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.

Item of interest: “Healing by spiritual means” – The Guild of Health

 This month’s item of interest by David Thomas (Library Assistant), looks at the early history of the Guild of Health.

 Today, we are used to hearing about the importance of wellbeing and the impact this can have on both our mental and physical health. Mental health is discussed more than ever before and is finally being recognised on an equal footing with physical health. At the beginning of the 20th century these attitudes were rare in British society and the Church. The ministry of healing was being carried out by a minority of churches and ministers, some influenced by the Holiness movement within Methodism. Alongside this however, new religious denominations were being established that espoused spiritual healing while not adhering to traditional orthodox beliefs, in particular the Church of Christian Science. The Church of England and many other churches regarded faith healing movements with uncertainty and avoided official positions on the issue. It was this context that shaped the founding of the Guild of Health with its emphasis on both bodily and spiritual health and a desire to bring spiritual healing into mainstream Anglicanism.

Gothic letter title page of ‘What is the Guild of Health?’ (G4337.G8W4 [P])

 The Guild of Health was founded in 1904 with Percy Dearmer as Chairman, B.S. Lombard, Honorary Secretary and Conrad Noel third member (see below for biographical information on the individuals mentioned). [1] The Guild was formed out of a meeting that had been organised with an ambition to “revive the principles and practice of the Ministry of Healing in the Church of England”.[2] Conrad Noel, writing about the  impetus behind the meeting, stated that “The idea was that Christian Science and other health movements outside the Church had been driven into heresy by the Church herself having forgotten to preach spiritual healing and having lost the power to practise it. Hence this revival in the Church of England.”[3] The original membership was 400 and meetings were held across the country; at one such meeting G.K. Chesterton spoke on ‘Cheerfulness’.[4]

 In an early pamphlet, ‘What is the Guild of Health?’ (G4337.G8W4 [P]), its objects were stated as follows:

  1. The study of the influence of spiritual upon physical well-being.
  2. The exercise of healing by spiritual means, in complete loyalty to scientific principles and methods.
  3. United prayer for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in all efforts to heal the sick.
  4. The cultivation, through spiritual means, of both individual and corporate health.[5]

 As may be expected in any new endeavour, there were differences of opinion amongst the leadership, with Conrad Noel and Percy Dearmer resigning in 1907 and 1908. Although Dearmer returned in 1913, the movement split in 1915 with the creation of the Guild of St Raphael. One of the reasons for this was that the Guild of Health wanted to be an interdenominational movement, of which Lily Dougall was an advocate. Anglo-Catholics within the Guild wanted to keep it as an Anglican organisation with a particular emphasis on priests anointing the sick.[6] Harold Anson, chairman of the Guild from 1909 to 1928,[7] recalled that the Guild was “mainly interested in the co-operation of religion, medicine and psychology, and laid no stress upon healing as a sacerdotal endowment”.[8]  However, the two organisations remained on good terms and members of the Guild of St Raphael made contributions to the Guild of Health Magazine.

Minute Book of Committee Meetings, entry for 27th May 1918, noting Miss E. Phibbs’ estimates for printing costs and Lily Dougall’s advocacy of interdenominational work. (GOH 2/3)

 The Church of England was now paying more attention to spiritual healing and set up a committee to investigate its practice following the Lambeth Conference of 1920. Under the leadership of Harold Anson, the Guild became increasingly influential, Anson himself was a member on the Archbishop’s Committee. In 1922 the Guild started to hold weekly services at St Martin-in-the-Fields. William Temple’s (then Bishop of Manchester, later Archbishop of Canterbury) address at the 1924 Manchester Diocesan Conference on The Ministry of Healing was published by the Guild in their pamphlet series.

 By 1924 the Guild had come of age, British membership stood at around 2500 and there were branches in America and across the Commonwealth. That year also saw the beginning of the Guild’s magazine The Guild of Health Monthly. John Maud, the Bishop of Kensington and president of the Guild wrote on ‘Healing by spiritual means’, arguing that “to treat body, mind and spirit separately we hold to be unscientific because we think of man’s being as a whole.”[9]

 The Archbishop’s Report on The Ministry of Healing was published in January 1924.[10] It advocated dialogue and cooperation between doctors and clergy over the nature of healing and argued that spiritual healing should always have a spiritual end rather than just a physical outcome. It also confirmed the Biblical authority for anointing the sick and the laying-on of hands in prayer. This Report laid the foundation for the re-emergence of the healing ministry across the Anglican Church. Ninety years later the Guild of Health and the Guild of St Raphael reunited. The Guild continues to study the latest theological and scientific developments in healing and support the Church’s sacramental healing ministry.

