Microfilms of Durham Priory Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Positive microfilms of medieval manuscripts from Durham Cathedral Priory which are now located in libraries and repositories outside Durham.

Administrative / Biographical History

Many more of the manuscript and printed books formerly owned by Durham Cathedral Priory have survived than those of any other medieval English institution. Over 300 manuscripts remain in the Cathedral Library, and 12 more are in Durham University Library, but many others have passed to libraries elsewhere - over 170 have so far been identified. This collection of microfilms has been formed by Durham University Library with the objective of bringing together, for study purposes in Durham, films of all known Durham Priory manuscripts which are now located outside Durham, other than those which are available in published facsimiles. The collection now lacks films of only about four of the known manuscripts.


In order of reel number.

Access Information

Available for consultation. Further copies should not be made without permission from the libraries owning the manuscripts.

Acquisition Information

Largely by purchase from the institutions where the manuscripts are located.

Other Finding Aids

Most of the manuscripts are briefly described in Medieval libraries of Great Britain, edited by N.R. Ker: supplement to the second edition, ed. A.G. Watson (London,1987), 18-34. The collection, however, includes some manuscripts not listed by Ker and Watson, the Durham provenance of which has been identified more recently.

Catalogued on the Library catalogue, with shelmark XM/Film Durham Priory, http://library.dur.ac.uk/search/c?SEARCH=XM%2FFilm+Durham+Priory&SUBMIT=Search.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Additions are made from time to time, when manuscripts not previously recognised as having a Durham Priory provenance are identified.

Related Material

Muniments of the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral.

Location of Originals

Institutions owning the manuscripts, or libraries in which they are deposited.


Greenslade, S.L., The contents of the library of Durham Cathedral Priory, Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, 11 (1965), 347-69  Piper, A.J., The libraries of the monks of Durham in Medieval scribes, manuscripts and libraries: essays presented to N.R. Ker (London, 1978), 213-49.

Corporate Names