– 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.

Posts tagged “19th century Oxford

Q&A Oxford University history

Q: Where can I find out more about the history of the University of Oxford?

A: Here are a few sources for the history of the University of Oxford, printed and online.


– Anna Sander

one to watch

The Ashmolean Museum has recently (this year) started a series of videos on their Youtube channel.

Further to the Oxford Brookes videos about the Pre-Raphaelites in Oxford, see Ashmo’s videos about their Pre-Raphaelites and Italy exhibition:
Curator interview
Discussion of Holman Hunt’s zippily titled ‘A converted British Family sheltering a Christian Missionary from the Persecution of the Druids.’


Though November be the month to ‘remember, remember’, though we say ‘lest we forget’ around this time of year, sometimes we do forget. Corporate as well as individual memory can fail, and in this case it seems to have done – temporarily, I hope.  The casts above have come adrift from their identities. The first head and hand are said to be those of Arthur Hugh Clough. I have no idea who the second is supposed to be; it’s not listed in any of the collection catalogues I’ve come across – yet. None of the three items has any identification written on or stored with it. There is a story that Benjamin Jowett was once given the skull of Oliver Cromwell, and bequeathed it to the Ashmolean. This is highly unlikely, but the supposed death mask of Clough (the bearded full head) does look remarkably like several examples of what are said to be death masks of Cromwell – though not at all like others. So who are they really, and how can we tell?

I am currently sorting out a lot of old correspondence and deposit documentation about the collections, and it may be that some clues turn up there. But the mystery will continue for a while…

Another useful book or two

Rogers, James E. Thorold. Education in Oxford, its method, its aids, and its rewards (1861)

Pantin, WA. Oxford Life in Oxford Archives. 1972.

Oxford and Oxford Life, ed. J Wells (2nd ed, 1899).

Helpful chronicle of the important changes in University and College admission and examination procedures in the late 19th century.

Mozley, Thomas. Reminiscences: chiefly of Oriel College and the Oxford Movement. 1882.

available via the Internet Archive Texts service