CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Alt Ref NoMSM
TitleMarischal College Archives
Date1285 - 1971
Extent61 boxes, 271 volumes: 25 linear metres
Creator NameMarischal College
Administrative HistoryMarischal College, Aberdeen's second university and Scotland's fourth, was founded in 1593 by George Keith (1553-1623), 5th. Earl Marischal. It was the first post-reformation university and carried the standard for the reformed religion against King's College in Old Aberdeen. With a strong emphasis on languages, literature and mathematics, it demonstrated all the new directions in which Scottish and European education was tending. The college used buildings formerly belonging to the Franciscans at the east end of Aberdeen, but was completely rebuilt in 1837 - 1841, added to in 1873, and considerably rebuilt in the 1890s, and now only a fragment of the old Greyfriars is left. Marischal College and University united with the older King's College and University in 1860 to form the new University of Aberdeen, though it retains its distinctive site and character in the centre of modern Aberdeen.
Custodial HistoryThe bulk of the material in the masses had not been seriously disturbed when the Marischal College Charter Chest material was placed in the custody of the Archives Department in 1981.

MSM 388, MSM 389: The bundles, which comprised this collection were deposited in the University Library in 1982, when a considerable amount of archival material was transferred from the legal office of the University.

MSM 395: The collection comprised four boxes of papers which were transferred to the University in August 1984 by the solicitors Edmonds and Ledingham. Francis Edmond, a former partner in the firm, acted as legal agent for the University and his name occurs in some of the later papers in the present collection. Most of them relate however to the role of David Hutcheon as legal agent and factor for Marischal College from 1802.
SourceThese records were generated and created as part of the official business of Marischal College of Aberdeen.
DescriptionThe collection contains detailed resources on the foundation of the college, the evolution of the college’s curriculum, teaching methods, staff and students, financial papers (which range from staff salaries to routine accounts), legal disputes, the administration of the college, its properties and buildings, its land ownership and the college’s relationships with other institutions, particularly King's College and Aberdeen City.

College administration - (Governance, Statutory committee administration, Non-statutory committee administrations, Senior officer appointment, Litigation management, Chartularies, contracts and agreements)

Property and buildings (Property acquisition, Property development, Property disposal, Property income/leasing, Property maintenance)

Finance (Financial accounting, Endowments and funds)

External relations (King's College relations, Aberdeen Burgh Council, Parliamentary relations, Fundraising campaign management)

Library and Museum (Library administration, Museum administration)

Staff (Staff appointments)

Students (Bursaries and financial assistance, Class lists and registers, Examinations, Qualifications and prizes)

Lectures and curriculum (Taught programme delivery)

Papers of Staff and Students
Appraisal52 MSM files of lecture notes have been extracted and transferred to the MS collections. MSM 393 and MSM 394 had been transferred prior to the re-cataloguing of this collection.
ArrangementAll 'masses' from previous arrangements been maintained and not split across series. Where masses were split, bundles within each box were not, in keeping with the overall strategy of maintaining existing arrangement. Many of the series overlap but for the purposes of this project the series, as stated above, have been maintained as they were.

See item/file level records for alternative reference numbers. MSM

The original sequence of MSM reference numbers were not continuous and had the following sets of numbers not used: 12 - 15, 30 - 40, 50 - 55, 78 - 80, 86 - 90, 310 - 349

Notes on previous arrangements:

MSM 361: The papers in this collection were found bundled together with brief notes as to their contents in the hand of P.J. Anderson. Some of the items may have been gathered together by him; others represent original bundles of vouchers concerning particular topics. At present the bundles have been listed as found.

MSM 388: The collection represents an arbitrary division of archival material

MSM 390: This list is based upon an inventory made after the 1715 visitation of Marischal College, as one of the recommendations of the commissioners. It groups the papers in twenty sub-sections, called masses. The inventory was subsequently amended and added to in later 18th - and 19th- century inspections. The present list follows the arrangement of M.102, Professor John Stuart's expanded 1790 copy of the original inventory. The bulk of the material in the masses had not been seriously disturbed when the Marischal College Charter Chest material was placed in the custody of the Archives Department in 1981. Some bundles had however been broken and items from them lost, misplaced or deliberately transferred to other locations

MSM 395: Most are individually numbered but it appears that some of the material has been separated from the original arrangement at an earlier point.

MSM 397: the papers in this collection were found in bundles in a box of miscellaneous material (M.366). Some of them have clearly been abstracted from other series and their archival provenance is no longer clear.
Access StatusOpen
LanguageEnglish and Latin
Related MaterialKing's College Archives (1430 - 1914 ) and University of Aberdeen (1860 - )
Publication NoteBeavan, Iain, 'Neatness and Order: The diaries and papers of William Knight, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Marischal College, 1823 - 1844', Northern Scotland, Volume 21, 2001

Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis, Selections from the records of the Marischal College and University, 1593 - 1860, Aberdeen, New Spalding Club, 1889 - 1898, Volume 1: Endowments, Volume 2: Officers, graduates and alumni, Volume 3: Index to volume 2

Fasti Aberdonenses: Selections from the Records of the University and King's College of Aberdeen, 1494 - 1854, Aberdeen, Spalding Club, 1854 (Spalding Club 25)

P.J. Anderson in his Aberdeen Friars (Aberdeen University Studies, 40. Aberdeen, 109).

Peter John Anderson, Collections towards a bibliography of the Universities of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Edinburgh Bibliographic Society, 1907

Royal Commission for visiting the Universities and Colleges of Aberdeen, Minutes and Proceedings, London, H.M.S.O, 1830.
Related RecordKINGS
Add to My Items