Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts

Back to: HOME > Archives and Manuscripts > Collections > Summary Catalogue

Summary catalogue - Statutes, Foundation, Visitors


Statutes, Statute Books, foundation deeds, copies and associated documents, 13th - 20th centuries.  The early Statutes, etc. have mostly been printed by Salter [1] and translations are given by de Paravicini [2].  Facsimiles of the first Statutes and some early deeds are collected together in Domus de Balliolo [3].

  • The Statutes given by Dervorguilla of Galloway, Foundress, 1282 (in excellent condition, with her seal intact), and related deeds, one of which mentions Richard Fitzralph in 1325.
  • The Statutes given by Sir Philip Somervyle, 1340.
  • An exemption from the payment of tenths, bearing an example of the Oxford Corporation seal, 1384.
  • Records (including a transcript of a Papal Bull of Urban V, which was surrendered to the King in 1537) concerning a Commission to revise the Statutes, 1363 - 1365, and further amendments of 1433, 1470 - but not the revised Statutes themselves, which were already lost by 1668.
  • Records (including a transcript of a Papal Bull of Julius II, also taken away by the King's agents in 1537) concerning a Commission to revise the Statutes, 1504 - 1507.
  • Statute Books, 5 volumes:

(i). This contains a copy of the 1507 Statutes (n.d. but early 16th century) with later entries concerning amendments of 1571 and 1587, a Bell Exhibition agreement of 1558, and Visitors' decrees of 1789, 1802, 1834 and 1838.
(ii). This contains a copy of the 1507 statutes made in 1627, with later entries which are similar to those in (i) but more numerous.
(iii). This contains a copy of the 1507 Statutes made in 1694, with later entries similar to those in (ii).
(iv). This contains a copy of the 1507 Statutes and principal later decrees, made in 1722, apparently as an exercise or gesture of affection by Michael Ernle for his Tutor, William Best.
(v). This contains copies of the 1507 Statutes and principal later decrees, made in the 19th century.

A number of other Statute Books are known - there is one of the 17th century in the Library, catalogued as MS 400, and others in the Library of St Catherine's College Cambridge (L. III.18) and in the Bodleian Library (MS. Top.Oxon.e.160).

  • A Charter of Incorporation, 1588, inter alia confirming the College's style (previously variable) as 'The Master and Scholars of Balliol College, in the University of Oxford'.  Mounted and framed.
  • Minutes of special College Meetings concerning the revision of the Statutes, 1855 - 1857.  2 volumes.
  • Correspondence, drafts, etc. concerning the Statutes and amendments to them, 19th century - 1993.  4 boxes.
  • Copies of the Statutes as printed at various dates, 19th - 20th centuries.


  • Records of the election of Visitors (it is the College's unique privilege to elect its own Visitor: for a list since 1691, see Jones, op. cit.), 17th - 20th centuries, incomplete.
  • Decrees of and correspondence with Visitors concerning the Statutes and other matters, especially disputed elections, 13th - 20th centuries.


- John Jones, revised Anna Sander 2014.

You do not need to request permission to download or print one copy of any of the images on these pages for your personal private study or research purposes.
You do need to request permission in writing to use any of these images for any publication in any format, including any use on a website.

The archives and manuscripts of Balliol College are open by appointment to enquirers in person at the Historic Collections Centre in St Cross Church, Holywell.
Enquiries should be sent in writing (email or post).
There is no charge for Archive enquiries, but donations for Archive purposes are always appreciated.
Updated 11.viii.14
Balliol College
All rights reserved © 2022