Library Records Project 2

The project to produce new online descriptions of the early catalogues of Lambeth Palace Library 1610-1785, together with a guide to the catalogues, shelf marks and other physical evidence of the collection, funded by the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, has continued to make good progress.

Attention has been focused on the restoration of the Library by Archbishop Sheldon in 1664 and the catalogues of the Library (7 volumes) which he commissioned. A new description was also made of LR/F/11, which includes a set of book lists now identified as the packing lists of Sheldon’s personal collection when he moved to London in 1660. A further discovery was the presence in many of Sheldon’s books of shelfmarks reflecting their arrangement while he was Bishop of London (1660-3). The project also brought to light a Sheldon book with his crest, surrounded by a wreath, on the binding (the sole example of this stamp which has come to light at Lambeth), and also two Sheldon books with an engraving by Hollar of his arms as Bishop of London, both hand coloured. These are bookplate-size but appear to have been used only rarely, as frontispieces or embellishments.

The project has also covered the reorganisation of the Library by Archishop Sancroft between 1677 and his ejection from Lambeth in 1691. Sancroft rearranged the manuscripts and produced a new catalogue in his own hand. In addition he rearranged the printed books. Amongst the volumes catalogued, a shelf list made by Paul Colomies in 1684 (LR/F/10) has special importance for understanding the collection, especially as it includes an audit of the Library carried out by Sancroft’s chaplains at the time of his ejection in June 1691.

Shelf list by Paul Colomiès, 1684 (LR/F/10 f 26)
Shelf list by Paul Colomiès, 1684 (LR/F/10 f 26)

In all seven catalogues produced during Sancroft’s primacy were described. Three were identified as attempts at an author catalogue of the Library, a project which appears to have remained incomplete. A new description was also made of the catalogue of the Lambeth manuscripts compiled by Henry Wharton in 1688 (MS 580).

Work was also begun on the catalogues produced during the primacy of Archbishop Tenison, 1694-1715, another significant period in the history of the Library.