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.

Featured Library Book of the Month – August

GELLIUS, Aulus     Noctium Atticarum   (Paris, 1523)

Aulus Gellius (125-180AD) was a Roman author educated in Greece. He later returned to Rome where he followed a judicial career.

The Attic Nights, as we know the work, is a commonplace book or scrapbook of notes from his reading and conversations about grammar, philosophy, history, geometry and antiquarianism. It is so called as it was largely compiled in Attica, the Greek administrative area that includes Athens. The Attic Nights is valuable for the insight it affords into the nature of the society and pursuits of those times, and for its many excerpts from works of lost ancient authors.

This book was given to the library by Dean Ralph Bathurst, Dean of Wells from 1670-1704, and a founder member of the Royal Society.

OLN 311

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.