Digital Library

Christ Church Library and the Bodleian Library have joined efforts in a new digitization project with the aim of opening up the rich repository of manuscripts and rare early printed books at Christ Church. Over the course of the next few years, thousands of pages from this outstanding collection will be made freely available online to researchers and to the public. Click here for further details as to how this is done.

Christ Church has a sizable collection of manuscripts ranging from sources of English and Italian music before 1700, to Western, Byzantine, Hebrew and Arabic. In all, there are over one thousand manuscripts. These include a sumptuously illustrated 14th century treatise on kingship by Walter de Milemete for the young King Edward III, several 14th and 15th-century finely illuminated devotional books, a 15th-century Corpus Juris Angliae, beginning with Magna Carta, a copy of Ralph Higden's Polychronicon, and a 13th century manuscript of the sermons of St. Bernard. A later group includes the earliest surviving manuscript for Handel’s Water Music, notes on Isaac Newton's Principia mathematica and the Institutiones Astronomicae by David Gregory (1661-1708). For a number of these, we can now provide an interactive web application supporting descriptive material and bibliography, plus a viewing environment of digitized images.

Support and Partners

The initiative to digitize the collection of manuscripts is a project in collaboration with the Bodleian Library and was made possible due to the generous support of the Christ Church Governing Body, alumni, Polonsky Foundation and Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe.


Initially, the digitization project will focus on the following main groups of texts:

Music Manuscripts

Western Manuscripts

Hebrew Manuscripts

Byzantine Manuscripts


Early Printed Books

Lewis Carroll Collection

Longer term plans include digitization of the following:

Arabic Manuscripts

Brady Collection