This important collection of manuscripts comprises the archives of Westminster Abbey from the 10th century to the present day. The core of the collection consists of the accounts and court records of the Abbey's very large landed estate, which was scattered widely across southern and midland England, together with the accounts of the various administrative officials, such as the Almoner and Cellarer (to 1540) and the Steward and Treasurer (from 1560). But the Muniments also include many other types of document, such as minutes of Chapter meetings, leases of Abbey property, some records of coronations and funerals, letters, coroners' inquests for the City of Westminster 1760-1880 and much else. There are description slips and an index to the medieval, early modern and some of the modern archive, which can be consulted in the Library. Also indexes for the three main Abbey cartularies (Westminster Domesday, Liber Niger and St Martin Le Grand) and the seal collection.
A duplicate index of the WAM numbered collection is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. A duplicate index with description slips, as well as a duplicate of indexes and descriptions for the Westminster Abbey Domesday and Liber Niger cartularies, are at the University of Reading, Whiteknights.
(Any documents said to be in the Chapter House at Westminster will now be at the National Archives. The Chapter House was formerly a repository for State archives until its restoration in the 1860s)
A general introduction can be found in:
Richard Mortimer Guide to the Muniments of Westminster Abbey, 2012
Lawrence E.Tanner The nature and use of the Westminster Abbey Muniments in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 19 (1936, p.43-80).
Books which publish parts of the collection include:
Emma Mason, Westminster Abbey Charters 1066-c.1214, London Record Society 25 (1988).
Barbara Harvey, Documents Illustrating the Rule of Walter de Wenlok, Abbot of Westminster, 1283-1307, Camden 4th series 2 (1965).
Hebrew Deeds of English Jews before 1290, by M.D.Davis (London, 1888)
Monumenta Palaeographica Medii Aevi...Hebrew and Hebrew-Latin documents from medieval England, 2 vols, 2015. (Volume 1 deals with the Abbey collection)
Medieval Jewish documents in Westminster Abbey, by Anne Causton. Jewish Historical Society of England, 2007.
Luffield Priory Charters, 2 vols.[Muniment Book 10] ,by G.R.Elvey, Buckinghamshire & Northamptonshire Record Society 1968, 1975.
Charters of St Bartholomew's Priory, Sudbury [Suffolk] edited by Richard Mortimer, Boydell Press, 1996.
The Modyfords and Morgan. Letters from Sir James Modyford on the affairs of Jamaica 1667-1672 in the Muniments of Westminster Abbey by A.P.Thornton in Jamaican Historical Review, Oct 1952. [The Sir Andrew King collection including narratives by Adm.Henry Morgan]
Westminster Abbey Record Series
The Building Accounts of the Savoy Hospital London 1512-1520 ed. Charlotte Stanford, 2015
Guide to the Muniments (see above)
Surveyors of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey 1827-1906 Reports and letters ed. Christine Reynolds, 2011
The Obedientiaries of Westminster Abbey and their financial records c.1275-1540 by Barbara Harvey, 2002
A bibliography of Westminster Abbey..guide to literature..published..1571-2000 by Tony Trowles, 2005
Acts of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster 1543-1609 and Acts..1609-1642 edited by C.S.Knighton, 3 vols, 1997 and 2006
Westminster Abbey Record Series, to order see: www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/listCategoriesAndProducts.asp?idCategory=259
See also websites:
For Coroners' inquests covering 1760-1799 only www.londonlives.org
(lists for inquests 1800-1880 are in ms. in the Library. A small bundle of Middlesex inquisitions Dec 1783- June 1784 are incorporated in our collection)
Manor and Court rolls. A list is given on www.nationalarchives.gov.uk NRA 41148 but please note this list has since been annotated and added to, so please double check with the Abbey archives.
All the St Margaret Westminster parish registers are online at www.findmypast.co.uk
For the names on the Denizens Roll 1544 (WAM 12261) see www.englandsimmigrants.com (note that this website database does not record wives or children mentioned on the original but is easy to check initially for names). For facsimile of the publication "Letters of denization...in England 1509-1603" by William Page with full information on entries go to www.archive.org/details/lettersofdenizat8150page
For Church of England clergy see www.theclergydatabase.org.uk
Theses available for consultation in the Library:
"The Royal Almshouse at Westminster c.1500-c.1600" by Christine Fox, 2012
"Reading the liturgy at Westminster Abbey in the later Middle Ages" by Tim Shaw
"Monastic charitable provision in..... England c.1260-1540" by N.Rushton, 2002
"Land, family and inheritance in a later medieval community - Birdbrook 1292-1412" by P.Schofield, 1992
"A Hertfordshire manor [Kinsbourne] of Westminster Abbey - an examination of demesne profits, corn yields and weather..." by D.V.Stern 1978