Welcome to the Prize Papers Portal, which is going to be the home to a vast collection of documents and artefacts taken from ships, along with related legal papers, all dating from 1655–1817. 

This unique online archive will span thousands of items that were created across the early modern world and written in dozens of languages. While, step by step, available here, in open access, the physical materials are preserved in the records of the English High Court of Admiralty at The National Archives, Kew. You can explore this collection by using one of the browse functions, below or by performing a search using keywords. 

In February 2022, HCA 45 – a series of bound volumes of printed appeals presented to the Lords Commissioners of Prize Appeals by litigants – was published. Volumes from 1793 to 1817 are available to users, allowing in-depth exploration of maritime trade, communication, and warfare across the globe.

Future developments

Future developments concern the addition of further collections with a wider variety of documents: in the HCA 30 and 32 modules to be presented online, more than 85 different document types will be available, presented by places of origin and actors involved in their production and use.

Users are invited to visit the case study of selected French prizes brought up during the War of Austrian Succession (1739-1748) to explore the richness of the collection.