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Digital collections

Door into Cosin's Library

On this page, you will find digital collections relating to John Cosin and his library. Click on the images below to browse through the resources and to access the catalogue entries for each.

One of Cosin's letters to Myles Stapylton

Cosin Letter-Books

Much of John Cosin’s correspondence survives because his letters were gathered together soon after his death, possibly by the Durham antiquary Christopher Hunter (1675-1757). In 1818, Bishop Shute Barrington transferred the bound volumes from Bishop Auckland to Cosin’s Library. Most letters deal with the day-to-day management of the bishopric, but occasionally we learn more about Cosin as a person and about the people he encountered. Several letters contain information about the construction of the library, in particular Letter-Books 4 to 6. The archives catalogue contains brief descriptions of the letters and links to their digital versions.

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Library catalogues

John Cosin and his successors commissioned a number of library catalogues, the oldest of which dates from around 1670. Together, these catalogues give us a valuable insight into the contents of Cosin’s Library over time up to the present day. We have digitised some of the historic catalogues in our collection.

Borrower registers

There are two borrower registers for the library. Giving the names of borrowers, what they borrowed and on what date, these registers give some insight into who used Cosin’s Library. However, they only give a partial picture: what they don’t tell us is who came to library to consult Cosin’s ‘good books’.

Title page of the Book of Common Prayer (1619), with many annotations by John Cosin

Book of Common Prayer (1619)

This Book of Common Prayer, published in 1619/20, is one of the very few books from Cosin’s collection that has handwritten notes. Cosin generally did not write in his books, which makes this one all the more valuable for researchers interested in his religious views. The notes were made for a revision of the Book of Common Prayer in the early 1660s.

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