– 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 “palaeography

display from the college archives

A small display in Balliol’s Historic Collections Centre at St Cross Church, Holywell, for the Friends of Reading Abbey, 8 July 2015

Copy of DSCN0076


scan of seal dorse presented with reading copy of deed and transcript adapted slightly from Salter


display case with original deed and supporting facsimiles and transcript


original deed was flattened long ago – conservators probably wouldn’t do this now, but it does make it easier to display


with much-magnified scan print of seal face – beautiful and in pretty good shape


recto of document, face of seal


detailed scan of seal face


verso of document, with endorsements, and seal


black and white contrast-tweaked crop of the document for easier reading of the text

Copy of DSCN0073Transcription:

Oxford, Balliol College Archives D6.21 Gifts by the abbot of Reading towards the building of the chapel of St Katherine.         

1 January 1327/8. [Salter Oxford Deeds of Balliol College 584, adapted slightly]

1 Nouerint uniuersi per presentes  quod dominus Nicholaus de Quappelade dei gracia Abbas Radyng’ liberauit sco

2 laribus domus de Balliolo in Oxonia viginti libras sterlingorum pro anima Ade le Poleter burgensis Radyng’

3 ad fabricam capelle sancte Katerine eiusdem domus. Item dedit predictus Abbas prefatis scolaribus decem marcas

4 argenti ad fabricam capelle predicte quas ab eodem Abbate per duo scripta obligatoria prius ex mutuo receperunt.

5 Dedit eciam predictus Abbas prefatis scolaribus unam fenestram vitream precii decem librarum & amplius

6 pro capella supradicta. Summa tocius xxxvj libras xiij s. iiij d. Item dedit eis meremium, lathes, & alia minuta

7 cum cariageo eorundem, que hic in specie non numerantur. In cuius rei testimonium tam predictus Abbas quam predicti

8 scolares presenti intenture alternatim sigilla sua apposuerunt. Hijs testibus magistro Thoma Othom tunc

9 Cancellario Uniuersitatis Oxon’, magistro Nicholao de Luceby tunc custode predicte domus, magistro Nicholao de

10 Tyngewyk’ & custode sigilli communis predictorum scholarium & multis alijs. Et remanebit una pars huius

11 indenture penes predictos scolares & alia pars penes custodem altaris capelle beate Marie virginis infra

12 Abbathiam Radyng’. Dat’ apud Radyng’ die veneris in festo Circumcisionis domini  Anno domini millesimo

13 Tricentesimo vicesimo septimo.

Red seal 2.5 in x 1.75 in, bishop [?abbot] in mitre and chasuble, with book and pastoral staff. Legend: S’ NICHI’ DEI GRA… [?EPISCOPI] …ILCE.SIS.

Copy of DSCN0075


A number of other documents from early in the college’s history were also on display, and visitors were interested in the history of the building and the other print and manuscript special collections kept as St Cross as well as the college’s administrative records. Our student intern explained his summer research project, working on another part of the college archives: the library’s 17th century book borrowing registers. Stay tuned here for some of his findings later in the summer…




Copy of DSCN0072


A few links to digital projects using early records, compiled yesterday at the Gerald Aylmer seminar @the IHR, illustrating how digital technology can be used to reflect, explain, illustrate medieval diplomatic – Lucia Duranti would be pleased :

These projects are wonderful, and are only scratching the surface of worlds of new ways to explore old documents. But what was pointed out repeatedly yesterday is that dwindling numbers of people are able to get to grips with the handwriting, language or structure of the originals, and what wasn’t asked was… how many people actually use this resource?

Lots of exciting projects from KCL’s Centre for Computing in the Humanities here, UCL Digital Humanities here. I had no idea that there was any coordinated aproach to Digital Humanities at Oxford – there kind of is: https://dighumdb.oerc.ox.ac.uk