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RECORDEMUR oMNi HoRA, DILECTISSIMI FRATRES, QUALES
YORK : JOHN SAMPSON.
NOT the least of the services which Chancellor Raine has rendered to us has been the compilation of this Catalogue, and the introductory history of the origin and progress of the Library with which it is prefaced. It is a touching and faithful token of the loving care and indefatigable zeal with which he has watched over the interests of the Minster Library for a quarter of a century. We cannot be too thankful that he has been permitted to complete this his last work, as it not only clearly expresses the extent and value of the treasures which have been entrusted to the Dean and Chapter, but also, by the simple yet full account of the antecedents of the Library and of its many contributors, it animates the dry bones of a catalogue with a Spirit which renders it instinct with life and interest, and lifts it up almost to the region of romance. By his graphic pen, and his terse and clear language, the scenes and persons of the past seem to live before us. We seem to know our benefactors, and to feel a sense of the responsibilities and privileges which they have conferred upon us, and it is to be hoped that not only we, but those who come after us, will ever realize this and act thereon.
Chancellor Raine has conferred many benefits upon the Minster and its environment, and it is only right that we should express our sense of all that he has done for us, and of our irreparable loss by his entry into rest.
*...* Those into whose hands the task of revising the proofs of these pages has fallen, gratefully acknowledge the assistance they have received from Canon Raine's sister, Annie Raine Ellis.
HIS Catalogue is an alphabetical list of most of the printed books in the Library of the Dean and Chapter of York. The exceptions are
some comparatively recent theological works of minor importance. The
books also which were bequeathed by Mr. Edward Hailstone, and the additions made to them, are omitted. The MSS. will be described in a catalogue by themselves, where more justice can be done to them. The size of the present volume makes it very undesirable that it should be still larger. The reader will very naturally expect some account of the beginning and growth of the Library, but this must necessarily be brief. Books would arrive in York at an early time. We may be sure also that Wilfrid, who filled Northumbria with treasures in the seventh century, would bring books with him from Italy and France, of which the church of York would have its share. So late as 1517 there were preserved and honoured in the treasury at York two texts, or copies of the Gospels, which had belonged to Wilfrid. One of these had the back and sides ornamented with silver and gold; on the front there was a crucifix with Mary and John in the lower part, with the Trinity and two Angels above, all wrought in ivory. The other, which was similarly ornamented, had the crucifix in the lower part, and the Saviour in glory, with Peter and Paul above. Other texts, no doubt of a very early date, were also in the Treasury, which has, I need not say, been long empty. With the promotion of Egbert to the See of York in A.D. 735, a new era began in the history of that church. Egbert established a school or university, with the advice and assistance of Bede, which obtained a world-wide reputation. The teaching devolved upon Egbert and his friend and successor Albert, under whose fostering care the genius of Alcuin was cultivated. In due time, Alcuin himself became master of the school, which then arose to the very height of its reputation. The Letters of Alcuin tell us much of his work and aspirations, whilst in a Poem, which may justly be ascribed to his pen, we have a rough list of the authors whose works were then in the library at York, which will be considered more at length in the Catalogue of MSS. Suffice it to say, that even in the eleventh century no one place in Britain or France possessed such a store of books. The school and library are mentioned in the ninth century, when Lupus, Abbot of Ferrières, asked Altzig, Abbot of York, to lend him a MS. of Quintilian, another containing questions by Jerome on the Old and New Testament, and a similar work by Bede. The library was probably injured, if not destroyed, when York was captured by the Danes in A.D. 867,
and we hear little or nothing of good learning in the place until we are told that Thomas of Bayeux, the first Norman Archbishop, even before he had appointed a Dean to the newly-built and reconstituted Minster, had made a Chancellor, or Schoolmaster, evidently because he considered that his work and teaching were of primary and paramount importance. Everything seems to show that the new school was practically a continuance of the older one, and that, with better discipline and order, it went on with its old career of useful and energetic work. The recent investigations of the Charity Commissioners into the history and endowments of St. Peter's school, have shown very satisfactorily that the school at present in existence is the representative in a direct line of that which Archbishop Thomas improved or revived. The Chancellor, or Schoolmaster, had also under his charge a special class for the education of the clergy, or a Divinity school, and for the two a goodly store of books would certainly be required, but these would belong to the school and class respectively, and would be independent of the cathedral library, if such a thing existed at all. For several centuries after the Conquest we must