.d.483 (85)
Camfield, Jer[emiah]
X.d.483 (132)
Carew, John, ca. 1623-1660
X.d.483 (91) X.d.483 (159)
Carter, Richard, ca. 1618-1668
X.d.483 (159)
Carteret, Sir George,d. 1680
X.d.483 (192)
Cavan, Charles Lambart, Earl of, 1600-1660
X.d.483 (2)
Ceely, [Peter?], b. ca. 1618
X.d.483 (97) X.d.483 (122)
Ceely, Thomas, b. ca. 1602
X.d.483 (130)
Chapman, John
X.d.483 (102)
Chapman, John
X.d.483 (135)
Cheare, Abraham
X.d.483 (174-175)
Child, Dan. (?)
X.d.483 (126)
Chubb, Henry
X.d.483 (170) X.d.483 (135)
Chudleigh, Sir George,ca. 1578-1657
X.d.483 (5)
Clarke, Samuel
X.d.483 (132)
Clerke, John
X.d.483 (66) X.d.483 (65) X.d.483 (101)
Clobery, Christopher, ca. 1610-1677
X.d.483 (160-161)
Clobery, John, d. 1657
X.d.483 (157) X.d.483 (159-161)
Clobery, Oliver
X.d.483 (27)
Clobery, Sir John, d. 1687?
X.d.483 (158-162)
Cloke, Dego
X.d.483 (131)
Collier, Thomas, fl. 1691
X.d.483 (177)
Collong, Thomas
X.d.483 (170)
Coode, Peter
X.d.483 (135)
Cornish, -
X.d.483 (174-175)
Couch, William
X.d.483 (135)
Courtney, -
X.d.483 (53)
Creed, Richard
X.d.483 (132)
Crocker, Joel
X.d.483 (136)
Cromwell, Oliver, 1599-1658
X.d.483 (198) X.d.483 (158) X.d.483 (114) X.d.483 (60) X.d.483 (197) X.d.483 (107) X.d.483 (116-117) X.d.483 (207-208)
Darley, Henry, b. ca. 1596
X.d.483 (85)
Davis, John
X.d.483 (51)
Desborough, John, 1608-1680
X.d.483 (49) X.d.483 (64-65) X.d.483 (68) X.d.483 (70) X.d.483 (73-74) X.d.483 (80) X.d.483 (88-89) X.d.483 (93-94) X.d.483 (96) X.d.483 (120-121)
Dobbins, Thomas
X.d.483 (176) X.d.483 (135)
Doble, John
X.d.483 (151)
Drake, Sir Francis, 1617-1661
X.d.483 (5)
E., T
X.d.483 (201)
Edgcumbe, Philip, fl. 1654-1682
X.d.483 (32)
Edgcumbe, Pierce, 1609-1667
X.d.483 (142)
Edgcumbe, William
X.d.483 (157)
England and Wales. Army. Council. 1659
X.d.483 (132)
England and Wales. Council of State, 1649-1653
X.d.483 (42) X.d.483 (48) X.d.483 (54-56) X.d.483 (58-59) X.d.483 (82-83) X.d.483 (85) X.d.483 (105) X.d.483 (109) X.d.483 (204)
England and Wales. Mint.
X.d.483 (1-209)
England and Wales. Parliament. 1648-1671
X.d.483 (57) X.d.483 (67) X.d.483 (92) X.d.483 (202) X.d.483 (209) X.d.483 (206) X.d.483 (207) X.d.483 (12) X.d.483 (33) X.d.483 (61)
England and Wales. Parliament. [1657]
X.d.483 (1-209)
England and Wales. Parliament. House of Lords. 1642.
X.d.483 (4)
Enys, Samuel, 1611-1698?
X.d.483 (149)
Erisey, James, b. ca. 1616
X.d.483 (12)
Erisey, Richard, 1590-1668
X.d.483 (12)
Everett, Edmond
X.d.483 (149)
Fairfax, Thomas Fairfax, baron, 1612-1671
X.d.483 (198) X.d.483 (17) X.d.483 (32) X.d.483 (36) X.d.483 (62)
Flamancke, Robert
X.d.483 (137-138)
Forbes, James, 1629?-1712
X.d.483 (71)
Fortescue, Jo[hn?]
X.d.483 (101)
Fortescue, Richard
X.d.483 (13)
Frost, Walter
X.d.483 (52)
Godolphin, Sir Francis, 1605-1667?
