Banned books to go on display in new exhibition at Durham Cathedral

Bookworms are in for a treat at Durham Cathedral later this month

Friday, 17th April 2020, 3:30 pm
Durham Cathedral

The Cathedral refectory library is staging a collection of banned books on Saturday 12 October 12 – the first of two Treasures of Durham Cathedral Library events – giving visitors the opportunity to explore a specially curated collection of early printed banned books.

The events are set within the magnificent 17th Century library – a space previously used as a dining room by the monks of medieval Durham Priory, and not usually open to the public.

The historic books on display were all penned by writers who had their works censored.

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Some of these works led to writers being arrested, cast out from their cities, or put in the stocks.

Highlights on display include a 14th century Durham Priory manuscript of the works of Aristotle, which was banned by the University of Paris and a ‘false imprint’ of the works of Machiavelli, where the printer doctored the official print date of the book to avoid being charged with illegal printing.

Alison Cullingford, head of collections at Durham Cathedral, said: ‘Books have long prompted controversy. This event gives us a wonderful opportunity to highlight some of the provocative concepts and ideas that have sat quietly amongst the volumes in Durham Cathedral Library for centuries.

The exhibition is in two sessions – from 2pm to 3pm and 3.30pm to 4.30pm.

The event will be repeated on Wednesday November 27 , with sessions running at the same times.

Tickets are priced at £5 per adult and £4.50 per concession. Book online at