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William Arthur Shaw Manuscripts

Date range: 18th-early 20th centuries

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William Arthur Shaw (1865–1943), historian and archivist, was born in Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, and educated at Owens College, Manchester. He edited several volumes for the Chetham Society in Manchester and worked for the Public Record Office on the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers series. He was noted for his engaging style of analysis, which departed from the somewhat dry and descriptive style of previous editors. Shaw penned numerous articles and monographs on a wide range of historical and antiquarian topics.

The collection consists mainly of transcriptions made by Shaw during his researches, especially for A History of the English Church during the Civil Wars and under the Commonwealth (1900) and The Knights of England (1906). He transcribed minutes of the Presbyterian movement in England, including classis meetings from London, Manchester, Cornwall, Cambridge, Essex and Nottingham, as well as minutes from the London Provincial Assembly and the Westminster Assembly of 1643.

The collection also incorporates earlier antiquarian notes and manuscripts collected or created by the heralds Sir George Nayler (d. 1831) and Sir Albert William Woods (1816–1904).

The strengths of the collection are in the areas of 17th-century Presbyterianism, the persecution of Anglican ministers during the period 1649–60, proceedings of Parliament during the English Civil Wars, and the history of the Order of the Bath and other orders of merit, particularly for the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Catalogue available online via ELGAR.

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