At the north-east corner of the cloister you will find the Cathedral’s two historic libraries. Click here to download and view the Library Summer Newsletter 2017.

The 15th Century Medieval Library

The 15th century Medieval Library was originally built as a chained library and housed the Cathedral’s collection of early handwritten manuscripts. Although mostly theological in nature to suit the needs of scholars and the Cathedral clergy at the time, there are also treasures such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the Thornton Manuscript.



The 17th Century Wren Library

The 17th century Wren Library contains approximately half of the Cathedral’s early printed books, many of which belonged to Dean Michael Honywood who paid for the building and design of the library. The collection includes 100 “incunabula” or, books printed before 1501. Honywood’s eclectic interests are reflected in the subjects of his books: history, geography, travel, science, nature, literature and even beauty tips for ladies are among the subjects covered. A selection of manuscripts and early printed books is on display throughout the open season.


Summer Exhibition

2017 marks the 800th anniversary of the issuing of the Charter of the Forest and the second Battle of Lincoln, a decisive battle in the defeat of the army of Prince Louis of France in his attempt to take control of the English throne. To mark the anniversary the Collection Museum is hosting a “Battles and Dynasties” Exhibition from the 27th May to the 3rd September. During this time the library exhibition will also feature manuscripts and books linked to this theme.


Είκων βασιλικη. Le portrait du Roy de la Grande Bretagne. Fait de sa propre main durant sa solitude & ses souffrances.  Printed in Rouen, 1649

“Lincoln Cathedral Library: the story so far”

Front cover

Although the Cathedral has not always had a library, it has always had books.  This guide follows the story of how, from small beginnings, the collection grew, leading to the building of a chained library in the early 15th century and then 250 years later to the building of the Wren Library, paid for by our greatest benefactor Dean Michael Honywood.  It also highlights some of the library’s many treasures. The guide has 72 pages and is fully illustrated. It costs £6-99 and is available to buy in the Medieval Library during normal opening hours or from the Cathedral Shop.

 Our Opening Times

April – June:                  Monday to Friday 1pm – 3pm, Saturdays and Bank Holidays 11am – 3pm

July – August:               Monday to Saturday 11am – 3pm

September – October:  Monday to Friday 1pm – 3pm, Saturdays 11am – 3pm

Entrance to the libraries is included in the Cathedral ticket price

Partial Closure:  On Wednesday 16th August the library is only open from 11am to 1pm due to the early closure of the Cathedral.