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Summary catalogue - Membership


Until the early 16th century there is only fragmentary evidence for the membership of  the College - principally names mentioned in deeds or in connection with the pledging of books.  All likely sources have been sifted by Emden[4].


For a list since 1283, see Jones, op. cit.

(a) Elections
Elections are recorded in the Latin and English Registers.  Some loose papers survive, most notably relating to the controversial election of Theophilus Leigh, 1726.
(b) Instruments of Admission
The series is practically complete from the admission of Thomas Cisson, 1511.
(c) Official Correspondence
A modest amount survives, 17th - 20th centuries, and more is to be found admixed with the private papers of recent Masters, 19th - 20th centuries (see V.C.)


For a list 1505-1939, see Jones, op. cit.  For continuations, see the printed Registers [5].

(a) Elections
Records of elections to Fellowships and College Offices are entered in the Latin and English Registers (see later D.1.(b)); access for 16th - 19th century elections is most conveniently made via Clark's Annual Lists - see 3(a) below.  For later elections see the published Registers - see 3(d) below.
(b) Records of Stipendiary and other Payments
These survive from the 16th century.

Members in General

(a) Andrew Clark's Annual Lists
About 1900 - 1910, Clark examined the Registers and Bursars' Books and compiled a series of Annual Lists of members, 1520 - 19th century, in ten volumes.

(i)           1520 - 1590, with explanatory notes.
(ii) - (ix) 1591 - 1805.
(x)          1806 - 1857, with a table of College Officers 1538 - 1868.

Clark also compiled Tables Illustrating the Constitution of Balliol College 1520 - 1857 in two volumes, giving tables of succession in Fellowship and Exhibition places, numbers of members on the books, Fellowship dividends, etc.
(b) Registers of Admission, Residence and Degrees
The coverage from 1636 is exhaustive, but somewhat confused by overlapping series.

(i) Admissions and degrees, 1636 - 1682.  1 volume.  Two contemporary copies, one indexed, one with a table of fees.
(ii) Admissions and degrees, 1682 - 1833.  1 volume.  This volume also contains records of oaths taken and corresponding Quarter Sessions certificates, 1715 - 1800.  The official register of Chapel burials, 1819 - 1830, is inserted (three entries only - there have been no burials since 1830 and not many before 1819).
(iii) Admissions and degrees, 1834 - 1893.  1 volume.
(iv) Admissions and degrees, 1870 - 1958.  3 volumes in which members entered their own names.
(v) College Officers' admissions records, 1858 - 1968.  10 volumes.
(vi) Admissions, residence and degrees, 1892 - 1930.  1 volume
(vii) Residence records, 1799 - 1895.  4 volumes, two of which also have degree records, 1832 - 1920.
(viii) Degrees, 1779 - 1837.
(ix) Birth and baptismal certificates presented by Scholars, and Fellows' instruments of resignation, ca. 1800 - 1850. 1 file.
(x) Room lists, 1857 - 1971, with gaps.  4 items.
(xi) Returns to the University of members on the College books, 1878 - 1968.  8 volumes.
(xii) Printed termly lists of members in residence, 1883 - 1969, lacking 1950 - 1952.  11 volumes.
(xiii) Continuations of (xii) but annual, 1970 - 1980.

The Admissions Registers usually give father's name, residence, and (less regularly) status: more information, including age and school, generally appears from about 1830.  The records in (v) often supply detail not found elsewhere and also extend to unsuccessful candidates for admission.  A few certificates and resignations earlier than those in (ix) are to be found inserted in the Latin Register.
(c) Individual Dossiers.
Dossiers containing papers regarding admission, and the academic (and often subsequent) careers of members deceased since about 1945.  Correspondence of any individual with College Officers is likely to have been filed here.  ca. 2500 files in one alphabetical sequence.
(d) Address Lists.
Printed Address Lists for living former members compiled in 1929, 1949 and 1962, with updating annotations to about 1970.

The College has published Registers [5] of its members, 1833 - 1990, in which are given names, dates of birth, parentage, academic records, subsequent careers, marriages, publications, and dates of death.  Collected biographies have also been printed for members who fell in the Great War and Snell Exhibitioners 1699 - 1900 [6].  See also the pages on Balliol College Past Members.

Courses for officer cadets were given in Balliol (but not by Balliol) during both World Wars, but the records are very sparse:

  • The Souvenir. A Coy. No.6. Officers Cadet Battalion Balliol College Oxford. November 10 1917 - February 26 1918.   Printed, with full lists of names (which are not recorded elsewhere), photographs, etc.
  • Papers concerning the expenses of cadets, some of whom appear in the College Register, 1943 - 1945.
A number of German and Austrian refugee scholars were taken in by the College, 1938 - 9. A little about some of them can be discovered from the minutes of College Meetings, but records are otherwise lacking.

- John Jones

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Updated 11.viii.14
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