Our Library

An Extensive Collection

The library’s book collection includes both manuscript (handwritten) and printed books.

There are 193 manuscript books written between the 800s and 1400s. These include around 60 manuscripts written at the first Salisbury Cathedral at Old Sarum.

The total number of early printed books in the library is about 12,000. The oldest are a collection of 43 incunabula (books printed before 1501). As well as being listed on our own catalogue the incunabula are included on the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue and Material Evidence in Incunabula.


Finding Out More

Most of the books were donated or bequeathed to the Cathedral and therefore often reflect the interests of their previous owners. Many still have their original bindings. Of particular significance are collections of sixteenth century theology belonging to Bishop Edmund Geste (1514-1577), medical and scientific books from Bishop Seth Ward (1617-1689), and nineteenth century theology from Dean Henry Hamilton (1794-1880).

There is also a collection of books, predominantly printed in the 1900s and more recently, on the history of the Cathedral and the people connected with it.

You can search our library and archive electronic catalogue.

Search the Online Catalogue

Please note that information about many books and documents has not yet been added to the electronic catalogue so if you do not find what you are looking for, please contact us directly.

We welcome all enquiries about the library; please email Please also contact us if you wish to consult a specific book for your own research.  All visits to the library must be arranged in advance.

Contact information

Dr Anne Dutton, Cathedral Librarian