University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections


University records

Images of the University records collection

General records, which were not created by one of the colleges, are known as University or non-collegiate records. They span the whole institution and include the records of the faculties, the library and the students.

Much of the early material relates to the lands, titles and privileges of the University, which was established in St Andrews by 1410 and formally recognised by papal bull of Pope Benedict XIII in 1413.

The earliest records of the University, some of which are the most significant surviving examples of records of their type in Europe, are written on parchment, might bear seals of authentication, or be copied into beautifully-bound books for safe keeping. The record is likely to be in Latin and the handwriting may be difficult to interpret.

As well as lands, the general records of the University cover the staff and students, the governing bodies, general administration (such as Secretary and Quaestor, or treasurer, and Bursarial records) and relationships between the University and outside bodies. The official papers of members of staff can usually be found in the muniments, but their personal papers are held as manuscripts.

Manuscript or muniment?

Not quite sure what the difference is? Learn about how to distinguish between our different archival collections.

Collection development policy

Discover how the Special Collections Division makes decisions on the development of its manuscript and muniment collections.

Current projects

Read about the exciting projects the Archive team is currently working on, and those that have been completed recently.