Dodsworth Manuscripts

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Dodsw. 1-76, 78-115, 115, 116-20, 120B, 121-61
  • Dates of Creation
      12th-17th century
  • Language of Material
      Latin, English, and French.
  • Physical Description
      162 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Dodsworth's manuscripts, including transcripts, extracts and notes relating to Yorkshire and monastic houses, and pedigrees, mainly of Yorkshire families.

Administrative / Biographical History

Roger Dodsworth was born in 1585 and died in 1654. At an early age he began collecting Yorkshire church notes and pedigrees, and by 1618 he had begun what eventually became the most monumental collection of antiquarian material bequeathed to us by the 17th century. Dodsworth spent twenty laborious years on Yorkshire antiquities, but the work naturally led him into many other counties, and after 1638 his interests, although still mainly genealogical and topographical, embraced most of England.

In 1635 he had met Dugdale, and the two had decided to collaborate in a Monasticon Anglicanum, for which Dodsworth had already made extensive collections. These were supplemented by Dugdale chiefly from the Cottonian library and some of the public records. The work was ready for the press in 1650, but the first volume was not actually published until 1655, after Dodsworth's death, and the second in 1661. For the relative shares of Dodsworth and 'that grand plagiary' in this undertaking, see 'Roger Dodsworth and his Circle' by N. Denholm-Young and H.H.E. Craster in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, vol. xxxii (1934), pp. 5-32. In his later years, apart from the Monasticon, Dodsworth was also gathering material for a history of Yorkshire and for a Baronage. 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

When Dodsworth died his manuscripts passed into the hands of his patron, the third Lord Fairfax, who left them to the Bodleian with his own manuscripts in 1673. Some, however, were not received until 1683-4.


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

Other Finding Aids

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. 4143-5101.

Geographical Names