Harold Anson was the chairman of the Guild 1908-28. Frontispiece from his autobiography ‘Looking forward’ (H5199.A6)

Early committee members of the Guild of Health:

  • Harold Anson (1867-1954), worked in New Zealand for several years and was later Master of the Temple Church, London from 1935-54.
  • Noel Buxton (1869-1948), a Liberal MP who survived an assassination attempt in Romania while on a diplomatic mission to Bulgaria in 1914 and after the end of the War joined the Labour Party, serving in Ramsey MacDonald’s first cabinet.
  • Percy Dearmer (1867-1936), who in 1909 wrote Body and Soul: An Enquiry into the Effect of Religion on Health. Dearmer is better known as the author of The Parson’s Handbook and his work with Ralph Vaughan Williams on The English Hymnal.
  • Lily Dougall (1858-1923), born in Montreal, Canada. She was a novelist whose work featured the ‘new woman’ of the 1890s before she started writing about religion and philosophy. The leadership of the Guild held many meetings at her house in Cumnor, Oxfordshire.
  • Bousfield Swan Lombard (1866-1951), the Vicar of All Hallows, North St Pancras, then Chaplain to the British Embassy in Petrograd (St Petersburg), Russia.
  • John Maud (1860-1932), served as a vicar in Leeds and at St Mary, Redcliffe, Bristol before becoming Bishop of Kensington in 1911. He was the father of the civil servant Lord Redcliffe-Maud.
  • Conrad Noel (1869-1942), the cousin of Noel Buxton and known as the ‘Red Vicar’ of Thaxted due to his left-wing politics, he was also a friend of the composer Gustav Holst. He was in turn a member of the Social Democratic Federation, the Independent Labour Party and the British Socialist Party.
  • Maude Royden (1876-1956), a life-long preacher and campaigner for the ordination of women, she joined the committee in the 1920s. She later received an honorary degree as Doctor of Divinity from the University of Glasgow in 1931, becoming the first woman DD.

 The Guild of Health and St Raphael recently donated a range of material to the library. The printed collection includes pamphlets published by the Guild from the 1910s onward, annual reports and the Guild Magazine (now called The Way of Life). Archive material contains Minute Books of the Executive Committee, the Magazine Committee, and the AGM respectively and records of accounts and events. The Guild pamphlets can all be found on the printed books catalogue by searching for series title, ‘Guild of Health’ and the archive collection uses the reference GOH on the archives catalogue.

[1] Dearmer, Nan, The Life of Percy Dearmer (London: Jonathan Cape, 1940), p. 187.

[2] Quoted in Gray, Donald, Percy Dearmer: a parson’s pilgrimage (Norwich: Canterbury Press), p. 80.

[3] Quoted in Dearmer, Nan, The Life of Percy Dearmer (London: Jonathan Cape, 1940), p. 187.

[4] Dearmer, Nan, The Life of Percy Dearmer (London: Jonathan Cape, 1940), p. 188.

[5] What is the Guild of Health? (London: Guild of Health, [19–]), p. [1].

[6] Anson, Harold, Looking forward (London: Heinemann, 1938), pp. 206-207.

[7] Mews, Stuart, ‘The revival of spiritual healing in the church of England, 1920-1926’ in The Church and healing (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1982), p. 311.

[8] Anson, Harold, Looking forward (London: Heinemann, 1938), p. 207.

[9] The Guild of Health Monthly Vol. 1, No. 1 (April 1924), p. 6.

[10] Mews, Stuart, ‘The revival of spiritual healing in the church of England, 1920-1926’ in The Church and healing (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1982), p. 324.

October 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.

Our latest modern accessions

Some highlights from our most recent new acquisitions at Lambeth Palace Library include:

Upcoming events

Page of music from the Arundel Choirbook (MS 1)Concert of Tudor Polyphony performed by The Sixteen

Wednesday 26 October, 7.30-8.30pm (followed by reception). In Lambeth Palace Great Hall

The Arundel Choirbook was created in 1525 and is one of very few part-books to have survived the Reformation. It reveals a wealth of extraordinary music and is one of the jewels of the collection of Lambeth Palace Library.   In a rare performance, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen will give voice to the Arundel Choirbook. The Sixteen will perform pieces by Ludford and Fayrfax, complemented with works by Sheppard, a younger contemporary of Fayrfax. The pieces will be introduced by Dr David Skinner (Director of Music at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge), an expert in Tudor polyphony. Concert-goers will have a rare chance to see The Arundel Choirbook itself, which will be on special display. The concert, organised by the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, will be held in the magnificent, and recently restored, Great Hall of Lambeth Palace and will be followed by a Reception, hosted by the Marquess of Salisbury, Chairman of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. Lambeth Palace Library holds records from the 9th century to the present day and is considered second only to the Vatican Library in the importance of its ecclesiastical collections.

Tickets cost £60 (includes reception). To book a ticket please go to the website of the National Centre for Early Music or phone the box office on 01904 658338.

1488-5jChristmas reception

For the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library and their guests. Wednesday 7 December, 6pm. In the Guard Room, Lambeth Palace

Tickets £10 per head, to include mulled wine and mince pies.  Those wishing to attend should send their names in advance to Juliette Boyd, Lambeth Palace Library, Juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org or telephone 020 7898 1400, not later than Friday 2 December.  Admittance not before 5.30pm via the main gatehouse of Lambeth Palace.

News from the Archives

Title page from H5133 920.O8Newly catalogued archive material includes a 15th-century Register made for Archbishop Thomas Bourchier and including various information relating to the Diocese of Canterbury. Also received by donation were further papers from the 1990s relating to the Medical Forum of the Churches Council for Health and Healing; two watercolours of Lambeth Palace Chapel dating from 1928; and additional papers of C R Dodwell, Lambeth Librarian, relating to the history of the Library in the 1950s. Work to re-catalogue the Library’s historic records continues. For more information on these collections please see the online archives catalogue. There are new research guides on map collections and on using clerical directories for research, and guidance on using the Incorporated Church Building Society has been updated. A blog post focused on the 350th anniversary of the Fire of London. The Lambeth Apocalypse remains on exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge as part of its exhibition Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts. Library holdings continue to be the subject of research publications, such as the insanity of the Earl of Portsmouth in the 1820s which features in the records of the Court of Arches.

Church of England Record Centre update

  • Page from Clarke/1/1Canon Clarke’s archive containing written and typed notes, correspondence, newspaper cuttings, manuscripts, guide books, photographs and postcards concerning the architecture and architects of Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, predominately in England and Wales but also in Europe, Asia, Africa and America is now fully catalogued and available to be searched via the online catalogue here.
  • A selection of the Clarke archive (31 notebooks) has been digitised and is being uploaded to Luna.
  • Papers of the Secretary to the Church Commissioners have been fully catalogued and are available to be searched via the online catalogue here.  Also reading a blog entry on the collection is most recommended.
  • The archive of the Advisory Council for the Church’s Ministry is now fully catalogued and available here. Charting the history of the recruitment, selection and training of candidates for ordination over the period 1966 to 1991 the archive includes minutes of meetings of the Council and its numerous Committees, correspondence and papers, College Inspection Reports and much more besides.

Sion College Library Provenance Project

Ownership stamp of Adrien Maillard in Sion A94.2/R19We have now added our 300th item to the Sion College Library Provenance Project, the online gallery of images of provenance evidence from the library of Sion College. The project has attracted more than 16,500 views and many visitors have assisted in our research by transcribing inscriptions or identifying previous owners. Item number 300 was a 1650 work on papal primacy written by Jean Ravenau, entitled “De quartis et portionibus Ecclesiasticis …” [A94.2/R19]. The book once belonged to Adrien Maillard, an advocate to the French Parliament whose ownership stamp appears on the title page, pictured to the right.

Social media

Our new Lambeth Palace Library Instagram account now has over 1000 followers!  Thank you to all those who have joined us so far.  Don’t forget that you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as on our blog. Join us for some fantastic insights into treasures from our collections, dating from the 9th century to the present day. Marbled edges

‘Faith seeking understanding’: Finding Saint Anselm at Lambeth Palace Library

Today marks the launch of the second year of The Community of Saint Anselm, a community of prayer, theological reflection and service, based at Lambeth Palace and established by Archbishop Justin Welby for Christians aged 20-35. The Community draws its name from Saint Anselm of Canterbury – a Benedictine monk, renowned scholar and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1114.  Standing out in history as a teacher, philosopher and theologian (Vaughn, 2012), Anselm expounded the close relationship between knowledge of God and love of God, encapsulated in his motto, ‘faith seeking understanding’.  It is therefore fitting that his prayers, letters and theological texts find a home among the manuscripts and earliest of printed books treasured in the Library of Lambeth Palace.

