The Library Collections

Downside Abbey has a long tradition of historical research and the great monastic historians, Cardinal Gasquet and Dom David Knowles were members of the Monastic Community.

As the Mother House of the English Benedictine Congregation, it holds the central archives of the order as well as important collections that relate to our shared heritage. The collection is the largest single repository of its type in the British Isles and includes the missionary collections of the Benedictine Order in the New World. The collection contains over 60 incunabula, 175 Papal Bulls, a large collection of Vatican State Papers. It is the only library in the world which has a complete collection of Early English Catholic Recusant Publications (1514 Рthe late eighteenth century).

The Archives and Library are open to scholars by appointment. E-mail requests are strongly preferred with full details of name, address, academic affiliation (if any) and area of research addressed to the Keeper, Dr Simon Johnson at