Percy Manning (1870-1917) was an Oxford antiquary and folklorist whose collections covered many aspects of the history of Oxford and Oxfordshire. Born in Headingly, Yorkshire, he graduated from New College, Oxford, in 1896. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was an active member of Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. Manning apparently suffered from extreme aphasia, and employed Thomas Carter, a retired bricklayer and keen palaeontologist to collect information on local folklore and custom. Manning is best known in folklore circles for his collection of material about morris dancing. He was a member of The Folklore Society and contributed papers to its journal. He died of pneumonia in 1917.  

Scope of the collection

Manning’s collection includes a small, but significant collection of information about mummers’ plays from in an around Oxfordshire, including some early photographs. 

Where the collection is located

Manning’s collection is split between the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the Bodleian Library, all in Oxford. The mummers’ play materials are all in the Bodleian Library.

Access to the collection

The collection can be consulted at the Bodleian Library.

Catalogue details

The references at the Bodleian Library are MS Top. Oxon d.191a: Oxfordshire Folklore III; MS Top. Oxon. d.192: Folk-lore Miscellanea; and MS Top. Oxon. D.199: Folk-lore (Seasons).

Further information

The mummers’ play material in the Manning Collection has been extensively researched by Peter Millington who contributed the results as ‘Manning’s Mumming Plays’ in Michael Heaney (ed), Percy Manning: The Man who Collected Oxfordshire (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2017), 173-219.