The Cathedral Library was built in the mid-fifteenth century over the East Cloister.

It houses the book collection of the Chapter in two areas: the Chained Library and the Reading Room.

Featured Book of the Month : MAY

CAMDEN, William   Britannia   (1607)

May 2016 book

William Camden (1551-1623) was born in London. He is regarded as the Father of Antiquarian studies in Britain.

He began Britannia in 1577 with the encouragement of the Flemish cosmographer Abraham Ortelius who suggested to him that he write a history of Roman Britain.

This would be the first topographical survey of Britain taking in landscape, geography, history and antiquarianism. Camden travelled extensively and learned Welsh and Old English on the way. His work is one of the great achievements of 16th century scholarship and it broke the mould of having purely chronological historical writing. It had great influence on the 17th century Antiquarians who followed him.

Camden became headmaster of Westminster School. He also endowed a lectureship at Oxford, the Camden Professorship of Ancient History, which was the first such endowment in the world. And he was one of the leading scholars who founded the original Society of Antiquaries in London in 1586.

Britannia was first published in 1586 in Latin and we have two early copies of 1600 and 1607. The later 1695 edition, which we also have, is in English and was much expanded by later Antiquarians.

This 1607 copy was given by Edward Willes who was Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1743-73.