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Manuscripts: Papyri, Medieval and Renaissance: Named collections

Named collections

Dep. (Deposit)

The manuscripts in this category are not owned by the Bodleian, but are deposited by their owners in the Library, where they are available for consultation. In certain cases special conditions apply to their use or reproduction. The same shelfmark 'Dep.' is used both for printed and manuscript items: there is no shelfmark 'MS. Dep.'

MSS. Add. (Additional)

MSS. Add. were acquired at different times from various sources. The 'MSS. Bodl.' shelfmark was formed c. 1761 for miscellaneous accessions since the Library's foundation, and was continued until c. 1860 (see Summary Catalogue, V, pp, 801-2), when H. O. Coxe started a new series called 'Addit. Bodl.'. About 1877 this was rearranged according to the sizes of the volumes into MSS. Add. A, B, C, D (E was added in 1883 for rolls and irregularly shaped manuscripts). This series was closed in 1887. Thus MSS. Add. A-E contained the miscellaneous accessions of c. 1860-86, but 'many older MSS. were put into it during that period, and some have been taken out' (ibid., p. 741).


MSS. Arch. Selden. (Archivum Seldenianum): see MSS. Selden


MSS. Ashmole

Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) was born and educated in Lichfield. He began his career as a solicitor, but in 1644 entered the service of the Crown as a comissioner of excise. He entered the Office of Arms as Windsor herald after the Restoration, and retired in 1672. His collection comprises important medical, astrological, and alchemical manuscripts, and is also strong in heraldry, local history, and, to a lesser extent, in Middle English and 17th-century poetry. The foundation of his Museum at Oxford was made possible by his acquisition by bequest from his friend John Tradescant of a large collection of 'curiosities'. They arrived when the building was ready in 1683, and it was here that his bequest of manuscripts was housed until their transference to the Bodleian in 1860.

MSS. Aubrey

Most of the manuscripts in the collection were presented to the Ashmolean Museum by the antiquary and biographer John Aubrey (1626-97), although some were acquired later by the Bodleian. 

MSS. Auct. (Auctarium)

In 1789 the library selected the volumes then considered most precious, the Bibles and Greek and Latin classics, to be kept in a room first called the Bibliotheca Nova and then (in 1794) the Auctarium. This selection originally included manuscripts from the miscellaneous series MSS. Bodley, in addition to volumes from several collections including the Digby and Laudian. The latter were restored to their original collections in the late nineteenth century, but the manuscripts taken from MSS. Bodley were kept together as the collection MSS. Auct. Miscellaneous acquisitions were added to the series until 1885, including the library's purchases from the Saibante (1820) and Meerman (1824) collections, which were placed in the section Auct. T. (Summary Catalogue I. xxxviii-xl, xliv).

MSS. Barlow

At Oxford Thomas Barlow (1607-91) was elected a fellow of The Queen's College in 1633, Bodley's Librarian in 1652, Provost of Queen's in 1658, and Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in 1660; in 1675 he became Bishop of Lincoln. He bequeathed his manuscripts and printed books to the Bodleian, with the stipulation that any duplicates should be passed to the library of his college. The manuscripts (numbering over fifty) are miscellaneous in date and content, whilst the more extensive collection of printed books (some 6,000 items, which were given the shelfmark 'Linc.') include large numbers of pamphlets concerning 17th-century political and ecclesiastical affairs. Letters and papers by Barlow himself or relating to his life are not in this collection but are scattered elsewhere, chiefly in other Bodleian collections and at Queen's.

MSS. Barocci

The collection of Greek manuscripts was formed by the mathematician Francesco Barozzi (1537-1604), who lived for most of his life in Crete, and by his nephew Iacopo Barozzi of Venice (1562-1617), who inherited and added to it. The manuscripts are wide-ranging in date and subject-matter, and many retain their early Greek or Cretan bindings. The collection was brought to England by Henry Featherstone in 1628. On 26 Jan. 1629 the manuscripts were deposited with William Laud at London House. At his instigation they were purchased by William Herbert, 3rd earl of Pembroke, Chancellor of Oxford University, and by him presented through Laud to the University in May that year.

MSS. Bodl. (Bodley)

This collection was formed c. 1761 to include miscellaneous accessions since the library's foundation, and continued until c. 1860 (Summary Catalogue I.xxxviii, xliv).

