Heritage Lottery Fund Estates Records Project>College archives | King's College, Cambridge

College archives

Illumination from the Founder's Charter

Illumination from the Founder's Charter upon Act of Parliament, 16 March 1446. The Lords and Commons petition Henry VI, who prays for his College. The Virgin and St Nicholas, the patron saints of the College are shown above.
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Illumination from the Founder's Charter upon Act of Parliament, 16 March 1446: the Lords and Commons petition Henry VI, who prays for his College. The Virgin and St Nicholas, the patron saints of the College are shown above. You can click on the photo for a larger version.

Administrative history and contents

Henry VI's grand plan for the layout and buildings of his new College envisaged a Muniment Tower, originally on four stories, for the keeping of records. The Founder's architectural designs went unfulfilled, however, and for several centuries the archives occupied five of the Chapel's southern side chapels. It is only since the middle of this century that they have enjoyed purpose-built accommodation and since 1993 that they have been housed in the Library proper.

An unavoidable consequence of shifting exile has been comparative ignorance of the contents of the College Archives among the scholarly community and their under-use as a research tool. Efforts are now underway to reverse that situation. The tour of the College archives shows selected documents from the College archives, focusing on four broad areas: biography, religion, buildings, and estates. The Librarian and Archivist wrote about the moves afoot to uncover the College's written memory in Summer 1998.

Publications and lists

  • List of the Provosts and Vice-Provosts of the College
  • List of the Bursars of the College
  • King's College Estates Records. Images of selected documents, links to the online estates catalogue, copies of the estate catalogues organised by manor or county. A Heritage Lottery Fund project
  • Indexes to Probate Records . Between 1449 and 1794 King's College, Cambridge, was permitted to exercise Probate Jurisdiction within the precincts of the College. The wills of members of the College, servants, tradesmen and tenants were proved in its court, which also granted, where appropriate, Letters of Administration. The College retains transcripts of the relevant archives in a series of Ledger Books, which have been examined by Nesta Evans in her capacity as General Editor of the British Records Society (BRS) ‘Series of Indexes to Probate Records’. Provided by kind permission of the BRS.
  • Dining at King's College in the 15th century. Research funded by the Cookson Trust in 2006.

Further images of documents within the King's College Archive can be seen as part of 'English handwriting 1500-1700, an online course', a CERES COPIA project. The project has been designed for those whose research will embrace original English manuscript sources in this period. Documents 1 to 11 come from King's College.

Archive Centre | Back to the top

Estate map of Cambridge

The King's College estates records for Cambridgeshire refer to College lands in the following manors:

Abington, Barrington, Barton, Cambridge, Chesterton, Coton, Cottenham, Coveney, Denny, Elmdon, Fen Ditton, Fen Drayton, Foxton, Grantchester, Haddenham, Harlton, Hatley, Isleham, Kingston, Little Shelford, Long Stanton, Madingley, Merton Hall, Milton, Pampisford, Shingay, Swaffham Bulbeck, Tadlow and Wimpole.

From this page you can view images of selected documents from the Cambridgeshire records, visit the online catalogue for each estate, provided through Janus, or download a copy of the county catalogue in Microsoft Word format.

Image Gallery

Here are some examples of documents taken from the Cambridgeshire records.

Click on the thumbnail images to view a larger version.

Alice Druel's Quitclaim Alice Druel's Quitclaim, c. 1200
Ref: KCAR/6/2/13/8 BAR/8
Estate map of Grantchester and Coton, 1865
Ref: KCAR/6/2/68/8 GRA/893
Estate map of Grantchester and Coton
King's and Queen's Colleges Covenant Deed of Covenant between King's and Queen's Colleges, 1913
Ref: KCAR/6/2/27/11 CAM/150
Isleham Church Photograph, c. 1866
Ref: KCAR/6/2/91/16 ISL/22
Isleham Church Photograph
Elizabethan lease Elizabethan lease, 1595
Ref: KCAR/6/2/27/4 CAM/111
Bargain and Sale of land in Chesterton, 1518
Ref: KCAR/6/2/35/3 CHS/2
Bargain and sale
Royal Letters Patent of Henry the Eighth Royal Letters Patent, 1535
Ref: KCAR/6/2/27/2 CAM/49
Counterpart Bargain and Sale of land in Coton, 1574
Ref: KCAR/6/2/42/7 COT/22
Counterpart sale
Bond Bond between John Finch and John Wythe, 1664
Ref: KCAR/6/2/27/1/3 CAM/71

Links to the JANUS online catalogue

Click here to visit the online catalogue pages for the estates in Cambridgeshire:

Complete catalogue for Cambridgeshire

Click on the links below to view the catalogue for the Cambridgeshire records. Please note the Microsoft Word version of the catalogue is not kept as up-to-date as the online version, available through Janus. You are advised to look at the online version if possible.
[Please note you will need Microsoft Word '97 or later in order to view the documents correctly, and they may take some time to download.]

The county catalogue has been arranged alphabetically by estate, but if you are interested in a particular town or village within Cambridgeshire, you can also download Word catalogues for each estate separately. See the full list of estates here.

If you are interested in viewing any of the documents from the Cambridgeshire estate records, please Contact the Archive CentreContact Us to arrange an appointment.

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Related links

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All links were current as of April 2007.