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.  These posts provide 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!

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


IMG_0017Please note that since October 2019 Lambeth Palace Library is closed on Fridays. This is to give the staff time to prepare the collections for the move to the new library building. Opening hours are now 10am to 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 10am to 7.30 pm on Thursday. Additionally, 30th April 2020 will be the last day that the Lambeth Palace Library reading room will be open and also the last day that the Church of England Record Centre reading room will be open before the opening of the new building in early 2021. There might also be a delay in answering some types of enquiries.

Magazines and journals

Lambeth Palace Library also collects a variety of magazines and journals. You are very welcome to visit the Reading Room to consult these too. Some of our recently received titles include:

magazinesABTAPL Bulletin
Anglican and Episcopal History
Archives: the journal of the British Records Association
Bible Lands
Crucible: the journal of Christian social ethics
Ecclesiastical Law Journal
English Historical Review
Journal of Ecclesiastical History
Families Worldwide
Journal of Paper Conservation

We also receive the following papers and magazines weekly:

newspapersThe Church of England Newspaper
Church Times
The Tablet
TLS (The Times Literary Supplement)


Upcoming events

Dr Nicholas Fisher: ‘Bishop Symon Patrick (1626-1707) – unsung hero of the Restoration Church of England’.

Thursday 26 March, 6pm (admittance from 5:30pm)


In 2018, Nick Fisher was the first recipient of a Lambeth doctorate after the scheme had been rebranded ‘Lambeth Research Degrees in Theology’.  His thesis explored the writings and career of Symon Patrick from Rector of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, to Bishop of Ely. This illustrated talk will explore the religious tensions of Charles II’s reign and suggest that Patrick’s contribution to the national Church has been unjustly neglected.

All are welcome, but those wishing to attend should book a free ticket at https://nickfisherlambeth.eventbrite.co.uk, or email melissa.harrison@churchofengland.org not later than Friday 20 March.

Day conference on the seventeenth-century book collector Richard Smith (1590-1675) and his library.

PYT0001 (2)

Wednesday 27 May (further details to follow)

Speakers will include Peter Lake, Jason Peacey, Andrew Foster, Vanessa Harding, David Pearson, Alan Nelson and Kenneth Fincham.


Professor Alan Nelson (University of California, Berkeley): ‘The Books of Henry Bradshawe, nephew of the regicide’.

Tuesday 2 June, 5:30pm (admittance not before 5pm)

Gate HouseThe name of Henry Bradshawe, and the family seat in Marple, Cheshire, in the seventeenth century, are familiar to bibliographers and to the book trade. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, John Bradshawe the regicide, being childless, bequeathed ‘all my Law Bookes,’ along with books ‘on divinity, history and other books’ to his nephew Henry, who maintained the family library until his death in 1698. This traditional account is an extreme simplification of the true story, which must start with the realization that books from the Bradshawe family library carry the ownership signatures of at least four Henry Bradshawes. Books from the library are scattered across the English-speaking world.

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 https://alannelsonlambeth.eventbrite.co.uk, or email melissa.harrison@churchofengland.org not later than Friday 29 May.


Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, followed by a lecture by Professor Richard Gameson: ‘Codex and Colour: the pigments of Lambeth Palace manuscripts’.

Thursday 18 June, 2:30pm (admittance not before 2pm)

RichardGamesonOne of the most striking aspects of medieval manuscripts is their ravishing colours. Scientific advances mean that it is now possible, using non-invasive techniques, to identify the pigments that were used to produce the illuminations in question. This lecture will report the findings from recent investigations of illuminations in Lambeth Palace Library, explaining the processes that were used, summarising the pigments that were identified, and contextualising them within broader patterns of medieval and renaissance painting.

This meeting, open to Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, will be followed by tea. Friends should book in advance with Melissa Harrison, Lambeth Palace Library, melissa.harrison@churchofengland.org  or telephone 020 7898 1400.

New Library update

The Library project continues to progress to time and budget and is now approaching completion with key systems being commissioned ahead of handover at the end of April.

From June to the end of the year we’ll be moving in the collections – which will finally bring under one roof (with solar panels on top!) all of the archives of the National Church Institutions that are currently stored in far less than ideal conditions in both Lambeth Palace and the Record Centre in Bermondsey. We’ll have more information as the year progresses about the closure of the Record Centre and among other things the move of the Records Management team to Church House.

The New Library was listed as one of ‘Five buildings to watch out for in 2020′ in the Architects’ Journal. You can read the article online here.

The images below show some great views of the New Library, captured recently by drone:



2020 Getting ready to move!

Lambeth Palace Library and Church of England Record Centre – Collections and People Migration Project

Already into the new year and we have kick started preparations for moving teams and the collections into our lovely new building!  The new library is at commissioning stages with a handover date of April 20th, and we are on target to move in soon after.  A great deal has been achieved in terms of collection management and care, including cleaning, boxing over 35,000 items and finishing off preservation tasks for collections held in Morton’s Tower and CERC; as well as organising and mapping collections in readiness for a move starting around early June 2020 and finishing with the Great Hall collection being moved in October-November 2020.


Luciana Marques, Preservation Project Assistant; and Alison Day, Archivist- both seen lifting, condition checking and boxing large vellum bound manuscripts currently stored in the Audience Chamber in Morton’s Tower


CPD event for library and archive teams on an Introduction to the History and Preservation of Historic Photographs ending with a curator led tour of the V&A Photography Centre


Fiona Johnston, Conservator and Arianna Mangraviti, Preservation Project Assistant assessing the cleaning and packing needs for our gold finishing hand-tools


Image of a watermark found on conservation papers in the current conservation studio

20200115_125836Fiona and Maria organising our conservation papers for the new studio


Maria Martinez Viciana, Preservation Project Assistant, attempting to delaminate a heavily water damaged parchment manuscript for the legal team to see specific details

Archive news

CareyThe vast majority of the papers from Archbishop Robert Runcie’s time in office (1980-1991) have now been catalogued and made publicly available. Significant progress is also being made with the appraisal and cataloguing of the papers of Archbishop George Carey. A range of other material has also been catalogued, such as small manuscript accessions relating to the Church Lads Brigade, Bishop Hensley Henson and the author Kathleen Bliss.

Recent archive accessions have included further material from the Community of St Andrew, an Anglican religious order founded in 1861. Discussions with some other potential donors are ongoing, but no new material will be considered in 2020 because of the needs of the library move.

The discovery of a translation of Tacitus as being by Elizabeth I, which is contained in the library manuscript MS 683, was the subject of a great deal of media coverage: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/royally-adorned This manuscript has been digitised and is available on the library’s online image gallery:


A large number of glass plate photographs of cathedrals taken by a Reverend Mann (MS 5180-5184), dating from around 1900, were also recently added to the image gallery.


Newly catalogued items

Among our newly catalogued rare books is a work that complements the Library’s already strong collection of twentieth-century private press editions of biblical texts. The Psalter or Psalms of David from the Bible of Archbishop Cranmer (Mile End: Essex House Press, 1902) is one of 250 copies ‘edited from the Cranmer Bible of 1540’ and contains woodcut initials and decorations designed by the editor, Janet Ashbee. The Essex House Press, founded in 1898 by C. R. Ashbee after the death of William Morris, was intended as a successor to Morris’s Kelmscott Press and employed some of his former staff. Essex House captured the sentiment of the Arts and Crafts movement and became one of the most successful private presses of the era, producing more than 70 titles.


Another recent accession now available in the online catalogue is The Little Library (London, c.1868), a charming group of miniature Religious Tract Society works which are housed in their own decorated box. There are ten titles in all, each consisting of eight pages of text in their original orange paper covers: Lucy and Her Rose-Tree; The Cottage Child; The Busy Bee; The Marys of the Bible; The Two Sisters; Obey Your Parents; The Holy Day; Rosa and Frank; Speak Kind Words; The Little Boy’s Faith. Acquired with the support of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, these ten join a further 28 titles from the Little Library series which were presented to the Library by Mr Cliff Webb.

Little library

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 and Instagram.

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