Lambeth Palace Library

Contact details

Website: E-mail: Tel: 020 7898 1400

Photo of  Lambeth Palace library

Image copyright: Lambeth Palace

About the library

Lambeth Palace Library contains approximately 120,000 printed books, 40,000 pamphlets and over 100 current periodicals as well as the historic section of the Sion College Library (c. 35,000 printed books and c. 30,000 pamphlets) from the 15th to 21st centuries. The collection forms the leading national collection in the history and affairs of the Church of England, alongside a great diversity of other subjects.

The reputation of the Library rests in large part on its world-famous collection of early printing, one of the finest in Britain. Many copies are unique or exceptionally rare, or are distinguished by their provenance or special bindings. The printed books from the 15th to the 19th centuries were for the most part collected by gift or purchase by successive Archbishops of Canterbury and are remarkable for their quality and diversity. From the 19th century onwards the printed books form a more subject-focused collection, representing a comprehensive reference collection on the history of the Church of England, and strong collections on the Anglican Communion and other non-Anglican Churches. It includes pamphlet collections with many rare and unique items of Church and Church-related controversies and issues of the day.

The Library was founded in 1610 when Archbishop Bancroft bequeathed his great collection of books and manuscripts to his successors and the archbishopric. The Library was founded as a public library and it remains freely open for research, serving as the principal library and record office for the history of the Church of England.

The Library focuses on ecclesiastical history, but its rich collections are important for an immense variety of topics from the history of art and architecture to colonial and Commonwealth history, and for innumerable aspects of English social, political and economic history. It is also a significant resource for local history and genealogy.

Designated status has been conferred on the collections under the MLA's Designation scheme in recognition of the outstanding national and international importance of its collections.

The local library catalogue is available online.

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availability on Copac? No

Can I obtain items via Interlibrary Loan? No, the library does not take part in the Interlibrary Loan scheme. However, a range of copying services is available.

Can I visit the library to view materials? Yes, visit the library's web site for access details. If you wish to visit it is advisable to contact the library in advance to ensure the material you need will be available.

How do I find primary source material held at this institution? Visit Lambeth Palace's contributor page at the Archives Hub for information.


Lambeth Palace data on Copac

Example record from Lambeth Palace:

X sermons by that late learned and rev. divine John Donne... : chosen from the whole body of Donne's sermons by Geoffrey Keynes.
  Published: London : Nonesuch Press 1923

You can browse all the titles on Copac starting with the above title.