– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Q & A – Charles Jennens

Q: Could you please help me in my quest to find the grave site of Charles Jennens who was educated at Balliol College, Oxford  and died in London on May 14, 1882?

A: You seem to be asking about two different people, as the dates of death in your enquiry and in the external information you quote are different. Charles Jennens (1700-1773) was a member of Balliol and later wrote several libretti for Handel, including that of Messiah. Balliol College holds no information on his burial place, but I see from his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (available online by subscription and free through many public libraries via http://www.oxforddnb.com) that ‘Jennens died at Gopsall Hall on 20 November 1773 and was interred in the family vault at Nether Whitacre church, Warwickshire.’

Balliol’s Admissions Book lists Charles Jennens eldest son of Charles Jennens, admitted to Balliol 10 Feb 1716 as a Fellow Commoner. A photo of his entry in the Benefactions Book of 1715 is below; as Jennens came up at the age of 15, it is likely that his father made this gift to Balliol on his behalf.

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