The College Archives serves as the final repository for the historical records of Eton College, preserving and making available the official records of the college’s activities and administration from the foundation to the present day. Key amongst the archives is the Foundation Charter, dated 11 October 1440, stating Henry VI’s intention to found a school and naming the first scholars, William Stokke and Richard Cokkes. In addition, there are other records of the college’s early years, including the original grant of arms, the wage books recording the names of the workmen who built College Chapel and Lower School, and several items signed by the founder. The College Archives are also rich in medieval records which pre-date the founding of the college, due to the estates gifted to Eton by Henry VI. The earliest item in the archives is a confirmation by William II of a grant of land in Suffolk dated 1091.
For much of the school’s history the archives are almost entirely concerned with the administration of the college’s estates, but from the late 18th century onwards the archives start to give a picture of school life and the doings of individual boys, beginning in 1791 with registers of the boys. Records of sports and societies, diaries and letters home supplement the official record.
Research and Enquiries
The archival collections may be explored in our online catalogue. The registers of boys from 1441 to 1919 have been digitised and are available to search online, where you will also find other digitised material such as the Eton College Chronicle, the school magazine written by the boys.
The archives are kept in College Library and can be consulted by appointment. Please send enquiries to the archivist, or apply in writing to the Archivist, Eton College Library, Eton College, Windsor, SL4 6DB, with as much background information as possible. Research enquiries are answered as promptly as possible, but as we receive many enquiries, it may take time to carry out research and we may have to limit the time spent on a particular request.
Please note that administrative records are generally closed for 40 years; the Archivist will advise readers wishing to see records relating to boys.
The Archives is delighted to accept donations of relevant material that increase the richness of the collections, such as diaries, correspondence and photographs. Should you wish to donate any items relating to your or a relative’s time at Eton, please do get in touch.