On 3 May 2018, Lincoln College welcomed Professor Robert Swanson (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Ecclesiastical History, University of Birmingham) and over forty guests to the Lincoln Unlocked Lecture. Entitled ‘Accounting for Souls in Pre-Reformation Oxford: Lincoln College, All Saints and St Michael’s at the Northgate’, Professor Swanson enlightened the group on the relationship between the two collegiate churches and Lincoln College as their corporate Rector. He also described the complexities of navigating this relationship by drawing on examples for his research in the College Archive and beyond.
Professor Swanson painted a picture of the messiness which sometimes accompanied the early College and its churches before the Reformation. Bishop Thomas Rotherham’s statutes of 1480 sought to stabilise the foundation left ‘imperfect and half-finished’ at founder Bishop Fleming’s death in 1431. Accounts indicate that the revenues of both churches would have led to the College subsidising the parish funds to keep them solvent. Professor Swanson went on to discuss the status of St Anne’s chantry in All Saints church; the appropriation of the chantry to the College had been delayed by forty-eight years before being resolved as intended at Lincoln’s foundation in 1427.
Professor Swanson concluded the talk by leaving the attendees pondering the idea of a divine performance review for the College. What final judgement would there be for the collegiate Rector which was responsible for the souls of its parishioners? Following a lively question and answer session, attendees viewed a display from the Lincoln College Archive exhibiting some of the sources from which Professor Swanson drew his research: the deed of incorporation of All Saints, St Mildred’s and St Michael at the North Gate parishes to form Lincoln College; early College and Chaplain’s accounts; licenses to perform services in College without prejudice to the ‘mother church’ at All Saints; and agreements and court decrees settling disputes between College and individuals in the churches. One such dispute arose over the seating arrangements, and therefore precedence, of the church clergy and the College Fellows. Stimulating discussion about Professor Swanson’s paper and the archives on show continued during the drinks reception which drew this enlightening Lincoln Unlocked event to a close.
On Wednesday 7th February, we welcomed our Hilary Term Lincoln Unlocked lecturer, Dr David Rundle. He addressed Vivian Green’s statement, in The Commonwealth of Lincoln College, 1427-1977 that
The greatest donor [of manuscripts] was the founder’s nephew, Robert Fleming, Dean of Lincoln, a man of conspicuous taste and culture… His princely gift, including many classical and humanistic works, made Lincoln’s holding momentarily the finest in Oxford, second only to that of the University Library itself. (pp.173-4) Read more
Last term’s Unlocking event looked at the first 300 years of the Senior Library, from the heady days of the 15th century, when Lincoln’s library must have been one of the finest in Oxford, to the major bequests of the 18th century. It was particularly exciting to be able to show some of the College’s manuscripts, normally kept in the Bodleian.
Lincoln’s collections of books and archival materials along with its spaces and places tell a wonderful story of its distinctive heritage. The ‘Discover Lincoln’ series will look at the unique objects and historic places of Lincoln told through Lincoln’s best asset – its people. We hope that you will enjoy discovering or rediscovering part of what makes Lincoln so special. This week’s entry comes from Dr Cristina Dondi (Oakeshott Senior Research Fellow) and focuses on the Nuremberg Chronicle. Read more
This Term we were very excited to have the termly Unlocking the Senior Library session curated by one of our students for the first time. Alice Fraser, who is reading for a Masters in Archaeology, has been working in the Senior Library once a week, investigating the Archaeology section in order to produce a collection-level description and she shared with us some interesting items she has discovered as she has worked through the collection. Read more
On Tuesday 16th May, we contributed an exhibition to Oxford Jewish Cultural Week. Showcasing some of the treasures of our Hebrew Book collection, including works owned and used by Rectors Richard Kilbye and Thomas Marshall and our oldest work containing Hebrew type, the exhibition also featured Library and Archive material relating to Samuel Alexander, the first professing Jew to be elected Fellow of any College in either Oxford or Cambridge. Read more
I am currently cataloguing the corner of the Senior Library that houses a small collection of books in Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Syriac and Ethiopic, languages that pose a challenge to even the hardiest antiquarian cataloguer. These books come largely from the library of Thomas Marshall (1621-1685), Rector of Lincoln and a remarkable philologist who left over 1,000 books to the College. Among this collection are 4 of the earliest works printed in Armenian, translations of the Quran and a variety of polyglot editions of parts of the Bible. Read more
Conservators at the Oxford Conservation Consortium work to save Lincoln's heritage.
In the course of my work in the Archive, I have recently come across a tiny gem in the College collection of Wesleyana: The Methodist Pocket Book for the Year of our Lord 1798. The volume measures 8 x 12 cm and contains “poetry, anecdotes and a variety of useful and edifying articles” as well as blank spaces where the owner could record expenditure. The book was printed for G. Whitfield, City Road [Chapel], London and could be bought at Methodist Chapels “in Town & Country”. George Whitfield had been left John Wesley’s types and presses in his will, and he was a prominent publisher of Methodist works in the period following Wesley’s death. Read more
Lincoln Unlocked was officially launched on November 23rd with a lecture on Richard Kilbye, Lincoln’s earliest collector of Hebrew books, by Joanna Weinberg, Oxford Professor of Early Modern Jewish History and Rabbinics.
A list of Talmudic references in Kilbye’s hand in his copy of Aron of Pesaro, Sefer Toledot.