St. Chad's College Books & MSS

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 33 St. Chad's
  • Dates of Creation
      1475-1939 (books) and 13th-19th century (mss)
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Latin , English , Greek , and one each of Korean  and Turkish
  • Physical Description
      20 metres, comprising 310 titles and 5 manuscripts

Scope and Content

The deposit of printed books comprises all the college's pre-1701 books, including 10 incunables (such as the earliest printed book Bonus Accursius's edition of Scriptores historiae augustae (Milan 1475) (SA 0169) and a 1497 Missale Parisiense lavishly decorated with woodcuts (+A.7)), 34 sixteenth-century and 84 seventeenth-century books, andsome volumes of later date. There are many Latin and Greek copies of classical texts, history and literature, and works on the bible, with some later works on church history, liturgy and ritual, and more general history. There is also much ofprovenance and binding interest in the collection.

The manuscripts comprise two medieval manuscripts (a mid 13th-century North Italian Cistercian antiphoner and a mid 15th-century Italian book of hours), a fragment of a 16th-century musical manuscript, a 19th-century Turkish calligraphicmanuscript, and a later 13th century Paris gospel fragment. Manuscript fragments also feature as pastedowns on printed books, such as 12th century bible and 15th century grammar fragments on Guillaume Durand's Rationale divinorum officiorum (Lyon 1516) (B.3) and a 15th century Verona legal document on Virgil's Georgica (Verona 1598) (B.20).

Administrative / Biographical History

St Chad's Hall, Durham, was founded in 1904 and upgraded to St Chad's College in 1919. The college founders were deeply influenced by the ideals of the Oxford Movement, and their purpose was to set up a university college where men of sometimesvery restricted financial means could be trained for the Anglican priesthood and also read for a degree in the University of Durham. The college's catholic tradition is strongly reflected in the manuscripts and early printed books, particularly inthe emphasis on liturgy and ritual. The books were given by various benefactors, especially L.A. Body, the college's first classical tutor and donor of over 600 works, largely editions of the classics, and including most of the incunabula. Thecollection formed the focus of the college's Research Library, also rich in such as contemporary writings on the church controversies of the 19th century and publications of the Alcuin Club. It featured in a major exhibition in Palace Green Library(Pleasure in Books) 18 January to 2 March 1990.


Some of the early printed books are now in the general PGL SA and SB sequences; the rest retain their original alphanumeric sequence, lettered A-K, with ordinary, + and ++ sequences.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by St Chad's College c.1995, with a further manuscript fragment deposited in 2005 (Acc No Misc.2005/6:34).

Other Finding Aids

Printed material is recorded in the catalogue. To restrict the search to this collection, do a shelfmark search on shelfmark St. Chad's - or use the following URL's&searchscope=1&submit.x=10&submit.y=7

The medieval manuscripts are described in N.R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries , II, (Oxford, 1977) 512-3, and, more fully, in the Draft Catalogue of Medieval Manuscripts in the University Library, available in the search room.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possiblewith identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

St Chad's College has its own more modern Williams, Brewis, Wetherall, Fenton and Reserve Libraries on site, all catalogued on the university system.

St Chad's College archive is held mainly in the college but property deeds and some other recent material is held in Palace Green Library at reference UND/F3.


Pleasure in books : eight centuries of books from the library of St. Chad's College : An exhibition in Durham University Library, Palace Green Section, 18 Jan - 2 March 1990Non vestra sed vos : St Chad's College 1904-2004 : an exhibition of the College's archives, rare books, manuscripts and photographs (exhibition at Palace Green Library 4-29 November 2004)

Personal Names