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Senate House Library

Chichester Cathedral Library Collection

The Chichester collection comprises 107 volumes purchased from Chichester Cathedral in 1947, when the Cathedral was selling off numerous items.

The items acquired by Senate House Library date from a 1519 edition of Sallust to Charles Cooper’s account of parliamentary proceedings from 1828. Classics and law are salient subjects. Philosophy, numismatics and antiquities are also present. The majority of volumes date from the eighteenth century. These are followed by imprints from the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries, with roughly equal numbers from each. The predominant language is Latin. A small number of books from 1672 onwards (mostly from the eighteenth century) are in English, with fewer again in Greek or French.

Many items are in folio format. Most are bound in contemporary trade calf, sometimes rebacked, with a few in vellum. Renowned printers include Christophe Plantin in Antwerp, Robert Estienne in Paris, Joannes Oporinus and the Frobens in Basel, and Andreas Wechel in Frankfurt.

Most volumes contain the Chichester bookplate noting their old shelfmark, and many contain an inscription recording the original donor. John Frankland (d. 1777), fellow of St John’s College Cambridge and prebendary of Chichester, and Matthias Mawson (1683-1770), bishop of Chichester and later of Ely, gave particularly generously. 


For an overview of the library, do a mixed classmark search on [Chichester] or an author search on ‘Chichester Cathedral’ as former owner.

Related materials

Further reading 

  • Bibliothecae Ecclesiae Cicestrensis Librorum Catalogus in Duas Partes Divisus (Chichester, 1871; a printed catalogue of the complete collection as it was in Chichester Cathedral). A copy, with the books in Senate House Library marked up, is available from Special Collections staff. 
  • Harrison, Jonathan, ‘The Chichester Cathedral Library Collection: Tale of a Sale’, SHeLF Newsletter, (2012), 6-7
  • Hobbs, Mary, ‘Books in Crisis’, The Book Collector, 44 (1995), 37-50