New 21st century home for Lambeth's ancient treasures

Lambeth Palace's first new building for 180 years will host the Church's historic library amid fears its current home could not preserve the collection to modern standards, according to the Telegraph.

The palace's first building in 180 years will host the library dating back to the 9th centuryReuters

The priceless treasure trove is the largest collection of religious books and manuscripts in Europe apart from the Vatican and includes the execution papers of Mary Queen of Scots as well as a prayer book recovered from the body of Richard III.

The collection will be housed in a multi-million pound building, purpose built in the grounds of Lambeth Palace to preserve the manuscripts, some of which date back 1,200 years. Among the 200,000 books, 30,000 date from before 1700.

The library is currently dotted around several buildings on the palace's grounds and the environment is considered unsuitable for the preservation of such ancient manuscripts.

London based architects Wright & Wright have been tasked with designing the palace's first new building since 1833.

"The opportunity to work on this exciting piece of history is unique," said the firm.

"We look forward to working with the Church of England to develop a dynamic design to house a historic collection at Lambeth Palace so that it can be preserved and viewed by more people in the future."

Declan Kelly, director of libraries for the Church of England, said: "The existing library is housed in several buildings including the medieval entrance tower at Lambeth Palace, and the plans by the Church Commissioners were developed after it was found that the existing library can't be adapted to protect and preserve the collections to the standards needed."