Manuscript collections from the Savilian Library, consisting of:
- Scientific Papers including copies of works relating to astronomy, astrology and mathematics
- Papers of Rigaud, including biographical notebooks, relating to James Pound, James Bradley, and Edmond Halley, notebooks on scientific subjects and letters, 1770-1839
- Creation: 12th-19th century
11.08 Linear metres (108 boxes)
Language of Materials
- Greek, Ancient (to 1453)
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Savile 53].
Full range of shelfmarks:
Savile G. 18, G. 20; MSS. Rigaud 3-33, 33A, 34-51, 53-57, 60-68; MSS. Savile 53-60, 63-73, 74a, 74b, 75-95, 97-105, e. 10
Collection ID (for staff)
CMD ID 16119
Manuscript collections from the Savilian Library, 12th-19th century
Biographical / Historical
The Savilian Library was the library set up by Sir Henry Savile (see the Dictionary of National Biography) to serve the Savilian Chairs of Astronomy and Geometry at Oxford. They were for the private use of these professors, and were kept in the the gate tower of the Schools Quadrangle, which was used as an observatory. The library was handed over to the Bodleian in 1884.
Stephen Peter Rigaud (1774-1839), astronomer, was Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford University, 1810-1839, and also Radcliffe Observer from 1827. He came of a French Protestant family, and was the son of Stephen Rigaud, Observer at Kew. He was educated at Richmond and Exeter College, Oxford (matriculated 15 April 1791, BA 1797, MA 1799, Fellow of the College, 1794-1810). He was especially interested in the historical side of science, and is best known for his editions of Miscellaneous works and correspondence of the Rev. James Bradley (Oxford, 1832) and of Correspondence of Scientific Men of the Seventeenth Century, a posthumous work (Oxford, 1841). 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. V, nos. 26121-26173, 26183, 26203-26267.
After Rigaud's death his astronomical books were purchased for the Radcliffe Observatory, and his miscellaneous library was sold, but his other scientific and literary collections devolved ultimately to his sons John and Gibbes Rigaud, who jointly presented them in 1874 to the Savile Library.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The manuscripts were transferred to the custody of the Bodleian in 1884.
The following material was transferred to Oxford University Archives on 21st November 1936:
- MSS. Savile e. 1-9: Account books of the Savilian foundation, 1797-1839, registers of papers, correspondence and incidents relating to the Savilian Foundation, 1814-1834 by S. P. Rigaud Presented by prof. Baden Powell to the Savilian Library in A.D. 1839 and 1841 (SC nos. 26174-26182)
- MSS. Savile a. 1-17, c. 1-2: Estate Papers bound and referenced in 1899, consisting of papers relating to the Savilian Foundation estates, including property in Northamptonshire, Kent, Essex and Gloucestershire, 12th-19th century (SC nos. 26184-26202).
- Rigaud | Stephen Peter | 1774-1839 | astronomer (Person)
- University of Oxford | Savilian Library (Organisation)
- Savilian Foundation (Organisation)
- Bradley | James | 1693-1762 | Chaplain to Bishop of Hereford, astronomer (Person)
- Halley | Edmond | 1656-1742 | Astronomer (Person)
- Pound | James | 1669-1724 | Astronomer (Person)
- Savile Collection
- Collection Level Description by Emily Tarrant; EAD version 2020 by Alice Whichelow
- EAD version 2020
- Language of description
- Script of description