look for collections of books on a large scale, not to the cathedrals but to the monasteries or to the Colleges in the two Universities. There was no general University library either at Oxford or Cambridge until a later date. In the formation of these the Cathedral of York had a conspicuous share. Bishop Cobham, who is credited with the formation of a public library at Oxford, was for many years a prebendary of York, and it was our Archbishop Rotherham who first gave solidity and strength to the public library at Cambridge by contributing largely to the building fund, and by presenting two hundred volumes to the collection. Whilst the chief care of amassing books devolved upon the Monasteries and Colleges, we must not think that the cathedral churches were altogether oblivious of that duty. But the volumes which they acquired were generally chained to desks in various parts of the building, or were deposited in lockers and almeries, and the erection of libraries was delayed until the restoration of the fabrics of the cathedrals was complete. In the fifteenth century, when the strain upon the funds of the Chapters was diminished, then they began to accumulate books, and to erect proper buildings for their reception. In 1414 John Newton, treasurer of York, made his Will, in which he bequeathed thirty-nine MSS. to the Dean and Chapter, “in subsidium et relevamen libraria facienda..' Newton's generous legacy moved the Dean and Chapter to erect a library, which was done under the direction of Thomas Haxey, the succeeding treasurer, who was a considerable benefactor to the building. In the Fabric-Roll for 1418-19 it is stated that he gave the handsome sum of £26 13s. 4d. for the roof. This structure, although somewhat altered, still exists and preserves most of its original features, but the old desks and chains are gone. It fills up the angle formed by the south wall of the nave of the Minster, and the west wall of the south transept. The chief access to the building is by a flight of stone steps, leading out of the south transept, at the head of which the original door remains, made of carved oak. The old roof is also in existence, a memorial of the munificence of Haxey. The length of the room is about 44 feet, and the width about 24 feet. It is well lighted, and is admirably adapted to the purpose for which it was constructed. There were in the windows in Torr's time the following shields of arms: Scrope, Fenton, Haxey, Longley, Bowett, Skirlaw, England, Mowbray, Percy and Lucy quarterly, Neville, Ros, Clifford, Fitzhugh, Waavsour, and one or two others which cannot be so easily appropriated. The libraries at Canterbury and Durham were built about the same time as that at York. The immediate result was the accumulation of a fair number of books, the most of which were bequeathed by the clergy of the Minster. In the Catalogue of MSS. we shall be able to show that most of these are still in the possession of the Dean and Chapter. When Leland visited York in the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII he considered the Minster library to be only a mean one when contrasted with the fine collection preserved at St. Mary's Abbey. He says, “in bibliotheca S. Petri quam Flaccus Albinus, alias Alcuinus subinde miris laudibus extollit propter insignem copiam librorum, tam Latinorum quam Graecorum, jam fere bonorum librorum nihil est.’ But this is poverty in contrast to the wealth of Alcuin's era. The Injunctions of Edward VI, issued in 1547, contain the following direction to the Dean and Chapter about a library. “Item they shall maike a librarie in some convenient place within theire churche within the space of one yeare next ensuyng this Visitacion, and shall leye in the same Saynte Augustyne's, Basill, Gregorie Nazanzene, Hierome, Ambrose, Chrisostome, Cipriane, Theophilact", Erasmus, and other good writers' works. This Order was followed up by Archbishop Holgate when he visited the Minster in 1552.
“17. Also wee will and commaunde that there be thre keys provided for the library dore, whiche shal be in the kepinge of thre of the vicars of the said churche, every one of them beinge bounde for other that they shall neither withdrawe nor impare any of the bookes lienge within the said librarye, ne by there necligence suffer any other to do any maner of harme within the said librarye; and that there be alwaies one of the said thre vicars in the library there, when any other person shalbe in the said library beinge not a chanon, nor havinge a dignity in the churche of Yorke, duringe his abode in the said librarye.
18. Also wee will and commaunde that the auncient Doctors of the Churche (thoes we call auncient that did write within six hundreth yeres after Christe's Ascention) Musculus' Commentaries upon Mathue, and John Brentius upon Luke, Calvyne and Bullinger upon the Epistles, Erasmus' Annotacions on the Newe Testament, be provyded with all convenient spede, so that they be placed in the library on this side the feiste of Penticoste next ensuynge, by the Deane and Residentiaryes of the churche of Yorke, to the ende that suche as be not of habilitie to provide them; or that by other occasion have them not in redynes, may resorte to the common library and there perwse them accordinglye.”
* In the Library there is a copy of CEcolampadius's edition of Theophylact's Enarrationes printed at Basle in 1541. An inscription calls it “Liber Eccl. Eborum pertinens Cancellario ejusdem.” This seems to show that the injunction of Edward VI was used, and probably intended, to find books to assist the Chancellor with his class in Divinity.