English Passport 1640 with twelve signatures

This is an English passport issued to Sir Thomas Aston on 9th December 1640 to enable him to travel with two servants as he was ‘desirous of spending some tyme in foreigne parts beyond the seas.’ This document was issued just before the English Civil War outbreak in 1642, and it bears twelve signatures; Sir Thomas Aston, ten members of the English Privy Council, and the Clerk of the Council. English Passport twelve signatures

English Passport twelve signatures


Sir Thomas Aston, 1st Baronet

Sir Thomas Aston, 1st Baronet (29 September 1600 – 24 March 1645) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1640. He fought for the Royalist cause in the English Civil War and died in 1645 from wounds suffered in battle. Aston was created a baronet of Aston, in the County of Chester by King Charles I of England on 25 July 1628. He was appointed High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1635. In April 1640 he was elected Member of Parliament for Cheshire in the Short Parliament. English Passport twelve signatures

Sir Edward Barrett, 1st Lord Barrett of NewburghPCBaronet, (21 June 1581 – 2 January 1645) was an English politician who died in 1645 at 63. He had not fought during the civil war.

Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland (19 August 1590– 9 March 1649), was a Royalist during the civil war and was executed for treason on 9th March 1649.

Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork (13 October 1566 – 15 September 1643), also known as the Great Earl of Cork, was an English-born politician who served as Lord Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland. He died at Youghal, Ireland, in September 1643, having been chased off his lands in the Irish Rebellion of 1641.


Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey (16 December 1582 – 24 October 1642), was an English peer and soldier. He was a Royalist who died in the famous battle of Edge Hill on 24th October 1642.

Sir Edward Littleton, 1st Baronet (c. 1599 – c. 1657) was a 17th-century English Baronet and politician and wealthy landowner. He was a Parliamentarian but changed his allegiance to the Royalist cause, which led to his financial ruin as his estates were sequestrated. English Passport twelve signatures

Sir Henry Vane (26 March 1613 – 14 June 1662) was an English politician, statesman, and colonial governor. He served one term as the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1637-39) and supported the Rhode Island Colony and Harvard College creation. He was a leading Parliamentarian during the English Civil War and worked closely with Oliver Cromwell. He was beheaded on Tower Hill on 14th June 1662 by order of King Charles 11.

Sir Thomas Roe (c. 1581 – 6 November 1644) was an English diplomat of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Roe’s voyages ranged from Central America to India and, as ambassador, he represented England in the Mughal Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Holy Roman Empire. He died on 6th November 1544 at the age of 63.

Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Berkshire (8 October 1587 – 16 July 1669) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1605 and 1622. He was appointed Earl of Berkshire in 1626. During the English Civil War, he was a Royalist, but after the Royalists’ defeat, Parliament left him in peace as he was not considered a threat. He died on 16th July 1669, aged 81.

William Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Hamilton KG (14 December 1616 – 12 September 1651) was a Scottish nobleman who supported both Royalist and Presbyterian causes during the Three Kingdoms’ Wars. He died from the effects of wounds received at the Battle of Worcester on 12th September 1651 at 34. English Passport twelve signatures

The Most Reverend and Right Honorable William Juxon (1582 – 4 June 1663) was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 25th September 1660 until his death at 81. As a Royalist, he ‘lived undisturbed’ by Parliament, and was selected by King Charles 1 to be with him on the scaffold and offer him the last rites before his execution on 39th January 1649.

Sir Dudley Carleton (1599–1654) was a minor diplomat and Clerk of the Privy Council.

This document is a wonderful insight into a turbulent time in English history. English Passport twelve signatures

Many thanks to Brian Turner, who shared this significant document from his fine collection with us. I invite all collectors to show and tell about documents from their collection.

FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...