The Slaithwaite Parish collection

The collection

The Slaithwaite Parish collection is a parish library from the church of Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield. It includes around 250 books mainly of 17th and 18th century theology, consisting of commentaries and expositions of scripture in Latin and English. There are also some manuscripts of local interest.

Treasures include:

  • Mikrocosmographia (1616), the first complete treatise on anatomy in English, illustrated with numerous woodcuts.
  • Four manuscripts written by schoolmasters at the Slaithwaite school.
  • Commonplace books of the Rev Mr Murgatroyd, schoolmaster in Slaithwaite in the 1700s.
  • 17th century edition of the Gesta Romanorum, considered to be a source text for writers such as Chaucer and Shakespeare.

This collection would be of interest to researchers studying the nature and history of English parish libraries.

The collector

The library was founded by the Rev. Robert Meeke, vicar from 1685 until his death in 1724, who, in his will, provided that part of his own library should be kept for the use of his successors. The library was then added to by later incumbents.


The collection was placed at the University on permanent loan in 1967 with a further small donation in 2001. It is held on deposit from Slaithwaite Parish Church.


Most of the material in the collection is catalogued and can be accessed via the University of York’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.

Related collections

Further information