The College possesses 121 manuscripts, ranging in date from the late 10th to the 19th century, of which 106 were catalogued by M.R. James in 1895. A catalogue of MSS 107-121 is in preparation.
The oldest of the manuscripts is an Anglo-Saxon Ordinale (left), which is bound with a 13th century French bestiary, containing illustrations of animals real and imagined, including a particularly fine whale (right).
Other interesting items in the collection include Anne Holand’s Book of Hours, a book of receipts belonging to Lady Fairfax, the wife of the Parliamentarian commander, and an Exeter Psalter of the 1330s, in which the figures were literally defaced by Protestant iconoclasts (below right). There are several books from monastic libraries, most notably Bury, Croyland, Durham, Kingswood and Warden, and the Franciscan houses at Bristol, Worcester and York, and a significant group of liturgical manuscripts from the archdiocese of York.
Catalogues and calendars:
M.R. James, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (Cambridge, 1895).
This database includes 758 images from Sidney Sussex manuscripts:
The DMMapp (Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App) links to more than 500 libraries worldwide.
Each one of these contains medieval manuscripts that can be browsed for free.