Thomas Walker had been a Scholar and Fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford, before resigning his Fellowship in 1631 to marry Sarah, the half-niece of William Laud, President of St. Johns and Chancellor of Oxford. These College and family connections largely explain why Laud recommended to University College that Walker be elected its Master in 1632. Walker was the only Master of the College to have served two terms in office. This was because he was deprived of the post in 1648 by the Parliamentary Commissioners in Oxford, and then reinstated at the Restoration of Charles II (for more on Walker’s Mastership, see Robin Darwall-Smith, A History of University College, Oxford (Oxford 2008), pp. 156–71 and 183–7).
The extant papers of Thomas Walker include letters, notes and financial papers. The financial papers are of especial interest, because they include Walker's personal accounts for the building of the Main Quad, which was talking place during both his terms in office. These are the most detailed accounts for the building of the Quad which are preserved in the archives. The notes, and several other financial papers, relate to Walker's plans on how to spend the income from Hanley (also Handley) Park, Northants., which had been bequeathed to the College by Sir Simon Benet in 1631. The main collection of papers relating to Handley Park is listed at UC:E14, although some related papers, including ones in Walker’s hand, were given to the College in the 1960s and are listed at UC:P164.
Since another Walker, Obadiah, became Master of the College in 1676, it is not always easy to tell, when a letter was addressed to a "Mr. Walker", whether Thomas or Obadiah is meant.
Recatalogued in November 1996.
The collection is divided into the following sections:
UC:MA26/C1 Correspondence of Thomas Walker concerning Fellowships
UC:MA26/C2 Correspondence of Thomas Walker concerning College property and livings
UC:MA26/C3 Correspondence of Thomas Walker concerning the finances of College undergraduates
UC:MA26/MS1 Manuscripts possibly connected with Thomas Walker
UC:MA26/MS2 Notes by Thomas Walker on Hanley Park
UC:MA26/F1 Accounts of Thomas Walker, 1632-1647, mainly concerning the building of the new quadrangle of the College
UC:MA26/F2 Accounts of Thomas Walker relating to money from Hanley Park
UC:MA26/F3 Accounts of Thomas Walker after his reinstallation, mostly concerning the building of the new quadrangle
UC:MA26/F4 Account Books of Thomas Walker
Because of the length of the complete catalogue, it has not been placed online. Instead, a pdf version of it may be consulted here.