Oxford colleges and University


Centre for Metropolitan History



Derek Keene & Vanessa Harding (editors)

Year published


Supporting documents



Citation Show another format:

'Sources: Oxford colleges and University', A Survey of Documentary Sources for Property Holding in London before the Great Fire: London Record Society, 22 (1985), pp. 148-152. URL: Date accessed: 16 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


(Min 3 characters)


Unless otherwise stated, the records are kept by the individual colleges. The best introduction to the archives and their current location is P. Morgan, Oxford Libraries outside the Bodleian (2nd. ed., 1980). PRO, E315/441 is a survey of college estates, 1545–6, noting London properties for Balliol, Brasenose, Magdalen, and Merton.

395. Oxford: University of Oxford

During the first half of the 17C the university successively acquired tenements in 30 (towards the maintenance of the library: see W. D. Macray, Annals of the Bodleian Library (2nd. ed., 1890), 15n., 37); an annuity in 54 (towards the teaching of divinity); and tenements in 81 (for the maintenance of 3 fellows from Jersey and Guernsey). The tenements remained in the possession of the university, but the annuity may have been lost by c. 1675 for it is not entered in the rental of that date (see c, below).

The archives (Arch. Univ. Oxon.) are produced for consultation at the Bodleian Library in Duke Humphrey's reading room, where a copy of a manuscript list is available. See T. H. Aston and D. G. Vaisey, 'University Archives' in P. Morgan, Oxford Libraries outside the Bodleian (2nd. ed., 1980), 200–5.

a. Deeds and papers. W. P. [alpha] 4: leases and counterparts, 1669 onwards (30). N.W. 3, 1b: letter of attorney for receipt of rents, 1613 (30). N.E.P. Pyx E, 7a-d and 8: deeds and papers, 1584–1649 (54). S.E.P. K.I: leases, deed, and Fire Court decree, 1620 onwards (81). Bodl, MS Top. Oxon. c. 27: binding is part of late 17C lease (81).

b. N.E.P. Supra and Subtus: Registers of Convocation, incl. records of university decisions and fines concerning all the London properties and copies of leases.

c. W.P. R 16: general rental, c. 1675 (30, 81). London rent receipts are not itemized in the surviving series of accounts.

396. Oxford: Balliol College

Fd. 1260–6. The London estate was in 81 and 90. See also 272.

a. Deeds and leases, 12C to 20C. There is a 19C list and index (not always reliable); a new guide is being prepared. 12C and 13C deeds concerning 81 also refer to property in Cheapside and Fink Lane.

b. Lease books 1 and 2, copies of leases and Fire Court decrees, 1588–1762.

c. Bursars' a/cs, 4 vols. 1568–1677 (extracts made c. 1910 from the now lost vol. for 1544–64 are in Bodl, MS Top. Oxon. e. 124/9): brief records of rents and tenants.

d. Latin register 1, 1514–1682: ordinances of the governing body incl. records of the London property. Lease log book or fine book (entitled 'Balliol College Estates'), comp. c. 1675 and later: abs. of leases noting fines, 1588–1850, arranged by properties. Bursars' book IJ: private notebook comp. c. 1655 incl. notes on London rents and tenants.

397. Oxford: Brasenose College

Fd. 1260. Unless otherwise stated, the estate comprised: houses in 42; rents from 81 and from the Skinners' Company (charged on property in Gracechurch Street); rents from 95 and Old Fish Street as part of the endowment of the grammar school at Middleton, Lancs. See A. J. Butler, 'An Account of the Benefactions Bestowed upon the College' and 'The College Estates and the Advowsons held by the College' in Brasenose College quatercentenary monographs i (Oxf. Hist. Soc. 52, 1909).

See 'Calendar of Muniments' (comp. by H. Hurst, 1900–4) and 'List of Archives not calendared by Hurst' (HMC typescript, 1966).

a. Deeds and leases, 16C–17C (42): see 'Calendar of Muniments', s.n. London.

b. B1c/1, 'Liber Col: Ænei Nasi': comp. 16C–18C, incl. copies of deeds and wills. A3/19, 'Principal Yate's Book': comp. 1668 and later, incl. copies of deeds and evidences and a table of abs. of leases of college properties from 1485. B1d/35: late 17C 'Copies of evidences'. 'BNC Ledger no. 1': copies of leases granted 1596–1717, incl. 18C list of contents.

c. Bursars' a/c rolls (now bound in volumes), 1516 onwards incl. receipts of rents. A2/41–8, senior bursars' a/cs, various years from 1631–2 on: bks. cont. daily record of receipts and payments incl. rents and fines.

d. A1, 'Vice-Principals' Registers': Registrum A, 1539–94 incl. grants of leases (cf. above, b), which may be identified from the 19C MS slips pasted in the vol. 'Extracts from the Principals' Registers, 1539/40–1896'. B1d/36, 'Principals' Fine Book': grants of leases and fines, 1650–1705.

e. B.1.4.1, folder of estate maps and plans: incl. plans 1674 and later for 42, and late 17C/early 18C map of 113 parish (Brasenose acquired the advowson in 1721).

