New Season for Wimborne Minsters Chained Library

The Chained Library of Wimborne Minster reopens for the new 2024 season on Monday 1st April.

The Library, Opened in 1695 as one of the first public reference libraries in England, it is still being used today as an invaluable source of reference materials.  From a Polyglott Bible in nine classic languages, to the works of Machiavelli; from a hand-written priest’s manual of 1343, to a book regarded as the first book in the English language about mental health dating from the 1600’s; from a book explaining how to build houses out of brick and plaster (from 1667, the year after The Great Fire of London), to a book by an ex-privateer on how to grow grape vines in England.

This is the second largest chained library open to the public in England and is still in its original location, at the top of a spiral staircase in a Norman Tower.

New for this season are “new” books from recent notable donations, the first are 2 volumes that came to us from the sad closure of the Quaker Meeting House in Boscombe, both are by George Fox who was an English Dissenter, and the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers. The books: “The Journal of George Fox”, dated 1694 and, “Gospel Truth Demonstrated” dated 1706.

The second donation  of seven books, presented by the Revd Canon Andrew Rowland, Rector of Wimborne Minster, are two historic bibles, a Geneva Bible dated 1582 and a King James Bible dated 1648, a John Brown Self-Interpreting Family Bible c1876, an 1866 copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (edited by Revd Bramley-Moore) and a facsimile copy of The English Hexapla from 1841, a 1897 exposition of The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England by E C Gibson and the Prayer Book, dated 1858, which was last used in the Priest’s stall at Holt Parish Church which, sadly, closed in 2020.

Also available this season is the new Chained Library Guide Book, The Guide Book will be available to purchase from the Minster Gift Shop (and the Museum of East Dorset and Gulliver’s Book Shop) at a price of £6.00, the profits of which is divided between the chained library, to help maintain and preserve these vital books, and the Minster itself.

The Library’s new season starts on Monday 1st April 2024 to Tuesday 31st October, Monday to Friday mornings and afternoons and the first Saturday morning in the month. For special appointments, or group bookings contact Church House for details, Tel: 01202 884753

A visit to the Wimborne Minster Chained Library is a must for all lovers of books and history, or just the curious!

Interior of Wimborne Minster Chained Library