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 – April


 MAUNDRELL, Henry      A Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter , AD 1697     (1707)

Henry Maundrell (1665-1701) was educated at Oxford and was ordained in 1691. His family were well connected and he was sent to join the Levant Company’s factory at Aleppo in 1695 on a comfortable salary.

In February 1697 he set off in a group of fifteen men to attend the Easter services at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. On his way he travelled through Syria and Lebanon, returning to Aleppo in May 1697.

Maundrell’s work has become a minor classic of early travel. He describes the countryside and the buildings and references these to the Bible when he can. He died in Aleppo.

This book was given to the library by Bishop Ken who was Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1685-1691.

OLN 305


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.