MSS. Bowyer

In 1838 Sir George Bowyer (1811-83) published his Dissertation on the statutes of the cities of Italy. In that year and subsequently he donated printed books and a few manuscripts on this subject to the Bodleian. He was called to the bar of the Middle Temple in 1839, and was made a Doctor of Civil Law at Oxford in 1844; he was the author of a series of works on constitutional law. He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1850, succeeded his father as baronet in 1860, and twice sat in Parliament (as MP for Dundalk from 1852 to 1868, and for the county of Wexford from 1874 to 1880).

MSS. Broxb. (Broxbourne)

A collection presented in 1978 through the Friends of the National Libraries by Mr John Ehrman (1920-) in memory of his father, Albert Ehrman (1890-1969), who made the collection.

MSS. Buchanan

Medieval and later manuscripts on parchment collected by T. R. Buchanan (1846-1911), mainly for the sake of their bindings or illumination. For detailed information see below.

MSS. Bywater

Ingram Bywater (1849-1914), Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, 1893-1908, was not only a distinguished scholar but also a very discerning collector of early editions of Greek and Latin classical texts and of works relating to the history of classical scholarship. The collection was bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1915. With the printed books there was a small number of medieval and humanist manuscripts. Subsequently Bywater's niece Mrs. Charles Cornish gave to the Library between 1915 and 1921 his note-books and correspondence.

MSS. Bywater adds.

Miriam Robinette ('Robin') Tomkinson was by marriage the great-great-niece of Ingram Bywater. When she bequeathed her library to the Bodleian, she requested that it be added to Bywater's books and manuscripts, hence the shelfmark, 'Bywater adds.'

MSS. Canon. (Canonici)

Matteo Luigi Canonici was born at Venice on 5 August 1727, and became a Jesuit in 1743. His natural bent was towards history and antiquities, and when Accademico of the college of St. Catherine at Parma he formed a first collection of medals and books; but in 1768, when the Jesuit Order was suppressed in the kingdom of Naples and duchy of Parma, it was confiscated. Canonici, who had retired to Bologna, only received a small sum of money in return. Next he collected pictures, but this scandalized his superiors, and he was forced to get rid of them, obtaining in exchange a museum of medals. In 1773 a further suppression of the Order took place, and Canonici retired to Venice, where he set himself to study history, and collected coins, statuary, printed books and MSS., chiefly during autumn journeys to Rome, Naples, Florence or elsewhere. He acquired for instance en bloc the collections of the duke of Modena, and the library of Giacomo Soranzo of Venice, which was itself partly derived from the Biblioteca Recanati. He always hoped that the Jesuits would be restored, and intended in that case to make them his heir, but eventually died at Treviso (probably around September 1805) without making a will.

Canonici's collections passed to his brother Giuseppe, and on his death in 1807 to his nephews Giovanni Perissinotti and Girolamo Cardina, who divided them. To the former fell the MSS., then about 3550 in number, and, after many attempts to sell them, the Bodleian became the purchaser of the greater part in 1817, for £5444 5s. 1d., or including incidental expenses about £6030, the largest single purchase ever made by the Library. The formal list of volumes handed over was signed on 18 May 1817, and the books probably arrived later that year.

In 1821 a few additional Canonici MSS. were sold in London by public auction. In 1835 the Rev. Walter Sneyd, of Denton House, Cuddleston, purchased all that remained in Italy, 915 in number, including a valuable geographical work by Marino Sanuto (now British Library, Add. MS. 27376).

Most of the Canonici manuscripts are described in various volumes of the 'Quarto' series of catalogues, except for the liturgical ones, which are described in the Summary Catalogue. The divisions of the collection, which must not be regarded as very accurately carried out, are as follows:

  • MSS. Canon. Bibl. Lat. (Canonici Latin Biblical)
  • MSS. Canon. Class. Lat. (Canonici Latin Classical)
  • MSS. Canon. Gr. (Canonici Greek)
  • MSS. Canon. Ital. (Canonici Italian, but including five Spanish manuscripts)
  • MSS. Canon. Pat. Lat. (Canonici Latin Patristic, referred to in the catalogue as Scriptores Ecclesiastici)
  • MSS. Canon. Liturg. (Canonici Liturgical)
  • MSS. Canon. Misc. (Canonici Miscellaneous)

MSS. Carte

Thomas Carte (1686-1754) matriculated at University College, Oxford in 1698, took his degree from Brasenose College, Oxford in 1702, and an MA from King's College, Cambridge in 1706. He took Holy Orders in about 1714, but in that year refused to take the oath of allegiance, was accused of high treason in 1722, and fled to France adopting the name of Philips. He returned to England in 1728. His Life of James Duke of Ormonde was published in 1735-1736 and his History of England in 1747-1755.

