– 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: How much shelf space is there in St Cross?

A: about a kilometre and a half.

  • north repository 70 bays x 12 shelves (avg) =  about 840 shelves
  • south repository 42 bays x 8 shelves (avg) = about 336 shelves
  • vestry repository 10 bays x 8 shelves = 80 shelves
  • total in repository units 1260 shelves x 0.9m wide = about 1130 linear metres of shelving
  • nave (wooden bookcases) 35 bays x 9 shelves = 315 shelves. Most are 1m wide, some 60cm.

Q: Where is the holy well, as in Holywell Street, Holywell Manor etc?

A: The site of the holy well is next door to St Cross church, in the garden of Holywell Manor, Balliol’s graduate centre. You can see the site of the well (or spring) if you look through the wooden gate in the wall between St Cross church and the entrance to Holywell Manor. It’s covered by a grating in the pavement. The water table has dropped, and the well is now more of a muddy puddle! More information about the well, and other possible sites identified for it, here.

Q: Are those modern electrical-socket covers in the floor?

A: Yes! they were put in during the building work in 2010, when the building was entirely rewired.

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