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.

Proud to Celebrate Staff Talent

How many Cathedrals can boast two staff authors with new book releases? Both Cathedral Librarian, Kevin Spears, and Archivist Anne Crawford, have recently produced volumes, now on sale in the Cathedral shop.

An Illustrated History of the Books in the Chained Library of Wells Cathedral’, is available for £19.99.

Kevin Spears' book coverIn an accessible format, with many beautiful visual examples, it gives background notes on the history of the book, ranging from production of manuscripts and early printing, to literacy, copyright and censorship, bookbinding and more. The Chained Library of Wells Cathedral has manuscript and printed books produced between the years 1000-1800. Together with the modern Reading Room, it is a working library still occupying the same space created for it above the East Cloister in the mid-1400s.

 ‘The Vicars of Wells: A History of the College of Vicars Choral’ (2016), is available for £15.

The vicars choral of Wells have been singing in the cathedral for more than nine centuries, generation after generation of dedicated musicians.  In 1348 Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury founded the College of Vicars Choral at Wells by charter.  They were the first group of vicars to be thus formally incorporated in the country.  The college as an institution lasted until 1931.  The college hall and the individual houses for each vicar, forming Vicars’ Close built by Bishop Ralph, have survived remarkably unchanged.

Both volumes come highly recommended.

Featured Library Book of the Month - March

This month we are deviating from featuring a selected book. Instead, the library display will contain several books connected to the Reformation to complement the series of addresses being given throughout Lent to mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

The books displayed are expected to be a 1552 copy of the Book of Common Prayer; the Puritan replacement for the Book of Common Prayer which was the 1644 Directory for the Publique Worship of God; a 1512 book of the work of St John of Damascus which belonged to Thomas Cranmer and shows his student notes in his own hand in red ink; one of the volumes of the complete works of Martin Luther published in Wittemberg in 1558; a volume of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs; and a Spanish copy of the Catholic response, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum published in  1628.