Welcome to the blog of Special Collections at Exeter College Oxford. Our collections include 30,000 rare books, over 200 manuscripts (86 of them medieval) and an archive which holds documents dating back to the foundation of the College in 1314.

A wide range of subject areas are represented, but as you might expect there are many books and manuscripts with a West Country connection, as well as early religious material, for example a very large collection of tracts relating to the English Popish Plot of 1678. A recent cataloguing programme here uncovered some items we believe to be unique to Exeter College.

Exeter College’s role in the development of the Pre Raphaelite Movement is highlighted by our possession of two copies of the Kelmscott Chaucer, one belonging to William Morris and one to Burne-Jones, as well as various William Morris relics, including his spectacles and a lock of his hair.

The special collections are currently being prepared for their move to new accommodation in College’s Cohen Quad in March 2017. This blog will tell the story of the move over the next 100 weeks and of some of the unique and exciting books and documents in Exeter’s extraordinary collection.

We hope this blog will have something to interest everyone, from students and staff currently here at Exeter to alumni with an interest in their old college library and people from outside the university. Please contact us if you would like further information about the collections.

This blog is mainly the work of me, the College Librarian, but we hope that posts will also be contributed by staff and students at Exeter College as we move through the 100 weeks to the opening of the new Special Collections Library at Walton Street.

Joanna Bowring February 2015.

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