‘The College of the Blessed Virgin Mary and All Saints, Lincoln’, or Lincoln College as it is usually known, was founded by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, in 1427. It is therefore one of Oxford’s oldest colleges, and remains one of its smallest. The College’s historic archives were housed in the medieval gate-tower continuously from its construction until the present century. This core collection – primarily charters, accounts, battels books, and documents relating to College estates and livings – is small and streamlined. But it also constitutes a rare, largely unbroken, run of Oxford college administrative records from the fifteenth century to the present. College registers, which document governance of the College by the Rector and Fellows, cover the period 1472-1978 when they are succeeded by more complicated series of modern administrative records. None of these records has been published.
Student records, in the form of matriculation books which give the student’s place of birth and father’s name and status or profession, begin in 1673, and from 1864 the sending school is frequently given. Some minimal biographical information about students in the medieval and early modern periods who held endowed scholarships, or who made gifts to the College, can also be gleaned from the old registers, charters, and benefactions. From the nineteenth century onwards there is some photographic material, mostly of College societies and sports teams, and there are also some good runs of twentieth-century College publications. There are also records from some College clubs and societies dating from the late nineteenth century.
The College holds some collections of private papers. The most significant relate to Fellows and Rectors, including John Wesley, Mark Pattison, Nevil Sidgwick, and William Warde Fowler; and some distinguished alumni, including Osbert Lancaster and Edward Thomas.
Most questions about the past life of the College can best be answered by consulting V. H. H. Green, The Commonwealth of Lincoln College 1427-1977 (Oxford, 1979). This College history’s Appendix 7, section C contains a useful description of the College archives. Much information on and links to other sources for the history of the university and of Oxford generally can be found on the informative website http://www.oxfordarchives.org.uk/.
The Archivist is available two days a week and will undertake short enquiries. Please enquire by email or letter. Access to the archives is by appointment only. Enquiries relating to the College’s estates and properties or tenants of them should also be addressed to the appropriate county record office or other relevant repository.
Address for written enquiries:
Mrs Lindsay McCormack
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org