Library Of Lambeth Palace
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
We this month present our readers with a view of the ancient Hall of Lambeth Palace, as recently fitted up for the reception of the large and valuable library of the Archiepiscopal See.
Mention of the great hall occurs in the oldest steward's accounts extant, a computus of 15 Edw. II., in the time of Archbishop Reynolds ; and such an apartment was, no doubt, an appendage to the palace from its first foundation. The hall was repaired by Archbishop Chicheley. In 1570 and 1571, Archbishop Parker "covered the great hall of Lambeth with shingles." The hall was destroyed in 1648 by Colonel Scott, one of the regicides, who was in possession of the palace during the Commonwealth.
The present hall stands precisely on the site of the old one. It was ordered by its founder, Archbishop Juxon, to be built to resemble the ancient model as nearly as possible, and cost 10,500; "nor could all the persuasions of men versed in literature, and of his friends, induce him to rebuild it in the modern way, and unite it with the library, though it would have cost less money." It was not completed at the time of his decease ; but he left the following provision in his will : " If I happen to die before the hall at Lambeth he finished, my executor to be at the charge of finishing it, according to the model made of it, if my successor give leave." This munificent prelate sat in the see only two years and nine months ; and (including money paid by his executor) laid out in repairs 14,847 7s. rod., as was ascertained and declared by the Judges' delegates, at the same time that, in 1667, they adjudged £800 more should be paid by Sir William Juxon for dilapidations. The architecture of this magnificent fabric is of the mixed kind, as well as the ornaments, though the whole is intended as an imitation of the ancient style. The walls are chiefly built of a fine red brick, and are supported by stone buttresses, which do not terminate in pinnacles, but are crowned with balls. In the centre rises an hexagonal lantern of two stories, filled with round-headed windows ; it terminates in a large vane, in which are the arms of the See of Canterbury, impaled with those of Juxon.
The interior measures in length 93 feet, in breadth 38, and in height upwards of 5o feet. The depth of the great bay window at the north-west end is 7 feet 4 inches, and it reaches in height from the floor to the edge of the roof. The whole of the inside is profusely ornamented ; the roof in particular is constructed with much labour, and considering it was built in an age when such things were not usual, may be called a fine piece of architecture. It is entirely composed of oak, in many parts of which are carved the arms of Juxon, a cross between four negroes' heads ; on others, Juxon impaled with the See of Canterbury, or the arms of Canterbury only ; and other parts a mitre between four negroes' heads. The whole hall is wainscotted to a considerable height.
No metropolitan since the days of Archbishop Juxon has expended such large sums on this palace as the present excellent archbishop, who has entirely rebuilt the habitable parts of the palace, and repaired the hall, the guard-room, and the chapel. These alterations have been carried into effect with great taste by Edward Blore., Esq., the celebrated architect. His intended alterations were made known to our leaders by our correspondent "J. L.," in the Gentleman's Magazine for May, 183o, p. 394 ; where was given a view of the old portions of the palace, which were retained by Mr. Blore, as they appeared in the autumn of 1829, whilst the palace was under repair.
The noble hall has been convened by Mr. Blore, w th singular skill and felicity, into the Archiepiscopal Library.
The books are arranged on the east and west sides, and in twelve magnificent oak bookcases projecting into the room. In the recess between each bookcase are eleven tables of carved oak, of a massive but elegant design, suited to the architecture of the hall. The library is still lighted by the noble lantern in the centre. On the west side, by five pointed windows, and a bay-window at each extremity; on the east side, by five pointed windows; and on the north and south sides, by a pointed window at each end, under the roof above the fire-places. The room is heated by pipes under the floor, and the warm air is admitted into the room through fourteen brass gratings, between every division of the library.
At each end of the hall is a suitable fire-place;; over that on the north side are painted the arms of the See, impaling the arms of Archbishop Juxon ; over the fire-place on the south side are painted the arms of the See, impaling the arms of Archbishop Secker.
On the north and south walls, and between the windows on the other sides of the hall, are a number of paintings, containing portraits of bishops and eminent divines connected with the See ; a portrait of King Charles L; Sir R. Walpole ; Mr. Secretary Townshend ; Dr. Wilkins, librarian; Dr. Peter Du Moulin, chaplain to Archbishop Juxon, etc. ; also a large painting, containing a view of Canterbury Cathedral, brought from Croydon Palace.
The old entrance into the court-yard, at the south-west end of the hall, has been converted into a bay-window : and the principal door is now at the north-east. On each side the doorway are Corinthian pilasters, and over the doorcase are carved in stone the arms of the See, impaling those of Juxon, with "Anno Domini MDCLXIII."
The large bay-window is richly ornamented with painted glass. In the centre of the top division is a very large coat of the arms of the See, impaling those of Archbishop Juxon ; and underneath is a splendid recent addition, of a similar size, of the arms of the See, impaling those of Archbishop Howley, "1829." Around, are smaller coats of the arms of about twenty-four archbishops, each impaled with the arms of the See, and the date of the year when put up. There are also the arms of Philip II., King of Spain. But perhaps the most curious piece of painted glass is a portrait of Archbishop Chicheley (engraved in Herbert's History of the Palace).
