The library at Rievaulx
There was also a library at Rievaulx.
This was one of two rooms that adjoined the south transept of the
church: the sacristy was in the eastern room, the library in the
western room and could be accessed, via steps, from the cloister.
Although there are few surviving books from Rievaulx, the late
twelfth/early thirteenth-century library catalogue, which is
now in Jesus College, Cambridge, provides us with a clear idea
of the library’s holdings at this time and of what was available
to - if not read by - the monks.(1) This
lists over 200 hundred books. In comparison, the libraries at the
great Benedictine houses
Rochester and Christ Church, Canterbury, had almost three hundred
and six hundred books, respectively; the library at Clairvaux contained
some three hundred and fifty books.(2) The
catalogue is divided into sixteen sections, labelled A to Q. Basic
legal texts are included
under section A, the works of St Augustine under B and C; the writings
of Bernard of Clairvaux, Aelred
of Rievaulx and Saint Anselm of
Canterbury under D and ‘Miscellaneous’ works in Q.