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.

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 - May

SPELMAN, Sir John  Aelfredi Magni Anglorum Regis     (Oxford, 1678)

Sir John Spelman (1594-1643) was the eldest son of the famous antiquarian, Sir Henry Spelman, and he inherited his father’s literary and antiquarian interests. He was also a Member of Parliament like his father.

During the Civil War he was an active Royalist and wrote several pamphlets expressing moderate royalist and religious attitudes. His interest in the legitimate powers of the monarchy led him to research King Alfred and this biography drew upon an extensive range of primary material and itself became a source for later biographers. The work was dedicated to the future Charles II when Prince of Wales, and was completed during the Civil War in 1642, in the royalist camp at Oxford. Spelman was to die the following year of camp fever, and publication of the biography was delayed until more propitious times.

The book was donated by Bishop Ken (1685-1691).

OLN 206