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Book Book

Monday to Saturday / 9am to 6pm

Sunday / 1pm to 4pm

A hidden gem

Located in the heart of the cathedral, frequently hosting exhibitions and events

The library of Chester Cathedral has a long history and may be the oldest library in the North West.

During the time as an abbey, there was a scriptorium in the cathedral cloisters where two of the monks became renown by their writings. In 1194, Lucian issued his Liber Luciani de laude Cestrie, and in 1299, Ranulph Higden wrote Polychronicon.

Once the abbey became a cathedral, works on a library began with books being purchased in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Of the 350 of the volumes added to the library in the 18th century, some still remain in the library.  There was an accumulation of books over 60 years – many on non-theological subjects, such as architecture, travel, regional history and philosophy.

The present library consists of three rooms, the largest being the Exhibition Library which houses nearly 3,000 volumes of pre-1800 date. The other two rooms contain the Jacobson Collection (some 1600 volumes) as well as works published from 1801 to date.

To read some of the widely acclaimed publications written for the library exhibitions, try the links below:

The Very Revd F S M Bennett (1866–1947) Dean of Chester (1920–1937) A Guide to the Exhibition at Chester Cathedral Library

Kingsley Guide

Dean Howson and the Cathedral’s Fabric and Worship

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible

The Church and the Sword: Jutland and the Somme

The Church and the State: Magna Carta

A Prince Among Preachers: Matthew Henry