The Sir William Clarke Manuscripts represent one of the most important surviving collections of original historical materials made by any individual in 17th century England. The papers provide major bodies of unique source material for main areas of mid-17th century British history. The collection of manuscripts of Sir William Clarke, reproduced here in its entirety, represents perhaps the most significant source for the study of the Civil War period outside the State Papers.
Clarke, who served as one of the chief secretaries to the Generals of the Parliamentary and Cromwellian army from the end of the Civil War to the Restoration, was a great note-taker and avid collector of documents and printed works; he created a collection of extraordinary historical importance and interest. This is particularly true for the study of the English Republic (1649-60), the forced Union with Scotland (1652-60), revolutionary Puritanism and early political radicalism.
This collection not only comprises the total Worcester College Collection, but also related papers such as a journal and other documents of Sir Kenelm Digby (from 1627), the journal of Joachim Hane (1653), the Popham Manuscripts from Littlecote (1657-1661), the Clarke Manuscripts from Littlecote (1615-1720) and C. H. Firth's manuscript notes on the collection.