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Exeter Cathedral’s Medieval Library: From Foundation to Dispersal

Exeter Cathedral’s Medieval Library: From Foundation to Dispersal

Thursday 8th August 2024, 7.30pm (doors open 7.00pm)

Exeter Cathedral is one of the very few medieval institutions in England that has kept good numbers of its ancient books. Around one hundred manuscripts are now in Oxford, given by the Dean and Chapter in 1602 to Sir Thomas Bodley for his new library. Others remain at the Cathedral, notably the famous Exeter Book of Old English poetry.

The story begins with the Anglo-Saxon library and the many volumes donated by Bishop Leofric. The collection grew steadily in the following centuries and from the early fifteenth century the books were kept in the magna libraria – a purpose-built library room in the Cathedral Cloister. Join us to explore the sorts of books the Cathedral had, where they came from, how they were kept, and what happened to them.

Our 2024 Annual Library Lecture is presented by James Willoughby, a historian and bibliographer who follows research interests in medieval books and texts. He is a Research Fellow of New College, Oxford, and Editor for the British Academy series, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues. His work on the libraries of the medieval secular cathedrals, in which the evidence from Exeter is a star turn, will soon be published.

£10, tickets will be available soon