The Warden and Fellows of Winchester College established a library at the beginning of the 15th century. It now contains more than ten thousand volumes, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary artists' books. The library is used regularly by pupils and their teachers and is open to researchers by appointment. Items from the collection are often on public exhibition in Treasury, the school’s museum. For more information or to make an appointment, please contact the Fellows' Librarian.


The Fellows’ Library has a long and well-documented history. Most of the collection was assembled between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, but it includes books acquired by the school in almost every decade since its foundation. The library was established for the use of the Warden and Fellows, who form the governing body and once lived as part of the community. While schoolmasters and chaplains seem also to have had access to the Fellows’ Library from an early date, it remained separate from the school itself. It therefore has more in common with the libraries of Oxford and Cambridge colleges than with those of most other schools. Only in the twentieth century did pupils at Winchester begin to make regular use of the collections.


The Fellows’ Library has an exceptionally wide-ranging collection with many areas of particular strength. At the core of the library are extensive holdings of theology, history and classical literature, mostly acquired in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In the second half of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries, the contents of the library became more diverse through gifts and bequests of scientific books, English and foreign literature, and examples of early printing.

Two significant gifts to the library in the twentieth century have added new areas of strength: the Box collection of English road books and maps, and the Eccles Collection of artists’ books. The library continues to grow with new acquisitions of items relating to the history of the school and for use in teaching.


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