Skip to main content

Holmes Manuscripts


  • How to
Holmes's manuscripts, including collations of Greek manuscripts of the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament, and letters connected with the collations, 1789-1805. The manuscripts are all 18th-19th century, except for a 12th century fragment of a Latin manuscript containing Wisdom iii. 13-iv. 17.


  • 12th century, 1776-1820


163 shelfmarks

Language of Materials

Ancient Greek, Latin, and English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Holmes 1].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Holmes 1-149, 151-164

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 13029

Biographical / Historical

Dr Robert Holmes was born in November 1748, and educated at Winchester and New College Oxford (matriculated 3 March 1767, BA 1770, MA 1774, BD 1787, DD 1789). He was fellow of his college, and from 1783 to 1793 Professor of Poetry at Oxford. In 1795 he was made Canon of Christ Church and in 1804 Dean of Winchester.

In 1788 he began the task of collating manuscripts of the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament, and from 1789 to 1805 published annual accounts of the progress of the work, for which he obtained large subscriptions, and which was intended to elicit a text based on a collation of all known Greek manuscripts as well as old Versions in Armenian, Coptic, Georgian and Slavonic. In spite of interruptions, partly due to the disturbed state of affairs on the continent, Holmes and his collaborators amassed a great deal of material, and in 1798 Genesis was separately published, the work eventually comprising five folio volumes (1798, 1818, 1823, 1827, 1827), published at the Clarendon Press. After Holmes's death at Oxford, 12 November 1805, Dr James Parsons became editor. 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. 16455-16617.

Custodial History

Each March or April the collations of the previous twelve months were exhibited to the Delegates of the Clarendon Press, and then deposited in the Bodleian, the editor being allowed to borrow them for the purposes of his work.
Holmes Manuscripts
Emily Tarrant
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom