Reference Code: IE 2135 P25

Title: The Thomas White Collection

Dates of Creation: 1702-1712

Level of Description: Fonds

Extent and Medium: 1 item

Thumbnail image of the interior of a London coffee-house c. 1690-1700 courtesy of the British Library under Creative Commons Licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Name of Creator(s): White, Thomas (1676-1742).

Biographical History: Thomas White was born in Darlstone [Dalston], Hackney, Middlesex in 1676 to Stephen White (1633-1681) and Hester née Drake.  His father was a successful London merchant, who worked in partnership with his uncle, Sir Steven White (d. c. 1678), and three brothers, two of whom were living in Oporto, Portugal.  From his uncle, Stephen inherited £3,000 together with lands and tenements in the parish of Aldham, Essex, ‘which lys about 5 mile on this side of Colchester & within a mile of the London road’.

Thomas was one of four children, two of whom died in infancy.  His surviving sister, Hester, married Bedingfield Heigham in 1694.  As the only surviving son, Thomas inherited considerable wealth from his father following the latter’s premature death from illness when Thomas was five years old.  He appears to have trained as a solicitor, with chambers in the Temple, and to have accrued additional land holdings, including ‘an Estate in the Barrony of Clonnelloe in the County of Lymrick, I think within 5 miles of the City containing 1469 acres 12 Rood & 38 pearch Plantation Measure’.  He married in 1718 Olive Western (1699-1753), daughter of Maximilian Western of Abington Hall, and by her had three children, Thomas (1720-1808), Frances (1721-1778) and Olive (b. 1723).  He died on 23 November 1742, ‘possessed of a very large Estate’ in Suffolk, as noted by Stanford Mercury.

Archival History: Unknown.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Purchased by the Head of Special Collections on behalf of the University of Limerick from De Búrca Rare Books on 26 February 2016.



Scope and Content: This collection comprises a folio manuscript letter book roughly bound in vellum containing copied letters from Thomas White to various named persons between 1702 and 1711/12. White writes mainly from London, and the letters are mainly concerned with the letting and management of his extensive portfolio of farms and properties, some in England but including a substantial number in County Limerick.  Hovering in the background is the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), and the letter book provides insights into the effects of the on-going conflict on rents and land transactions.  There is also a more personal side to the letter book, with several copies of letters to an aunt and cousins, rich in detail, with frequent references to court gossip and political and current affairs. The letter book opens a vivid and multi-faceted view into the life of the prosperous middle class in the first decade of the eighteenth century.

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: All records have been retained.

Accruals: No accruals are expected.



Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to item.

Conditions Governing Reproduction: Standard copyright regulations apply to all items.  For photocopying or reproducing material, please consult with the staff.

Language/ Scripts of Material: English.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: Bound manuscript volume with damaged covers and minor worming to pages but in otherwise good condition.

Finding Aids: A hard copy of the descriptive catalogue is available at the Special Collections and Archives Department, Glucksman Library, University of Limerick.



Archivist’s Note: Papers arranged and described by Anna-Maria Hajba.

Rules or Conventions: This description follows guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd edition, 2000, Irish Guidelines for Archival Description, 2009, National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997, and EAP Guidance on Data Protection for Archive Services, 2018.

Date of Description: October 2022.