Historic book from abbey found in Shrewsbury school library

The keeper of a historic site has been researching the story of historic books once housed at the site in order to offer visitors more information on their history during visits.

Sue Flavell, English Heritage’s Site Manager at Buildwas Abbey, traced one of the books – in use by monks at the abbey as early as the 12th century – to the Moser Library at Shrewsbury School, founded in 1606 by the Headmaster John Meighen. T

his book along with another thought to have come from nearby Haughmond Abbey is found in the Taylor Room, a temperature controlled library which contains over 8,000 volumes.

The book 'Apocalypsis and Epistolae Catholicae', cum glossa was purchased by the school in 1617, less than a hundred years after Buildwas Abbey was dissolved.

The book is one of several still in existence that was once held in the library of Buildwas Abbey, with others from the set found at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Sue said: “It was amazing to find a direct link to the monks of Buildwas Abbey – which was dissolved nearly 500 years ago – right in the heart of Shrewsbury”

“It is incredible that this manuscript remains in such good order. The precise and delicate lettering evokes so strongly the hand that originally produced the book and it was so beautifully laid out in columns with notations and initial letters.”

Following the visit, Sue invited Dr Robin Brooke-Smith, the archivist and librarian from Shrewsbury School to Buildwas Abbey to see the place where the books were once kept.

Founded on the banks of the River Severn in 1135 by Roger de Clinton, Bishop of Coventry & Lichfield, Buildwas Abbey – then the Cistercian Abbey of St Mary and St Chad – was first settled by a community of monks from Savigny Abbey in France.

The Abbey is now in the care of English Heritage and is open Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays until September 30, 10am to 5pm.

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