Papers of Samuel Prideaux Tregelles

Scope and Content

Papers mainly concerning Tregelles' edition of the Greek New Testament, published between 1857 and 1879, and including copy, proofs and other related material.

Administrative / Biographical History

Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875), eminent biblical scholar and editor, was born at Wodehouse Place, near Falmouth, Cornwall. His parents were Quakers, and he himself for many years was in communion with the (Darbyite) Plymouth Brethren, but afterwards became a Presbyterian. He was educated at Falmouth Grammar School. From 1833 to 1844, he worked in the Neath Abbey Iron Works but in 1836 he set up as a private tutor in Falmouth, finally devoting himself to a laborious student life.

Almost entirely self-taught, his deep interest in Biblical studies developed into a desire to produce the most perfect version of the Greek Testament it was possible to publish. He spent much of his life gathering data. The first specimens of his work were published in 1838, and the first instalments for public use appeared in 1844; the project was hampered by attacks of paralysis in 1861 and 1870 but at the end of his life he prepared his single edition of the text, his great critical edition of the Greek New Testament (1857-1872), based exclusively on the oldest manuscripts. The work appeared as a whole in 1879. Tregelles had few materials at his disposal but he is nevertheless known as a British Tischendorf. Perhaps Tregelles's greatest contribution lay in encouraging the work of Westcott and Hort.

He had numerous other publications, including an Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament (1854), a new edition of T.H. Home's Introduction (1860), and Canon Muratorianus: Earliest Catalogue of Books of the New Testament (1868). As early as 1844 he published an edition of the Book of Revelation, with the Greek text so revised as to rest almost entirely upon ancient evidence. Tregelles wrote Heads of Hebrew Grammar (1852), translated Gesenius's Hebrew Lexicon, and was the author of a little work on the Jansenists (1851) and of various works in exposition of his special eschatological views (Remarks on the Prophetic Visions of Daniel, 1852, new ed., 1864).

Tregelles is also well known for hymn writing, which began before 1837, and extended to 1861 or later. His earliest hymns were published in the Plymouth Brethren's Hymns for the Poor of the Flock, 1838. He received an LL.D. degree from St Andrews and a pension of 200 from the civil list. He died at Plymouth on the 24th of April 1875.


The papers are arranged as follows:

  • ms36252-36253: Two boxes containing material relating to the critical apparatus for edition by Tregelles of the Greek New Testament.
  • ms36254: Box with contents as above, also material relating to introduction to New Testament, with Obituary Notice, 1875.
  • ms36255: Box containing text of parts of the New Testament in Greek and English.
  • ms36256-7: Two boxes containing proofs of the Gospels, 1857-1861 and other books.
  • ms36258:Box containing material relating to the Book of Revelation, including expositions by William Burgh, Samuel Lee, Alexander Keith, Isaac Williams, John Cumming and Edward Irving, 1858-1863.ms36259: Box containing material relating to book of Revelation, Genesis, excavations in Assyria, all written or copied by John William Cook of Reading, 1872-1876.

Access Information

By appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted.


Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project Archivist.

Other Finding Aids

Hard copy list available in Reading Room of GB 227.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 227 procedures.

Custodial History

Accessioned in 1971.