X.d.483 (75) X.d.483 (78) X.d.483 (97)
Godolphin, Sir William, ca. 1605-1663
X.d.483 (69) X.d.483 (76-77)
Goffe, William, ca. 1610-1680
X.d.483 (132)
Grenville, Barnard, d. 1636
X.d.483 (2)
Grosse, Charles,
X.d.483 (28) X.d.483 (45)
Gubbs, Anthony
X.d.483 (21)
Hancock, [Edward?], ca. 1602-1691
X.d.483 (170) X.d.483 (172)
Harbord, Sir Charles, d. 1679?
X.d.483 (184)
Harrington, William
X.d.483 (27)
Harris, John, ca. 1586-1657
X.d.483 (41)
Harris, Thomas
X.d.483 (51)
Harrison, Thomas, 1606-1660
X.d.483 (63) X.d.483 (105)
Harrys, John
X.d.483 (21)
Hean, -
X.d.483 (67) X.d.483 (92)
Hean, -
X.d.483 (57) X.d.483 (67) X.d.483 (92)
Herle, Edward, ca. 1617-1695
X.d.483 (18-19)
Hockon, Stephen
X.d.483 (135)
Hodges, Thomas, d. ca. 1675
X.d.483 (27)
Hopton, Ralph Hopton, baron, 1598-1652
X.d.483 (58)
Horden, Thomas
X.d.483 (150)
Hubberd, Thomas
X.d.483 (137-138)
Hunkyn, Joseph, ca. 1610-1661
X.d.483 (178-179)
Jago, John, d. 1652
X.d.483 (12)
Jelfe, John
X.d.483 (45)
Jennings, Thomas
X.d.483 (14)
John, Edward
X.d.483 (152)
Keble, Richard, fl. 1650
X.d.483 (47)
Kekewich, Edward, 1636-1674
X.d.483 (191)
Kekewich, George, d. 1672
X.d.483 (94)
Kekewich, Peter, 1605-1680
X.d.483 (141) X.d.483 (52)
Kekewich, Peter, 1605-1680
X.d.483 (141)
Kekewich, Samuel, 1624-1695
X.d.483 (140)
Kelsey, Thomas, d. 1680?
X.d.483 (132)
Kinge, Robert
X.d.483 (132)
Lake, James, ca. 1613-1678
X.d.483 (188-189)
Lambert, John, 1619-1683
X.d.483 (158)
Lampen, John, ca. 1605-ca. 1660
X.d.483 (12)
Larke, J
X.d.483 (168)
Lisle, John, 1610?-1664
X.d.483 (47)
Lobb, Richard
X.d.483 (124-125) X.d.483 (127-129)
Loggett, Reynold
X.d.483 (19)
Lower, Humphrey, 1597-1683
X.d.483 (159)
Lower, Philip, b. 1606?
X.d.483 (53) X.d.483 (139)
Luttrell, John
X.d.483 (8-9)
Mabbott, Gilbert
X.d.483 (197) X.d.483 (92)
Manaton, Ambrose, ca. 1648-1696
X.d.483 (159-161)
Manaton, Ambrose, d. 1651
X.d.483 (72) X.d.483 (159)
Massey, Sir Edward, 1619?-1674?
X.d.483 (53)
Menheire, William
X.d.483 (178-179)
Mildmay, Sir Henry, d. 1664?
X.d.483 (85)
Miller, John
X.d.483 (132)
Millet, Thomas
X.d.483 (160)
Moulton, Robert
X.d.483 (40) X.d.483 (7)
Moyle, John, 1592?-1661
X.d.483 (44) X.d.483 (71) X.d.483 (159)
Mules, John
X.d.483 (150)
Mulgrave, Edmund Sheffield, Earl of, ca. 1611-1658
X.d.483 (23)
Mulys, John
X.d.483 (153-154) X.d.483 (196)
Mussenden, Francis, b. 1605
X.d.483 (164-165)
Nicoll, Anthony, 1611-1659
X.d.483 (112) X.d.483 (26)
Nottingham, Charles Howard, Earl of, 1610-1681
X.d.483 (203-204)
Oake, Richard
X.d.483 (20)
Packer, William, fl. 1644-1660
X.d.483 (132)
Parsons, Fenton
X.d.483 (27)
Parsons, Thomas
X.d.483 (136)
Pendarves, John, 1622-1656
X.d.483 (173) X.d.483 (177)
Penrose, John, ca. 1611-1652
X.d.483 (12)
Pollexfen, Sir Henry, 1632?-1691
X.d.483 (146) X.d.483 (147b)
Poyer, John, d. 1649
X.d.483 (7)
Prideaux, Sir Peter,1596-1682
X.d.483 (5)
Prideaux, Sir Richard, ca. 1606-1667