MSS. Cherry

Francis Cherry (1665?-1713) of Shottesbrooke, Berkshire, was a nonjuror and the friend and patron of the antiquary Thomas Hearne. He matriculated at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, in 1682, but did not take a degree. Cherry's manuscripts were given to the Bodleian upon the death of his widow in 1729. As well as manuscripts, Cherry was a collector of printed books, coins, and antiquities.

MSS. Cromwell

Manuscripts collected by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Lord Protector, Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1 January 1651 till his resignation on 3 July 1657. They consist of twenty-five Greek and two Slavonic manuscripts, chiefly patristic.

MSS. Digby

Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-65), natural philosopher and courtier, was bequeathed in 1632 the scientific and historical manuscripts of Thomas Allen, his tutor at Gloucester Hall, Oxford. He presented these to the Bodleian in 1634.

MSS. Dodsworth

The topographical and genealogical collections of Roger Dodsworth (1585-1654), consisting of notes and extracts from public records and private muniments, church monuments, wills, cartularies, and other sources, constitute the largest single body of research materials to survive from 17th-century England. Initially concentrated on Yorkshire, Dodsworth's activity eventually spread to most of England. In 1635 he met William Dugdale, and the two men decided to collaborate on the Monasticon Anglicanum which was eventually published after Dodsworth's death. His manuscripts passed into the hands of his patron Sir Thomas Fairfax, who left them to the Bodleian (along with his own) in 1673. The introduction to the collection in the Summary Catalogue gives details of early attempts to catalogue and index the material, as well as an explanation of its original arrangement.

MSS. Don. (Donation)

Manuscripts presented to the Library by or through the Friends of the Bodleian since their foundation in 1925.

MSS. D’Orville

Jacques Philippe D'Orville (1696-1751) was born at Amsterdam and educated at the University of Leyden. From 1730 to 1742 he was Professor of History, Eloquence and Greek at Amsterdam. His chief collections were made with a view to editing Theocritus and the Greek Anthology, and include medieval and later manuscripts, as well as collations in printed books, transcripts and notes. After D'Orville's death the collection passed to his son, was eventually transferred to London, passed to a grandson, was sold to J. Cleaver Banks, and finally was purchased from him almost intact by the Bodleian. The manuscripts arrived at the Bodleian in 1804. The printed books (without collations) had been sold in 1764.

MSS. Douce

Francis Douce (1757-1834) was educated to be a merchant and a lawyer, but is best known for his literary and antiquarian pursuits, and as a great book collector. He was a Keeper of the Manuscripts at the British Museum from c. 1807 to 1811, and took part in the preparation of the Lansdowne and Harleian catalogues. His large library of manuscripts and printed books had particular strengths in English literature, especially Shakespeare, illuminated Books of Hours and French romances. He bequeathed all his manuscripts, printed books, coins and prints to the Bodleian Library. A catalogue of all Douce manuscripts and printed books by H. O. Coxe was published in 1840, and later supplemented by entries in the Summary Catalogue.

MSS. Dugdale

The antiquarian researches of Sir William Dugdale (1605-86) were initially focused on his native county of Warwickshire. Most of his manuscripts are fair copies of the transcripts he made from original historical sources; his Monasticon Anglicanum also made generous use of the collections of his collaborator, the Yorkshire antiquary Roger Dodsworth. Dugdale, whose official career was in the Office of Arms, had an important influence on the historical and heraldic studies of his son-in-law Elias Ashmole, and it was to the Ashmolean Museum that his manuscripts were bequeathed; they were transferred to the Bodleian in 1860. The introduction to the collection in the Summary Catalogue gives details of the small number of Dugdale manuscripts which were obtained from other sources.

