Exeter College Archives

Chapel detail

The purpose of Exeter College Archives is to collect and maintain the documentary heritage of Exeter College, its constituent parts and its members.

Exeter College was founded in 1314 by Walter de Stapeldon, Bishop of Exeter. The founder's intention was to provide an education for a limited number of men from the diocese of Exeter (Devon and Cornwall) in order to provide them with an initial training for the priesthood. The area of recruitment was enlarged in the fifteenth century to cover the other south-western counties and the College was substantially re-endowed by Sir William Petre in the late 16th century. It maintained a strong connection with the West Country until the mid nineteenth century and a vestigial connection until today. The earliest college building, Palmer's Tower, dates from the mid fifteenth century, and the remaining buildings range from the early seventeenth century, including the fine hall, to the twentieth century.

The archives include the deeds by which the present site was put together, including some from the mid thirteenth century, predating the foundation; account rolls (a broken series for the later middle ages) and account books (virtually continuous from the mid sixteenth century); the minutes of governing body decisions from the mid sixteenth century to the present; copies of successive versions of the statutes from the fourteenth century onwards; deeds relating to college property, especially in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Cornwall; and many miscellaneous papers relating to undergraduate affairs, including the minutes of clubs and societies.

The published College Registers include a brief history of the College.

There is an indexed typescript hand-list of the Exeter College Archives, copies of which are kept in the Exeter College Library and on open shelves in Duke Humfrey's Library (Bodleian Library). See also Extracts from the Archives handlist. We are happy to help with any further queries.

Contact Information

Keeper of the Archives, Christina de Bellaigue
Exeter College Archives
Exeter College
TEL: 01865 279609

Please note that although the Keeper of the Archives works with the College Librarian to answer Archives queries, there is no full time archivist at Exeter College, and so you may find that a response to your query takes longer than expected.