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Chichester Cathedral Library

Cathedral Library
Cathedral Library

Deep in the inner sanctum of Chichester Cathedral, on its north side and above the Treasury, is the Cathedral Library. Our knowledge of the Library is partial but a reasonable number of books can be traced back as far as the late 12th century. The Library also has some intriguing stained glass windows and unusually well-preserved stone corbels.
Among some of the jewels in the Library collection are the Kenilworth Missal dating from the 13th century and William Whittaker’s 1585 edition of the controversy between Bishop John Jewel of Salisbury and the Jesuit Thomas Harding, debating certain Roman Catholic doctrines.  The development of the Library post-Restoration is closely associated with the Civil War poet Bishop Henry King (1592-1669), the friend and executor of John Donne.

The Library houses a variety of books including Bibles and prayer books in addition to books on theology, church history, music, archaeology, architecture, local history and geography and a number of other subjects.  The Library is also home to a wealth of interesting photographs and images some of which have recently been digitised as part of a Heritage Lottery Funded Project. The images showing The Collapse of the Cathedral Spire: An inspiring tale of a crumbling landmark and Victorian builders can now be viewed online by clicking here.

Each year the library purchases a small number of new books (eg on theology, history and art) to resource the learning of the Cathedral Community, and these are available for loan.  For a list of the current titles please click here.


Please note that on a day to day basis the library is a private place of work and is therefore closed to visitors.  However it can be viewed by appointment.  There are also 'Behind the Scenes' open days twice a year when members of the public are welcome to visit this historic area as part of the Festival of Chichester and Heritage Open Days. 

If you would like to find out more, or arrange a visit, please contact Sub-Librarian Richard Hance at or or on 01243 813587.  Please note that email is the best way to get in touch, as the library is only staffed for a few hours each week - click here to send an email.

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