Friends of Lambeth Palace Library

Friends of Lambeth Palace Library

At a glance


  • Museums / heritage

Other details

Geographical remit: 


The Friends of Lambeth Palace Library ("FLPL") were founded in 1964 to help and support Lambeth Palace Library ("LPL"), which is the historic library and record office of the Archbishops of Canterbury and the principal repository of the documentary history of the Church of England. Its collections have been freely available for research since 1610 (see

The records held in the Library date from the 9th century to the present day, and their broad scope reflects the office of Archbishop of Canterbury The Library holds a significant collection of major illuminated manuscripts and incunabula (books printed before 1500), manuscripts on musical or liturgical themes, other mediaeval manuscripts and collections of personal papers. In all, the Library holds over 120,000 books, 40,000 pamphlets and 100 current periodicals relating mainly to the history of the Church of England.

LPL still actively collects relevant manuscripts and printed books, but can usually afford to do so only with the help of FLPL, which nowadays makes grants to the Library for:

(1) the acquisition of rare books and manuscripts;

(2) their conservation; and

(3) their cataloguing.



The FLPL is governed by its Trustees, who combine bibliophile, financial and other skills. The Trustees meet three times a year in the historic setting of Lambeth Palace and for a fourth time at the AGM, which is chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury and which is traditionally attended by some 200 Friends out of the total number of about 650.

Applications for grants are made to the FLPL by the Librarian of LPL. Grants for £10,000 and below can be made by the agreement of the Chairman and Treasurer. Grants of £10,001 and above require the approval of a majority of Trustees. In calendar 2015, a total of 17 grants were made, including one of £50,000 towards the cost of acquiring the early 15th century Broughton Missal, as a gift to mark the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Friends.

A Visits Secretary arranges visits to historic libraries and buildings for Friends. In addition, all 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 Librarian and his team are responsible for producing the annual report.

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