On the closure of Sion College Library in June 1996, the manuscripts, the pre-1850 printed books, and the entire pamphlet collection were transferred to Lambeth Palace Library. The post-1850 collections were removed to King's College London.
The collections were well documented in a series of catalogues and inventories produced in the course of its history from 1632 to the closure of the Library in 1996. A guide to these is available via the link on the right of this page.
More than 12,000 records are now searchable on the Library's online printed books catalogue . These include :
The remaining 50,000 items are searchable in a card catalogue in the Library. Please contact us for further advice.
Records of items published after 1850 are available through the catalogue of Kings College London .
Records of manuscripts transferred from Sion College can be consulted on our archives and manuscripts catalogue .
A few items from the Sion College collection published on microfiche by IDC have recently been acquired. Please click on the link on the right hand side of this page to consult a handlist.
The manuscripts total over 300 volumes, from the 11th to the 20th century. They are arranged in series by language, English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Latin and Oriental. The medieval manuscripts include a 13th century psalter belonging to Archbishop Meopham, a 15th century York breviary, and Wycliffite New and Old Testaments. Later material includes the minutes of the Presbyterian Provincial Assembly of London, 1647-60, an augmentation order book of the Committee for the Reformation of the Universities, 1650-2, and works of the mathematician Nathaniel Torporley (d. 1632).
A project to re-catalogue the English, French and Latin manuscripts took place in 2013-14 and the descriptions are available in the online archive catalogue . For more information on cataloguing of the Greek manuscripts, see the Royal Holloway website .
Previous finding aids included:
C.J. Kitching, 'Summary list of the Latin and English manuscripts in Sion College Library London' (typescript, Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 1990)
[Compiled before the manuscripts were transferred to Lambeth Palace Library. Does not include manuscripts in languages other than Latin and English.]
Ker, N.R. Medieval manuscripts in British Libraries vol.1: London, (Oxford, 1969: pp. 263-91).
Includes manuscripts sold by the College in 1977 - see below.
Pickering, O.S. & O'Mara, V.M. The Index of Middle English Prose: handlist 13. Manuscripts in Lambeth Palace Library including those formerly in Sion College Library (Cambridge, 1999).
The following manuscripts did not come to Lambeth Palace Library when the collection was transferred :
E 15 (Thomas Bray) sold at Sotheby's 13/6/1977 (lot 76)
E 21 (Joye's school minute book) - at Guildhall Library c.1953
E 23 (Chaucer) sold at Sotheby's 13/6/1977 (lot 73)
E 41 (Bennet & Clements booksellers memorandum book) sold at Sotheby's 13/6/1977 (lot 75)
E 76 (Langland Piers Plowman) sold at Sotheby's 13/6/1977 (lot 74)
L8 (Syon Abbey processional) - missing in 1932. Now Syon Abbey, South Brent, Devon: MS 1
L9 (Suetonius) sold at Sotheby's 13/6/1977 (lot 71)
L21 (Suetonius) sold at Sotheby's 13/6/1977 (lot 70)
L28 (Hugo Folieto & the Bestiary of Humphrey Duke of Gloucester) sold at Sotheby's 13/6/1977 (lot 72) - now Getty Museum
L34 (Merchant Taylor's School admissions register 1644-1662) - at Merchant Taylor's since 1930
Of the 35,000 printed books, many complement the Lambeth collections. Of the 57 incunabula, 51 are editions previously lacking at Lambeth. There are some 1,600 STC and 4,000 Wing books. Significant collections were donated or bequeathed to Sion College by Walter Travers, the puritan opponent of Richard Hooker; Henry Compton, bishop of London; John Lawson, M.D., brother-in-law of Archbishop Tenison; Thomas James (c.1650-1711), a London bookseller and mathematical printer to the King; and Richard Chiswell, bookseller in St. Paul's Churchyard, specialising in the works of Anglican divines. Other collections of note include the Jesuit Library seized at the time of the Popish Plot and transferred to Sion College in 1679, some 500 books from the Library of Archbishop Tenison, and the Port Royal Library, collected in the first half of the 19th century.
The extensive pamphlet collection includes some 3,700 items belonging to Edmund Gibson, bishop of London (1669-1748), 5,800 to John Russell, headmaster of the Charterhouse, and rector of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate (1787-1863), 1,600 to William Goode, dean of Ripon (1801-68), and 7,100 to William Scott, vicar of St. Olave, Jewry, London, (1801-68).