Archives & Library

The Library Room

Cathedral Library ShelvesThe Library is believed to have been built in the early 15th century to house the manuscripts belonging to the Abbey of St Peter. These were dispersed and largely lost at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 

The library room itself was then used to house the College School which formed part of the new Cathedral foundation. It continued to serve this purpose until 1849 when it was badly damaged by fire. The school was found new accommodation on the Cathedral site and in 1857 the library was restored and returned to its original purpose, except that it is now the library of the Dean and Chapter (previously in the Chapter House) that is held here

The Library collections

The Books and manuscripts in the library have been acquired since the mid-1650s although some of them are considerably older, the earliest being 11th century.

Of particular note are one of three surviving copies of the “Historia Monasterii Gloucestriae” (a manuscript 14th century history of the Abbey); a 1535 Coverdale Bible that was once in the possession of Oliver Cromwell; a collection of 16th and 17th century Hebrew books from the library of John Selden; and several medieval medical texts. 

Nearly all of the printed works are available and more accessible in major academic libraries.

The Archives

These comprise a small amount of material from the medieval Abbey of St Peter, and the later administrative records of the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester. The estate records of the latter are deposited with Gloucestershire Archives. There are also architects’ records, photographs, and printed and archive material relating to the Three Choirs Festivals. 

Notable items include the Dean and Chapter Act Books and Treasurer’s accounts (beginning in the early 17th century); manuscript music part books used by the choir in the 17th to 19th centuries; two 14th century cartularies; and a series of medieval deeds.


If you have an enquiry, please contact our Librarian & Archivist, Rebecca Phillips:

Tel: 01452 229818


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