February Blog: The Cathedral Library

February Blog: The Cathedral Library

6th February 2015

Exeter Cathedral has always been a place of learning and a store of knowledge. The Library has been growing in size and scope ever since Leofric, the first Bishop of Exeter first gave 66 books to his church. The Library now has more than 20,000 books covering a wide range of subjects. There are medieval manuscript books, books from the earliest years of printing to modern times. There are the sort of books that might be expected of a long-established Cathedral Library including many Bibles (in about 100 different languages), prayer books and other books on religious subjects but literature, philosophy and more are also covered. Of particular significance are the collections of early medical and scientific books, many of them handsomely illustrated.

The Cathedral Library is open to everyone. Visitors may come and view our interpretation gallery which gives information about the history and collections in the Cathedral Library & Archives. There is always a display of material from our collections on view, which changes every couple of months. At the moment – and for two more weeks - the display includes examples of anatomical texts including works by Andreas Vesalius, William Harvey and Eustachius. Researchers are welcome to book an appointment in our reading room to consult any of our material. We welcome bookings from groups as well. Many groups visit us to see a range of different books which they would otherwise not get an opportunity to see up close. Some groups like to see a varied selection representing the diversity of our collections, while others have very specialised interests.

To find out more about our collections and how to get access to them, or to make an enquiry about a group visit please contact us on 01392 421423 or email us

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