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First public viewing for rare books planned ( Corpus Christi Col

First public viewing for rare books planned
By Barbie Dutter

A PRICELESS collection of manuscripts and early printed books may be
made available to the public for the first time in a library to be
built at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The Parker Library
collection includes the Canterbury Gospels, a 6th century Italian
manuscript still used at the enthronement of each Archbishop of
Canterbury, and the earliest surviving version of the Anglo Saxon
Chronicle, England's oldest history book. The collection is so
valuable that it cannot be collectively insured. The library's
current home, an early 19th-Century building in the college's New
Court, cannot accommodate the public and is only visited by about 200
scholars a year. Most of the 600 books and manuscripts are unique or
extremely rare and are locked away for their own protection. The
college authorities are hoping to secure a grant from the Heritage
Lottery Fund to allow the new premises to go ahead next to the
existing library building. The project will cost about =A32 million
and would be ready soon after the Millennium. Robert Stopford, bursar
of Corpus Christi College, said: "The current building is becoming
less and less adequate as time goes on, and we want to provide an
updated and more secure facility for the library. We also want to
create public access by providing a visitor centre where there would
be exhibitions and displays of some of the most interesting items."
Noise levels would be kept to a minimum during construction, he
added. The founding collection of manuscripts was bequeathed by
Matthew Parker, a former Master of Corpus Christi College, who
became Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Elizabeth I.

(Daily Telegraph)

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