A key finding aid for the archives of Winchester College is Sheila Himsworth’s meticulously indexed Winchester College Muniments, published in 3 volumes (Chichester, 1976-1984). The work is the culmination of several attempts by archivists from the mid-19th century onwards to catalogue the huge collection of documents. They number about 30,000, reckoning only up to c.1873, when the Public Schools Commission ushered in new laws superseding Wykeham’s foundation. Some predate the foundation of the school, including four Anglo-Saxon charters.
The cataloguing work undertaken by Shiela Himsworth built on partial catalogues prepared by her predecessors. Initially, she created a detailed card catalogue for each item and this ‘Descriptive List’ was subsequently photocopied and bound into 14 volumes by the National Register of Archives (NRA) and placed in major libraries in the UK. This multivolume work may be consulted at the college and also at the Hampshire Record Office (HRO/COPY/773). The ‘Descriptive List’ was then condensed into the three published volumes of Winchester College Muniments. It can be helpful to use the NRA volumes alongside the Himsworth indexes – more details are given below
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