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 – January

Please note that there is no Book of the Month for December as the library is closed. We look forward to welcoming back visitors in the New Year!

BLOME, Richard   The Gentleman’s Recreation (1686)  

Richard Blome was a somewhat notorious publisher who died in 1705.  He published at least a dozen books aimed at a Readers’ Digest clientele by seeking advances from noblemen and paying low rates to contributors desperate for work.

The Gentleman’s Recreation comprises two parts and aims to let a gentleman know all he needs about the arts and sciences in the first part, and then gives a practical guide to horsemanship, hawking, hunting, fowling, fishing, agriculture and even cock-fighting in the second.

The illustrations by Francis Barlow are not especially fine but they do illustrate well the costume and equipment of the time and the hunting and fishing ones are quite entertaining.

OLN 46

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.