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Willis Manuscripts


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Willis's manuscript collections are chiefly the materials from which were published his Survey of the Cathedrals in England and Wales (except Canterbury, Exeter, Norwich, Salisbury and Wells, which although never printed are as well represented in the manuscripts as the others), 1717-1730; his Parochiale Anglicanum, 1733; his Notitia Parliamentaria, 1716-1750; and his History of the Town, Hundred and Deanery of Buckingham, 1755. But besides these there are large collections for evey part of Buckinghamshire.


  • Creation: 16th-18th century


11.88 Linear metres (108 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Latin

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Willis 1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Willis 1-105, 107-110

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 13480


Willis Manuscripts

Biographical / Historical

Browne Willis, of Whaddon Hall, near Winslow in Buckinghamshire, was born in 1682, and educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 23 March 1700). He was a student of the Inner Temple, MP for Buckinghamshire 1705-1708, and FSA 1718. He received from the University of Oxford the honorary degrees of MA in 1720 and DCL in 1749. He died on 5 February 1760. Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. III, nos. 16294-16403.

Custodial History

By his will dated 20 December 1741 and codicil of 25 February 1758, Willis gave his manuscripts and coins to the Bodleian, the former 'to be placed in the School Gallery next to those of my friend Bishop Tanner,' and the latter to be visited annually on St. Frideswide's Day, October 19. He had before his death made many valuable gifts of coins, and had allowed the University to purchase his gold ones.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The manuscripts were received at the Library on 24 April 1760.

Related Materials

See also Willis Donation, (Shelfmarks: MSS. Bodl. 10, 69, 754, 840, 872, 891, 944, 976, 980; Willis 106).

Willis Manuscripts
Collection Level Description by Emily Tarrant; EAD version 2020 by Alice Whichelow
EAD version 2020
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom