‘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 have been published.
Student records begin in 1673, in the form of matriculation registers. These give the student’s place of birth and father’s name and status or profession, and from 1864 the sending school is frequently included. In the medieval and early modern periods, some minimal biographical information about students may also be gleaned from the registers, charters or benefactions, particularly if they held endowed scholarships or made gifts to the College. From the nineteenth century onwards there are incomplete series of photographs of students and Fellowsphotographic material, mostly of College societies and sports teams. The Archive also holds runs of twentieth-century College publications. Records from student clubs and societies date from the late nineteenth century.
The College holds 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.
For more information about the Archive, visit our Lincoln Unlocked Centre pages. A fully searchable catalogue of many of the archives is available here. A digitised version of the first College register is available from Digital Bodleian.
Most questions about the past life of the College can 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 https://oac.web.ox.ac.uk/.
The Archivist is available three days a week and will undertake short enquiries. Please enquire by email or letter. Access to the archives is by appointment. Enquiries relating to the College’s estates and properties should also be addressed to the appropriate county record office or other relevant repository.
Works of art in Lincoln's collections are accessible via Art UK.
Address for written enquiries:
Mrs Lindsay McCormack
E-mail address: email@example.com