Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (Fellow 1838-51)

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815–81) matriculated at Balliol College in 1833, but was advised that it was unlikely he would become a Fellow there due to his unorthodox theological beliefs.

Nevertheless, he was able to become a Fellow of University College in 1838, where he remained until 1851. In late years, he became Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Christ Church from 1856–64, and then Dean of Westminster from 1864–81. In 1864 he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of University College.

Stanley’s influence as a tutor at University College in the 1840s became legendary, both for his scholarship and his humanity. He also took a great interest in university reform, and played a leading role in the reforms of the 1850s, not wholly to the liking of his former Master, F. C. Plumptre. Stanley's time at University College is discussed more fully in Robin Darwall-Smith, A History of University College, Oxford (2008), pp. 356-66.

The only papers of Stanley in the archives of University College are these volumes, which appear to be part of his teaching notes. The minutes of a College meeting of 28 October 1897 record ‘that a gift of three books belonging to the late Dean Stanley together with two MS notebooks had been made to the College library.’ Bookplates in some of show that they had been given to the College by Stanley’s executors. For many years, they were catalogued among the College’s library books, but it was decided in October 2002 to transfer them to the archives.

Catalogued in October 2002.


In the 1840s, to judge from the accounts of such witnesses as Mark Pattison in his memoirs and, even less reverently, Cuthbert Bede in Mr. Verdant Green, much basic undergraduate teaching consisted of guiding students through set texts, construing them, and explaining details where necessary. These teaching notes of Stanley bear out thus method. He took set texts, and annotated them in great detail. In the case of Herodotus, he created separate manuscript volumes, but for the Cicero and Aristotle texts, he had his own copies interleaved, so that he could add his own comments where necessary.

Stanley used a system of colour-coding for his notes, so that, as he looked through them, he could note which sections he deemed important for philological, historical, religious, or other reasons. However, he was not consistent in his coding from work to work. He encouraged this system of colour-coding among his pupils (see R. E. Prothero, and G. G. Bradley, The Life and Correspondence of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (2 vols, London, 1893), i. 332 and 349), although their list of codes and the ones employed here do not always match.

UC:S16/MS1/1–2    1840s
Copy of Volumes I and II of Thomas Gaisford’s edition of Herodotus (Oxford 1830), with notes (frequently colour-coded) added by Stanley.

UC:S16/MS1/3    1840s
Bound volume containing Stanley’s MS notes on Herodotus. His notes are primarily aimed at explaining and enlarging on points in the text, and they begin by following the text in correct order. Sometimes Stanley illustrated his notes with drawings or maps, which he regularly coloured in. However, Stanley seems to have lectured on Herodotus more than once, because the text shows signs of additions and corrections. Some notes are inserted out of place at the end.
            The later pages show indications of Stanley’s attempting to create a subject index, and an index of interesting vocabulary.

UC:S16/MS1/4    1840s
Bound volume signed on the inside front cover “Arthur P. Stanley ∣ Univ: Coll. ∣ Oxford”, and containing notes by Stanley on Greek history, again with some coloured maps and drawings. It is not immediately clear whether these notes were written by Stanley for his general use, or whether they would have formed the foundation of a series of lectures on Greek history. Stanley tended to write first on the right-hand side of the page, and then insert additions on the facing page where required. Again, the pages show signs of regular additions and corrections.
            There is an index of topics at the back of the book.

UC:S16/MS1/5    1840s
Volume of Aristotle’s Politics, in the edition by E. Bekker (Berlin, 1831), which Stanley has had rebound with much larger blank pages interleaved, on which he has written a running commentary on the text for teaching purposes. The text is underlined with crayons of different colours, according to its subject.

UC:S16/MS1/6    1840s
Copy of Cicero’s Verrine Orations, based on Zumpt’s edition, and  printed for the use of Rugby School (Oxford, 1831), rebound by Stanley with interleaved pages, again so that he could write a running commentary on the text. Stanley has written an index of Latin words at the end of the book.