The College of All Souls was founded in 1438 by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury. It received its foundation charter from Henry VI, co-opted by the Chichele as the College’s co-founder. Originally comprising forty two fellows who were to study for the higher degrees of theology and law, and later medicine, as an “unarmed militia” in the service of Church and government.
The Library has rich collections of early printed books, as well as collections of archives relating to the College's estates and history, manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 20th century - including two major collections digitized here, of architectural drawings, and of sixteenth century estate maps.
The complete catalogue of the drawings by Anthony Geraghty, originally published in 2007, is now available online. The collection includes Wren’s designs for St Paul’s Cathedral as well as parish churches and royal palaces. It has been updated to include a small group of drawings by Nicholas Hawksmoor, and is fully integrated with the high resolution images digitized here.
The sixteenth century estate maps were commissioned by Warden Robert Hovenden in the 1590s, and show land in Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and Kent, with smaller estates in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Shropshire. Showing distinct signs of being folded and well-used they were subsequently bound into volumes from which the numbering derives, and in 1938 removed from these into portfolios.