AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Post Office: Letters Patent

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0813 POST 67 Series
Held at: British Postal Museum and Archive: The Royal Mail Archive
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Post Office: Letters Patent
Date(s): 1715-1964
Level of description: Series
Extent: 50 files
Name of creator(s):

No further information available


Administrative/Biographical history:

The position of 'head of The Post Office' was first entitled 'Postmaster General' under the Commonwealth Act of 1657. Previously he had been known by various titles, Master of the Posts, Comptroller General of the Posts and Postmaster of England. The Post Office Act of 1660 provided that 'one Master of the General Letter Office shall be from time to time appointed by the King's Majesty, his heirs and successors, to be made or constituted by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of England, by the name and style of his Majesty's Postmaster General'. The appointment was generally not made for a fixed length of term and Postmaster Generals were succeeded upon retirement or resignation. From 1691 two Postmasters General were appointed to hold office conjointly. At that time one was a member of the Whig party and the other a member of the Tory party. This joint appointment continued as a government policy until 1823, although the political ramifications lost much of their initial importance. Between the years of 1784 and 1831, the Post Offices of Great Britain and Ireland were separate and had separate Postmasters. The post of Receiver General was established in 1677, with the responsibility to receive and account for all payments received and expended by the Post Office. In 1855 these duties were combined with those of the Accountant General. The Office of Court Post, which was abolished [1798] was that of messenger responsible for conveying the sovereign's letters and those of his Principal Secretaries of State to the nearest stage of post town.


Scope and content/abstract:

This series consists of Royal Letters Patent to Postmasters General and Receiver Generals giving the sovereign's written authority to perform their duties. The series also contains a letters patent for the office of Court Post. The patents give: name of appointee; dates of appointment; salary and duties. All have their seals missing but the original seal attached.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged chronologically within series.

Conditions governing access:

Public Record

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information

Finding aids:

Please contact the Archive for further information

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry checked by Barbara Ball

Rules or conventions:

Compiled in compliance with General Internation Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G) second edition 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Date(s) of descriptions:
Entry checked June 2011

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"