Treasures of Lambeth Palace

The Great Hall at Lambeth Palace has a new exhibition featuring books owned by Henry VIII, rare bibles and historic papers on show for the first time.


Great Hall Lambeth Palace
 The Great Hall at Lambeth Palace

A new exhibition in the Great Hall at Lambeth Palace, London celebrates the 400th anniversary of one of England’s earliest public libraries. Founded in 1610, the Lambeth Palace Library has a rich history. James I described the library 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 Palace Library – he had never thought there were so many books in all the world.

The Treasures of Lambeth Palace exhibition draws upon this long and diverse history to present books, manuscripts and archives – some of which are on display for the very first time. It reveals how the collections have developed since 1610 and explores the history surrounding the people who owned, studied or used them as aids to prayer and devotion.

Highlights of the exhibition include the MacDurnan Gospels, written and illuminated in Ireland in the 9th century; the Lambeth Bible, a masterpiece of Romanesque art; plus books owned and used by King Richard III, King Henry VIII, Queen Katherine of Aragon, Queen Elizabeth I and King Charles I.

On top of these beautiful books, you can also see documents of historical importance such papers relating to the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral after the Great Fire of London, physicians’ reports on the illness of King George III and the warrant for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. The exhibition runs until 23 July.

For more information on Lambeth Palace Library, visit