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 – May

MEZERAY, Francois Eudes de      A General Chronological History of France       (1683) 

Francois Eudes de Mezeray (1610-1683) published his Histoire de France Depuis Faramond Jusqu’au Regne de Louis le Juste between 1643 and 1651. This is the English translation.

The book is interesting as Mezeray was aware of the changes in outlook that developments in Physics and Astronomy such as the telescope, the mathematical writing of Galileo and Descartes, and the work of Francis Bacon had brought about. In this new perspective, developments were independent of the traditional periodizations of history by monarchs and dynasties as the sequence of events arose from quite different causes.

He was given the title Historiographer to the King of France and became Permanent Secretary to the Academie Francaise.

OLN 67

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.