ANCIENT DEEDS AND COLLECTIONS

Scope and Content

this artificial collection contains many of the earliest and most significant records of the Corporation of the City of Oxford

they were collected and in many cases bound into volumes by George Parsons Hester Solicitor and Town Clerk 1839-1876 and include earlier collections [bound or otherwise]

Hester was keen to identify and organise the Corporation's records in order to promote and defend its interests [rights, property, jurisdiction etc] particularly in relation to the University; to some extent the University had established a dominance in town affairs at least since St Scholastica's Day [1355] and competition between the two authorities was still significant in the early 19th century [the City's resentments were only alleviated when they no longer had to pay an annual tribute of 100 marks to the University after 1825 and the Mayor no longer had to take an oath of allegiance to the University's Chancellor after 1859]

at the same time the work of the Corporation was greatly extended [at first indirectly and later directly] by the massive increase in population and growing industrialisation of the town during the 19th century

as a result Hester combined many of the Corporation's older surviving records - charters, deeds, court records, etc - with newer records relating to the legal and adminstrative issues of his time with little regard for the future evolution of the Corporation's organisation and powers

catalogued by Chris Gilliam June 2019

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