Arms of Archbishop Anselm, from MS 555 f.4

Anselm himself was committed to monastic life and learning.  Despite being turned away when he first sought to become a monk at the age of 15, he went on to become an influential Prior and Abbot of Bec monastery in France, where he taught the monks and wrote a number of works that gained him a reputation for deploying reason to understand faith, and developing the ontological argument for the existence of God (Shannon, 1999). These works can be found in a number of manuscripts held at Lambeth Palace Library, dating from the 12th to 15th century.  The earliest of these is a manuscript compilation of Anselm’s treatises and a collection of his letters, compiled and copied in the 1120s by historian and monk, William of Malmesbury (MS 224).

MS 224 f.152r, with headline and numbers added in red by Archbishop Parker

When asked to become Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093, Anselm saw it as his duty to lead the church in moral and doctrinal teaching, and to continue to develop his own understanding alongside that of his monks at Christ Church Canterbury (Shannon, 1999). It was here that the second earliest volume of Anselm’s work held at the Library was made, in the late 1120s: a major collection of letters that remained at the Cathedral Priory until the Dissolution (MS 59). 

MS 59 f.64

Along with several of the Anselm manuscripts in the Library today, both of these volumes feature in Archbishop Abbott’s catalogue of Archbishop Bancroft’s personal library, the founding collection of Lambeth Palace Library in 1610.  They also bear the classmarks of Cambridge University, where they would be preserved during the Commonwealth occupation of Lambeth Palace.  A list of contents written in the hand of Archbishop Sancroft in both volumes shows the care afforded to them on their return to Lambeth, while headlines added in MS 224 by Matthew Parker, Archbishop to Elizabeth I, and annotations in MS 59 believed to indicate Thomas Cranmer’s ownership (Selwyn, 1996), demonstrate that these volumes had long been the subject of close attention by earlier Archbishops. One annotator’s references to ‘alius liber epistolarum’ in MS 224 suggest that these volumes may even have been studied side by side.  Further enforcing the long-standing esteem in which Anselm’s works were held, these works can also be found adorned within presentation volumes, such as a fine late 14th or early 15th century illuminated copy of his meditations copied alongside work from Bernard of Clairvaux and undoubtedly prepared for a dignitary (MS 194).

MS 194 f.1

Thomas Becket requested Anselm’s canonization in 1163, shortly after his own appointment as Archbishop, and a copy of the Bull of Pope Alexander III responding to this request can be found in Lambeth’s collections (MS 159 f.76v). It lies within a volume of Saints’ Lives, bound for Archbishop Sancroft, which also contains a Life and Miracles of Anselm written by his chaplain and secretary, Eadmer of Canterbury, as well as the only known copy of Anselm’s Life written by John of Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres, on Thomas Becket’s request. The presence of a second bull regarding his canonization, however, listed within Archbishop Morton’s Register for 1494, suggests that he may not actually have been canonized until three centuries later (Reg. Morton 1, f.220).

The path did not run straight for Anselm, however, and the earliest archival item in the Library’s collections to make reference to him evidences the more troubled aspects of Anselm’s career. Thought to date from 1100, the document is a notice from King Henry I in Latin and English, confirming the ownership of Anselm and the Canterbury monks of all the lands that they held in the time of King Edward and King William I (CM/XI/1).  This marked the return of lands confiscated by William II after Archbishop Lanfranc’s death, which were temporarily given back as a condition of Anselm’s acceptance of the Archbishopric, but seized again in 1095 as part of the long-running Investiture Controversy over whether the King or Pope had primary authority to invest ecclesiastical symbols of office. Even after this notice, the Controversy continued and, having already spent five years of his office in exile in 1095-1100, Anselm was exiled again from 1103-1106, until the dispute was settled at the Synod of Westminster in 1107 (Kemp, [n.d.]).


It was during the earlier of these periods of exile during his tenure as Archbishop that Anselm completed what is often considered his greatest work, Cur Deus homo (“Why God was man”). This is the text printed in the earliest of 7 incunabula containing Anselm’s work held in Lambeth’s collection. Printed between 1474 and 1500 in the continental printing centres of Strasbourg, Passau, Nuremberg and Basel, they illustrate Anselm’s ongoing influence.  This first printed edition of Cur Deus homo is believed to have been printed in 1474 in Strasbourg by George Husner (F220.A6 [**]). Demonstrating Anselm’s typically rational approach, it is formulated as a dialogue between Anselm and his student, Boso, and argues for the necessity of Jesus’ nature as fully human and fully divine in order to atone for mankind’s sin against an infinite God (Williams, 2016). This copy was purchased in 2002 by the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library.

