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For the most part, the manuscripts of the various Colleges are kept in the Libraries of the Colleges which own them, and application should be made to the College Librarian in each case, as early as possible before the intended visit.

Queens' College

Some of the records of Queens' College are deposited with the University Library, a substantial quantity, including the Conclusion Books, remaining with the College.

The records held at the University Library are largely unsorted, but readers are welcome to make use of a modern summary list and of manuscript lists, mostly relating to estates, compiled by J. F. Williams in the early twentieth century. The deposited documents fall mostly into the following groups:


  • Main series (Journals) of annual accounts, 1484-1835 (QCV.1-8)
  • Auditors books, 1534-1772
  • Summary accounts, various dates from 16C
  • Bursars accounts and memoranda, 17-20C
  • Buttery books, commons accounts, kitchen accounts, etc. 17-19C

Copies of statutes, 1475-1955

College memoranda, c. 1490-1745

Elections to fellowships, 1715-1854

Manorial records: 13-19C

Records of college estates.

There are significant holdings for the parishes listed below. Dates are those of acquisition by the College, and for many estates there are documents of much earlier date.


  • Bartlow (land), 1471-
  • Burwell (land), ?1493-
  • Cambridge, St Botolph's (land, tenements, advowson), 1446-
  • Chesterton (land), 1505-
  • Eversden (manor and land), 1491-
  • Fulbourn (land), 1479-
  • Gilden Morden (land), 1474-1530
  • Haslingfield (land), 1461-
  • Madingley (land), 1461-
  • Oakington, 1560-
  • Pampisford (land), ?1505-
  • Shudy Camps (land), 1467-
  • Stapleford (land), 1459-
  • Swaffham Prior (manor),
  • West Wickham (land), 1470-


  • Bumpstead Helion (manors and land), 1469-
  • Stambourne (land), 1478-


  • Pelham Furneux (land), ?1487-


  • Abbotsley (manor), ?1475-


  • St Nicholas Court (manor), Isle of Thanet, 1473-


  • Holbeach and Whaplode, 1472-1534


  • Capel (land), 1481-
  • Haverhill (manors and land), 1469-


  • Bermondsey (inn and houses), 1470-

Note that in many cases the College's lands spilled over into surrounding parishes also; that by no means all of these properties are still held by the College; and that the quantity and date-range of documentation varies widely from one estate to another.

Lease books, 1474-1790
Counterpart leases, 1728-1878
College orders re lands, 1622-1864

Estate maps (listed)

See Historical Manuscripts Commission, 1st Report, Deputy Keeper, pp. 72-73; W. G. Searle, The History of the Queens' College of St Margaret and St Bernard in the University of Cambridge, 1446-1662, 2 vols. (Cambridge Antiquarian Society Publications, Vols. IX (1967) and XIII (1981)); John Twigg, A history of Queens' College, Cambridge, 1448-1986 (Woodbridge, 1987); F. M. Page, The Estates of Crowland Abbey (Cambridge, 1934).

Contact: Jacqueline Cox, Keeper of the University Archives (01223 333147;



Certain Colleges have deposited their medieval manuscripts in the Manuscripts Department of the University Library as follows.

Pembroke College

The medieval manuscripts of Pembroke College were described by M. R. James, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Pembroke College, Cambridge, Cambridge, 1905. Pembroke MSS 1-316 are on deposit in the University Library, and are consulted in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Many of these manuscripts have original medieval bindings and access to them may be restricted. For permission to consult the originals, please contact the Pembroke Librarian via email at or write to The Librarian, Pembroke College, Cambridge, CB2 1RF.

Please note that the post-medieval manuscripts of the College, described by James, op. cit. pp 277-80 and other post-medieval items, together with the early printed books, are still housed in the College Library. Application to consult them should be made to the Pembroke Librarian.


The medieval manuscripts of Peterhouse were described by M. R. James in A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Peterhouse (Cambridge, 1899). A new catalogue was recently published: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Peterhouse, Cambridge by Rod Thomson (Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2016). The manuscripts are on deposit in the University Library and may be consulted here in accordance with the usual procedures for the reading of manuscripts. Photography of any kind is restricted.

Corpus Christi College

For deposited Islamic and Sanskrit manuscripts, see the Asian & Near and Middle Eastern manuscripts page.

King's College

For the Pote collection, owned jointly by King's College and Eton College, see the Asian & Near and Middle Eastern manuscripts page.

Other Colleges

The medieval manuscripts of Selwyn and Girton Colleges have also been deposited in the Manuscripts Department, and may be consulted there similarly in accordance with the usual procedures.