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Warton Papers


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The archive consists, for the most part, of papers of Thomas Warton, Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford (1728-90), and of his brother Joseph, Headmaster of Winchester College (1722-1800). There are also a few papers of their father Thomas (1688?-1745) and their brother John (1756-1820).


  • Creation: 1557-1956


18.04 Linear metres (164 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Latin
  • Greek, Ancient (to 1453)
  • Italian

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. Dep. c. 634, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

Dep. c. 634-49, d. 586-703, e. 276-305

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12694


Archive of Warton Family, including Thomas and his brother Joseph.

Biographical / Historical

The members of the Warton family represented in this collection are Thomas Warton (1688-1745), professor of poetry at Oxford, 1718-28; and his sons Joseph Warton (1722-1800), critic, Thomas Warton (1728-1790), poet, antiquary and literary scholar, and John Warton (1756-1820). Details of all except John are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Custodial History

After Thomas Warton's death, most of his papers were taken by Joseph from Trinity College to Winchester. Their subsequent history is not entirely clear. From correspondence of John Warton and James Ingram in Dep.c.648, it appears that papers of both Thomas and Joseph passed to their brother John. He certainly used several of their sermons, and annotated them with the places and dates of their use. John died in 1820, and his widow and son, Joseph, tried to raise money by publishing and selling the papers. Among the purchasers were Peter Hall (1803-89), who later gave many Warton manuscripts to Winchester College, and James Ingram, President of Trinity College. On behalf of the family, Ingram sold some of the letters to John Murray. The rest remained at Trinity College. A card catalogue of part of the collection, prepared by J.C. Cunningham in the 1950s, was for many years the only guide to the contents of the collection; it has been annotated with current shelfmarks and is available as Dep. c. 649. The papers were deposited in the Bodleian Library by Trinity College in 1978 and 1979.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited in the Bodleian Library by Trinity College in 1978 and 1979.

Related Materials

Other Warton family papers, which belonged to Joseph Warton's daughter Catherine Swann, were given to Trinity College by Mrs. Howard Gray Swann and deposited in the Bodleian in 1973. They are catalogued as Dep. b. 220-1, c. 547-50, d. 483-7, e. 245, f. 43.


  • J.C. Cunningham, "An edition of the English poems of Thomas Warton", Oxford B.Litt. thesis, 1952.
  • David Fairer, "The correspondence of Thomas Warton", Oxford D.Phil. thesis, 1974.
  • David Fairer, "The poems of Thomas Warton the elder?", in Review of English Studies n.s.26 (1975), 287-300, 395-406, and n.s.29 (1979), 61-5.
Catalogue of the Warton Papers
1973, EAD version 2017
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom