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Reference code



Bursars' in-letters




1775 - 1899

Extent & medium

7 boxes

Content description

Bundles of in-letters, either addressed to the Bursar directly or forwarded by the Provost or Registrar. Until about 1870 the bulk of the letters concern the College estates, often discussions about the renewal of leases and the fine payable. After that date more of the letters are concerned with internal matters such as building projects and the refoundation of the choir. There is an excellent series on the restoration of College Chapel in the 1840s and the letters of Provost Okes give a fascinating glimpse of the discussions behind the proposals of the New Governing Body for the reform of the statutes and the school. There is also a great deal of value to the local historian in the appeals for assistance with church buildings, schools and local charities, as well as a mass of letters on the renewal of leases and the fines to be paid. The postal historian will also find much of interest.


As the main administrative officers of the College and responsible for its estates, the Bursars received many letters either directly or passed on by the Provost or Registrar. There was no set method of keeping them and surviving bundles suggest that both date and subject approaches were adopted. Some correspondence found its way to the relevant estate records and was catalogued with them and the Junior Bursar's files of miscellaneous 'old' material (see JB/estate name files) also contain letters that were taken from the Bursars' papers. Noel Blakiston, who sorted a mass of papers roughly by decade, regardless of their origin, appears to have included almost the whole of the surviving letters but in no particular order, most being found loose (and often dirty) in his boxes and mixed with other correspondence, deeds and papers. In some cases original string confirmed that a bundle was as created (these included most of those dealing with the restoration of College Chapel) but although there were other subject bundles among the loose letters it was sometimes difficult to tell whether these were original or were later creations.

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