The College Archives are a unique and important record of the history and the life of Winchester College from its foundation to the present day. The collection is remarkable for both its scope and excellent state of preservation. Most of the records now surviving were made and preserved in accordance with the explicit directions of the Founder's statutes.
The Archives contains an almost unbroken record of the management of the School and its estates from the foundation to the present day and are still stored in rooms in Muniment Tower at the south-east corner of Chamber Court designated for the purpose in the 1390s.
The collection includes: a register of Scholars from 1394, records relating to the foundation of the College, court books and court rolls of the College manors, registers of leases granted by the College, annual bursars' accounts from 1394, registers of Commoners from 1836, title deeds and estate accounts for the extensive College estates, and schoolboy letters and diaries from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
For more information about the archives, please refer to the published catalogue, Winchester College Muniments, A Descriptive List, (Ed) Sheila Himsworth, 3 volumes, Phillimore, 1976 and 1984.
The College Archives are open to researchers by appointment only. For any enquiries about the collection, the estates the College once owned, the history of the College or the boys who came here, please email Suzanne Foster, the College Archivist or apply in writing to Suzanne Foster at Winchester College, Winchester, SO23 9NA.
The Speaker's Chaplain & The Master's Daughter - how to download the Williams Letters
The archives at Winchester College include a collection of letters relating to the family of Philip Williams, a fellow of Winchester College from 1769 to 1819.
These letters have at last been recognised as an important source for historians and form the subject of a new book, The Speaker's Chaplain & The Master's Daughter by Barry Shurlock (Scholarly Sources, 2014).
Philip Williams married Sarah Collins, the daughter of the Second Master William Collins, and the book tells the story of Philip and Sarah's marriage via their weekly letters. Philip mainly lived in London, attending to his work as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, leaving Sarah in in Winchester, running the family home and bringing up their four children. The letters are rich source for social history and marital politics, for local and national events, and they also tell us much about life in Winchester and at Winchester College in the late 18th century.
You can read more about the letters here.
Transcripts of the 133 letters on which the book is based are available to read and download here.
The book, The Speaker's Chaplain & The Master's Daughter, price £25 ($40), is available direct from the publishers: Scholarly Sources, 21 Marston Gate, Winchester, SO23 7DS, firstname.lastname@example.org (or on 01962 861913), or via the College Archivist, Suzanne Foster (email@example.com).