Nov 9, 2011

collections

TUESDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2011

Hereford Cathedral Chained Library

from here onLENNYLIKESLIBRARIES,thank you!

Hereford Cathedral Chained Library, in Hereford Cathedral.







The books were chained to avoid theft.

History of the Chained Library

Books have always been collected by the cathedral community. The oldest volume is the Hereford Gospels, dating from around the year 800, although the history of the library really begins in 1100. The Cathedral acquired a large number of books in the twelfth-century.

Copied by hand, these volumes included vital texts on theology as well as ‘glossed books’, which are parts of the Bible with commentary. Most of the books collected from the fourteenth-century onwards were predominantly law books, thus reflecting a major interest of the canons at that time. It is unlikely that the Library had more than one hundred and forty books in its early days.

These books were kept in different places in the Cathedral. Some were chained to lecterns, others kept in cupboards, and a number possibly in wooden chests. The first library room was not created until the fifteenth-century, when a special space was built over the west walk of the south-west cloister. Here the books were kept and could also be read. Unfortunately, no furniture from this room survives, though it is likely that the books were chained to sloping desks.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, a commission investigated the goings-on at the Cathedral, and the commissioners found that the books were not being looked after properly. In fact, the Library was described as being in a state of collapse. In 1590 the whole library was moved to the Lady Chapel, thus enacting a principle of the Reformation to convert such a chapel into non-liturgical use, and the Chained Library created in 1611 by Thomas Thornton.

Thornton, canon of Hereford from 1583 onwards, was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and vice-chancellor of Oxford University in 1583 and 1599. He had seen Sir Thomas Bodley’s design at the Duke Humfrey Library and copied this furniture at libraries he set up at Christ Church and Hereford. To save space, the books were placed upright on shelves, especially as the invention of printing meant that there were many books, and chains attached. This allowed the books to remain safe and secure, but could still be taken off and read on the shelves below.

It seems that the library had many additions during the seventeenth-century and survived the Civil War pretty much unscathed. After the Restoration of 1660, the Library was revived a little and in 1678 witnessed the arrival of the books from the Jesuit College at Cwm, a college that was closed down by Bishop Croft of Hereford.

In 1841 the chaining of books came to an end. When major restoration work was carried out on the cathedral, the books and shelves had to be removed from the Lady Chapel. After having been stored in various parts of the cathedral, half of the Chained Library was located in the room above the North Transept, which was open to the public, and the remainder in the Victorian Dean Leigh Library.

During the Second World War the medieval manuscripts and Mappa Mundi were removed to safety and returned in 1946. When the Dean & Chapter thought of selling the Mappa Mundi, a trust was a established to safeguard its future. The ownership of the famous map, and historic collections, were transferred to the Trust and following a gift from the late Sir Paul Getty, and an endowment from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, a new building was constructed to house these treasures. It was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 3 May 1996. The Library is together, all in one place, and in a controlled environment.

It takes about 4 hours on a train from my house, so I will have to visit when I can go up for a weekend, and I will make sure to research other local wonders. I promise to post some photos and information about London libraries soon. I think I am going to wonder down to the Women's Library this Thursday, and I am meeting a friend for a cup of tea at the British Library soon too. I guess I could post photos of Hackney Central Library, but it is not impressive, and has a rather shoddy collection of books. IT always makes me feel a bit sad, because you approach this new, huge, bright building, and go up to a dim library, with a bunch of Dan Brown books, and a VHS copy of the Mask. The little museum about local history underneath it though is pretty good. It is a bit like Norwich library, with the secret museum tucked away in the corner, (though Norwich library is at least ten times better-I will write about this too).

This update however comes from Marcus' bed. He is still sleeping, and I don't want to disturb him by moving, or watching a television show on his computer. Again it is lazy, and I apologies for that. My mind is swimming with lots of things I want to put on here, but I need to research it first. I need to have a proper think, and understand why certain places are so special to me, or why I have such a desire to visit them. There are so many gorgeous and special libraries, but only a handful that I need to see.

Real, wide awake, energetic, researched, relevant, local, interesting, and beautiful updates soon. promise.
 
Chained-Library.jpg
Chris Killip
The Library of Chained Books, Hereford Cathedral, Hereford, UK, 1992
From Chris Killip (55 Series)
(from: yama-bato, lushlight & liquidnight)Chris Killip, The Library of Chained Books, Hereford Cathedral, Hereford, UK, 1992
Chained Books in the Library of Hereford Cathedralhttp://despectacledlibrarian.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/hereford-cathedral-chained-library.jpg
here on wikipedia

here from the HERDFORD LIBRARY WEBSITE:

HISTORY OF THE CHAINED LIBRARY

chained
Books have always been collected by the cathedral community. The oldest volume is the Hereford Gospels, dating from around the year 800, although the history of the library really begins in 1100. The Cathedral acquired a large number of books in the twelfth-century.

Copied by hand, these volumes included vital texts on theology as well as ‘glossed books’, which are parts of the Bible with commentary. Most of the books collected from the fourteenth-century onwards were predominantly law books, thus reflecting a major interest of the canons at that time. It is unlikely that the Library had more than one hundred and forty books in its early days.

These books were kept in different places in the Cathedral. Some were chained to lecterns, others kept in cupboards, and a number possibly in wooden chests. The first library room was not created until the fifteenth-century, when a special space was built over the west walk of the south-west cloister. Here the books were kept and could also be read. Unfortunately, no furniture from this room survives, though it is likely that the books were chained to sloping desks.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, a commission investigated the goings-on at the Cathedral, and the commissioners found that the books were not being looked after properly. In fact, the Library was described as being in a state of collapse. In 1590 the whole library was moved to the Lady Chapel, thus enacting a principle of the Reformation to convert such a chapel into non-liturgical use, and the Chained Library created in 1611 by Thomas Thornton.

Thornton, canon of Hereford from 1583 onwards, was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and vice-chancellor of Oxford University in 1583 and 1599. He had seen Sir Thomas Bodley’s design at the Duke Humfrey Library and copied this furniture at libraries he set up at Christ Church and Hereford. To save space, the books were placed upright on shelves, especially as the invention of printing meant that there were many books, and chains attached. This allowed the books to remain safe and secure, but could still be taken off and read on the shelves below.

It seems that the library had many additions during the seventeenth-century and survived the Civil War pretty much unscathed. After the Restoration of 1660, the Library was revived a little and in 1678 witnessed the arrival of the books from the Jesuit College at Cwm, a college that was closed down by Bishop Croft of Hereford.

In 1841 the chaining of books came to an end. When major restoration work was carried out on the cathedral, the books and shelves had to be removed from the Lady Chapel. After having been stored in various parts of the cathedral, half of the Chained Library was located in the room above the North Transept, which was open to the public, and the remainder in the Victorian Dean Leigh Library.

During the Second World War the medieval manuscripts and Mappa Mundi were removed to safety and returned in 1946.  When the Dean & Chapter thought of selling the Mappa Mundi, a trust was a established to safeguard its future. The ownership of the famous map, and historic collections, were transferred to the Trust and following a gift from the late Sir Paul Getty, and an endowment from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, a new building was constructed to house these treasures. It was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 3 May 1996. The Library is together, all in one place, and in a controlled environment.
 

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