MSS. Duke Humfrey

Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester (1390-1447) was the youngest brother of King Henry V. His major donations to the University of Oxford, made between 1439 and 1444, amounted to over 280 manuscripts, including classical and humanistic texts as well as Biblical, theological, legal, and medical texts relevant to the University curriculum. To house the collection a new library room was built over the Divinity School then under construction: the room opened in 1488 and still bears the name Duke Humfrey's Library. But by the middle of the 16th century the books had been dispersed and the room disfurbished, as a result partly of financial under-provision and partly of religious censorship; and it remained in this state until Sir Thomas Bodley's refoundation of the library at the end of the century. Of Humfrey's donations to Oxford, only about fifteen manuscripts are known to survive, including three in the Bodleian (which bear this shelfmark): see A. C. de la Mare and Stanley Gillam, Duke Humfrey's Library and the Divinity School 1488-1988 (exhibition catalogue, Bodleian Library, 1988).

MSS. E. D. Clarke

Edward Daniel Clarke (1769–1822) was an antiquary, mineralogist, and active traveler. His manuscripts, collected during his travels, were purchased by the University of Oxford in 1809. Information on the provenance of the manuscripts was published in 1826, based on information from Clarke himself, and is summarized in Bodleian Quarterly Record v (1926-8), p. 53.

MSS. e Mus. (e Musaeo)

In 1655 Thomas Barlow (Bodley's Librarian, 1652-1660) formed the class in Musaeo, that is manuscripts kept in a cupboard in the Librarian's study. In this class were mainly placed miscellaneous donations and purchases of the period c. 1647-1683. In 1728 the manuscripts were moved and renumbered, and the name of the collection changed to e Musaeo.

MSS. Fairfax

Thomas Fairfax (1612-71), the parliamentarian army officer, bequeathed twenty-eight manuscripts to the Bodleian in 1671. They had been in part acquired by his uncle Charles Fairfax, the antiquary.

MSS. Fell

John Fell (1625-1686) took his MA in 1643 from Christ Church, Oxford, became dean of Christ Church in 1660 and was elected bishop of Oxford in 1675. He left the Bodleian a small but valuable collection of manuscripts. MSS. Fell 1, 3, and 4 were returned to Salisbury Cathedral Library in 1985; for the circumstances surrounding this restoration, see David Vaisey, 'Thomas Hyde and manuscript collecting at the Bodleian Library', in The foundations of scholarship: libraries and collecting, 1650-1750: papers presented at a Clark Library seminar, 9 March 1985 (Los Angeles, 1992), pp. 3-27. The Bodleian has consultation microfilms of these three manuscripts.

MSS. Finch

The antiquary Robert Finch (1783-1830) graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, and was ordained in 1807. In 1814 he went abroad to Europe and the Holy Land, and for several years before his death he lived in Rome. He bequeathed his library, pictures, coins and medals to the Ashmolean Museum. In 1918 it was agreed that his books and manuscripts should come to the Bodleian Library, with the exception of certain books in foreign languages and dealing with archaeology and the fine arts. The manuscripts were transferred to the Bodleian in 1921. The post-medieval manuscripts and personal papers are described as nos. 46792 - 46872 in the New Summary Catalogue.

MSS. Gough

Richard Gough (1735-1809) received a private education, and was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1752, but did not take a degree. In 1767 he became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and served as its Director from 1771 to 1797. His chief academic interest was the study of British topography and antiquities, and he published numerous works on classical, antiquarian and topographical subjects. As a result of his research and travels he assembled a large collection of manuscripts, printed books, maps, drawings and engravings which he bequeathed to the Bodleian. These included a relatively small number of medieval items, with special emphasis on monastic cartularies and on liturgical manuscripts. On its arrival at the Library the collection was catalogued by Bulkeley Bandinel and Philip Bliss.

MSS. Grabe

Johann Ernst Grabe (1666–1711), patristic and biblical scholar, born in Prussia, moved to England in 1697 and settled in Oxford. His manuscripts were bequeathed to George Hickes for life, after his death in 1715 to George Smalridge, and passed in 1719 to the Bodleian.  

MSS. Greaves

Thomas Greaves (1612-1676) was a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford and became 'deputy professor of the Arabic lecture in the absence of Mr. Edward Pocock' in 1637. He took his BD in 1641 and DD in 1661, and held a succession of country rectories. The collection of 65 manuscripts and printed books, chiefly oriental, was purchased by the Library in 1678, but not all of it arrived.

