Tuesday, July 27

Morley Library, Winchester Cathedral

The Morley Library, a private library at the Winchester Cathedral, is located in two rooms added onto the cathedral between 1093 and 1107.

The date is agreed upon, due to mural behind the bookcases depicting the removal of relics in the room and a picture of the high alter in the cathedral that hold the bones of St. Swithun, painted in 1200. (Picture is from a brochure from the library)

Behind the bookcases, grooves can still be found where secret compartments are present, possibly where the communion vessels or relics were stored.

George Morley, from whom the library gets its name, was the bishop of Winchester Cathedral in 1662. His collection makes up 2000 of the volumes in the present library. He was the person who proposed to have the room fitted as a library and to add his collection added upon his death. In 1668, the floor was refurbished and the bookcases from Morley’s residence were installed.
The library contains some very rare items and some are housed in the Williams room across the hall.

Among these is the famous Winchester Bible, which has only been removed from the cathedral only twice, once when the collection was being offered for sale and the other during WW II. (Image from the Winchester Cathedral Wesite - www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/visiting/3/.)

Also, the Williams room contains the Anglo-Saxon Charter (957), the oldest document in the building, and the Winchester Cathedral Archives. The library also contains two globes, one terrestrial and one celestial, bought with money left by Morley. (As seen in the picture at the top from a postcard)

The cathedral also houses the Triforium Gallery full of items from the cathedral's history, one of which is a bowl that is rumored to have held the heart of King Canute. Canute died in Shaftsbury around 1035. His heart was removed and buried there, while his body was brought back to Winchester for burial.

No comments:

Post a Comment