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Durham University

University Library

Foster Book Fund

The Foster Book Fund is for the purchase of books and journals primarily relating to early Christianity. It is the income from the bequest of Mr I.J.C. Foster, Keeper of the Oriental Books 1958 – 1973.

Scope of the Fund

The Fund is for the purchase of books and journals relating to:

  • Early Christian art, architecture, archaeology, liturgy and church organisation (including monasticism) up to c. 600 CE; and then to: Christian art, architecture, archaeology, liturgy and church organisation (including monasticism) in medieval Europe up to c. 1100 CE (excluding the British Isles), and in the Byzantine empire without date limit.
  • Jewish art and archaeology of relevance for the study of early Christian worship c. 450 BCE –  c. 1200 CE.
  • Non-Christian Latin and Greek studies with similar relevance.
The focus is on the "realia" - the equipment, forms and circumstances of actual worship.  It is not intended for texts, or studies, concerning the history of Christian dogma (apart from worship).

Funds Available

Since 1991 more than £73,000 has been spent. The income is approximately £5,400 per annum, of which about £2,200 is committed to current periodicals. To qualify, a journal must contain material largely related to the purposes of the fund, or sufficient for a subscription to be shared with one or two interested departments.


An advisory committee of representatives of relevant departments and individual scholars, reviews the Fund's purchasing policy annually, especially for big sets and recurrent subscriptions. Suggestions for books are dealt with throughout the year by the chairman and secretary in accordance with the testator's wishes and agreed policies.

Suggestions for purchase (including second-hand items or sets) are welcome from any user of the library. To make a suggestion please check the item is not already held at the Library or on order, and send full details with arguments in favour to:

Secretary of the Foster Committee
Bill Bryson Library
Stockton Road

Or by email to:


Contact the Fund Secretary

Secretary of the Foster Committee
Durham University Library
Stockton Road
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 191 334 2937
Fax: +44 (0) 191 334 2971