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Durham University

Libraries and Special Collections in County Durham

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral boasts the best-preserved Benedictine monastic library in the British Isles and boasts an astonishing array of material dating from the 6th century to the modern day. 

Key strengths include medieval history, music, local history, patristic and biblical commentaries, canon and civil law, church and cathedral history, late medieval medicine, liturgical works, and the history of the book. 

The Refrectory also houses a range of secular material relating to natural history, travel and exploration, literature, mathematics and science.

The Durham Cathedral archives date back to the eleventh century and form the largest archive to survive at any English cathedral.


The collections are accessible to all researchers studying at undergraduate level or above. Please book in advance to use the Search Room and its facilities.

University members will be required to bring a campus card as proof of ID. Other researchers must bring a letter of introduction and proof of permanent address.

Laptops may be used with the sound turned off but there is no Wifi acces within the Search Room. 

Food and drink must not be brought into the Search Room. Coats and bags should be left in the lockers provided.

Private photography is not permitted.

Opening Times

Monday - Friday, 9.30 - 16.45

Closed on public holidays, for a fortnight at Christmas, and for ten days at Easter.