X.d.483 (87) X.d.483 (95)
Pury, Thomas, ca. 1590-1666
X.d.483 (33)
Pym, Henry
X.d.483 (164)
R., J
X.d.483 (201)
Radnor, John Robartes, Earl of, 1606-1685
X.d.483 (10) X.d.483 (3) X.d.483 (6)
Randle, John
X.d.483 (160)
Ravenscrofte, John
X.d.483 (39)
Rawlins, Thomas
X.d.483 (18)
Revell, Stephen
X.d.483 (180) X.d.483 (145)
Roberts, Sir William, 1605-1662
X.d.483 (164-165)
Rolle, Robert, d. 1660
X.d.483 (101)
Rolle, Sir Samuel, 1590-1647
X.d.483 (5)
Roscarrock, Charles, 1616-1665
X.d.483 (97)
Ross, Thomas, ca. 1622-1675
X.d.483 (164-165)
Rous, Anthony
X.d.483 (44) X.d.483 (47) X.d.483 (84) X.d.483 (101) X.d.483 (183) X.d.483 (103) X.d.483 (102) X.d.483 (104) X.d.483 (159)
Rowe, John
X.d.483 (151)
Rowe, Zacheus
X.d.483 (156)
Rushworth, John, 1612?-1690
X.d.483 (148)
Salmon, Ed:
X.d.483 (132)
Sankey, Richard, d. 1693
X.d.483 (132)
Sawrey (?), Richard
X.d.483 (132)
Scott, Thomas, d. 1660
X.d.483 (85)
Sexby, Edward
X.d.483 (198)
Shepheard, Thomas
X.d.483 (198)
Skippon, Philip, d. 1660
X.d.483 (198)
Slade, Thomas
X.d.483 (137-138)
Smallacomb, -
X.d.483 (148) X.d.483 (188)
Smith, Sir James
X.d.483 (97-98)
Spoor, John
X.d.483 (135)
Spratt, J
X.d.483 (113)
St. John, Henry
X.d.483 (30-31)
Stamford, Henry Grey, Earl of, ca. 1600-1673
X.d.483 (106)
Strange, Nathaniel
X.d.483 (177)
Talbot, John
X.d.483 (150)
Talbot, John
X.d.483 (171)
Thorne, William
X.d.483 (153)
Thurloe, John, 1616-1668
X.d.483 (105)
Tichborne, Robert, d. 1682
X.d.483 (109)
Tinkcome, Walter
X.d.483 (135)
Treffry, John
X.d.483 (135)
Trefusis, John
X.d.483 (12)
Trevill, Andrew
X.d.483 (134)
Valentine, Matthew
X.d.483 (165)
Vane, Sir Henry, 1613-1662
X.d.483 (130)
Vernon, - (?)
X.d.483 (123)
Vine, Walter
X.d.483 (172) X.d.483 (176) X.d.483 (135)
Vyvyan, Hannibal
X.d.483 (155)
Vyvyan, Sir Richard,1613-1665
X.d.483 (181-182)
Waight, John
X.d.483 (46) X.d.483 (97) X.d.483 (104) X.d.483 (115) X.d.483 (28)
Waller, Sir Hardress, 1604?-1666?
X.d.483 (16) X.d.483 (23-24) X.d.483 (28) X.d.483 (37-38) X.d.483 (47) X.d.483 (50) X.d.483 (100)
Waltham, Thomas
X.d.483 (34)
Walton, Valentine, ca. 1594-1661?
X.d.483 (85)
Ward, John
X.d.483 (185)
Webb, Robert, b. ca. 1609
X.d.483 (111)
Whitelocke, Bulstrode, 1605-1675
X.d.483 (47)
Wollocombe, John
X.d.483 (101)
Wood, John
X.d.483 (136)
Worthevale, Christopher
X.d.483 (101)
Wrey, Sir Chichester,1628-1668
X.d.483 (79)
Wrey, Sir William,d. 1636
X.d.483 (2)
Wrey, William, b. ca. 1599
X.d.483 (79)
Guide to the Papers of Robert Bennet, 1603-1678 (bulk 1642-1663) Folger MS X.d.483 (1-209)
Unverified Full Draft
Finding aid prepared by Folger Shakespeare Library staff; revised by Alison E. Bridger (2010), Christine Parker (2011), and Jesse Lambertson (2012).
ca. 1967
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2010: Unspecified edits made.

Repository Details

Part of the Folger Shakespeare Library Repository

201 E. Capitol St. SE
Washington DC 20003 USA