Percy Manning: The Man Who Collected Oxfordshire
edited by Michael Heaney. xviii+314pp; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. 311 2017 Archaeological Lives
. Available both in printed and e-versions.
Printed ISBN 9781784915285. £30.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784915292. £19.00 (Inc. UK VAT)
Percy Manning (1870-1917) was an Oxford antiquary who amassed enormous collections about the history of Oxford and Oxfordshire, which now constitute a valuable resource in Oxford University’s libraries and museums.
Manning was interested in all periods of history and prehistory, collecting Stone Age tools, Roman coins, medieval tiles, and relics of ways of life that were disappearing in his own day, such as decorated police truncheons and local pottery. He methodically documented and explored the archaeology of the county. He collected literally thousands of prints depicting Oxford and places throughout Oxfordshire as records of changes in the built environment, and moved beyond material objects to uncover and document superstitions, folklore and customs, especially where he thought they were disappearing. He sought out May songs and morris dancers, reviving the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers in 1899. There is scarcely a community in the county which is not reflected somewhere in his collections.
This volume provides the first detailed biography of Manning, together with studies examining specific parts of his collections in greater detail. Other chapters demonstrate how the collections can be used as springboards for in-depth study and for fresh approaches to the history of Oxfordshire. Particular emphasis is placed on Manning’s ground-breaking research into the folklore of the county in conjunction with its material culture.
About the Editor:
Michael Heaney, the editor of and main contributor to the volume, is a respected researcher into folk music and folklore who has published widely on the subject. He combines this with extensive knowledge of the collections in the Bodleian Library where he spent his professional career. He is a past Editor of Folk Music Journal (and continues on its board) and acts as adviser to and a Trustee of the country’s leading research library in the field, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. His colleagues bring their professional expertise from the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums, the University’s Music Faculty and Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, and beyond.