Administered by:
University of Cambridge
18th century Oxford University Press
Yate and Jenkins predeceased Fell, leaving him with no obvious heir to oversee the print shop. As a result, his will left the partners' stock and lease in trust to Oxford University, and charged them with keeping together "my founding Materialls of the Press." Fell's main trustee was the Delegate Henry Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church, who took a keen interest in the decorative work of Oxford's books. He and his colleagues presided over the end of Parker and Guy's lease, and a new arrangement in 1691 whereby the Stationers leased the whole of Oxford's printing privilege, including its unsold scholarly stock. Despite violent opposition from some printers in the Sheldonian, this ended the friction between Oxford and the Stationers, and marked the effective start of a stable university printing business.

In 1713, Aldrich also oversaw the Press moving to the Clarendon Building. This was named in honour of Oxford University's Chancellor, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. Oxford lore maintained its construction was funded by proceeds from his book The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (1702-04). In fact, most of the money came from Oxford's new Bible printer John Baskett×and the Vice-Chancellor William Delaune defaulted with much of the proceeds from Clarendon's work. In any event, the result was Nicholas Hawksmoor's beautiful but impractical structure beside the Sheldonian in Broad Street. The Press worked here until 1830, with its operations split into the so-called Learned Side and Bible Side in different wings of the building.

Generally speaking, the early 18th century marked a lull in the Press's expansion. It suffered from the absence of any figure comparable to Fell, and its history was marked by ineffectual or fractious individuals such as the Architypographus and antiquary Thomas Hearne, and the flawed project of Baskett's first Bible, a gorgeously designed volume strewn with misprints, and known as the Vinegar Bible after a glaring typographical error in St. Luke. Other printing during this period included Richard Allestree's contemplative texts, and Thomas Hanmer's 6-volume edition of Shakespeare, (1743-44). In retrospect, these proved relatively minor triumphs. They were products of a university press that had come to embody increasing muddle, decay, and corrupt practice, and relied increasingly on leasing of its Bible and prayer book work to survive.

The business was rescued by the intervention of a single Delegate, William Blackstone. Disgusted by the chaotic state of the Press, and antagonized by the Vice-Chancellor George Huddesford, Blackstone subjected the print shop to close scrutiny, but his findings on its confused organization and sly procedures met with only "gloomy and contemptuous silence" from his colleagues, or "at best with a languid indifference." In disgust, Blackstone forced the university to confront its responsibilities by publishing a lengthy letter he had written to Huddesford's successor, Thomas Randolph in May 1757. Here, Blackstone characterized the Press as an inbred institution that had given up all pretence of serving scholarship, "languishing in a lazy obscurity Å a nest of imposing mechanics." To cure this disgraceful state of affairs, Blackstone called for sweeping reforms that would firmly set out the Delegates' powers and obligations, officially record their deliberations and accounting, and put the print shop on an efficient footing. Nonetheless, Randolph ignored this document, and it was not until Blackstone threatened legal action that changes began. The university had moved to adopt all of Blackstone's reforms by 1760.

By the late 18th century, the Press had become more focused. Early copyright law had begun to undercut the Stationers, and the university took pains to lease out its Bible work to experienced printers. When the American War of Independence deprived Oxford of a valuable market for its Bibles, this lease became too risky a proposition, and the Delegates were forced to offer shares in the Press to those who could take "the care and trouble of managing the trade for our mutual advantage." Forty-eight shares were issued, with the university holding a controlling interest. At the same time, classical scholarship revived, with works by Jeremiah Markland and Peter Elmsley, as well as early 19th-century texts edited by a growing number of academics from mainland Europe Ö perhaps the most prominent being August Immanuel Bekker and Karl Wilhelm Dindorf. Both prepared editions at the invitation of the Greek scholar Thomas Gaisford, who served as a Delegate for 50 years. During his time, the growing Press established distributors in London, and employed the bookseller Joseph Parker in Turl Street for the same purposes in Oxford. Parker also came to hold shares in the Press itself.

This expansion pushed the Press out of the Clarendon building. In 1825 the Delegates bought land in Walton Street. Buildings were constructed from plans drawn up by Daniel Robertson and Edward Blore, and the Press moved into them in 1830. This site remains the main office of OUP in the 21st century, at the corner of Walton Street and Great Clarendon Street, northwest of Oxford city centre.