Lambeth Palace Library
London, SE1 7JU
Free to all
Founded in 1610, the historic library of the Archbishops of Canterbury serves today as the principal library and record office for the history of the Church of England.
James I described it as ‘a monument of fame' in his kingdom, while Peter the Great, who visited in 1698, is recorded as saying that nothing in England astonished him as much as Lambeth Library – he had never thought there were so many books in all the world.
The records held here date from the 9th century to the present day, and their broad scope reflects the office of Archbishop as head of the Province of Canterbury and his national and international roles in leading the Church of England. There is also material documenting the wealth and power of Archbishops in past centuries, and how this enabled them to collect books and manuscripts of the highest quality and significance.