Library Records project 1785-1953 update

Recent work on the project has focused on cataloguing two boxes of miscellaneous papers (LR/D/5-6) which have brought to light significant new information on the Library.

Of special interest are 32 surviving leaves from registers of loans. They give a rare insight into the use of the Library by the Archbishops, their wives, chaplains and servants, as well as by visiting scholars and others between 1708 and 1756. They also show the Librarians at work, showing, for instance, that David Wilkins was active in the Library long after the date when his librarianship was thought to have come to an end.

Papers of successive Librarians from Andrew Coltee Ducarel (Librarian 1757-85) to Samuel Roffey Maitland (Librarian 1838-48) document aspects of the Library and its growth. Included is a report by Ducarel recording the number of books in 1769 as 18,607, and a table dating from Maitland’s librarianship which states the number of printed books on each shelf of the Library and records the total in the ‘lower library’ (i.e. excluding the manuscripts library on the upper floor) as 19,428. A diagram by Michael Lort (Librarian 1786-90) shows the arrangement of the manuscripts on the shelves of the manuscripts library, and a list by H J Todd records the distribution of the 200 copies of his catalogue of the manuscripts printed at the expense of Archbishop Manners-Sutton in 1812.

H5195.S9L2 1806p21
The old Library around the cloister (published in Brayley and Herbert, A Concise Account…of Lambeth Palace, 1806)


The papers of S R Maitland, a large proportion in the hand of an assistant, are extensive and document his bibliographical research as well as his management of the Library. Included is a catalogue of manuscripts, continuing from Todd’s catalogue of 1812 to the 1840s. It is almost certainly the item once catalogued as LR/G/3 which has been missing for decades. It provides valuable information on acquisitions and some provenances and includes the first record of the presence in the Library of the 9th century Macdurnan Gospels. Maitland’s notes on the collection sometimes record information which has since been lost. He records for instance, that a catalogue of Archbishop Tenison’s books in his closet in the Library at St-Martin-in-the-Fields (MS 1707)  had a cover inscribed by Tenison with the date of its compilation in 1697. The cover and date disappeared in rebinding in the 20th century.

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