Mirfield collection

The collection

The Mirfield collection contains over 2000 books, most printed before 1800, many on the continent. Although the books are predominantly theological, there are many interesting works in other subjects. The library includes books from the Wilberforce family including the abolitionist William.

Treasures include:

  • The first collected edition of the works of Sir Philip Sidney (1598)
  • The second edition of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651)
  • The first edition of A journey to the western islands of Scotland, by Samuel Johnson(1775)
  • An edition of St. Augustine's De civitate Dei, printed by Nicolas Jenson in Venice (1475)

The collector

The books form part of the library of the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield, West Yorkshire. This Anglican religious community for men was founded in Oxford in 1892, and moved to Mirfield in 1898. The library was built up mainly by gifts from members and friends, and contains much valuable early material.


All the pre-1800 books, plus a few sets of the publications of historical record societies, such as the Royal Historical Society, and the Surtees Society, were deposited at the University in 1973 on permanent loan from the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield.

Collection access

Most of the material in the collection is catalogued and can be accessed via the Library's online catalogue. Items can be consulted in the Borthwick Search Room and copies can be made subject to copyright. Material cannot be loaned outside the University of York without the permission of the owners.

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