MSS. Hamilton

The Hamilton manuscripts are believed to have belonged entirely to monasteries in Erfurt. Many certainly formed part of the library of the ancient Benedictine monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul, secularized in 1803, and some of that of the Carthusian house of St. Salvator founded in 1372. They were purchased by Count von Bülow following the destruction of the monastic libraries in 1806; after his death (probably in 1836) some of these were bought by Mr. John Broad, who presented them to Sir William Hamilton, his former mentor at Edinburgh. After Sir William Hamilton's death in 1856 the manuscripts were given to the Bodleian in 1857 by his sons, Sir William Stirling Hamilton and Hubert Hamilton.

MSS. Hatton

Most of the Hatton collection was bought in 1671 by the Bodleian from the London bookseller Robert Scot, who had purchased part of the library of Christopher, first Baron Hatton (d. 1670). He was the first cousin once removed of Sir Christopher Hatton, the Elizabethan courtier. A strong royalist, he was Controller of the Royal Household while Charles I's court was at Oxford from 1643 to 1646. He retired to France in 1648, and returned to England after the Restoration. He was a close friend of Clarendon and of a number of antiquaries, including Sir William Dugdale and Roger Dodsworth.

MSS. Hatton 113-116 ('Hatton Homilies', SC nos. 5134-5136, 5210) were given in 1675 by the first Baron Hatton's son Christopher (second Baron Hatton, first Viscount Hatton, 1632-1706), and for some time formed part of the Junius collection.

MSS. Hatton 'Donati' (Hatton donat.) were the gift, perhaps about 1675, of Captain Charles Hatton, the brother of the first Baron Hatton.


MSS. Holkham 

Manuscripts from the collection of the Coke family, Earls of Leicester, at Holkham Hall.

MSS. Holkham misc. 1-46 were purchased by the Library in October 1956 with the aid of the Pilgrim Trust (Bodleian Library Record 6/1 (October, 1957), 340-1). 108 Greek manuscripts at Holkham were purchased by the Library in June 1954 with help from the Dulverton Trust. One manuscript (MS. 89) was in five parts, so the total number of volumes was 112, now MSS. Holkham Gr. 1-112 (Bodleian Library Record 5/2 (October, 1954), 61-3). MS. Holkham Gr. 113 was bought with MSS. Holkham misc. in 1956. MSS. Holkham Gr. 114-116 stayed at Holkham until 1981. In that year they (along with MSS. Holkham misc. 47-53) were accepted by H.M. Treasury from the executors of the 5th Earl of Leicester and allocated to the Bodleian by the Secretary of State for Education and Science (Bodleian Library Record 10/6 (May, 1982), 327-38). A further Greek MS. from Holkham is British Library, Add. MS. 47674.


MSS. Holmes

Robert Holmes (1748-1805), biblical scholar, worked from 1788 on the collation of the manuscripts of the Septuagint. The collection mostly comprises the collations made by Holmes and deposited by him in the Bodleian, but includes two leaves from a Latin bible (MS. Holmes 158).

MSS. James

Richard James (1592-1638) was the nephew of Thomas James, Bodley's first librarian. He matriculated as a commoner at Exeter college, but moved to Corpus Christi college as a scholar where he took his BA in 1611. He was elected to a fellowship in 1615 and became librarian to Sir Thomas Cotton in 1628. His manuscripts, mostly historical with a strong Protestant bias, came to the library fourty years after his death, with the collection of his friend Thomas Greaves.


MSS. Jones

The Rev. Henry Jones (d. 1707) matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1668 and was Rector of Sunningwell in Berkshire. He was a nephew of Bishop John Fell and inherited many of his manuscripts. Jones's collection was received by the Bodleian in about January 1708.

MSS. Junius

Franciscus Junius the Younger (1591-1677) was born in Heidelberg. Brought up among the Calvinist scholars of the University of Leiden, he began his career as a theologian. As a consequence of the religious quarrels between the Arminians and the Gomarists, he resigned from his office, and in 1621 came to England as tutor and librarian to the household of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, the donor of the Arundel marbles to Oxford University. His work for Arundel resulted in the publication of De pictura veterum, a study of the classical arts. From 1651 to 1674 Junius again lived in the Netherlands, where he devoted himself to the study of the Old Germanic languages, culminating in the publication in 1665 of the first edition of the Gothic Bible, together with a Gothic dictionary. He finally returned to England and spent his last years in Oxford. Shortly before his death, Junius donated his Anglo-Saxon manuscripts to the Bodleian, where he had often worked; subsequently he bequeathed his other books, writings (principally notes and transcripts on the northern languages), and printing utensils. The Bodleian also possesses the portrait of Junius by Van Dyck.

