Archive Collection CET - Trevelyan (Charles Edward) Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Trevelyan (Charles Edward) Archive


  • 1807 - 1886 (Creation)

Level of description

Archive Collection

Extent and medium

17 boxes and 46 volumes personal papers

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan was born in Nettlecombe, Dorset, to George Trevelyan, Archdeacon of Taunton and Harriet Trevelyan nee Neave. He was educated at Charterhouse Grammar School and Haileybury College. He then studied languages at Fort William College in Calcutta, and was assigned as assistant to Sir Charles Metcalfe, resident of Delhi, in January 1827.

Metcalfe was soon replaced by Sir Edward Colebrooke. In June 1829 Trevelyan wrote to the Government of Bengal accusing Colebrooke of corruption and accepting bribes. Following a government investigation, Colebrooke was dismissed from service.

Trevelyan later became guardian to the Raja of Bharatpur, before leaving Delhi for Calcutta in 1831 to become under secretary to the foreign department of the Government of India. In this role he wrote reports on topics including transit duties and education. In 1836 he became secretary to the Sudder board of revenue.

In 1834 Trevelyan married Hannah More (1807-1873), sister of historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay. The pair would have three children; Margaret Jean Trevelyan (1835-1906), George Otto Trevelyan (1838-1928) and Alice Frances Trevelyan (1843-1902).

In 1838 Trevelyan returned to England, and became assistant secretary to the treasury. A position he held for 19 years. While in this position he oversaw provision of relief for Ireland during the Great Famine in Ireland and worked towards revision of military expenditure and reorganization of the civil service.

Trevelyan was offered governorship of Madras in 1858, taking up the position in spring 1859. In this role he worked towards establishing a municipal corporation, improving water and sanitary conditions, introducing a new police force and establishing land ownership rights.

Trevelyan was opposed to the government's proposed tax increases, intended to recover expenses resulting from the Indian Rebellion of 1857. His public objections to the legislation being passed was met with disapproval, and he was notified of his removal from office in May 1860.

Two years later he returned to India as financial member of the Indian Council at Calcutta, where he served until 1865.

In 1874 he was created a Baronet, and the following year he married Eleanor Anne Campbell (d.1919). In 1879 Trevelyan inherited the Wallington estate in Northumberland, following the death of his cousin Walter Calverley Trevelyan, without issue.

He died in London in 1886.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

This archive was deposited at Newcastle University on loan in 1967 by Charles Edward Trevelyan's descendants, along with three further Trevelyan family archives - the Trevelyan (Charles Philips) Archive (CPT), the Trevelyan (George Otto) Archive (GOT), and the Trevelyan (Walter Calverley) Archive (WCT). Further items were added as smaller deposits in subsequent years.

The letterbooks were previously held by the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

The Trevelyan family kindly gifted the archives to Newcastle University Special Collections in 2012.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The archive mainly comprises correspondence relating to Charles' activities as a Civil Servant and administrator. There are also publications relating to these activities and Charles' wider interests.

There is also personal content, including travel diaries, family correspondence and papers regarding inheritance of the Wallington estate in Northumberland.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Some duplicate publications were removed from the collection during cataloguing in 2019.

At the same time some late twentieth century content which had been added to the collection was relocated from the archive into the Library's administrative files.


No further material is expected to be added to the collection

System of arrangement

This arrangement of this archive is based on groupings of files used in a previous catalogue created in 1972. The files appear to correspond to original bundles and gatherings created by the family prior to deposit. The groupings reflect Trevelyan's different positions and interests. The out letter books span multiple areas, and are therefore grouped together at the start of the catalogue.

All files in this archive were previously available with former references. These have been included to ensure content accessed and referenced in the past remains accessible.

The archive series are as follows:

CET/1 - Out letter books CET/2 - India CET/3 - Treasury CET/4 - Civil service reform CET/5 - Military and defence reform CET/6 - Ireland CET/7 - Social issues and education CET/8 - Foreign affairs CET/9 - Northumberland CET/10 - Personal

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright within this collection which would have resided with the Trevelyan family was kindly gifted to Newcastle University along with the physical material in 2012. Other copyrights subsist within the collection and copying and reuse should only be undertaken with consent of the copyright holder.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Some of the content is extremely fragile and care should be taken when handling. Where considered appropriate a digital surrogate may be offered for consultation.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related material at Newcastle University Special Collections includes:
Trevelyan (Charles Philips) Archive (CPT) Trevelyan (George Otto) Archive (GOT) Trevelyan (Walter Calverley) Archive (WCT) Related material held elsewhere includes:
India Office Records and Private Papers, British Library, London Records created or inherited by HM Treasury (T), The National Archives (Kew) Wallington National Trust Collection, Wallington Hall

Related descriptions

Publication note

Boase, G. C. & Washbrook, David (2016) Trevelyan, Sir Charles Edward, first baronet in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Available at Haines, Robin F. (2004) Charles Trevelyan and the Great Irish Famine. Four Courts, Dublin Prior, Katherine, Brennan, Lance and Haines, Robin (2001) 'Bad Language: The Role of English, Persian and Other Esoteric Tongues in the Dismissal of Sir Edward Colebrooke as Resident of Delhi in 1829' in Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp.75-112 Trevelyan, Humphrey (1972) The India we left: Charles Trevelyan, 1826-1865, Humphrey Trevelyan, 1929-1947. Macmillan, London

Notes area


Preferred citation: CET, Trevelyan (Charles Edward) Archive, Newcastle University Library

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