February update from the Library and Record Centre

Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre regularly embark on new projects and acquire and catalogue new material, from rare books and manuscripts to modern publications.  Every two months, we post here a brief update on some of our latest acquisitions, projects and upcoming events, to keep you up-to-date with our most recent news.

New books!

An insular odysseyEnjoy reading one (or more!) of our recently acquired new books.  Highlights include:

Magazines and journals

Journal rackLambeth Palace Library also collects a variety of magazines and journals.  You are very welcome to visit the Reading Room to consult these too.  A few titles for which we have recently received new issues are:

Pencils at the ready!

This year Lambeth Palace Library has once again taken part in the #ColorOurCollections social media campaign spearheaded by the New York Academy of Medicine. Libraries and special collections were invited to design and submit colouring sheets using copies of images from their holdings that could be enjoyed for free by the public. Lambeth has created a colouring book which showcases some of the wonderful illustrations which can be found within our astounding collections.  If you want to try your hand at adding wild colours to woodcuts or enlivening an engraving, the sheets are available to download here. We’d love to see some of your finished attempts, so please do email examples to jessica.hudson@churchofengland.org


Upcoming events

An evening with the Library’s conservators

With an opportunity to view the conservation studio and discuss techniques and treatments with the Library’s conservation staff Thursday 19 April, 6-7:30pm (admittance not before 5:45pm)

Tickets £15 per head (£10 for Friends of Lambeth Palace Library), to include a glass of wine. Numbers will be limited. Please note that the conservation studio is reached by a medieval spiral staircase.

Friends and guests are welcome, but please book in advance with Juliette Boyd, Lambeth Palace Library, juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org or telephone 020 7898 1400, not later than Friday 13 April.

Conservation work

“Mysteries” Demystified: The Making and Meaning of the Lambeth Articles (1595)

A talk by Professor Nicholas Tyacke (University College London) Tuesday 8 May, 5.15pm (admittance not before 4.45pm)  

Nicholas Tyacke’s books include Altars Restored: the changing face of English religious worship, 1547-c.1700.  The event is run in association with the University of London seminar on the Religious History of Britain 1500-1800.

All are welcome, but those wishing to attend should book a free ticket at www.nicholastyackelambeth.eventbrite.co.uk, or email juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org not later than Friday 4 May.


New Perspectives on Seventeenth-Century Libraries

Robyn Adams (Centre for Editing Lives & letters, UCL):
Donations to the Bodleian Library in t
he Early Seventeenth Century,

Katie Birkwood (Royal College of Physicians Library):
Digging Deeper into the Marquess of Dorchester’s Library,

Jacqueline Glomski (Centre for Editing Lives & Letters, UCL):
Religion and Libraries in the Seventeenth Century
Tuesday 5 June, 5.30pm (admittance not before 5pm) 

This event will showcase some recent research on library formation, both public and private, in the seventeenth century. Three short talks will deal with patterns of book selection and acquisition as revealed by individual practice and in seventeenth-century theoretical writing on bibliography. The presentations will discuss the potential for research on seventeenth century libraries and the application of digital methods to this research.

In association with the University of London research seminar on the History of Libraries. All are welcome, but those wishing to attend should book a free ticket at www.seventeenthcenturylibraries.eventbrite.co.uk, or email juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org not later than Friday 25 May.

Great Hall

Recently catalogued in the Sion College Library Collection

The Sion Team are working hard to catalogue the collection and are adding new records to the online catalogue each week which you can explore. In addition, more material is being uploaded to the Sion Provenance Project and your help would be greatly appreciated. Can you decipher inscriptions or help identify historic owners? Why not get involved, and visit the Sion Provenance Project website and contribute your ideas and suggestions?

sion coronationAn interesting item recently discovered is Edward Walker’s A circumstantial account of the preparations for the coronation of His Majesty King Charles the Second, and a minute detail of that splendid ceremony (B94.2/W15(1)). This is the first work in a bound volume of three published accounts of the coronation ceremonies of kings and queens. Printed in 1820 from Walker’s contemporary manuscript, it describes in great detail the preparations for the crowning of Charles II in May 1660, his journey from Dover to London, and the pomp and ceremony of his coronation at Westminster. The other two works in the volume describe respectively the coronation ceremonies of George III and Queen Charlotte in September 1761, and of George IV on 19 July 1821. As fascinating as these accounts are, it is the unique additions to the Sion College Library copies which make them especially interesting. Each of the three descriptions has been extra-illustrated with various memorabilia from the coronations, including numerous portraits of the monarchs, plans of the processions and contemporary newspaper clippings. Souvenir prints of the ceremonies, some coloured by hand, have been bound with the volume, as have several tickets issued to gain access to Westminster Abbey, the processions and even the coronation services themselves. Together these items form a one-of-a-kind record of these historic occasions.

Archive news

New acquisitions and newly-catalogued items

Sections from the papers of Archbishop Runcie from 1987 have been made available for research. For more information please see the online archives catalogue. The Friends of the Library have acquired Latin verses of Thomas Keble (MS 5127), adding to the collection of material on the Keble family. The Library also acquired, by kind gift of a descendant of Mary Sumner, an addition to Mothers’ Union material: a photograph of Mrs Sumner (shown below), also picturing her husband George Henry Sumner, Bishop of Guildford, and Randall Davidson, Bishop of Winchester, later Archbishop of Canterbury (MU/PHOTO/4/3). One of our 2016 accessions, an account of Bishop Thirlby’s journey to Rome in 1555 (MS 5076), featured in the National Archives review of collecting.


Collections in focus

New posts on the Library blog have included the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282, the 50th anniversary of the charity Crisis at Christmas, and Anglican-Methodist relations. We continue to mark the centenary of the First World War with a blog post concerning the Mothers’ Union roll of honour. The Library also holds letters of the writer R C Sherriff, whose famous play Journey’s End is the basis of a new film. He was a friend of Gerald Ellison, Bishop of London, whose papers the Library holds. As this year sees the centenary of votes for women, readers may wish to revisit our blog post on women’s suffrage. This year also sees the 200th anniversary of the Incorporated Church Building Society, whose archive the Library holds.

New additions to our image database

Further additions to the Library’s image database include material relating to witchcraft (below) and further volumes from the collection of Greek manuscripts.


Archives in print and the media

The British Records Association published an article by Matti Watton, “Seven hundred years since a spade cost sixpence: Records of the Lambeth Palace garden”. The garden also featured in Gardeners’ Question Time. The Library featured in a BBC World Service programme on the Renovationist Church in Russia, a reform movement following the Revolution of 1917 which is documented in the archive of Archbishop Davidson and that of Canon John Douglas, a pioneer of relations with the Orthodox Churches whose papers the Library also holds. The Library holds extensive sources on Orthodox relations which of course continue to form part of the Archbishop’s ministry with his visit to Russia in 2017. The Society of St John the Evangelist, records of which are accessible at the Church of England Record Centre, forms the subject of a project on the Cowley Fathers during the First World War. A 15th-century printed book from the Library’s collection will appear on exhibition in Bruges from March onwards.

CERC update

ASBcoverRecords of the Committee of the Alternative Service Book dated 1967-1988 are fully catalogued and available here.

Henry H. Willmore Collection dated 1935-1940 (notes made by Henry H. Willmore on church spires and stone coffins) are fully catalogued and available here.


Don’t forget you can also keep up-to-date with our news and events, and enjoy glimpses of some of the treasures in our collections, by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as on our blog.

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