Durham Cathedral Collections

Durham Cathedral ‘s archive is one of the most complete and extensive monastic archives to survive in Britain in its original location. The archives date back to the late eleventh century. They are of exceptional importance for research into the medieval period. The post-dissolution archive constitutes a significant source for the social and economic history of the north-east of England. The archive includes important holdings of maps and architectural drawings.

The Cathedral Library ‘s collection of printed books is broad and extensive, with 30,000 titles published between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Chapter Library, dating from 1473, includes bibles and commentaries; the Sharp Library is a lending library of modern theology, open to all clergy, ordinands, theology students and other diocesan readers. Music collections within the Cathedral library comprise mainly organ books and part-books used by the cathedral choir from the early seventeenth to the nineteenth century.

Within the Cathedral walls lie artefacts of historical, cultural, and religious significance, including paintings, carved stones, textiles, metalwork, and manuscripts from as far back as the Anglo-Saxon period. The Cathedral also houses church plate, jewellery and other metalwork associated with the life and liturgy of the Cathedral, its bishops and benefactors. The earliest church plate dates from the seventeenth century, including the Auckland Castle plate, commissioned by Bishop Cosin, c.1660.

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