Events Exhibitions News

Reformation Cardinal

5th October – 15th December 2023

Born in 1500 into the highest circles of the English aristocracy, becoming both cardinal and England’s last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Reginald Pole steered a perilous course through the storm of the European Reformation. A brilliant scholarly career in Italy took him to Rome, from where he launched an audacious campaign against Henry VIII’s regime and its anti-papal policies. His intellectual leadership of the Church mirrored his position in a circle of close spiritual friends, which included the artist Michelangelo. Returning to England after the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary, Pole reconciled the English Church to Rome and did much to re-establish Catholicism before his premature death at Lambeth in 1558. This exhibition brings together books from Oxford, London, and Rome to tell the story of this complex, charismatic individual. 

This free exhibition will be in Library’s exhibition room from 5 October 2023, 9:30 – 17:00 Monday to Friday. Saturday 7 October, 4 November, 2 December 10:00 -17:00

This exhibition has been made possible
as a result of the Government Indemnity
Scheme. Lambeth Palace Library
would like to thank HM Government
for providing Government Indemnity and the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and
Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.
Items in this exhibition have been acquired
through the generous assistance of the
Archbishop of Canterbury, the Friends of
Lambeth Palace Library, the Friends of the
National Libraries, and the V&A Purchase Fund.


Library closing time alteration 5 October only

Due to a private event the Lambeth Palace Library reading room and Exhibitions will be closing at 17:00 on Thursday 5 October. The reading room will be open as usual on Friday 6 October.


Moral and Material Decay: four centuries of the Court of Arches

Lambeth Palace Library invites you to peer into the courtroom of the Province of Canterbury’s most senior ecclesiastical court. The records of the Court of Arches follow misbehaving clergy, watchful servants and members of the gentry with much to lose, as they battle their way through allegations of infidelity, defamation and wayward religious practices. This exhibition explores some of the themes that dominate the court and illuminates social relations and practices over four hundred years.

Over the course of the Court’s life, its records have been stored in numerous sites from the towers of Lambeth Palace to a disused well in St Paul’s churchyard. The Library is grateful for the generous funding from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust to help us preserve this archive and reveal the effects of recent conservation work on the documents, and to the Friends of Library for their on-going support of the cataloguing work.

This free exhibition will be in the mezzanine gallery from 19 July to 20 October 2023. In addition there will be a talk by Richard Palmer to support the exhibition, please book tickets for this via Eventbrite.

Events Exhibitions News

Cantate Domino: Music in the Lambeth Palace Library collections

This inaugural exhibition for the Library’s new exhibition room celebrates musical treasures held in Lambeth Palace Library, placing better-known holdings alongside lesser-known volumes and fragments from the collections.

Cantate Domino poster with exhibition details. Poster is black with musical notation.

The exhibition features the Arundel Choirbook (one of the most important records of Tudor polyphonic music); Sion College’s illuminated York Breviary from the 15th century; and sermon notes pertinent to the composition of the hymn “Amazing Grace” (celebrating its 250th anniversary this year). These are displayed alongside numerous other beautiful and interesting examples of music in the Library’s collections found in a variety of forms and spanning the 11th to 20th centuries.

This free exhibition will be open from 23 June to 18 September 2023. In addition, a concert (including private view of the exhibition) will be held in conjunction with the exhibition on 11 July. The annual Friends of Lambeth Palace Library Lecture, to be delivered by Professor Magnus Williamson on 23 June, will also complement the exhibition.

For more information about the concert and to book tickets, please see our Eventbrite.

We are grateful to Hymns Ancient and Modern for a grant towards the costs of producing this exhibition –


Reading Room and Exhibition Closure

Please note that the Reading Room is closed on Monday 1 May and Monday 8 May for the Bank Holidays and is also closed on Thursday 4 May and Friday 5 May.


Saturday Opening

During 2023 Lambeth Palace Library will be open on one Saturday a month. If there proves to be sufficient demand, Saturday opening once a month will become a permanent feature of the Library’s opening hours. All material for use on a Saturday must be ordered at least 48 hrs in advance, as no orders can be taken on the day. The reading room will be open 10am-5pm. The public exhibitions will also be open on these Saturdays, 10am-5pm.

Saturday opening 2023

4 March5 August
1 April2 September
13 May7 October
3 June4 November
8 July2 December