Libraries in an Age of Revolution, 1640-1660

Date / time: 25 April - 26 April, All day

Libraries in an Age of Revolution, 1640-1660



The Civil Wars and Interregnum were crucial for the development of British libraries, both private and institutional. During the 1640s and 50s many libraries were destroyed and their collections dispersed, but this period also saw the establishment of several important libraries and the growth of existing collections. There were special opportunities for library creation in this period, and there emerged new ideas about the nature and purpose of libraries. This conference considers the fortunes of various British libraries between 1640 and 1660. Bringing together new research by leading scholars, it explores in depth the impact of the religious and political upheavals of the period. Winchester College is one of the oldest schools in England. The conference will be held in the College’s fine seventeenth-century schoolroom and meals will be taken in the medieval hall. Delegates will have chance to explore the College’s historic library. A temporary exhibition will illustrate some of the themes of the conference through an examination of the history of three Winchester libraries in this period: the College, the Cathedral, and the library of George Morley.

Thursday 25th April

  • 12 – 1: Registration and Lunch
  • 1 – 2.30: William Poole (New College, Oxford) – ‘Oxford College Libraries in the Civil War.’Scott Mandelbrote (Peterhouse, Cambridge) – ‘Cambridge Libraries in the Civil War.’
  • 3 – 3.30: Giles Mandelbrote (Lambeth Palace Library) – ‘The Libraries of Lambeth and Sion in the Civil Wars and Interregnum.’Matthew Yeo (Bedales School) – ‘Robert Littlebury, Chetham’s Library and the Second-Hand Book Trade, 1655-1700.’
  • 5 – 6.30: Toby Barnard (Hertford College, Oxford) – ‘Libraries in war-time Ireland during the mid-seventeenth century.’Alistair Mann (University of Stirling) – ‘The Libraries of the Covenant: Robert Baillie and a cast of ghosts.’
  • 7.30/8: Drinks & Supper

Friday 26th April

  • 9.30 – 11: Richard Foster (Winchester College) – ‘Winchester Cathedral Library, 1642-1669.’David Pearson (Institute of English Studies, University of London): ‘Academic and clerical private libraries during the Civil War and Interregnum.’
  • 11.15 – 13.00 Jason Peacey (UCL): ‘”These ephemeral and destructible things”: the civil war pamphlets of the Harvey family of Ickwell Bury.’Mark Purcell (Cambridge University Library): ‘The Country House Library and the Civil War?’
  • 13.00 – 13.45: Lunch
  • 13.45-15.30: Tours of the Fellows’ Library

Winchester College is in the centre of Winchester, an hour’s train journey from London and Oxford. There are many hotels and B&Bs in and around the city. Accommodation closest to the College is provided at the Mercure Hotel, the Wykeham Arms, and the Winchester Royal Hotel.

Registration closes on Friday 12th April.

A booking form is available at: