The medieval Library

Matthew Parker (1504–1575)
De antiquitate Britannicae ecclesiae
London: John Day, 1572

This brief account of the University of Cambridge by Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, is a presentation copy, in a beautiful sixteenth-century English binding with hand-coloured illustrations. It was gifted to the University by George I in 1715 as part of a collection of some 30,000 volumes known as the Royal Library. The woodcut shows the Schools quadrangle which housed the Library. By the late fifteenth century, books occupied rooms on the first floor on three sides, marked ‘A’, ‘G’ and ‘E’.