You are here

Catalogue of the manuscripts of Theophilus Metcalfe, early 18th cent.


Two undergraduate notebooks and a pharmacopoeia of Theophilus Metcalfe (1690-1757).
Shelfmarks: Queen’s College MSS. 433, 444, 447
Extent: 3 shelfmarks

Biographical History

Theophilus Metcalfe, the son of Samuel Metcalfe of London, gent., matriculated at Hart Hall, Oxford in 1706, and graduated BA in 1710, MA in 1713, BM in 1716 and DM in 1724. He was physician to the Turner family of Ambrosden, Oxfordshire. His tombstone in Ambrosden churchyard records that he was a ‘learned, skilful and tender-hearted physician’. He bequeathed his extensive library to The Queen’s College in 1757.

Scope and Content

Two undergraduate notebooks and an incomplete pharmacopoeia, acquired with Metcalfe’s library.


Bequeathed to the College in 1757.

Restrictions on Access

Contact the Librarian in advance to make an appointment.

Personal names (NCA Rules)

Metcalfe | Theophilus | 1690-1757 | Physician

Subjects (LCSH)


Descriptive List

Notebook of Theophilus Metcalfe, containing verses in Latin and English, begun as an undergraduate at Hart Hall, Oxford, 1706
Shelfmark: MS. 433
Extent: ii + 139 leaves
Binding: Ruled calf binding


  • (fol. ii) a note by Metcalfe: ‘He’s a blockhead that can’t make two verses, and he’s a fool that makes four.’
  • (fol. ii verso) a note by Metcalfe: ‘If this should be seen, I own I kept it only to see what I wrote at 18 years of age.’
  • (fols. 1-21) miscellaneous verses in English and Latin, with notes dated 1708 and 1709
  • (fols. 21v-34, 79-87) similar verses, with notes dated 1714 and 1717
  • (fols. 51-61) notes on biblical chronology and a narrative concerning Moses and Aaron, some in verse
  • (fols. 137v rev. -92v rev.) quotations from classical and contemporary verse, arranged by subjects which are listed on fols. 136v-135v

Notebook of Theophilus Metcalfe, 18th cent.
Shelfmark: MS. 444
Extent: iii + 109 leaves
Binding: Limp vellum binding

Comprises an incomplete pharmacopoeia, arranged alphabetically ‘acacia germanica’ to ‘lapis calaminarus’, with several references to ‘the new College dispensatory’, comparisons between the pharmacopoeias of George Bate (1608-88), Nicolas Lemery (1645-1715), John Quincy (d.1722) and James Shipton and to the recommendations of George Wilson, George Cheyne (1671-1743) and Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738), and practical observations from Metcalfe’s own experience as a physician.

Note: Metcalfe’s library includes several works by Boerhaave and Cheney, the third edition of Pharmacopoeia Bateana, edited by James Shipton (London, 1700), the 1716 edition of Lemery’s Dictionnaire ou traite universel des drogues simples, the 1717 edition of his Pharmacopoeia universelle, and the abridged, English edition of 1700, the fourth edition of Quincy’s Pharmacopoeia officinalis & extemporanea: or a compleat English dispensatory (London, 1721), The Dispensatory of the Royal College of Physicians in London, edited by John Quincy (London, 1721) and the 1746 edition edited by H. Pemberton.

Pocket book of Theophilus Metcalfe, c.1710-13
Shelfmark: MS. 447
Extent: 37 leaves
Binding: Paper wrappers

Comprises abbreviated notes, some perhaps taken at lectures, on Virgil’s Georgics, the works of Columella and other classical authors.


Catalogue compiled by Mary Clapinson, 2004.