398. Oxford: Christ Church

Fd. 1546. The London estate was in 152. The main series of archives is at Christ Church; in 1927 some items were deposited in Bodl (described in Cartulary of the Medieval Archives of Christ Church, ed. N. DenholmYoung, Oxf. Hist. Soc. 92, 1931). Unless otherwise stated the records are in the Christ Church Archives.

a. Deeds A. London, St. Sepulchres: deeds, leases, papers, 16C and 17C. See also Bodl, MS Christ Church MM. 10.

b. 1. b. 5: register of estates c. 1665. 1. c. 2–3, 'Book of Evidences' comp. c. 1667: abs. of title and notes of deeds and leases. D. P. i. b. 11, 'Liber Ecclesiae Christi Oxon.': a draft for the 'Book of Evidences'. XX. c. 1–5, 'Estates Ledgers', 1553–1675: copies of acts of dean and chapter incl. leases (no London refs in vols. 1 and 2; contents of vol. 5 onwards are indexed in 1. c. 4, 'Index to Register of Leases vol. 1', comp. 18C and 19C). See also 1. b. 2 and 1. b. 4: registers of leases comp. c. 1660 and c. 1664, respectively.

c. lvi. c. 1–85, bailiffs' a/cs, 1548–1633: receipts of rent from London, but tenants not named. Similar information appears in 'Receipt Books' (42 vols. 1592–1667: xi. b. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, etc.) and in annual 'Treasurers' Statements' (rolls for 1549–1624 are in iii. c. 5–9 and Bodl, MSS Christ Church MM Rolls 4–14, Oxon. Rolls 18, Top. Oxon. c. 23). See also iii. c. 1 (vol. of draft a/cs, 1527–1630) and iii. c. 4 (a/c for 1546–7).

d. MS Estates 45: 17C Fire Court papers and a plan of 1610 by Ralph Treswell (a 17C copy of the plan is filed among the deeds, cf. above, a).

399. Oxford: Magdalen College

Fd. 1448, 1458. The college's only property in the city before 1666 was an annuity in Little Wood Street acquired in the 17C, for which few records survive. It had extensive holdings in Southwark and in Middlesex in the parishes of St. Clement Danes and 54.

The archive is divided into three main sections: 'Macray Deeds' (see below, a); 'Estate Records' (recently numbered and indexed; TS list available in Bodl); 'Records' (concerning central and domestic administration).

a. Deeds and some other papers are identifiable in a TS calendar compiled by W. D. Macray and arranged principally by counties. For Little Wood Street, see Macray Deeds, Kent, London, and Somerset, no. 144 (now lost). See also 186 and 198.

b. The Little Wood Street rent is mentioned in two late 17C and 18C books of rentals (Records, CP 3/6, 7). It is probably included in the various totals for London recorded in the following: bursars' a/c rolls (annual series, 1480–1667: Estate Records 186/1 to 214/13); 'Libri Computi' (annual series from 1490: not numbered).

400. Oxford: Merton College

Fd. 1264, 1266. Unless otherwise stated, the London estate lay in 5, 37, 38, 46, 123.

a. Deeds, leases, wills, and other papers, 13C to 17C, identifiable from vol. 9 of the catalogue compiled by W. H. Stevenson: estate as above, also refs. to 104, 127, 134, 137 (in items 143, 1203, 2977).

b. Registers of leases, 3 vols. 1578–1682, each with a contemp. list of contents ('Records' 6. 1–3). Late 17C terrier listing tenants, dates of leases, and fines from late 16C ('Records' 5.19A). These 4 vols. concern estate as above, except for 37.

c. Rentals, 1638 and mid 17C ('Records' 2.9, 5.36): estate as above. Bursars' rolls for most years 1277–1638 (three separate bursars rendered a/cs for successive parts of each year; the rolls are listed in vol. 1b of Stevenson's catalogue): incl. receipts of rent, but not always possible to identify London totals; more detail on London rents appears in the 17C rolls. 'Liber Rationarius Bursarium', 3 vols. 1585–1677 ('Records' 3.1–3) incl. bursars' a/cs followed by a general a/c for whole year: information as in bursars' rolls. Walter de Merton held a house in Maiden Lane and his executors paid rent for a house in Ivy Lane: The Early Rolls of Merton College, Oxford, ed. J. R. L. Highfield (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. 18, 1964 for 1963), 32, 110.