There does not appear to have been any library at Lambeth except the books which were the private property of each successive arch-bishop, until the time of Archbishop Bancroft, in the reign of Elizabeth. Even Evelyn regarded the Lambeth Library in this light, remarking, in a letter to Mr. Pepys, written in 1689, that it was then " replenished with excellent books, but that it ebbs and flows like the Thames running by it. at every prelate's accession or translation."
The literary benefactions of Archbishop Bancroft to the See are noticed in the following terns in the will of his successor, Archbishop Abbot, who was himself a great benefactor to the library:
" Let all men, present and to come, know and understand, that Richard Bancrofte, D.D., first Bishop of London, and then promoted to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, being for many years a great gatherer together of bookes, did voluntarily and by his own action (as in his lifetime he had oft foretold he would) by his last will and testament give and bequeath to his successors the Archbishops of Canterbury for ever, a great and famous library of bookes of divinity, and of many other sorts of learning."
The condition upon which Archbishop Bancroft left his library to his successor was, that it should on no account be alienated from the See ; to prevent which he directed that they should yield to such assurances as should be devised by learned men for its preservation. In cases of non-compliance with the above condition, he bequeathed it to Chelsea College, then about to be erected, or, if that should not be erected within ten years of his decease, to the University of Cam-bridge.
These books remained at Lambeth till 1646, two years after the execution of Archbishop Laud, when, being seized by the Parliament, the use of them was granted to Dr. Wincocke. They were afterwards given to Sion College, and many began to get into private hands ; so that, fearing for their safety in times so inimical to learning, Mr. Selden suggested to the University of Cambridge its right to them, and they were delivered, pursuant to an ordinance of Parliament, dated Feb., 1647, into their possession.
On the Restoration, Archbishop Juxon demanded the return of the library, which requisition was repeated by his successor, Sheldon, and the books were accordingly restored. An ordinance of Parliament was also obtained, that such part of the collection as was in private hands should be immediately delivered up, and that the volumes in the possession of John Thurloe and Hugh Peters should be seized.
Archbishop Sheldon having thus succeeded in regaining possession of this valuable library, may in some degree be considered its co-founder, as in his will he says :
" Item, I give and bequeath to my successors Archbishops of Canterbury, for ever, the several books or volumes mentioned in the catalogue or schedule annexed, or hereafter to be annexed to this my will, towards the increase and improvement of the public library of the See of Canterbury, now settled at Lambeth House "
The books left by Archbishops Bancroft, Abbot, Laud, Sheldon, and Tenison, are distinguished by their respective arms. Those which bear the arms of Whitgift were doubtless purchased of his executors by Archbishop Bancroft.
Archbishop Secker was a great benefactor to the library. Besides a large sum expended in making catalogues to the old registers of the See, he left to the library all such books from his own private library as were not in the public one, which comprehended the largest and most valuable part of his collection. Archbishop Cornwallis like-wise presented many valuable works in his lifetime.
There is only one volume in the collection known to have belonged to Archbishop Parker, which is a book of Calvin's writing. His arms are on the outside, and within is written in red lead, " J. Parker," which was the Archbishop's son. An English Psalter, printed by Daye, but without date, has likewise the following memorandum, written by Dr. Parker's wife : "To the right vertuouse and honourable ladye the Countesse of Shrewsburye, from your lovinge friende, Margaret Parker."
The first complete catalogue made of the printed books, which. was formed on the plan of the Bodleian catalogue, was drawn up by Bishop Gibson, when librarian, and is deposited in the MS. Library. In 1718 it was fairly copied by Dr. Wilkins, in three volumes folio, and has been continued by his successors to the present time.
THE LIBRARY OF MANUSCRIPTS is now preserved in a fire-proof room, over a newly built internal gate-way, abutting on the south side of the hall.
This library is divided into two parts ; the first contains the registers and archives of the See of Canterbury ; the second the MSS. of a miscellaneous nature. The registers commence with Archbishop Peckam, 1279, and end with Archbishop Potter, 1747. They occupy forty-one large folio volumes. The registers of the later archbishops are kept at Doctors' Commons.
The Parliamentary surveys of Bishops, Deans, and Chapter's lands, made during the Commonwealth, with a view to their sale, and which at the Restoration were fortunately preserved, consist of twenty-one large folio volumes. The miscellaneous MSS. consist of four sets : 1. Those of Lambeth collected by the Archbishops; 2. Those of Henry Wharton ; 3. Those formerly belonging to George, Lord Carew, Earl of Totness (the two last purchased by Archbishop Tenison). And 4. Those of Tenison, given by that archbishop. They are thus numbered:
Codices MSS. Lambethani, No. 1-576.
Whartoniani . . . 577-595.
Carewani . . . 596-638.
Tenisoniani . . . 639-888.
Which last was the number of MSS. entered in the catalogue in 1758; but the total number in 1784 was 1147, and is continually increasing.
A catalogue of the Lambeth Manuscripts was printed in folio, 1812.