Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Thomas Tanner manuscripts (17th-18th C.)

Tanner was an Oxford educated religious minister, and antiquarian, who went on to become Bishop of St Asaph. He was one of the key figures in the resurgence of historical and antiquarian research of the later 17th and early 18th centuries. His valuable collection of manuscripts at Oxford, included on the microfilms, includes historical, biographical, religious, and geographical sources of material, for all of Britain and Ireland, much of it related to his published works on these topics. Church, state, and politics are covered for the period 1550-1700, thus including materials from the Tudor period to the period after the Civil Wars and the Restoration of the monarchy.

Part One consists of documents spanning the years 1648-1699. They cover a wide range of political and ecclesiastical problems from the Declarations of Indulgence of Charles II, through the Exclusion Crisis and James II's tortured relations with the Church of England, to the affairs of French Protestant refugees and the troubled consciences of the Non-Jurors. The majority of the documents are letters. The senders comprise nearly all the leading, and many minor, churchmen of the time, as well as academics and leading figures in political and public life, such as Halifax, Pepys, Judge Jeffreys, Danby, Arlington, Evelyn, Henry More and the Duchess of Portsmouth.  

Subjects covered in Part Two include: attacks on the King's ministers; preparations for and the waging of war; the treatment of royalist delinquents; negotiations with the Scots; Irish affairs; the search for a religious settlement; political and religious agitation in the Army; the Clubman movement; peace negotiations between the King, Parliament, the Army and the Scots. Among Tanner’s correspondents are Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons, Oliver Cromwell, Essex, Fairfax, Pym, Fleetwood, Skippon and Hesilrige.  

The core of the selection found in Part Three is the archive of William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Charles II and James II. It comprises documents on ecclesiastical administration and relates to Canterbury, York and almost every other diocese in England and Wales. The remaining material covers a wider time-span and is more secular in nature. There are Elizabethan parliamentary proceedings, 16th and 17th century trials, Cope’s defence of Robert Cecil and details of John Mackay’s secret service work for William III, Anne and George I. Legal topics include cases in Common Pleas and King’s Bench from 1653.

In Part Four there is a primary but not exclusive emphasis on church affairs between the 15th-early 18th centuries. Many papers deal with the procedures, powers and abuses of the ecclesiastical and Episcopal courts.

Date range: 17th-18th century

Size:  Several thousand manuscript documents, on 85 microfilm reels.

Language:  English

Keywords: Church history, politics, Government, Britain, Ireland, English Civil War, Restoration.

Notes: See also the Baxter Collection for coverage of the same era, and the Crown Servants' Papers for a slightly earlier period.