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Archives and Special Collections: Medieval and Early Modern Resources

Late Medieval resources: 12th-13th-14th century

​Resources including:

'De Homine' by Albertus Magnus, late 13th c. manuscript [EUL MS 200]

Manuscripts in facsimile including a microfilm collection of Anglo-Saxon and Early English manuscripts [EUL MS 261]; a microfilm collection of medieval and renaissance manuscripts [EUL MS 273] and additional facsimiles in printed volumes, mostly in the Reserve Collection

15th century resources

Archives and Manuscripts mostly from Syon Abbey, including illuminated manuscripts and other late medieval and renaissance manuscripts and fragments [EUL MS 262]; and documents relating to property in the Syon Abbey archive relating to the Bridgettine community [EUL MS 389].

Printed books including 12 books in the Parish Libraries of Crediton, Ottery St Mary and Barnstaple and some more volumes from our Rare Books collection.  Amongst the highlights are a 1498 Latin Bible incunabula and a leaf from 1478 Caxton's edition of Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'.

16th century resources

Archives and Manuscripts including: 

 

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Highlights including:

Search for more 16th century published resources on the library catalogue. 

 

  • Syon Abbey: The collection is fully catalogued and entries appear on the University Library's online catalogue. Follow this link to perform a local classmark search for 'Syon' and to browse the contents of the Syon Abbey library on the online catalogue
  • Subject keywords: Ecclesiastical History -- Fifteenth Century to Twentieth CenturyHistory of Libraries and Reading -- Fifteenth to Twentieth CenturyWomen's HistoryBridgettine Order, History of - Fifteenth to Twentieth Century
  • Crediton Parish Library: The collection is fully catalogued and entries appear on the University Library's online catalogue. You can browse the catalogue by following this link
  • Subject keywords: History of Libraries -- Parish Libraries, Devon -- Sixteenth- to Twentieth-Century
  • The Dodderidge Library: The collection is fully catalogued and entries appear on the University Library's online catalogue. You can browse the catalogue for this collection by following this link
  • Subject keywords: History of Libraries -- Parish Libraries, Devon -- Sixteenth- to Twentieth-CenturyDodderidge, Sir John (1555-1628) -- Lord Chief Justice of England
  • Ottery St Mary Library: The collection is fully catalogued and entries appear on the University Library's online catalogue. You can browse the catalogue for items in this collection by following this link
  • Subject keywords: History of Libraries -- Parish Libraries, Devon -- Sixteenth- to Nineteenth-Century
  • Totnes Library: The collection is fully catalogued and entries appear on the University Library's online catalogue. Follow this link to perform a local classmark search for 'Totnes' and to browse the contents of this parish library on the online catalogue
  • Subject keywords: History of Libraries -- Totnes Parish Library, Devon -- Sixteenth- to Twentieth-Century

Historical Maps

Townsend maps

Historical maps of Devon and 9 maps of Exeter tracing the development of the city from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

16th-19th centuries

Constable maps

Historical maps for the British Islands and its counties, Devon and Wales in particular, and also 1540s and 1710s maps of the world

16th-19th centuries, with a particular strength in 17th century maps.

Cartography collection

Maps and atlases, including the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 1" to the mile maps of Devon, Cornwall and Dorset made in 1809-1811, four of Ogilby's linear road maps of the Westcountry of c 1675, and a collection of "escape maps" printed on silk and given to military personnel (mostly airmen) who were shot down or captured during the Second World War to help them escape back to the United Kingdom. 

17th-20th centuries, with a particular strength in 19th and 20th centuries maps. 

17th century resources

Archives and manuscripts

Syon Abbey collection of modern manuscripts [EUL MS 262/add1-2] including amongst others: a revised edition of the Rule of St Augustine and the Constitutions of St Bridget, containing the signatures of sisters and brothers of Syon Abbey, c 1607

Syon Abbey archive including records and documents relating to the Bridgettine community's period in exile in the Low Countries, France and Portugal [EUL MS 389].

