Skip to main content

College Archives

Reference Code: GBR/0272/KC

Scope and Contents

From its foundation by Henry VI in 1441 to the present day, King's College has preserved records of its internal administration, the construction of its buildings, and the lives of its members. The archives offer researchers outstanding sources for the study of architecture, religious upheaval, patterns of consumption, development of the curriculum, social and political history. Mundum Books recording payments for goods and services, and Commons Books documenting Kingsmen dining in Hall, are continuous series of accounts both dating back to 1447. Protocollum Books recording admission of Scholars and Fellows form an unbroken sequence from 1500, and the Ledger Books containing copies of wills and conveyances date back to 1451.

In addition, the archives include the administrative records of estates the College was given by Henry VI, many of which were the lands of the so-called alien priories, dependancies in England of foreign religious houses such as the Norman Abbey of Bec, confiscated by the Crown in 1414. These lands brought their written memory with them in the form of charters and court records, in some cases going back to the 11th century. Researchers investigating early manorial governance, religious houses, farming practices, genealogy, and alterations to land boundaries or properties, will find evidence in such records as court rolls, accounts, maps, tenancy agreements, and leases. 187 estates in 30 counties ranging west to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, east to Toft Monks in Norfolk, north to Allerton Mauleverer in Yorkshire, and south to Hooe in Sussex, all document ecclesiastical and secular communities from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The College Archive also includes records relating to College interactions with the University, the Colleges of Cambridge and Oxford, and the city of Cambridge. These are concentrated in the KCAR/7 and KCAS sections.

Henry VI's grand plan for the lay-out and buildings of his new College envisaged a Muniment Tower, originally four stories high, for the keeping of records. However, the Founder's architectural designs went unfulfilled after building began in 1446, and for several centuries the archives were held in the Chapel's southern side chapels. It is only since the middle of the twentieth century that they have enjoyed purpose-built accommodation, and since 1993 that they have been housed in the Archive Centre.


  • Creation: 1085 - 2020

Conditions Governing Access

Some records contain personal information as defined under the terms of the Data Protection Act (1998) and will be reserved.


1 collection

Language of Materials


2004-03-25 14:41:08+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archive Centre, King's College, Cambridge Repository

King's College
Cambridge CB2 1ST United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 331444