The West Wing entrance hall
Approaching the West Wing of the Bishop's Palace
Library and Archives
What are we?
Housed in the west wing of the Bishop’s Palace is a modern library and archive facility in which we preserve many thousands of books and documents – most of them rare or unique - and make them available to people.
The Library contains medieval manuscripts, early printed books and modern published texts on a remarkable range of subjects including local history, theology, medicine, science and many more.
The Archives contain unique original records documenting the history of the Cathedral and its Dean & Chapter including the buildings, people and former estates across Devon and Cornwall (and Bampton, Oxfordshire).
The Interpretation Gallery is available for visitors who would like to find out more about the content and history of our remarkable collections. Text panels and a timeline put our history in context and introduce some of the highlights of the collections. The main display case provides an opportunity to see a selection of treasures from our collections.
The Reading Room is available for researchers wishing to consult any of our books and documents.
For groups, clubs, schools and societies
We can provide talks, workshops, curated displays and much more, all tailored to the needs of your group.
For people who can’t visit us in person
We offer an enquiry service where we will guide you on the sources we have and carry out basic look-ups. For more in-depth enquiries we offer a commissioned research service. We will be regularly revising and adding content to our web page, so keep checking.
A secure, climate-controlled strong room to house our archives and pre-1800 library collections.
A single point of access to all our library and archive holdings.
A comfortable reading room for research and quiet study.
Electrical sockets at each desk for use of laptops.
We ask you to make an appointment with us in advance:
· To give us an opportunity to discuss your research needs in advance.
· To enable us to prepare any books, manuscripts and other records for your visit.
· To ensure there is sufficient space in the reading room at your preferred time.
Unfortunately, if you haven’t informed us in advance, we cannot guarantee to be able to accommodate your visit.
There will be a professional librarian or archivist on duty during your visit who will be able to provide help and advice, and produce library and archive material for you. However, when planning your visit, it may help you to note that:
· The archivist is usually available Mondays to Thursdays.
· A librarian is usually available Wednesdays to Fridays.
Research appointments available
Please book in advance. No charge.
Visitors are welcome to drop in
Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri
Unguided entry by donation.
Join our trained stewards
Mon & Wed
Entry £2 on the door (or add 50p to your Cathedral entry).
Contact the Library
Peter Thomas (Librarian)
Stuart Macwilliam (Assistant Librarian)
Contact the Archives
Ellie Jones (Archivist)