Michael Woodward

From Book Owners Online

Michael WOODWARD 1602/3-1675

Biographical Note

Of Bedfordshire. BA New College, Oxford 1625, MA 1629, BD 1637, DD 1660. Rector of Ashe, Surrey 1642, of Brightwell, Berkshire 1660; Warden of New College 1657-75. Although described as "a man of few scholarly attainments and fewer political or religious convictions", he was "a first-class administrator, determined to place the affairs of the College on a stable footing" (Buxton & Williams, p.57). He travelled extensively around the College estates, spread across many counties, to check on their management and the collecting of rents. He also oversaw, and helped to fund, improvements to the College buildings and Chapel, and spent time organising the College archives.


In his will, Woodward bequeathed £20 to Oxford University, to be laid out in books for the Bodleian Library, and left all the folios not already held from "my study of books which I have with great care and charges collected and bought" to New College Library. The residue of his library was to be divided between three cousins, choosing in turn book by book. He also directed that land should be purchased from his estate, and that £5 per annum of the rental proceeds should be laid out on books for New College Library, with an additional twenty shillings from these funds dedicated to the salary of a library keeper. £3 p.a. from this source was to be similarly used in buying books for Winchester College Library.

A new chained register book was acquired in which to record the books given by Woodward, and to subsequently list all the books purchased with his annuity; this was kept up between 1679 and 1757 (New College Archives 3968). The books acquired by the College amounted to ca.600 volumes, covering a wide range of subjects.


  • Buxton, J. & P. Williams, New College Oxford 1379-1979, Oxford, 1979.
  • Foster, J. Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford 1500-1714/1715-1886, 8 vols, Oxford, 1891.
  • Morgan, P. Oxford libraries outside the Bodleian. 2nd edn, Oxford, 1980, p.93.
  • Tyerman, C. (ed), New College, London, 2010.