The Historic Library and Rare Book Collection at Sherborne School contains approximately 900 volumes published between the 15th and 20th centuries, although the nucleus of the collection is the School’s 17th-century library.  Of the 400 volumes listed in a library catalogue dated 1695 the majority still remain in the collection.  The subject areas covered include theology, history, travel, topography and maps, natural science, philosophy, ecclesiastical history, bibles and prayer books.

The collection includes a copy of Tyndale’s Bible (1536); the Bishop’s Bible (1568); the Antwerp Polyglot Bible (also known as Plantin’s Bible, the Biblia Regia or the King of Spain’s Bible) (1569/72); Matthew Parker’s Bible (1572); the Geneva or ‘Breeches’ Bible (1586); a set of late sixteenth-century vocal works by Orlando di Lasso, Gastoldi and others; first editions of John Gerard’s Herbal (1597) and Dr Johnson’s Dictionary (1755); and one item of incunabula, St Thomas Aquinas, Opus Aureum (1493).

Guides to the Historic Library & Rare Book Collection:
Architecture & Classical Antiquities
British authors
British History
Classical authors
Classical History, Lexicons, Grammars, Anthologies, Geography
European and World History
French authors
Legal texts
Local History
Natural Science & Philosophy
Reference Works: Encyclopedias, Lexicography, Bibliography
Theology & Ecclesiastical History
Travel, Topography & Cartography

See also:
Books by or about Old Shirburians & members of School Staff
The Alec Waugh & Arthur Waugh library at Sherborne School (pdf)
The Powys library at Sherborne School

Further information:
Peter Currie, ‘Reflections on a bookseller’s bill of 1687’, Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (June 1987)
Robert Clavell’s bill, 28 June 1687
Isaac Cleave’s bills, 17 February 1690 & 2 July 1691
An inventory of Sherborne School library, c.1695 (pdf)
John Hutchins’ History of Dorset
Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the UK and Republic of Ireland, 3rd edition (Facet Publishing, 2016)

For further information about the Sherborne School Archives please contact the School Archivist

Return to the School Archives homepage