The Museum Library

The Abbey has a specialist library of books, pamphlets and other sources of information. This deals with the six and a half centuries of its history from its foundation by Alfred the Great to its wanton destruction on the orders of Henry VIII.

The collection was started by Elinor Murphy and benefited from a large donation by the late Father Janneau and much of the research material used by Dr. John Chandler for his book on Shaftesbury Abbey, ‘A Higher Reality’. It includes a number of rare books and documents not easily obtainable elsewhere.

A project is in hand to create a readily accessible database on this website , from which enquirers will be able to select material for study at the Museum. Subjects covered are wide ranging and include: archaeology, architecture, and the history of the Abbey; Benedictine life and its religious context – with sections on the Abbesses (including the enigma of Mary – possible the French poet Marie de France).  Also recorded are Buildings, Dress, Food, Occupations and the Rule of Benedict; The collections of Artefacts, which include alabaster, medieval floor tiles and glass; St. Edward, King and Martyr; Heraldry.

In the meantime, we will be happy to provide information on the contents of the library catalogue; and to make appointments to study library material on site. This can be combined, if desired, with study of artefacts on display or in store at the Museum.

Please use the ‘Contact Us’ facility , marking your enquiry ‘F.A.O. The Librarian’