The Library and Muniment Room houses the extensive and historic collections of books, manuscripts and archival material belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. It provides a centre for research into all aspects of the Abbey's history.
Appointments (Mondays-Thursdays only) are required for those wishing to consult books and documents as the Library has only very limited space and there are occasional closures owing to special services. Those wishing to use the library for the first time are advised to write, e-mail or phone to discuss their requirements. Students should bring a letter of introduction from a supervisor or tutor. (Certain illuminated manuscripts may not be made available to non-academics. A facsimile edition of the Bestiary MS.22 can be consulted in the Library). All material in the Library is for reference only.
Portable computers may be used, but ONLY if run on batteries. No mains power point is available. Mobile phones should not be used in the reading room. Entry is via Dean's Yard and the Cloisters (if you face the two west towers of the Abbey the archway to Dean's Yard is to your right, Go under the arch and turn left and proceed into the cloisters). The Library is in the East Cloister next door to the Chapter House, with an entryphone.
The library provides a photographic service for readers who would like reproductions from books or documents. Readers are not permitted to take their own photographs.
Please e-mail the Library for sizes and prices of photographs of monuments in the Abbey or St Margaret’s Westminster, general views and items from the Abbey collections.
Please note that we do NOT have a collection of modern theology nor sources for general genealogical research.
Owing to the complex and historic nature of its buildings the library is only accessible via a flight of stone steps and a wooden spiral staircase. However, we can usually arrange to make documents (dependent on condition) available at the Westminster City Archive Centre (a short distance from the Abbey) for anybody who has difficulty reaching our reading room. Please contact us in advance to discuss your requirements so that suitable arrangements can be made.
The reading room is open:
Monday to Thursday:
10.00am - 1.00pm
2.00pm - 4.45pm
To book an appointment, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Westminster Abbey Library
Head of Abbey Collection and Librarian - Dr Tony Trowles
Curator - Dr Susan Jenkins
Keeper of the Muniments - Matthew Payne
Assistant Keeper of the Muniments - Christine Reynolds
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7654 4830
Photographs of the Abbey and of its monuments and furnishings (including most of the images on this web site) are available for purchase. All pictures supplied, and on this website, are copyright of The Dean and Chapter of Westminster and may not be reproduced in any publication (including websites) without permission. Please contact us for details of availability, prices and of reproduction fees.
Library collectionThe present Library, begun after the foundation of the Abbey as a collegiate church in 1560, has been housed in part of the former monastic dormitory since 1591.
Muniment collectionThis important collection of manuscripts comprises the archives of Westminster Abbey from the 10th century to the present day.
Did you know
The Library holds around 14,000 pre-1801 printed books, about 60 manuscripts (mostly medieval) and a collection of printed and manuscript music.