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Special Collections

Exeter College has over 250 manuscripts, including 76 medieval manuscripts, and a large collection of early printed books including 77 incunabula (books printed before 1501), and these form an important focus for research scholars.


The secure stacks hold c.30,000 volumes published before 1900, on a variety of subjects.

You can read about the special collections on this dedicated blog:

Exeter is pursuing a programme of digitisation for its rare material. For example the teaching notes of Rector John Prideaux (who was the head of the College from 1612 to 1642) are available to view online by clicking  here. To date the following have been digitised:

  • MS 235 Teaching notes of Rector Prideaux (manuscript)
  • MS 23 (13th century manuscript; Stephen Langton, Anselm)
  • Tinners’ Charter (a 16th century book on the tin industry in the West Country and as far as we know the only copy in existence)
  • MS 186 (14th century Italian manuscript of Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars which once belonged to Petrarch and contains all his marginal notes)
  • MS 47 (the Bohun Psalter – the prayer book of Katherine of Aragon)
  • MS 158 The Miracles of St Thomas of Cantilupe (14TH Century English manuscript)
  • MS 204 (a manuscript bequeathed to the College in 1889 as part of the library of the theological scholar Alfred Edersheim; the manuscript is Edersheim’s translations of Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic texts)

To view these documents online click here.

The special collections and the College Archives have recently been moved to new storage areas at Cohen Quad in Walton Street. There is also an adjacent reading room.

Consultation of the special collections is by appointment with the librarian. All researchers must abide by the Rules for Researchers and complete and sign a Research Registration Form.