MSS. Kennicott

The manuscripts acquired by the Hebrew biblical scholar Benjamin Kennicott (1718-83) include a small number of Latin Bibles amongst primarily Hebrew collection.


MSS. Laud

William Laud (1573-1645) was born at Reading, Berkshire, attended St John's College, Oxford, was ordained priest in 1601 and became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633. Archbishop Laud's donation to the Library comprised 1242 volumes which were received in three main instalments in 1635, 1636 and 1639, and in smaller ones in 1640-1. It was a miscellaneous collection in at least 20 languages, both Western and Oriental, partly acquired from Germany, especially Würzburg. The Western manuscripts of the Laudian collection are now subdivided according to language into three parts with distinct shelfmarks:

  • MSS. Laud Gr. (Greek)
  • MSS. Laud Lat. (Latin)
  • MSS. Laud Misc. (miscellaneous)

MSS. Lawn

Manuscripts bequeathed by Brian Lawn (d. 2001), doctor, book collector and historian of medicine.

MSS. Liturg. (Liturgical)

The collection comprises miscellaneous liturgical manuscripts acquired by the Library at different times.

MSS. Lyell

James P. R. Lyell (1871-1948) was a member of a London firm of solicitors. He bequeathed the residue of his estate to the University of Oxford for the foundation of a Lyell Readership in Bibliography. He left the choice of 100 manuscripts, of medieval or later date, to the Bodleian Library out of the total of some 250 medieval manuscripts and a small number of post-medieval manuscripts then in his possession. The hundred manuscripts chosen for the Bodleian are all medieval, except MS. 39 which is a sixteenth-century copy of a fifteenth-century text. Besides them, eleven medieval manuscripts in the Bodleian in the series 'MSS. Lyell empt.' were bought by the Library from Lyell's executors.

MSS. Marshall

Thomas Marshall (1621-85), a pupil and friend of Francis Junius, was educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, and graduated in 1645. Having served in the Royalist garrison of Oxford during the Civil War, he went abroad, and served as chaplain to the Merchant Adventurers in Holland from 1650 to 1672. He was elected a Fellow of Lincoln College in 1668, and Rector in 1672; from 1681 he was also Dean of Gloucester Cathedral. Over half the manuscripts Marshall bequeathed to the Bodleian are Oriental, and are not described here. His printed books are now divided between the Bodleian and Lincoln College; his Civil War pamphlets are also in the College. Marshall’s own correspondence is to be found scattered in several other collections in the Bodleian and elsewhere.

MSS. Michael

Heimman Joseph Michael (1792-1846) was an avid collector of Hebrew literature. His manuscripts were purchased in 1848 by the Bodleian and the printed books by the British Museum. The collection includes one manuscript (MS. Michael 569*) of French and Latin fragments.

MSS. Montagu

The Montagu collection was bequeathed to the Library by Captain Montagu Montagu, Royal Navy, after his death in 1863. The collection of manuscripts, largely autographs acquired from the Upcott and Wilson sales, and about 600 printed volumes were received by the Library chiefly in April 1864.

MSS. Mus. (Music)

This shelfmark covers musical manuscripts acquired by the Library at different times from various sources, and referenced thus from c. 1887 to the present day.

MSS. Radcliffe Trust

A collection of miscellaneous manuscripts, ranging in date from the 13th to 20th century, acquired by the Radcliffe Library, Oxford (i.e. the independent library which originally occupied the Radcliffe Camera, under the governance of the Radcliffe Trustees). Most of the manuscripts became the property of the Bodleian by decree of Chancery in 1932; others were given by the Radcliffe Trustees between 1935 and 1938.

