Sharp, John

Scope and Content

Manuscript volume containing a treatise by John Sharp, Archbishop of York, on English coins and their history, 1697, containing chapters on silver and gold coins, Scots and Irish money, and a commentary on the treatment of coinage in William Nicolson's The English historical library (London, 1696-1699). Marginal notes state that Nicolson had requested Sharp's opinion on his book before its publication, and the whole of this manuscript appears to have been known to Nicolson before he began writing The English historical library . The references to pages in Nicholson's book given in Sharp's notes refer apparently to Nicholson's manuscript copy.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1645, John Sharp had gained a BA and MA at Christ's College, Cambridge University, by 1667. He was successively domestic chaplain to Sir Heneage Finch, 1667-1676, prebendary of Norwich and incumbent of St Bartholomew's, London, and Rector of St Giles-in-the-Fields, 1675-1681. During this period he gained a DD at Cambridge, 1679. Sharp was appointed Dean of Norwich in 1681, and chaplain in ordinary to King James II in 1686. Shortly afterwards he was suspended for preaching sermons which were held to reflect on the policies of James II, 1686-1687. Sharp also refused to read the 1687 Declaration of Indulgence, which suspended the laws against Roman Catholics and Protestant dissenters. Following the accession of William III and Mary II in 1688, Sharp was made Dean of Canterbury and Commissioner for the reform of the liturgy and the ecclesiastical courts, 1689. He was created Archbishop of York in 1691 and a Privy Councillor in 1702, and acted as a Commissioner for the Scottish Union, 1707. Sharp died in 1714. A list of publications by Archbishop John Sharp may be found in the British Library catalogue.


Single item.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Part of the Goldsmith's Library of Economic Literature, initially collected by Herbert Somerton Foxwell and presented by the Goldsmith's Company to the University of London in 1903.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Manuscript folio. Bound in calf.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Smith as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Separated Material

The British Library, London, holds a copy of the manuscript (Ref: Harl. MS 4119), and letters to J Killingbeck, 1694-1710 (Ref: Add MS 4274); York Minster Archives has miscellaneous papers, 1710-1713; Gloucestershire Record Office contains correspondence relating to his library and coin collection (Ref: D 49, D 4539); Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, York University, holds official correspondence and papers, 1619-1713 (Ref: Bp C&P 1); Trinity College, Dublin, has letters from William King, 1704-1712 (Ref: MSS 1995-2008).

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Custodial History

The manuscript was part of the Farmer Collection. It was bought by Herbert Somerton Foxwell at Sotheby's, 4 Mar 1896.


The whole manuscript, with the exception of the final chapter, was printed in J Nichols Bibliotheca topographica Britannica , vol VI (J. Nichols: London, 1780-1800). The first treatise, 'Of the silver coins of England', was printed in John Ives Select papers chiefly relating to English Antiquities, (M. Hingeston: London, 1773), under the heading 'Remarks upon our English coins, from the Norman invasion down to the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by the Archbishop of York'. The first part of William Nicholson's English historical library , dedicated to the Archbishop of York, appeared in 1696, the second in 1697, and the third, containing a chapter on coins, in 1699.