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Archives & Special Collections: Leighton Library

Collection information

Collection: Leighton Library

Classmark: Leighton Library...

Biographical/administrative history:
The Leighton Library in Dunblane is founded on the personal library of Archbishop Robert Leighton (1611-1684). Robert Leighton lived through one of the most turbulent periods in Scottish history. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister, yet took up the office of Bishop of Dunblane in the restored Episcopal Church, in an attempt to reconcile Presbyterians and Episcopalians in a united Church of Scotland. Aware that he might be accused of seeking self-aggrandisement, he accepted a post in Dunblane, the smallest and poorest see in the country. He was later installed as Archbishop of Glasgow, though he failed to bring about the reconciliation in church affairs which he so desired.

Leighton was a learned scholar, with wide ranging interests. He bequeathed some 1500 books and pamphlets to the Cathedral of Dunblane. A library building was erected between 1684 and 1688 in order to house the books for the use of the local clergy. From 1734 the library became one of the first subscription libraries in Scotland and thrived until around 1870. Leighton’s collection of books was supplemented by 18th and 19th century additions.

Contents: The collection dates from the 16th century to the 19th century and covers a variety of subject areas, including history and politics (particularly 17th century), theology, medicine, travel, language and the occult. There is also much to interest the book historian.

Extent:  Around 4,000 volumes and 78 manuscripts,

Online exhibition

Film

Catalogue information

The books in the Leighton Library are included in the University Library catalogue. Here is a list in alphabetical order by author.

There is also a published catalogue of manuscripts which is available for sale:

Gordon Willis, Catalogue of manuscripts: Leighton Library, University of Stirling Bibliographical Society, 1981. ISBN 0907250009 £6

Please contact us in advance of a visit or use the request form. Please allow at least 3 days before expecting to consult an item from this collection.

Additional collection information

Custodial history: The Leighton Library is owned and administered by the Leighton Library Trust. Thanks to an agreement with the Trust, books from the Leighton Library may be consulted in the University Library.

Accruals: None expected.

Access conditions:  Please complete a request form, allowing at least 3 days before expecting to consult the books. The Leighton Library building in Dunblane is open to visitors during the summer months, but books from the Leighton Library must be consulted in the University Library.

Languages: English, Latin, Greek, French, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Syriac, Persian, Arabic, German, Dutch, Gaelic, Irish, Polish

Publications:

Gordon Willis, Catalogue of manuscripts: Leighton Library, University of Stirling Bibliographical Society, 1981. ISBN 0907250009 (available for purchase for £6)

Gordon Willis, The Leighton Library, Dunblane : its history and contents, The bibliotheck 10 (6), 1981

 

Using the collection

Archives Reading Room

Opening Hours:

9.30 am - 1.00 pm / 2.00 pm - 4.45 pm

Monday - Friday

Contact us:

Tel. 01786 466619

Email: archives@stir.ac.uk

Please contact us in advance of your visit and use the request form to order material you wish to consult.

Collection images

Online resources

Leighton Library website

Some material relating to Robert Leighton and the Leighton Library is also held by the Dunblane Museum.

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