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.

Online Resources


Delve into the Ancient Library with two new online resources. Click on the highlighted links.


  1. Donors and Signatures: Is your family named in the Library’s Collection?
  2. Conservation: See how two books have been conserved for the future

Featured Books


Find out more about:

Saint Isidore

Nicholas of Lyra

Online Exhibition

As visits to the Ancient Library are not possible at the moment, we have created an online exhibition with books from the Ancient Library.

Look through the gallery below to find out more.
(Click on individual pages to enlarge).

Made in England

Further Information

A list of the 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

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



Articles about the Ancient Library can be read here

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.