Chained Library

Ascend a left-handed (defensive) spiral staircase in the Minster to find yourself in the Chained Library, founded in 1686. It was one of the first public libraries in the country, and is the second largest chained library; before the Reformation, this room housed the Minster Treasury.

The first donation came from Revd William Stone, who had seen many religious books like his being burnt by the authorities, and wanted to ensure that part of his collection would be kept safe in Wimborne. These theological books (Church ‘Fathers and Commentaries’) were in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and so must have been used mainly by the clergy; they were not chained. When another local donor, Roger Gillingham, gave another 90 books in 1695, he insisted that the books be chained up, but also that the Library should be opened, free, for the people of the town, providing they were ‘shopkeepers or the better class of person’.

The Library’s collection includes early books on gardening, medicine, law, etiquette, and building, as well as Walton’s great Polyglott Bible of 1657 (in nine languages). The display case in the library shows some of the most interesting and entertaining works.

For 2023 the library displays the Court Book of the Manor of "Wimborne late Deanery" 1624 to 1689

There is no disabled access, but you can watch a filmed tour of the Library in Trinity Chapel. 

Opening times:

Open from 1st April (or Easter if this falls in March) to the end of October
Monday to Friday - 10.30am to 12.30pm and 2.00pm to 4.00pm
1st Saturday in the Month - 10.30am to 12.30pm
Note: Opening times are all subject to weddings, funerals and other Minster services.
Guided Groups by prior arrangement with the Parish Office

To ensure that you are not disappointed, please ring the Parish Office in advance.

Most read