Dr Oliver Pickering


I retired in 2009 as Deputy Head of Special Collections in Leeds University Library. For many years I contributed regularly to postgraduate teaching in both the School of English (bibliography and book history) and the Institute for Medieval Studies (medieval manuscripts). With others, I created both a Medieval and an English Renaissance online palaeography self-tutorial – now freely available as Apple and Android apps – which are based on manuscripts held in the Library. A joint AHRC grant applications, led to the establishment in Special Collections of the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture and the Leeds Poetry 1950-1980 project.

I have published widely in the area of Middle English texts and manuscripts, a recurrent interest of mine being the late thirteenth-century verse collection known as the South English Legendary. Work in this area includes editions of The South English Nativity of Mary and Christ (1975) and The South English Ministry and Passion (1984). More broadly I edited the essay collection Individuality and Achievement in Middle English Poetry (1997), and have jointly authored two volumes of the Index of Middle English Prose. For some twenty-five years I was joint general editor of the Middle English Texts series of editions, published in Heidelberg.

For ten years I was Editor of The Library: Transactions of the Bibliographical Society and I now serve on the Council of the Early English Text Society and am Consulting Editor for the Index of Middle English Prose. I am a Custodian of the Yorkshire Quaker archives held in Leeds University Library, and a Fellow of the English Association.



  • Former Deputy Head of Special Collections
  • Former Teaching Fellow, School of English

Research interests

In recent years my research interests have expanded into the seventeenth century. My current project is a study of the poems and songs of Henry Hall (c. 1656-1707), one-time Organist of Hereford Cathedral, many of which are preserved in manuscript in the Library’s Special Collections department. Quite separately, I recently completed an investigation into the life and religious writings of a distant ancestor, Josiah Collier of Yeadon (1595-1677), who preserved the sermons and other works of Roger Brereley, a charismatic figure in the Grindletonian movement.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>