SZ0099 : Wimborne Minster: the chained library

taken 11 years ago, near to Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England

Wimborne Minster: the chained library
Wimborne Minster: the chained library
Situated within the Minster, this was one of Britain's first public libraries, established in 1686 in the room previously the Treasury, which housed the wealth of the Minster until it was confiscated by Henry VIII.

Among the earliest collections of the library, which we see here, were donated by Rev. William Stone on condition that the books were chained to the shelves - he wished that his items be available not only to the clergy but also to 'the better class of person in Wimborne'. He provided money for the chains and also stipulated that the existing works also be chained, lest they be pilfered by the less scrupulous.

Stone's collection is entirely ecclesiastical, but later collections have a variety of subjects, from architecture to wine pressing and even how to kill an elephant.

These are Victorian chains but there are two originals remaining. Because the chains are attached to the edges of the book covers, rather than the spines which would become easily damaged, the books face inwards. Therefore, index marks face the visitor (not really appreciable in this picture but see SZ0099 : Wimborne Minster: later books in the chained library) so that the correct book can be selected.

Out of picture, in a central glass case are several very interesting and very old books - to name but two examples: one handwritten on vellum dating from the 1340s; and one large bible written in nine languages, a few verses at a time in each.

The library is only open for limited periods during the day, so a visit does need to be planned more closely than simply visiting the church itself.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Geographical Context: Religious sites City, Town centre other tags: Library Chained Library Church Minster Click a tag, to view other nearby images.
This photo is linked from: Automatic Clusters: · Wimborne Minster [275] · Minster Church [37] · Public House [3] Other Photos: · Wimborne Minster: later books in the chained library ·
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SZ0099, 356 images   (more nearby 🔍)
Chris Downer   (more nearby)
Date Taken
Monday, 27 May, 2013   (more nearby)
Monday, 27 May, 2013
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SZ 0095 9991 [10m precision]
WGS84: 50:47.9250N 1:59.2732W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SZ 0095 9991
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Supplemental image
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