Friends of Lambeth Palace Library

 The Friends of Lambeth Palace Library was founded in 1964 as a focus of support for the Library, and to help in adding to its collections for the benefit of present and future generations. The Friends brings together like-minded people with an interest in the Library's history and collections, and provides invaluable assistance in the acquisition of rare books and manuscripts and in conservation. Friends receive a copy of the Library's annual report, which includes information on all the Library's activities, as well as details of books and manuscripts acquired during the year. The Archbishop invites Friends to the AGM which is held in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace each summer, with a lecture by a well-known scholar followed by aftrnoon tea.

Other events are arranged throughout the year. We are now fortunate enough to have a new volunteer organizer, John Critchley, who is reviving previously planned events and investigating new possibilities. The visit to Salisbury Cathedral and Library, with Arundells or Old Sarum, took place on 6 July and the visit to the British Library Magna Carta Exhibition on 30 August. On Tuesday 24 November and Tuesday 1 December visits to the Agincourt Exhibition in the Royal Armouries Library at the Tower of London are being arranged.

In 2016 in February we hope to hold a private dinner at The Garrick Club with a talk on the history of Wartski, the West End jewellers, and visits are planned for exhibitions at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, on Monday 7 March, and for the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, probably in September, as well as the delayed visit to St Paul's Cathedral and Library probably in late June.

We should be grateful if you would contact the Events Secretary in good time if you are interested in any of these events. Details concerning visits are attached to the right. (Please be patient; attachments can be slow to load.) 

The Friends' Christmas reception will take place in the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace on Thursday 3 December from 6pm-8pm. The cost of £10.00 a head will include mulled wine and mince pies, and Friends' guests are very welcome. You will be able to view the newly refurbished Great Hall and the Broughton Missal, the Friends' major acquisition of this year. For details on applying, payment and all other arrangements, please consult the attachment to the right.

All are welcome to the following lectures to be held in Lambeth Palace Library in 2016:-

Tuesday 9 February, 5.15pm  '"Meretricious musick and tossing of tennis balles": why did the Puritans find it so hard to argue their case at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604?', by Dr Mark Byford. A special meeting of the University of London seminar on 'The Religious History of Britain 1500-1800', followed by a drinks reception in honour of the late Brett Usher.

Tuesday 1 March, 5.30pm 'A projected new history of the Bodleian Library', by Richard Ovenden (Bodley's Librarian). A special meeting of the University of London research seminar in the History of Libraries.

Thursday 21 April, 6pm " 'The Great Hall at Lambeth Palace: its history and refurbishment', by Simon Ablett (Consultant Architect to Lambeth Palace), followed by an opportunity to see engraved views of the Geat Hall and other related material from the Library collections.

Details for those wishing to attend are attached to the right.

Lectures to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Friends have already taken place in the Guard Room  on  9 April, "Fifty years of collecting by the Friends: a personal choice", by Giles Mandelbrote, the Librarian, and  30 April, "Friends' acquisitions and the Archbishops of Canterbury", by archivist Matti Watton. On 2 June there was also a History of Libraries Seminar: "Painters, limners, writers, and bookbinders: Matthew Parker's printed books", by William Hale, Rare Books Specialist, Cambridge University Library.

Another lecture organised in association with the Friends was given by Professor Nicholas Vincent on 15 October in the Guardroom, Lambeth Palace. It was entitled King John and Magna Carta: New Discoveries from Lambeth Palace Library. The discovery of a new letter from the rebel barons on 1215, recently reported in the national press, reminds us quite how much the archives and manuscripts of Lambeth Palace Library offer to historians of the reign of King John.  Much of this evidence has previously been overlooked or underestimated.  This lecture, with humour and copious illustrations, reassessed these new finds, putting them in context alongside the crucial role played by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, and his chief residence, Lambeth Palace, in the momentous events of Runnymede and 1215. 


Printed books presented by the Friends have included the famous indulgence of Leo X issued in 1516 on the eve of the Reformation, a presentation copy of Luther's tract against Henry VIII printed in 1522, the very rare Book of Common Prayer of 1559, the first prayer book of Elizabeth I, and the first English edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs of 1563. 

 Manuscripts have included letters and papers of Archbishops Arundel, Sancroft, Manners Sutton and Howley, papers relating to the divorce of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, and an important series of documents removed from the study of Archbishop Laud after his arrest and recovered with the help of the Friends more than 300 years later.

A list of items presented by the Friends and information on how to leave a legacy are attached to the right.

Please join the Friends so that, with your help, the Library may continue to develop and flourish. Click on the link to the right for a membership application form, which can be printed out.

Alternatively write or email to the addresses below for a copy of the application form and the Friends' brochure which adds more details (though this can also be checked and printed out from the links to the right).


Friends of Lambeth Palace Library
Lambeth Palace Road

tel: +44 (0)20 7898 1263

(N.B. Due to ongoing IT upgrading, the Library Friends' email address above does not always function at present. If you do not receive a reply or there is some other problem, you may use the Membership Secretary's personal Church of England email