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The Museum Library

The Abbey is building an impressive specialist library comprising books, leaflets, documents and journals dealing with the period from the Saxons, when the Abbey was founded, to its dissolution in 1539 under Henry Tudor. The subjects covered are illustrative of the lives, beliefs and practices associated with the people, lay and religious, in Shaftesbury and beyond. Some of the resources are not easily found elsewhere and include material used by Dr John Chandler for his comprehensive 2003 book,  'A Higher Reality: the history of Shaftesbury’s royal nunnery.'


The library is now housed in the new lodge buildings and is a place where local people and scholars will find the resources and facilities for studying Shaftesbury Abbey’s rich history. The digital catalogue will also soon become available for enquirers.


The range of subjects is wide and covers, among other topics:

Archaeology, of Shaftesbury Abbey and elsewhere

Art, including illuminated books, and Architecture

Abbeys and Abbesses, including the influential poet Marie de France — possibly at Shaftesbury

Benedictine Rule and life, and religious beliefs and practices

Clothing, Food, Plants and medicine, and much more.


You may like to join a new group, the Abbey Library Circle! To benefit from the resources and events in the new library, members will be invited to support and engage in seminars and book club sessions (mainly on Keen’s ‘Studies in the Early History of Shaftesbury Abbey’), research projects, journal and magazine extraction, all sorts of fun and interesting things! If you would like to be informed about the group or of how you can make use of the library, please email 

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