Cur Deus homo f.1r (F220.A6 [**], 1474)
This work features again amongst Lambeth’s incunabula, in an edition printed 11 years later in 1485 in Passau by Johann Petri (F220.A6 [**]).  Here it is bound with Anselm’s short narrative on the Passion of Christ, De planctu Marie, which again takes the form of a dialogue, this time between Anselm and the Virgin Mary, and aimed at a young audience. Bound with a copy of 5th-century priest Julianus Pomerius’ treatise, De vita contemplative, it still retains its original 15th century wooden boards and clasp, and was presented to the Library by the Friends in 2000.

F220.A6 [**] (1485) manuscript pastedown and printed title page
The attention of eminent writers, scholars and theologians is evident in these incunabula.  Opera [et] tractatus beati Anselmi archiepiscopi cantuariēn ordinis Sancti Benedicti (1491), carries a donor inscription gifting the book to Archbishop Tait from R.C. Jenkins in 1869 ([ZZ]1491.2). This was most likely the theological writer Robert Charles Jenkins, rector of Lyminge with Paddlesworth in Kent, and a frequent correspondent with Tait.

Donor inscription from Jenkins to Tait in [ZZ]1491.2, front pastedown
Significantly, one late 15th century edition of Anselm’s works ([ZZ]1500.7) has been signed by historian and martyrologist, John Foxe, who would later include Anselm’s history and letters in his Actes and Monuments. The copy retains its early 16th century blind-stamped binding by Nicholas Speirinck and, along with several of these incunabula, contains fine examples of manuscript waste used in the printed volume’s pastedowns. Its title handwritten on the fore-edge reminds us of the book’s history in libraries at one point shelved with the fore-edges displayed, while a second copy of this edition, transferred from Sion College Library, displays the staple marks of hasps from its previous residence in a chained library (L40.4/43). Sion’s copy also retains a contemporary blind-tooled calf binding with a dragon motif, listed on the animals roll as made in Cambridge.

John Foxe’s inscription on the title page of [ZZ]1500.7
Anselm’s presence in the collections continues throughout the centuries, with further volumes of his works and studies on them dating from the 16th century through to the modern day.  As the second year of the Community of Saint Anselm gets underway, these volumes are further testimony to the influence of this faithful monastic theologian at Lambeth Palace and in Christian thought from the 11th century to today.

Title page of D. Anselmi Cantuariensis archiepiscopi … in omnes sanctissimi Pauli apostoli epistolas enarrationes … printed in 1533 in Coloniae (E2649.(A6) [**])

Further reading and bibliography

  • Kemp, John Arthur, ‘Saint Anselm of Canterbury: Archbishop and philosopher, in Encyclopaedia Britannica (n.d.)
  • Selwyn, D.G., The Library of Thomas Cranmer (Oxford, 1996)
  • Shannon, William H., Anselm: the joy of faith (New York: Crossroad, 1999)
  • Sharpe, Richard, ‘Collecting Anselm’, in Lambeth Palace Library: treasures from the collection of the Archbishops of Canterbury, edited by Richard Palmer and Michelle P. Brown (London: Scala, 2010), pp.38-39
  • Vaughn, Sally N., Archbishop Anselm 1093-1109: Bec missionary, Canterbury Primate, Patriarch of another world (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012)
  • Williams, Thomas, ‘Saint Anselm‘, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta (2016)

August 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.

Our latest modern accessions

Some highlights from our most recent acquisitions include:

For more regular updates on new accessions to the library, please follow us on Facebook.

Upcoming events

Lambeth Heritage Festival

LWatercolour of Lambeth Palaceambeth Palace Library is delighted to be the main partner for this year’s Lambeth Heritage Festival, a month-long showcase of the very best of Lambeth’s heritage and history. The Festival runs throughout September, and is led by Lambeth Archives and the Lambeth Local History Forum. The full programme can be viewed here.

Lambeth Palace Library will be offering the following events:

A Monument of Fame: Lambeth Palace Library’s Collections and Work

Saturday 3 September, 11.45am-12.30pm
At Michael Church, 131 Burton Road, SW9 6TG (part of a day of events for Lambeth Archives Open Day – full details on pages 26-27 of the Festival Brochure)

Lambeth Palace Library, founded in 1610, has a rich collection of manuscripts and archives, dating from the ninth century covering the history of the Church of England as well as wider British and Commonwealth history. This talk gives an overview of some of this fascinating material and of how it is used today.

