The Ancient Library

Ancient Library at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

The Ancient Library was founded by Dr Miles Mosse in 1595 as a resource for clergy training. There are over 550 books, mainly printed in the 16th and 17th centuries. The library, in a room over the north-west porch designed by Stephen Dykes Bower in 1960, has bookcases made by Leonard Goff in 2004.



You can tour the Library and hear all about the history of our incredible book collection from our experts. They must be pre-booked by email with our Visitor Experience Manager. Please allow one week’s notice for booking.

More information on our collection:


  • A list of the books in the historic collection in the Library can be found here
  • A list of the reference books in the Library can be found here
  • A list of donors and signatures found in the books can be found here
  • A list of subscribers in Robert Catchpole’s A choice collection of church music can be found here
Current Ancient Library Treasury Exhibition: ‘O all ye Green Things’


The Cathedral’s Ancient Library was founded in 1595 by Dr Miles Mosse. This exhibition shows how plants are depicted in our early printed books.


Come along and see some of the books from the Ancient Library in the Treasury. The Treasury, housed in the crypt of the Cathedral, is also home to a display of church plate, some dating back to the 16th Century.


The Treasury is open:


Monday – Saturday

10.00 am – 4.00 pm


12.30 pm – 3.00 pm


The copy of the Bury Cross can also be found in the Treasury. The original is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Current Online Exhibition: Illustrations in Echard’s History of England


Laurence Echard was a clergyman born at Barsham in Suffolk. He spent most of his life in the diocese of Lincoln but ended his ministry in the parishes of Rendlesham and Sudbourne in Suffolk from 1722 to 1730. His History of England was first published in 1707 and was the standard work on the subject for more than twenty years. This online exhibition explores the illustrations in his History of England.

Other Online Exhibitions

Conservation of Peter Baro’s In prophetam praelectiones (London,1579):


We were fortunate to receive a grant towards conserving this volume from the Cathedral Archives, Library and Collections Association. A report is in the Summer Newsletter 2022 on pages 13 & 14.

Ancient Library Articles

More information about the editions held can be found by: