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Cambridge University Archives

Hinc lucem et pocula sacra

Translation: From this place we gain enlightenment and precious knowledge " University motto
Cambridge University Archives


The University Archives is responsible for the selection, transfer and preservation of the internal, administrative records of the University of Cambridge (est. 1209), dating from 1266 to the present, and for making them available for administrative and research purposes. The University Archives aims to provide a full and richly varied picture over time of the University's organisation and governance, its key functions and activities, major developments and achievements. From modest beginnings, housed alongside other valuables in the University chest, the archives now occupy ca 4000 metres of shelving at the University Library.

The archives are as diverse as the activities – self-governance, teaching and research, property management, administration of justice, external relations - the University has pursued down the centuries. They include charters, statutes and title deeds, records of its legislative and executive bodies, central administration, Syndicates and committees, departments and faculties, students and law courts.

Our presence in the Digital Library has grown steadily. Several items providing insight into the activities of the medieval and modern University are now online, ranging from the earliest surviving statutes in Cambridge to the letters, plans and reports of the University’s physical provision for scientific investigation on the New Museums site.

Highlights include:
• Depiction of medieval scholars in a Charter of Edward I confirming the privileges of the University, 1292 (UA Luard 7*)
• Earliest financial accounts of the University in a Proctor's indenture accounting for the contents of the Chest at the annual transfer of office, 1363 (UA CUR 1.2.1a)
• Oldest University statutes in Cambridge in the Old Proctor’s Book, c.1390-c.1483 (UA Collect.Admin.3)
Early inventories of books, records and other moveable property of the University, including the first catalogues of the library and archives, c.1420-1622 (UA Collect.Admin.4)
• First records of University decision-making in Liber Gratiarum Alpha,1454-89, 1533 (UA Grace Book Alpha)
Elizabethan statutes, 1570 (UA Luard 187)
Grant of Arms to the University of Cambridge, 1573 (UA Arms 1)
• Finely illuminated transcripts of charters confirming the University’s privileges in Liber privilegiorum et libertatum alme universitatis Cantebrigiensis, c.1590 (UA Hare A I, II)
• Records documenting the physical provision for scientific teaching and research in History of the New Museums site, 1716-1891 (UA History of New Museums I, II)
• Hand drawn and coloured plan for laying out The Backs by Capability Brown, 1779 (UA P.I.3).