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Medieval Libraries and Manuscripts


As an illustration of the former plan I will take the library of Merton College, Oxford, attributed by tradition to William Reade, Bishop of Chichester 1368-85; and it has been so little altered that it may be taken as a type of a medieval collegiate or monastic library. It is a long narrow room, as all medieval libraries were, with equidistant windows, and the bookcases stand at right angles to the walls in the spaces between each pair of windows, in front of which is the seat for the reader. Each bookcase had originally two shelves only above the desk. I will shew you, first, a general view of the interior of this library, and then a single bookcase and seat.[Pg 42]

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Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts


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