Leland Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Top. gen. c. 1-4, e. 8-15
  • Dates of Creation
      [ca. 1540-5]
  • Language of Material
      English, and Latin.
  • Physical Description
      12 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Leland's manuscripts consisting of:  

  • 'Johannis Lelandi Londinensis, Antiquarij doctissimi et gravissimi Collectanea. Ex varijs authoribus, chronologis, manuscriptis, archivis, cartis antiquis, monumentis publicis et privatis excerpta, et in quatuor volumina digesta...' vols. 1-4
  • The Itinerary of England and Wales, by John Leland, vols. 1-8

Administrative / Biographical History

John Leland (ca. 1506-1552), the topographer, graduated from Christ's college, Cambridge, and in 1530 was appointed keeper of the King's library. Under a royal commission he travelled widely through England and Wales in 1535-43, just before the Reformation. His notes are therefore of especial value, and preserve many memoranda of buildings and libraries which soon after perished. Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/specialcollections).

Acquisition Information

The manuscripts were presented to the Library by William Burton in 1632 and 1642-3.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. II, nos. 3117-23.

Custodial History

MSS. Top. gen. c. 1-4 passed at Leland's death to Sir John Cheke, from him to Humphrey Purefoy, whose son Thomas gave them to William Burton in 1612.

Geographical Names