New Library Tours for Lichfield Cathedral

Tue, 29/03/2016 - 16:57

New Library Tours are set to launch at Lichfield Cathedral in May this year.

The Cathedral Library is tucked away on the upper floor of the Chapter House, and houses a unique and special collection of historic treasures.

The tours, entitled ‘From Manuscript to the Printed Word’ will offer visitors an exclusive opportunity to see some of the Cathedral’s earliest manuscripts, and a selection of their earliest printed books. These include a beautiful 15th century illuminated copy of Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’, a dangerous and forbidden Wycliffe Bible, and a 16th century printed ‘Book of Hours’.

The Cathedral Library Tours have proved to be hugely popular in previous years, so this year the Cathedral has doubled the number of tours available, and introduced some special Christmas Evening Tours which will take place in December. The Christmas Library Tours will see the library beautifully decorated for the season, and offer the chance to take the tour by candlelight, as well as enjoy a glass of mulled wine and festive treats.

Clare Townsend, Cathedral Libraries’ Manager, says: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s tour, particularly with the addition of the Christmas tours. It’s a great privilege for us to be able to share our wonderful collection, and we hope to see many new faces when we re-open our doors in May.”

Visitors to the Cathedral Library have described previous tours as a “fascinating glimpse of a real treasure house.”

Tickets for the tours cost £18 - £25 and are available from the Shop at No.9, The Close, or by calling 01543 306150. Tours last approximately 90 minutes.  

To find out more about events and services at Lichfield Cathedral, visit

Notes to Editor

For further information please contact Abby Wilson (Marketing Officer) at or on 01543 306121.

The Cathedral Library forms part of the current Chapter House Appeal which launched in February 2016. The Cathedral urgently needs to raise funds to reverse serious water penetration and stone erosion on the Chapter House. The structure is built from a number of different types of red sandstone. In recent years, the top layer of stone-work has begun to weaken, and the roof has also started to show signs of significant distress. Both factors now pose a substantial risk to the interior, in particular to the library collection housed on the upper floor.

Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral is the only medieval three-spired Cathedral in the UK, and is a treasured landmark in the heart of England. It is one of the oldest places of Christian worship, and the burial place of the great Anglo-Saxon missionary Bishop, St Chad. 

Cathedral Treasures

Lichfield Cathedral is home to the St Chad Gospels and the Lichfield Angel. The St Chad Gospels, an illuminated Anglo Saxon gospel book which dates from about 730 (that is, about 50 years older than the famous Book of Kells). Discovered in 2003 the Lichfield Angel is a remarkable survival of Saxon sculpture. The carved limestone corner-piece, which is dated to around 800 A.D., comprises three separate fragments which are thought to have formed part of a tomb chest, presumably that of St Chad (d.672).