“The Durham Residential Research Library is a major new partnership between Durham University, Durham Cathedral and Ushaw College, all of which have internationally significant collections of books and other materials that deserve to be brought to a wider scholarly and public audience. By bringing together these three collections, and providing residential accommodation for visiting fellows, the DRRL intends to foster research on material held at Durham, to create an international fellowship of scholars whose research interests have brought them to us, and to showcase the collections to a wider audience.

I hope that this website provides you with the information you need to plan your own engagement with our collections, and that they inspire you to visit and work with us. I look forward to welcoming you to the DRRL or to one of its events.”

By David Cowling

History of the RRL

Since 2018 the Durham Residential Research Library has been welcoming visiting fellows to research across the three historic collections of Durham – those held by Durham Cathedral, Ushaw College and Durham University.

Durham Cathedral Library descends from the library of the monastery founded at Lindisfarne by St Aidan in 635 AD. It is the largest in situ medieval library in the UK, with manuscripts dating from the 6th century to the modern day. The cathedral itself dates from 1093.

‘Ushaw College descends from the English College at Douai, which was founded in 1568, and has been in its present location since 1808. The college houses extensive collections, including over 40,000 printed titles, the great majority pre-1851, including much rare pamphlet literature from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.’

‘Palace Green Library was originally founded by Bishop John Cosin in the seventeenth century. In 1669 Bishop Cosin founded an episcopal library on Palace Green, the first public lending library in the North East of England. Following the university’s foundation in 1832, the site was developed with Palace Green Library serving as the university’s main library for 150 years before focusing on archival and special collections in the 1980s.

Some lovely books out on our monastic tables in the Refectory Library, ready to welcome delegates from the @ResearchDurham conference. #DurhamRRL https://t.co/NEoNy7kEE0 SouthernGemGal photo

I greatly enjoyed the panels I saw at @ResearchDurham conf the past two days. @ElizabethCBiggs discussed an interesting copy of the Malleus Maleficarum held at Durham, while @EilishGregory revealed the extent of letters/material held at Ushaw concerning 18thC recusancy in Britain

Some lovely books out on our monastic tables in the Refectory Library, ready to welcome delegates from the @ResearchDurham conference. #DurhamRRL https://t.co/NEoNy7kEE0 ResearchDurham photo

Here's @AbbotsMedieval revealing some of the hidden treasures in Ushaw College's Big Library at Durham's inaugural RRL conference. @ResearchDurham @UshawLibrary https://t.co/EHL3hk7Z7G ResearchDurham photo

Had a fantastic time at @ResearchDurham conference in Durham. Was great to see familiar faces and meet new ones and to hear a vast array of papers across a long time period. I will probably try and sum up a few papers I heard tomorrow. Until then: https://t.co/xcdF6Debtu ResearchDurham photo

On the train home after the fantastic #DurhamRRL conference with lots to think about; thanks to @ResearchDurham, @IMEMSDurham and all the presenters!