Aubrey Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Manuscripts of John Aubrey, including:

  • Papers relating to English antiquities, including 'The Naturall Historie of Wiltshire, 1685'
  • Copy of Aubrey's 'Brief Lives'
  • Letters to John Aubrey, 1644-95

Administrative / Biographical History

John Aubrey (1626-1697) was an antiquary. He matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, 1642, and was a Student at the Middle Temple, London, 1646. He brought to light megalithic remains at Avebury in 1649. He formed large topographical collections in Wiltshire and Surrey, and left in manuscript much antiquarian and historical material. 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

Acquisition Information

The manuscripts were transferred to the Library from the Ashmolean in 1860.


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. 6543-6, 7542, 8073, 8312, and vol. V, nos. 25278-25293.

Custodial History

The manuscripts were presented to the Ashmolean Museum by John Aubrey at various dates.

Related Material

See also John Aubrey's 'Monumenta Britannica' (MSS. Top. gen. c. 24-5).


An account of the manuscripts and their donor is in John Britton, Memoir of John Aubrey (London, 1845).

Geographical Names