John Dodderidge's 'History of Wales, Cornwall and Chester' manuscript copy, 1603 [EUL MS 6]

Raleigh's 'Dialogue between a Councillor of State and a Justice of the Peace', manuscript copy c 1615 [EUL MS 98]

John Keymor's treatise on trade, manuscript copy c 1620 [EUL MS 97]

Seventeenth century commonplace book, manuscript, c 1624 including papers relating to Parliament, the House of Commons and treaties with Spain [EUL MS 32]

Commonplace book of Devon cleric Joseph Ayres, manuscript, 1650 [EUL MS 40]

Third printed volume of a 'Rule for Perfection' by Revd. Francis Bennet of Essex17th c. [EUL MS 70]

Mariette family papers, 16th-19th c. [EUL MS 36]: French historical papers including wills, inventories, and other legal documents, copies of deeds, and private accounts, relating to the Mariette family and connected families, such as the de Villeblin family. 

Browse our archive catalogue for further historical resources.

Printed books: including the library of the Bridgettine nuns of Syon Abbey which is useful in understanding post-Reformation Catholic religious communities, reading habits of nuns, and the history of women's learning; parish libraries and many other collections of pre-1700 rare books covering theology, history, politics, literature, geography and sciences. We hold a 1610 edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs and 16th and 17th editions of John Gerard's Herbal amongst botanical books. Numerous books have manuscript annotations.

There are also several 17th c. historical maps including colour maps of 'Britannia' by John Ogilby, 1675, and a collection of over 1200 pamphlets in the Crediton parish library, 17th-18th c., documenting the popularity of pamphlets as an effective way of disseminating information and ideas for religious and political debate, before the emergence of newspapers and periodicals at the end of the century. Including 'Reflections upon the Late Great revolution' by Daniel Defoe, 1689 and other work covering the religious and political contrasts between Catholics and Protestants, the Restoration, the Glorious Revolution, Toleration Act and events in Europe and debate about legislation. 

Modern History - 18th century resources

Archives and manuscripts

Syon Abbey collection of modern manuscripts [EUL MS 262/add1-2] and the Syon Abbey archive containing records and documents relating to the Bridgettine community in exile in Lisbon [EUL MS 389];

Gale and Morant family papers relating to their Jamaican sugar plantations before and after the Slavery Abolition Act, 18th-19th c. [EUL MS 44EUL MS 44 add. 1EUL MS 130];

Mariette family papers, 16th-19th [EUL MS 36] consisting of French historical papers like wills, inventories, and other legal documents, copies of deeds, and private accounts, relating to the Mariette family and connected families, such as the de Villeblin family. The bulk of the collection dates from the eighteenth century. 

1704 manuscript account of the French Court entitled 'Nuovo Ritratti della corte di Francia' [EUL MS 30b];

Gentleman's almanack of Richard Bent, 1718 [EUL MS 24];

Lady Jersey's personal papers, 18th-19th century [EUL MS 10] 

Browse our archive catalogue for further historical resources.

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Printed books

We hold a collection of post 1700 books covering most subjects from literature, history and arts to politics, trade, travels and natural history and collections of maps. The library of the Bridgettine nuns of Syon and some Parish Libraries are also well represented in religious and devotional material. The Crediton Library includes a significant collection of pamphlets covering the religious and political debate of the time, legislation and European events, 1670s-1720s. Poetry, fiction and drama are well represented in the Reserve Collection and John Betjeman Library, whilst folklore, magic and witchcraft are covered in the Baring Gould Library. The second edition of Encyclopedie by Denis Diderot is finally one example of material relating to the Enlightment in all his aspects. 

How to search the library catalogue for printed resources in Special Collections

If you are after '15th century resources' but are not sure where to start from...

Search the library catalogue for wildcard '*' and select the 'catalogue' tab. Refine your results using menu on the left. For example select publish date '1400-1500' for early modern editions. You can also select a specific location: for example tick 'Special Collections' to see what we hold here in our repository. 

To browse additional resources from an item record, click 'see all' and 'call no'. 

You can browse titles from our book collections on the Library's classic catalogue by performing a 'local classmark' search. Select 'Local classmark' from the drop down list then enter the name of the collection in the search box.

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You can then choose to arrange the results by year by selecting this option from the dropdown list beside the search button.

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