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Collection Level Description: Leland Manuscripts

Reference: MSS. Top. gen. c. 1-4, e. 8-15
Title: Leland Manuscripts
Dates of Creation: [c. 1540-5]
Extent: 12 shelfmarks

Language of Material: English and Latin

Administrative/Biographical History

John Leland (c. 1506-52), the topographer, graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge, and in 1530 was appointed keeper of the King's library. Under a royal commission he travelled widely through England and Wales in 1535-43, just before the Reformation. His notes are therefore of especial value, and preserve many memoranda of buildings and libraries which soon after perished. Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Scope and Content

Leland's manuscripts consisting of:

Administrative Information

Custodial History

MSS. Top. gen. c. 1-4 passed at Leland's death to Sir John Cheke, from him to Humphrey Purefoy, whose son Thomas gave them to William Burton in 1612.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The manuscripts were presented to the Library by William Burton in 1632 and 1642-3.

Access Conditions

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Further Information

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. II, nos. 3117-23.

Access Points

Leland | John | c 1506-1552 | Antiquary

Great Britain | Topography

Contact Information
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09 June 2011