Papers of Maurice W. Barley (1909-1991), Professor of Archaeology, University of Nottingham

Scope and Content

The vast bulk of Professor Barley's papers consist of correspondence connected with the work of various committees on which he served, and projects with which he was involved. The subject matter is both archaeological and historical. Within the original collection, a particularly important and interesting section is Professor Barley's research material on the Plough Monday plays of the East Midlands. The section includes texts from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Leicestershire, as well as miscellaneous notes and correspondence collected from informants. There is also a file of photocopied material collected by Mr Peter Millington for his research into the folk plays of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

The principal series in the subsequent accruals (catalogue still in preparation) concerns his research notes on vernacular architecture, divided into county series. The papers also include records of his involvement in various bodies, notably the Area Advisory Committee for Archaeology and the York Archaeological Trust.

Administrative / Biographical History

A graduate in History from Reading University, Maurice Barley spent most of his career working in Adult Education. In 1945 he came to the University of Nottingham (then University College Nottingham) where he worked until 1962 as Organising Tutor in rural Nottinghamshire. He became Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics at the University in 1962, Reader in Archaeology in 1965, and was appointed as the first holder of the University's Chair of Archaeology in 1971.

Professor Barley was probably best known for his research into English vernacular architecture, the subject of his higher degree in 1952. His interests were however by no means restricted to archaeology or architecture and he had an expertise and reputation across other related disciplines. His advice was sought on many local history and heritage projects.


Material has been arranged by subject matter.

Access Information

ACCESS: Material described in the published catalogue is accessible to all registered readers; material in the subsequent accruals is not generally accessible pending release of the finding aid.

REPROGRAPHIC: Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

NOTE: Copyright on all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

  • In the Reading Room, University of Nottingham Library: Typescript Catalogue: 10 pp
  • At the National Register of Archives, London: Typescript Catalogue: 10 pp

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email ). The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

LANGUAGE: English.

Custodial History

The main body of the collection came to the University Library following Professor Barley's retirement in 1974. Several substantial accruals have been made, the last following his death in 1991.


M.W.Barley and R. Cullen, Nottingham Now (Nottingham Civic Society, 1975)