Rochester Cathedral has held a library since the establishment of the Benedictine Priory in 1082. For the monks, reading was as much a part of the Benedictine Rule as prayer and labour and by the time of writing of Textus Roffensis in 1122, the catalogue of the Priory Library contained therein a list ninety-three volumes. In today’s library we remain custodians of five volumes from the original priory library which have remained in Rochester in addition to a further four significant pre-Reformation volumes that were acquired by the later Deans and Chapters. Some of the original manuscripts recorded in 1122 have had their journeys traced over the years and can now be found in British and International libraries and institutions whilst most have been lost to time.
After the dissolution of the monastery the former monastic vestry was designated the Cathedral Library and remains so to this day. It can be found in the south east corner of the quire and is approached through a celebrated fourteenth century doorway.
Use of the Library
Today the library is available for general viewings and for the study of our books by appointment on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm.
Please click here to view the Reading Room Regulations.
For General Handling Guidelines click here.
The full pre-1900 catalogue can be found here
Please enter your keyword, title or author in the first box and in the second box drop down to the Rochester Cathedral collection. There is functionality to refine your search or browse within the collection.
If you wish to make an appointment to view a book or manuscript please follow the instructions on the request form. We do require that visitors complete a reading room membership form and this can be done on the day of your visit if you bring photographic proof of identity and proof of address to Garth House in advance of your appointment.