Nugent Papers

Repository: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Identity Statement

TitleNugent Papers
Archive ReferenceGB 0255 PRONI/D552
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1568-1962
Extent Mediumc 8,650 documents + c 225 volumes


Creator(s): Nugent, family, baronets, of Portaferry

  • Administrative History ↴

    The Nugent of Portaferry papers derive from the Portaferry House branch of the Anglo-Norman family of Savage of the Ards, Co. Down, which changed its name to Nugent in 1812 following the succession of Andrew Savage of Portaferry to the Dysart estate, baronies of Moyashel and Magheradernon, Co. Westmeath, of his kinsman, John Nugent of Dysart. This change of name gave rise to the famous remark of a disgruntled uncle of Andrew Savage/Nugent that he, for one, would 'rather be an old savage than a new gent'!
  • Archival History ↴

    More even than most deposits of family and estate material in PRONI, the deposit of the Nugent papers has been confusingly piecemeal. In 1948 the first c.850 documents were received and were catalogued and indexed in the very great detail which was possible in those more leisurely days. A further c.200 papers followed in 1973. The lion's share of the archive came in 1977, but small, subsequent deposits were made in 1984 and 1986. Received from Sir Roland T. Nugent, Bt, Lady Nugent, Mrs Elizabeth Cooke.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Nugent, family, baronets, of Portaferry ↴

    In spite of the Westmeath association, the vast majority of the papers concern the Savage estate in the barony of Ards, Co. Down. By the mid-19th century, this had dwindled to a little over 3,000 statute acres covering the town of Portaferry and the following outlying townlands, alphabetically arranged: Ballybranigan, Ballycarn, Ballyfounder, Ballyhenry, Ballyhoily, Ballymanish, Ballynichol, Ballyphilip, Ballyquinton, Ballyrusley, Ballyweird, Corrog, Craigaroddan, Croft, Derry, Granagh, Killydressy, Kinlagh, Tara, Tullyboard, Tullycarnan, Tuovhilly.
    In view of the unusual antiquity of the Savage family, it is regrettable that the archive by and large begins in Jacobean and Plantation times. On the other hand, the papers have an unusual and special interest during the first half of the 18th century (the era of the Penal Laws) because some of the Savages and all of their Westmeath Nugent connections were Roman Catholics or crypto-Roman Catholics at a time when the letter of the law, the activities of Protestant ‘discoverers’ and the greed of Protestant next-of-kin, made it difficult and dangerous for landowners to be so.
    There are c.300 title deeds, 1568-1916, to Savage lands in Co. Down and Nugent lands in Westmeath, taking the form of grants, patents, wills, marriage settlements, mortgages, head leases to the Savage/Nugent family etc (D552/B/1/1/1-293). The pre-1858 wills are particularly numerous.
    There are over 350 individual leases, plus two volumes recording memorials of leases, which between them detail leases of lands in Co. Down granted by the Savage/Nugent family, c.1615-1821, 1840-1842 and 1870-1959 (D552/B/1/2/1-367).
    Maps, surveys, architectural drawings and other pictorial material are a strongpoint of the archive. There are well over 100 maps, surveys and valuations, 1672, 1717-1753, 1775-1789, 1802 and 1810-1953.
    The other pictorial material principally consists of nine photograph albums and numerous photographs, c.1855-c.1920, some of them deriving form General Andrew Nugent of Portaferry, and including mainly commercial photographs, of the Crimean War, c.1854-1856, the Afghan War, 1878-1879, scenes in Ceylon, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, California, Canada and the West Indies, 1880-1884, and scenes in Egypt, 1884, including a regimental group of which ‘General Hicks Pasha’ is a member (D552/B/3/5/1-15). Finally, the collection contains a large amount of correspondence created by various members of the family.

    -Extracted from a full account of the Nugent Papers in the PRONI catalogue:

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    D552/A Correspondence and related papers
    D552/B Papers other than correspondence
    D552/B/1 Title deeds and estate papers
    D552/B/2 Legal papers
    D552/B/3 Household and pictorial matter
    D552/B/4 Family history, verse and miscellaneous

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The collection can be consulted in the reading room in PRONI in accordance with PRONI's rules and regulations.
Conditions Governing ReproductionItems may be copied for personal research use only. If a researcher wishes to publish any documents from this collection, a request must be submitted in writing to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
Creation Dates1568-1962
Extent Mediumc 8,650 documents + c 225 volumes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids A descriptive list is available to search online at: Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Publication NoteG F Savage-Armstrong 'A Genealogical History of the Savage Family in Ulster' (London, 1906)

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NotePRONI Archivist
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997. UK Archival Thesaurus (UKAT)
Date of Descriptions41699