A royal signature

What happens if a king donates money to your university but gets his head chopped off before he can pay? University of Glasgow Archive Services answers this question…

In my first week as a graduate trainee I saw many treasures; one of my favourites has to be Charles I’s signature, simply because it’s both old and evidence of an important historical figure’s role in the University of Glasgow’s history.


In the catalogue the volume where you’ll find Charles’ signature is rather unassumingly called ‘Inventory of voluntary contributions to building and furnishing of Library’. He promised to donate two hundred pounds “for the advancement of the librarie”, as did many other wealthy people of the seventeenth century.


The volume was once stored in a giant chest that was called the Clerk’s Press and held all the University’s important documents. The records were numbered according to the drawer they were in and that order has been retained to this day. Anyone interested in seeing Charles’ and other famous seventeenth-century folk’s signatures can find it under GUA 26628.


Events prevented Charles from making his contribution. So who would help pay for the new library instead? At the bottom of the page there is a note which states that Oliver Cromwell (the Lord Protectorate) paid the two hundred pounds in 1654, honouring Charles’ promise.


Categories: Archive Services

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2 replies

  1. Reblogged this on The Disorder of Beings… and commented:
    It was nice to see one of my favourite items from GUAS in class today!


  1. Heritage on Campus this November | University of Glasgow Library

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