Papers of Thomas Brett

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Eng. th. c. 24-43, c. 51-4, c. 66
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      25 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Papers of Thomas Brett, consisting of:  

  • Letters to Thomas Brett, 1685-1744
  • Letters from Brett to his son Nicholas, 1732-33
  • Drafts and copies of letters of Brett, 1694-1743, n.d.
  • Miscellaneous papers, 1705-35
  • Theological papers of Brett
  • Account by Brett of the controversy among the nonjurors concerning the 'usages', with papers concerning the attempted concordat of the nonjurors with the Eastern Orthodox Church
  • Correspondence of Brett, 1710-44
  • Papers of Brett including liturgical papers and extracts from printed theological works
  • Miscellaneous notes of Thomas Brett, mainly relating to the clergy and public worship, n.d.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Brett (1667-1744) was a nonjuror and theologian. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the papers were bought by the Library in 1916 from Leslie Chaundy, bookseller, of Oxford, with the help of donations from fifteen scholars. The rest of the papers were bought in 1933 from R.J.K. Mott, except for MS. Eng. th. c. 54, which was given to the Library by R.J.K. Mott in 1953.


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

Other Finding Aids

M. Clapinson and T.D. Rogers, Summary Catalogue of Post-Medieval Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford. Acquisitions 1916-1975. (Oxford, 1991), vol. II, nos. 46563-87.

Custodial History

The bulk of the papers descended from Brett's son, Nicholas, to John Bowdler (1746-1823), Thomas Bowdler (1782-1856) and W.J. Copeland (1804-85). Copeland left them to his nephew W.C. Borlase. They were bought at the sale of his libary (Sotheby's, 21 February 1887, lot 317) by Bull & Auvache, booksellers, who sold them to T.W. Jackson, Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford, in 1888. For a full account of the descent of the papers, see S.L. Ollard, 'The Nonjurors and the authority for their later history', Theology, 2 (1921), 283-90

Related Material

See also Exercise Books of H.P.K. Skipton (MSS. Eng. th. e. 36-41).


The papers were extensively used in Henry Broxap, The later non-jurors (Cambridge, 1924).