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Collection Level Description: Music Manuscripts from the Library of St. Michael's College, Tenbury, Worcestershire

Reference: MSS Tenbury 296-304, 308-848, 851-1386, 1442-471, 1473-93, 1495-513, 1515
Title: Music Manuscripts from the Library of St. Michael's College, Tenbury, Worcestershire
Dates of Creation: [c. 1600]-1930
Extent: 1156 shelfmarks
Name of Creator: Rev. Sir Frederick Ouseley

Language of Material: English, Italian, and Latin

Administrative/Biographical History

Rev. Sir Frederick Ouseley (1825-1889) was a musician, composer, scholar and vicar. See the Dictionary of National Biography for details.

Sir Frederick Ouseley built the church of St. Michael, Tenbury, at his own expense, and was vicar there from 1856 to his death. He also built and endowed St. Michael's College, whose purpose was to 'promise a course of training, and to form a model, for the daily choral services of the Church in these realms, and, for the furtherance of this object, to receive, educate and train boys in religious, secular and musical knowledge.' It was to the College that he bequeathed his music library, of about 5000 volumes, containing unique manuscript and printed material.

Scope and Content

The collection includes:

System of Arrangement

The original shelfmarks of all the Tenbury manuscripts have been retained.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Ouseley kept no record of provenance or dates of acquisition, though he bought regularly at auction sales. A few manuscripts record acquisition by gift.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Tenbury manuscripts were held on deposit at the Bodleian from 1978 until the closure of St. Michael's College in 1985. Following the closure of the College ownership of the music manuscripts passed outright by gift to the Bodleian, though a few manuscripts acquired after Ouseley's death remain the property of the Ouseley Trust, and are held on deposit. The Library also purchased printed music and music literature, not duplicated in its own collections, from the College.

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

Edmund H. Fellowes The catalogue of manuscripts in the library of St. Michael's College, Tenbury, (Paris: Lyre-Bird Press: 1934). A copy of this catalogue, annotated with additions and corrections by Watkins Shaw, was filmed as part of the Harvester's Press microfilm publication of the Tenbury manuscript collection in 1981. An inventory is available for manuscripts acquired by the college subsequent to the publication of Fellowes' catalogue, and an index of copyists and owners has been prepared by the Bodleian.

Related Units of Description

The following material was not acquired by the Bodleian Library:

Publication Note

For further information relating to the custodial history of the collection see: Peter Ward Jones 'The Fate of the Music Collections of St Michael’s College, Tenbury', Brio, xxvii/2 (1990), pp. 48-9; Watkins Shaw: 'Sir Frederick Ouseley and his Collection’, ibid., pp. 45-7; and Catalogue of the highly important Toulouse-Philidor collection of manuscript and printed music and other valuable manuscripts and printed books, the property of St. Michael's college, Tenbury Wells. (London : Sotheby Parke Bernet & Co., 1978).

Access Points

Composers, English

Composers, German

Composers, Italian

Madrigals, English

Madrigals, Italian




Orchestral music

Organ music

Sacred vocal music

Bach | Johann Christian | 1735-1782 | composer

Batten | Adrian | d 1637 | English composer

Beethoven | Ludwig Van | 1770-1827 | German composer

Blow | John | 1648-1708 | composer

Boyce | William | 1710-1779 | musician

Burney | Charles | 1726-1814 | musician and author

Cimarosa | Domenico | 1749-1801 | Italian composer

Galuppi | Baldassare | 1706-1785 | Italian composer

Handel | George Frederick | 1685-1759 | musical composer

Ouseley | Sir | Frederick Arthur Gore | 1825-1889 | 2nd Baronet | Professor of Music at Oxford University

Purcell | Henry | ? 1658-1695 | composer

Wesley | Charles | 1757-1834 | musician

Wesley | Samuel | 1766-1837 | musician

St. Michael's College | Tenbury

Contact Information
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Consulting material: To consult archives and manuscripts, a full and unrestricted Bodleian reader's card (Group A) is required. You should apply for your card at the Admissions Office.

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09 June 2011