‘Lambeth and its Palace’ Exhibition

Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from  Monday 5 September to Thursday 29 September, with the exception of 26 September and the afternoons of 22 and 29 September, entry at 11am, 12 noon, and 3pm. At Lambeth Palace

An exhibition of images, documents and objects from the collections of Lambeth Archives and Lambeth Palace Library, displayed in Lambeth Palace’s seventeenth-century Great Hall. The exhibition explores the history of the Palace, the surrounding area, and its role in Lambeth’s history. Entry is by timed, escorted groups only, meeting at the main gate of Lambeth Palace. Duration of visit is 45 minutes.

Booking essential for groups of five or more: email archives@churchofengland.org or phone 020 7898 1400.

Library Open Afternoons

Mondays 12 and 19 September, 12 pm-3pm
At Lambeth Palace Library

Visit our reading room and learn more about our collections, services, and talk to staff.  Entry is via the Library entrance on Lambeth Palace Rd. There is no need to book. Contact archives@churchofengland.org or 020 7898 1400 with queries.

Exploring Eden:

Adam and Eve in [ZZ] 1488.5A Symposium exploring how the Garden of Eden has inspired the design, making, and imagining of gardens.
Wednesday 5 October 2016, 10am to 4pm, Lambeth Palace Great Hall

A partnership between Lambeth Palace Library and the Garden Museum.


  • Dr Jennifer Potter, author of Strange Blooms: The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tredescants and The Rose on ‘the Tredescants’ quest for Eden.
  • Dr James Bartos, garden historian, on ‘The Spirituall Orchard: God, Garden and Landscape in the 17th Century’.
  • Scott Mandelbrote, Director of Studies in History, Peterhouse, Cambridge on ‘Eden: the Bible and the Gardeners’.
  • Christopher Woodward, Director of the Garden Museum, on ‘The search for Paradise from Captain Bligh to Stanley Spencer’.
  • Margaret Willes, author of The Making of the English Gardener on ‘Working Class Edens’.
  • Tom Stuart-Smith, landscape designer, on ‘Revisiting Paradise’.

The Symposium is also an opportunity to see books and manuscripts from Lambeth Palace Library, including plans of the Palace gardens, introduced by Giles Mandelbrote, Librarian of Lambeth Palace Library. At lunchtime you can visit the Palace gardens with Head Gardener, Nick Stewart.

£60 (£45 for Friends of Lambeth Palace Library and Friends of the Garden Museum) to include lunch. Please visit http://ow.ly/VZ4k302cM1Z or contact stephanie@gardenmuseum.org.uk

Concert of Tudor Polyphony performed by The Sixteen

Page of music from the Arundel Choirbook (MS 1)Wednesday 26 October, 7pm (entry from 6.15pm), Lambeth Palace Great Hall

Sacred music by Robert Fayrfax, Nicholas Ludford and John Sheppard. This concert, held in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace, will focus on works from the Arundel Choirbook (Lambeth Palace Library MS 1), which will be on display. Followed by a reception in the Guard Room.

Tickets will cost in the region of £60 and further details will be available later in the year on the Library’s website. Those wishing to register interest should send their names in advance to Juliette Boyd, Lambeth Palace Library (Juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org)

News from the Archives

Broughton Missal (MS 5066)Newly catalogued archive material includes a letter of the divine and Hebraist Hugh Broughton (1549-1612) given by the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. Also received by donation was an album of photographs and other material collected by Cecil Douglas Horsley (1903-1953), bishop of Gibraltar, largely relating to the 1948 Lambeth Conference. A further section of the papers of the Council on Foreign Relations (1933-1982) relating to the Orthodox Churches was completed. Interns catalogued files relating to the relationship of the Incorporated Church Building Society with individual dioceses, and enhanced catalogue data for the plans of Lambeth Palace created by the architect Edward Blore (1787-1879) and for one of the manuscripts relating to early modern Ireland collected by Sir George Carew (1555-1629). Work to re-catalogue the Library’s historic records continues. For more information on these collections please see the online archives catalogue.

Items in the Library collection relating to Thomas Becket were displayed at a symposium on the medieval Archbishop. Some of the items are also available to view in the online image database. Further additions have been made to the image database using the ‘book’ display feature, including the Broughton Missal acquired in 2015.