d. College Registers, 2 vols. 1482–1731 ('Records' 1.2,3): business of the governing body, incl. granting of leases; the text to 1603 has been edited as Registrum Annalium Collegii Mertonensis by H. E. Salter (Oxf. Hist. Soc. 76, 1933) and John M. Fletcher (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. 23–4, 1974 and 1976); there is a MS index to the later contents of the registers ('Records' 1.5 S).

401. Oxford: New College

Fd. 1379. In 1391 the college acquired former properties of Hornchurch Priory (166) in 77 and 78, and of Takeley Priory (233) in 144; property in 33 was acquired in the later 16C. For the records, which are identified by means of a single sequence of numbers, see F. W. Steer, The Archives of New College, Oxford (1974). This book (cited as Steer) contains detailed descriptions of many items, but also conceals much and should be used with caution.

a. Deeds and Leases. For deeds up to 1391, see 166 and 233. Loose deeds, leases, papers, surveys, and plans of a later date are described by Steer in a series of artificial groups as follows:

33 (pp. 319–20), 16C–17C deeds, 17C leases, 17C particulars and plans, 18C abs. of title (14C–16C) concerning adjacent property in 42; 77 and 78 (p. 321), 17C–18C leases and plans; 144 (pp. 322–4), 15C–17C leases, 17C particulars and plans, Fire Ct. decree, 17C receipts for quit-rents.

b. Registers of deeds: 9744 ('Liber Niger'; Davis, no. 746), 16C register cont. (f. 154), copy deed of acquisition for 77 and 78; 9791 ('Registrum Evidentiarum' vol. 5; cf. Davis, no. 748), mid 17C register cont. (pp. 333– 7, 343–6, 353–81) copies of 13C–17C deeds and Fire Ct. decrees and surveys. Registers of leases: 9654 ('Registrum Primum' or White Book; Davis, no. 747), cont. (ff. 57, 146v, 153, 181) copies of 15C leases (77, 78, 144); 9757–66 ('Registra Dimissiones ad Firmam', nos. 2–12), cont. copies of leases 1480–1668. Registers of fines, cont. summaries of leases and specifying fines for London properties from mid 17C onwards: 39, 967, 9793.

c. Valors and rentals: Steer, p. 73, lists valors and rentals from late 15C onwards, most of which incl. totals of rent due from the London properties; for 3578, incl. in this list, see below, d. Accounts: 6589–6649 (Steer, pp. 34–5) are separate a/cs for the London properties listing receipts and expenditure, 1395–1495 (with gaps); many similar London a/cs are to be found in the series of bailiffs' a/cs running from 1466 to 1596, and totals received from London are incl. in the bursars' a/cs from the late 14C onwards (these two series are described and listed in Steer, pp. 16–30).

d. Surveys and plans: for loose items, see above, a; 3578 is a 17C volume cont. both drawn and written surveys (details of London properties on pp. 179–80, 343, 347); 11917 is another 17C description of the property in 144.

402. Oxford: St. John's College

Fd. 1557. The London estates were as follows:

A. Properties acquired under the founder's will of 1566 and disposed of by 1590: 18, 36, 39, 46, 81, 87, 93, 100, 104, 123, 126, 137, 158 (see H. E. Salter, 'Particulars of properties in the city of London belonging to St. John's College, Oxford', LTR 15 (1931), 92–108, and W. H. Stevenson and H. E. Salter, The early history of St. John's College Oxford (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. 1, 1939) esp. 273–4, 396–405.

B. Properties acquired after 1590: 9 (acq. 1757–88), 54 and Whitefriars precinct (acq. 1657); 152 (acq. 1632).

See TS 'Summary Guide' to the records by H. M. Colvin.

a. 'Muniments', i.e. deeds, wills, inquisitions, memoranda, and other papers, 16C and 17C (there is a card calendar of each item): estate A, as above, (sections I, XXI); estate B, as above, and also refs. to 37, 141 (sections XXX, XXXIII, LXIII, LXVI).

b. 'Computus Annuus', annual series of bursars' a/cs beginning 1568–9, but London rents not entered until 1657 (cf. estate B, above).

c. 'Registers', 3 vols. 1557–1667, records of college meetings incl. decisions on estate management and copies of leases (contemp. indexes of names can be used to identify London refs.): estates A and B, as above.