The Library

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. The earliest records of the Cathedral are housed in the Muniment Room at the southern end of the Library.

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Featured Book of the Month : APRIL

AGUILONIUS, Franciscus Opticorum Libri Sex Philosophis Juxta ac Mathematicis Utiles (Antwerp, 1613)

Library book of month April

Francois de Aguilon (1546-1617) was a Belgian mathematician, physicist and architect. He became a Jesuit in 1586, and went on to establish a school of mathematics for Jesuits in Antwerp in 1611.

He was given the task of organizing the teaching of geometry and science which would be useful for geography, navigation, architecture and the military arts. His plan was to synthesize the works of former geometers, starting with Euclid, and apply geometry to the three ways in which the eye perceives: directly, then by reflection and finally by refraction.

His Six books of optics, suitable for philosophers and mathematicians alike is especially notable as it is illustrated by the Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. Moreover, Rubens was influenced by the theories of colour in de Aguilon’s book and his paintings Juno and Argus and The Annunciation are said to particularly indicate this.

Library Opening Times

The Library can be viewed by the public at appointed times in the summer season, when there is a small exhibition of books and documents, and we welcome full tours by groups that make prior arrangements. Scholars are also welcome but must make their requirements known and book an appointment in advance with the Librarian, Mr Kevin Spears, by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 01749 674483.

A catalogue is available in the Reading Room, which is open to subscribers January 6th to November 27th from Monday to Thursday during 11.00am-13.00pm and 14.00pm-16.00pm. In addition, from 31st March to 1st November, we will also be open during these hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

To become a subscriber at an annual cost of £10 [£7.50 if payment is by standing order] please apply to the Librarian at the address below.

The postal address for the Library is: Cathedral Offices, Chain Gate, Cathedral Green, Wells, BA5 2UE.