The Ancient Library

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 sixteenth and seventeenth 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.

More information about the editions held can be found by:

  • searching for ‘Bury St Edmunds CL’ in the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue
  • selecting ‘search by’ ‘library name’ and entering ‘Bury St Edmunds Cathedral’ in the English Short Title Catalogue
  • searching in COPAC. Click on ‘Cathedral Libraries (Heritage Catalogue)’ in ‘Library’ and in the drop box which then appears choose ‘Bury St Edmunds Cathedral’ in COPAC. Individual works can then be accessed by using its CLC number e.g. A116

Cathedral Treasury Exhibition: ‘Made in England’ – about a quarter of our 600 volumes were printed in England. William Caxton introduced printing in 1477 and the earliest English book in the library is Erasmus’ Paraphrases of 1548.


Most of the books were printed in London but we also have examples from Oxford, Cambridge, Eton and even one of 1761 from Bury St Edmunds.

If you would like information about donors, pastedowns or marginalia, or would like to visit the library, please contact the librarian through the Cathedral Office on or 01284 748730.

North Case
South Case