Petrus de Crescentius, Ruralia commoda, 1471

Did you know

01 / 06

... our oldest printed book is the Ruralia Commodia?

From the 1470s it is an example of an incunable, meaning a book from the ‘cradle’ of printing.

Abingdon Parish Library

Did you know

02 / 06

… that some libraries used to chain their books to their shelves?

This one is from the 16th century and was once part of the library held in Abingdon Parish Church. We also hold parish library collections for Henley, Didcot and Buckland.

Did you know

03 / 06

...a unique example of 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton was unearthed in one of our collections?

The Caxton Leaf was found in the John & Griselda Lewis collection. The two pages are from a medieval priest handbook dating back to late 1476 or early 1477. No other copies of the pages, printed either side of a single leaf of paper, are known to have survived.

Did you know

04 / 06

...our oldest archival document is a 12th century charter of Henry II?

This charter of Henry II to the Abbey of St. Sauveur-le-Vicomte, was issued at Westminster sometime between 1155 and 1158. We have several examples of medieval manuscripts in our collections, which includes a fine collection of illuminated manuscripts and Books of Hours.

Did you know

05 / 06

...the work of Owen Jones (1809-1874), the influential design theorist, can be found throughout out collections?

Jones designed the backs of playing cards for De La Rue, designed Huntley & Palmers' trademark garter and buckle, was the Superintendent of Works for the Great Exhibition of 1851, and published his design masterpiece The Grammar of Ornament in 1856.

Did you know

06 / 06

...we have 40,000 rare books and 5km of archives?

We have been building up our collections of rare books and archives for over 100 years beginning with the deposit of the Overstone Library in 1920. Collecting archives began in earnest during the 1960s and some of these early collections form the basis of our Archive of British Printing and Publishing.

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