Category Archives: Cathedral Library

‘A little Vatican of choice manuscripts’: the unique history of Durham Cathedral Library

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, our Open Treasure gallery attendants deliver punchy 10 Minute Talks on the fascinating history of the Cathedral’s collections and buildings. Here’s a sample of a talk exploring the history of the Cathedral Library!

The birth of the collection

The library at Durham Cathedral is of significant importance as a direct continuation of the one started at Lindisfarne by St. Aidan. The books that the monks could carry with them were brought to Chester-Le-Street and it was here that the first new additions to the collection were made. The collection was bolstered in 934 AD by King Athelstan, who gave five new volumes to the community, including a copy of Bede’s ‘Life of Cuthbert’ which now resides in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

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The St Calais, or Carilef, Bible: May Treasure of the Month

Each month we feature an object from our internationally renowned collections as ‘Treasure of the Month’, and explain a little of their fascinating history. Durham Cathedral’s Treasure of the Month for May is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of 11th century Norman book production in existence – the Saint-Calais, or Carilef, Bible. Leaf through its pages at the website of Durham Priory Library Recreated, an ambitious digitisation project!

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