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The Chained Library

The Chained Library is notable as one of the few original chained libraries remaining in a school.

The practice of chaining books to shelves traditionally allowed important or valuable books to be placed in communal areas for public perusal rather than being locked away; this paved the way for the public library system.

John Parkhurst, Bishop of Norwich (1560 – 75), was born in Guildford and left in his will, "the most parte of all my Latten bookes whereof shall be made a catalogue as shortelie as I may God sendinge me lief." Most of the books reached the School and were housed in the newly-completed gallery where they still remain. The gallery was enlarged in 1650 by Arthur Onslow and the present bookcases date from 1897. The oldest book in the library was printed in Venice circa 1480. The oldest English book was printed circa 1500 with the imprint of Wynkyn de Worde. It escaped the fire of 1962 with some damage and was restored in 1965. The library contains two early editions of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia.

The Chained Library is now the Headmaster's Study and was recently placed at number nine in an online article on Unique World Libraries.

"Outstanding in all respects"
Good Schools Guide