Papers of Arthur Charlett (Master 1692-1722)

Arthur Charlett (1655–1722) matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, in 1669, and became a Fellow there in 1680.

In 1692 he was elected Master of University College. Although Charlett had no prior links with the College, his reputation as a man of learning, and rumours about his possible wealth (sadly unfounded) made him an attractive candidate in the absence of any plausible internal one. Charlett remained Master until his death in 1722. He was a significant figure in university life of the time, but his contentious nature made him a divisive influence in the College. For more details on his Mastership, see N. von Malaisé, ‘Arthur Charlett as Master of University College’, in Univerisity College Record, Vol. IX no. 1 (1985), 64–84, and Robin Darwall-Smith, A History of University College (Oxford, 2008), Chapter 11.
        The greater part of Charlett’s personal papers went to his eldest nephew, Thomas Rawlins of Pophills, Warks., who bequeathed them to the antiquary George Ballard. Ballard in turn gave the collection to the Bodleian Library, where it remains under the title MS Ballard.
        These two documents remain so far the only item from Charlett’s papers which remained in the College.

Catalogued in June 2004.

UC:MA33/C1/1                                                              17 Dec 1720
Letter from Thomas Isted (address, London) to Arthur Charlett (address, care of Tom’s Coffee House, Bath), asking after his health, and discussing a sum of £300 which Charlett has mortgaged with him at interest of £3 per cent.
            Thomas Isted had matriculated at University College in 1695 as a Commoner, and died in 1731. Some correspondence between Isted and Thomas Cockman, Charlett’s successor as Master, may be found at UC:MA34/C1.

UC:MA33/MS1/1                                                           n.d. (c. 1700)
Notes on a benefaction made by Robert Jones, Rector of Leckhampton, Glos. to his former College, Brasenose (the College is not named, but Jones names two current students there as ‘Rodd’ and ‘Seward’; the only two students of that name in Oxford at this time were Thomas Rodd and William Seward, who both matriculated at Brasenose in 1695). Among other bequests, Jones leave £3 to be distributed at the commemoration of William Porter on 5 November 1698 and 1699, of which 25s is to be given to the Master of University College (who was Arthur Charlett at this time). Robert Jones was Fellow of Brasenose from 1645/6–1655.
        The note is undated, but Charlett wrote on the back of it ‘Miscellanys not examined Dec 7. 1700' and then, in pencil, ‘14 Oct 1714 Examined’.