Library & Research

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 Cellarar (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; a duplicate index is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

A general introduction can be found in:

Lawrence E. Tanner, ‘The nature and use of the Westminster Abbey Muniments’ Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 19 (1936), 43-80.

Richard Mortimer Guide to the Muniments of Westminster Abbey, 2012

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).

M.D. Davis, Hebrew Deeds of English Jews before 1290 (London, 1888)

Anne Causton, Medieval Jewish documents in Westminster Abbey, Jewish Historical Society of England, 2007.

G.R.Elvey, Luffield Priory Charters, 2 vols., Buckinghamshire & Northamptonshire Record Society 1968, 1975.

See also:

Website for Coroners’ inquests covering 1760-1799: www.londonlives.org

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.

Dean J.Armitage Robinson personal letters and papers: NRA 28859