The Cathedral Library has taken a major step forward this year with the launch of its online catalogue.
This makes the details of our large and eclectic collection available to everyone. The catalogue is accessible on the Library & Education page. You will find yourself wandering along many curious byways, for since the time of Dean Michael Honywood in the seventeenth century, the Library has found room on its shelves for the rare and the strange, sitting alongside the well-known classics.
All of the early printed books housed in the Wren Library are on the catalogue, as well as the nineteenth-century collections in Exchequer Gate and the modern reference books on church history and architecture in the two reading rooms. The cataloguing of pamphlets and journal articles is ongoing. A glance at the subject catalogue will reveal something of the richness and variety of the collection: look under the letter ‘P’ and you will find subjects as diverse as pacifists, Palestine, parliament, parsonage houses, penances, pilgrimage, portable steam engines, preaching and punishment.
Having found the book you are looking for, the next step is to contact the Library (01522 561640 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment to use one of the two reading rooms (Mondays and Tuesdays, 1000-1230 and 1400-1600). The medieval manuscripts and pre-1800 printed books are normally reserved for academic study, but the rest of the collections are open to all.
We are looking ahead to a busy year in the Wren and Medieval Libraries as well. Among the items on display until the end of May are the wonderful Chapter Bible of c.1100, the famous Thornton Manuscript with its unique text of the alliterative Morte Arthure (recently re-told in modern verse by Simon Armitage), and our first edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667). In June and July we shall be marking the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen with a display of archives, manuscripts and books with a royal connection, among them the unique writ of William the Conqueror (c.1072), notifying the people of Lincolnshire that Bishop Remigius had been ordered to move his cathedral to Lincoln. We will also be showing again the letter of Sir Thomas Boleyn (1514) concerning his daughter Anne. Then, in August and September, we will be showing a collection of liturgical books and manuscripts to mark the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662.
Dr Nicholas Bennett
Vice-Chancellor and Librarian