Langbaine Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Langb. 1-21
  • Dates of Creation
      17th century
  • Language of Material
      Latin, and Ancient Greek (to 1453).
  • Physical Description
      21 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Langbaine's manuscripts, including material relating to Greek manuscripts, the Bodleian Library and Oxford colleges.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gerard Langbaine the elder was born in 1609 in Westmorland, and in 1625 came to the Queen's College, Oxford, where he was successively bateller, servitor, tabarder, fellow (1633), and provost (1646). In 1644 he was elected Keeper of the Archives. Although a staunch Royalist he managed to retain his provostship until his death on 10 February 1658, which was caused by 'an extreme cold taken sitting in the University Library'. He must be distinguished from his younger son of the same name, the dramatic biographer and critic who lived from 1656 to 1692.

Langbaine wrote many valuable catalogues, lists, and volumes of excerpts relating to Bodleian manuscripts, chiefly in 1654-5, and much of his work was printed in the Old Catalogue of 1697. 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

Part of the collection was bought for 11 and arrived in 1658. Part was given to the Library by Antony Wood and part was bequeathed by Langbaine himself.


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

Other Finding Aids

Full descriptions, in Latin, are in Henry O. Coxe, Catalogi codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae pars prima recensionem codicum Graecorum continens (Oxford, 1853; reprinted with corrections, 1969).

Brief one-line descriptions, with shelfmarks and short titles, are in 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. 5232a-5232u.

Related Material

See also Wood Manuscripts (MSS. Wood donat. 1-25).