MSS. Rawl. (Rawlinson)

Richard Rawlinson (1690-1755) was educated at St. Paul's School and Eton, and matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford in 1708. He proceeded to BA in 1711, MA in 1713 and received the honorary degree of DCL in 1719. Dr. Rawlinson was FRS and FSA, and a Bishop among the Nonjurors (1728). In 1719-1726 he travelled in Holland, France, Germany and Italy, gradually amassing a foreign, classical and English library. He also bought heavily at book-auctions in London between 1715 and 1755. He gave many printed books and a few manuscripts to the Bodleian during his lifetime, and in 1750 founded an Anglo-Saxon Professorship at Oxford. Finally by his will, besides bequests to Hertford and St. John's Colleges and to the Ashmolean Museum, he bequeathed to the University all his manuscripts, medals, coins, seal-matrixes and impressions, prints, copperplates and paintings, and a collection of printed books. His musical manuscripts were left to the Music School and only came to the Bodleian in 1885.

  • MSS. Rawlinson A
  • MSS. Rawlinson B
  • MSS. Rawlinson C
  • MSS. Rawlinson D
  • MSS. Rawlinson G
  • MSS. Rawlinson Liturgies
  • MSS. Rawlinson Poetry
  • MSS. Rawlinson Q
  • MSS. Rawlinson Statutes

MSS. Roe

Sir Thomas Roe was born in 1580 or 1581, and matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1593, but took no degree. From 1614 to 1618 he was Ambassador to Jehângîr, the Mogul emperor of Hindustan, and from 1621 to 1628 to the Turkish Court. In 1628 he presented to the Library a collection of manuscripts brought from the East, chiefly Greek, which was received in 1629. In 1640 Roe was elected a burgess of the University in Parliament, and died in 1644.

MSS. Savile

Sir Henry Savile (1549-1622), a mathematician, historian, antiquarian and classical scholar, was a fellow and from 1585 warden of Merton College, Oxford, and from 1596 provost of Eton. He founded in Oxford the professorships of geometry and astronomy, and donated books and manuscripts to establish a mathematical library.

MSS. Selden

John Selden (1584-1654) matriculated at Oxford from Hart Hall in 1600, but left the University without a degree. He entered Parliament in 1621, and from 1640 to 1653 represented Oxford University in Parliament. 8,000 volumes of manuscripts and printed books which he bequeathed to the Library were received in 1659 and housed in the newly built West End. The manuscripts are divided into four series: Arch. Selden. A, Selden Superius (nearly all oriental), Arch. Selden. B, and Selden Supra.

MSS. Sparrow

Manuscripts bequeated by John Sparrow (1906-92), warden of All Souls, Oxford.

MSS. St. Amand

James St. Amand (1687–1754), classical scholar and book collector, bequeathed his manuscripts to the Bodleian. The greater part of the collection comprises notes on classical authors and letters from foreign scholars.

MSS. Tanner

Thomas Tanner was born in 1674 and matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford in 1689. In 1697 he became Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford; he was prebendary of Ely in 1713-1723, archdeacon of Norfolk in 1721, and canon of Christ Church from 1724. In 1732 he was made bishop of St. Asaph, and died in Oxford 14 Dec. 1735. By his will most of his manuscripts passed to the Bodleian.

MSS. Top. (Topography)

From the end of the eighteenth century onward, the Library received by gift or purchase a number of small collections on county history, including Bridges (1795-6), Blakeway (1840), Milles (1843), W. N. Clarke (1868), Gough Nichols (1874) and Watson (1875). In 1884 all these collections except Blakeway were formed into a series called MSS. Top(ography), subdivided into gen(eral) and eccles(iastical), and into England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, with further subdivisions for English, Scottish and Welsh counties. The volumes were also arranged by size, which is denoted by a small letter preceding the running number from 'a' for the largest volumes to 'g' for the smallest. Most medieval manuscripts in the series were acquired after 1916 and do not have a Summary Catalogue number.

MSS. Wood

Anthony à Wood (1632-1695) received his BA (1652) and MA (1655) from Merton College, Oxford. His 'History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford' was published in Latin translation by Oxford University Press in 1674, and in a longer form in English by John Gutch in 1786-1790. Apart from diaries and letters, there are three collections of Wood manuscripts. The first consists of 126 MSS. (MSS. Wood, and MS. Wood Rolls 1) bequeathed in November 1695 with 970 printed books. They were housed in the Ashmolean Museum until their transfer to the Bodleian in 1860, and are chiefly Wood's own collections for the history of the university and the city of Oxford. The second comprises medieval manuscripts bought from Wood (MSS. Wood empt.). The third collection is a bequest of Dr. Gerard Langbaine's Adversaria (MSS. Wood donat., all post-medieval).