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Percy Manning collection


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The collection mainly relates to Oxfordshire local history and comprises notes by Percy Manning and earlier antiquarians including Charles Richardson; original source documents including maps and deeds; artworks including musical scores, paintings, and drawings; printed ephemera; cuttings; and photographs.


  • Creation: c. 1400-1978


25.0 Linear metres (146 shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Latin

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Top. Oxon. a. 21, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Top. Oxon a. 21, a. 24, b. 86-87, b. 89-93, c. 126, c. 224-230, c. 237, c. 246, d. 167-174, d. 179-200, d. 201-204, e. 174-180, e. 184-185, f. 36-37, MSS. Eng. hist. e. 178, f. 5, MS. Top. Berks. a. 1, MS. Top. Gen. c. 23, fols. 119-133, MS. Eng. poet. f. 10, MS. Eng. misc. d. 92, MS. Lat. th. g. 2, MS. Top. Camb. d. 6, MS. Top. Eccles. c. 3-4, MS. Top. Essex. c. 16, MS. Mus. e. 20, MSS. Rolls. Oxon. 101, 101a, 102-110, MS. Top. Sussex c. 1, MSS. Charters Berks. a. 9, a. 11, MS. Charters. Oxon. a. 63-66, MS. Ch. Essex c. 1, MS. Ch. Gloucs. c. 1, MS. Charters Middlesex a. 7, MS. Charters Shropshire a. 2, G.A. Oxon. a. 8, G.A. Oxon. c. 201, G.A. Oxon. 8o 960, G.A. Oxon. c. 317/1-26, G.A. Oxon. a. 94, G.A. Oxon. b. 94-96, G.A. Oxon. 4o 360, G.A. Oxon. 8o 989-994, 218 d. 189 (1), [Maps] MS. C17:70 Oxford (82), [Maps] R. MS. C17:49(174), G.A. Oxon 4o 390

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 11502


Notes on Oxfordshire local history together with source manuscripts and printed ephemera collected by Percy Manning.

Biographical / Historical

Percy Manning (1870-1917) studied at New College, Oxford from 1888, eventually gaining his degree in 1896, the delay caused at least partly by Manning being distracted by his archaeological interests.

Of independent means, Manning settled in Oxford and devoted himself to archaeological and historical research. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was a stalwart of the Oxford Archaeological and Historical Society, serving as honorary secretary from 1891-1898, and vice-president in 1899 and 1914. He was a founder member of the Oxford University Brass Rubbing Society (later the Oxford University Antiquarian Society), and vice-chairman in 1895 and 1899-1912.

Manning also started his own collection, which by the end of his life ranged from his archaeological finds to original manorial records, artworks and an extensive library of books relating to Oxfordshire. He published articles in journals like the Folklore and kept meticulous notes of his research and findings relating to the folklore and customs of Oxfordshire, employing Thomas James Carter, a retired brickmaker and self-taught palaeontologist, to keep him apprised of archaeological finds and to do the ethnographic fieldwork among working people that Manning found difficult (partly because of the gulf in class and partly because of a speech impediment).

Along the way, Manning revived the custom of morris dancing, re-assembling and equipping the Headington Quarry morris dancers for a performance in Oxford in March 1899. The dancers crossed paths with Cecil Sharp in December 1899, an event which marked the beginning of the English folk music revival.

During the first world war, Manning was posted to guard the Southampton docks while serving as a sergeant in the Oxford and Bucks national reserve - he died of pneumonia in Southampton in February 1917.

(This biographical history is derived from Michael Heaney, ‘Manning, Percy (1870–1917)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Other Finding Aids

See also A catalogue of prints and drawings in the Bodleian Library relating to Oxford and Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, compiled by W.P. Ellis, 1916-1919, at MSS. Top. Oxon. c. 243-244.

MS. Mus. e. 20 is described in detail in the Music catalogue shelfmarked 'Mus. AC. 3/2'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Except where otherwise stated, all material was bequeathed by Percy Manning in 1917. Further details are given with individual shelfmarks in the catalogue.

Related Materials

Manning created a set of ordnance survey maps on which he marked archaeological sites; these maps were transferred to the Ashmolean Museum in 1919 where they were in use and further annotated until the 1970s.

Separated Materials

Percy Manning donated numerous printed works and they can be found by searching 'Association copies (Provenance) -- Manning' as a subject in SOLO. The printed works include annotated copies, such as The Oxford Journal of Monumental Brasses, The Journal of The Oxford University Brass-Rubbing Society, Volume I, 1897-1899.


  • Percy Manning's survey of archaeological material was completed up to the end of 1921 and published by E. T. Leeds in Archaeologia, lxxi (1920t), 227-65
  • A brief memoir of Manning by H. E. Salter was printed in Surveys and Tokens (O.H.S., lxxv 1920), pp. 85 f., as an introduction to Manning's article on 'Sport and pastime in Stuart Oxford' (ibid. 87-135).
Catalogue of the Percy Manning collection
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid by Charlotte McKillop-Mash, based on entries in the P.S. Spokes catalogue, Summary Catalogue, and SOLO.
Language of description
Script of description
With thanks to the Marc Fitch Fund for its supporting detailed cataloguing.
Finding aid note
Cataloguing assistance provided by Sarah Yoon.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom