The College Archives are currently closed to external enquiries, until a new Archivist is in post. 
To submit an enquiry please email after the end of September 2024. 

With apologies for the inconvenience.

The purpose of Clare College Archives is to preserve the documentary evidence of the history and life of the College and to provide research access to that documentary evidence.

The archive includes records of an administrative and academic nature, college clubs and societies, finances, land and property owned by the college and records relating to individual members of the College. Many of these records date from the sixteenth century although the earliest period of the College is not well documented since a large proportion of the original muniments were destroyed in a fire in Old Court in 1521. Nevertheless, the Archives provide a valuable insight into many aspects of the history of the College and College life from the 16th century to the modern day.

The records may be divided into the following areas:

  • Governing records - Statutes, election papers, Council minutes
  • Internal administration - Minutes of committees, Fellows' accounts, Buttery accounts, Library registers
  • Property and estate papers - Deeds, terriers and surveys of the many College properties in and around Cambridge and further afield in places including Stepney, London, Leamington Spa and Scarborough
  • Academic and tutorial records - Admission Registers, Tutorial accounts, examination results
  • Clubs and society records - Boat Club, Rugby Club, Clare Association
  • Photographs - Matriculation, sports teams
  • Papers of individuals – Mainly official papers but also some private and personal papers. Noteworthy collections include musical manuscripts of Cecil Sharp and William Denis-Browne as well as records of Masters of Clare such as Samuel Blythe and Henry Thirkill.

The Archive Office is usually open for enquiries on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please email if you would like to visit or have any questions and our team will be more than happy to help. Please note, we are more than happy to respond to enquiries that take less than half an hour to answer. More complex enquiries may be subject to a research fee of £30+VAT per hour. 

Useful Links:

If you have an enquiry which relates to pre-1900 Cambridge alumni, information on this can be found in the online version of Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses

If you have an enquiry which relates to the University Archives, please follow the link here. 


Clare College


Many items in the Archives such as buttery books, maps and photographs require conservation treatment as they are deteriorating rapidly. Sometimes this is caused by the very nature of their physical condition and often it has been exacerbated by excess handling over the years. Several important items have been conserved recently, including the oldest surviving Admissions book (1631), the Benefactors' book and several photographs.

Conservation of items in the Clare College Archives is not only necessary for records to still be accessible to researchers but also to ensure their long term survival. Unfortunately, due to the great expense incurred through conservation of documents it is not possible to pay for the conservation of some items from the means available to the Archives. As part of our ongoing conservation programme we hope to raise enough funding to help us achieve our goals of conserving the College records in the archives. If you would like to contribute to this work, please contact the Archivist.

Self-service Photography

Visitors and researchers to the College archives are welcome to use their own cameras to take photographs of archival documents - we will ask you to complete a Copyright Declaration form to confirm that you will only use the images taken for private research. 

Digital Images & Documents

If you cannot visit the archive, digital copies for private research use can be made of some documents in the collection, depending on the condition of the original items and any applicable rights restrictions. We can make copies of up to 20 pages and will make an administration charge of £20+VAT per order.

Image Reproduction in Publications

We can provide a limited number of high resolution copies of materials from the College archive for publication (please contact us for applicable charges). Please note that if requested materials are still in copyright, you will be required to obtain the appropriate permission from the rights holders before we can provide you with copies for publication. We will provide guidance on tracing copyright holders wherever possible.