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 : DECEMBER

VORAGINE, Jacobus de   Legenda Sanctorum     (1493)

Chapter and Verse 026 Dec 15

Voragine (1230-1298) was an Italian chronicler who became Archbishop of Genoa in 1292. He was beatified in 1816.

The Legenda Sanctorum is better known as the Golden Legend, and was one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages. It was one of the first books to be printed in 1469 and Caxton issued a copy in 1483.

It is a collection of the lives of the great saints as preserved in traditional lore, so that it goes well beyond Biblical sources. Full of martyrdom and miracles, it was very readable and proved a bestseller in mediaeval terms.

The library has two copies in the Bath Abbey collection. One of these is the 1493 edition printed by Wynkyn de Worde, using Caxton’s printing press, which he took over in 1491 on Caxton’s death. This is our earliest English printed book.

OLN 58