Bishop Hurd Library, Hartlebury Castle
The only surviving purpose-built library within the Anglican church. Built by Richard Hurd, shortly after he became Bishop of Worcester in 1781, it contains some 4,500 books with over 2,050 separate titles. It includes 43 books from Alexander Pope’s library, 97 from William Warburton’s (Bishop of Gloucester) and 103 gifts from
George III . As well as theology, including Methodism, the subjects reflect Hurd’s scholarly and wide interests and include medicine, social matters, science, travel, Arabic and art. It also includes Hurd’s own publications, his personal letters, manuscripts and common place books. (Papers relating to the diocese were transferred in 1996).
There is a printed catalogue compiled by Graham Wright in 1980 as part of his MLitt thesis and a digital catalogue is in progress, being undertaken in conjunction with the University of Worcester; and some titles have been added to the ESTC.
The library remains in the ownership of the Bishop of Worcester although the castle itself is now owned by the Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust.
Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Worcestershire DY11 7XZ