Anglo-Saxon manuscript microfilm collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains microfilms and photocopies of approximately two-thirds of the manuscripts listed in Neil Ker's Catalogue of manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon (1957, rev. 1990).

Administrative / Biographical History

Neil Ripley Ker (1908-1982), palaeographer, was born in Brompton, London, son of Robert Macneil Ker and his wife Lucy. He was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he switched from philosophy, politics and economics to English language and literature on the advice of C.S. Lewis. He was appointed lecturer of palaeography in 1941, was elected as a Fellow at Magdalen in 1945, and subsequently to Reader in Palaeography in 1946. He was also librarian for Magdalen between 1955-1968. He is probably best known for his work on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts and his compilation of manuscript catalogues and handlists, including Medieval Libraries of Great Britain (1941), Catalogue of Manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon (1957, amended reprint 1990), Medieval Manuscripts of Great Britain (1969 onwards), and English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest (1960). He died in Foss near Pitlochry, Scotland, in 1982.


The microfilms are arranged approximately according to holding institution, although not in a systematic fashion.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Biographical information taken from the Dictionary of National Biography (2004).

Other Finding Aids

A detailed handlist is available, compiled by Sue Guy, 2004.

Alternative Form Available

Several printed books containing full facsimiles of Old English manuscripts are held in Exeter University Library's main book collections. These have been included in the available Handlist to the collection.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, and Sue Guy, 7 December 2004. Encoded into EAD 3 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

No print-outs from the microfilms are available.

Custodial History

This collection of microfilms was collected by June Cooling, Assistant Librarian, and Michael Swanton, Professor of English, during the 1970s-1980s in order to support the University's teaching of Medieval Studies. Each repository (in Britain and in Europe) holding items listed in Ker's Catalogue of manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon was written to, requesting a microfilm or photocopy of the particular manuscript in question.

Related Material

Papers relating to Neil Ripley Ker (1908-192), palaeographer and bibliographer, are also held at: Birmingham University Information Services: Special Collections Department; Lambeth Palace Library; Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts; Cambridge University Library: Dept. of manuscripts and university archives; London University Library; and Somerset Archive and Record Service.

Location of Originals

Originals of the manuscripts filmed as part of this collection are held at various repositories throughout the world.


It is not known whether this collection has been used as the basis for publication.