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.


Chained Library Featured Book of the Month – June


ADRICHOMIUS, Christian   Theatrum Terrae Sanctae     (Cologne, 1628)

Christiaan van Adrichom (1533-1585), a priest and theological writer, was born in Delft, and was ordained in 1566. He was Director of the Convent of St. Barbara in Delft until expulsion in the turmoil of the Reformation.

The work gives a description of Palestine, the antiquities of Jerusalem, and a chronology from Adam until the death of John the Apostle in 109AD.

Adrichom prepared the maps for the work, but died prior to publication of the first edition published in 1590. The maps should include one general map of Palestine, ten maps of the tribes and a fine, large, folding engraved plan of Jerusalem, but, sadly, our copy has a couple of the maps and the plan of Jerusalem missing.

OLN 130


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.