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Poulton-le-Fylde Parish Bray Library

105 items.

The Reverend Dr Thomas Bray (1656–1730), concerned to improve the education and standing of Anglican clergymen, devised a scheme for establishing parochial libraries in England and its colonies during the 1690s. This project led to the formation of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) on 8 March 1699.

In 1705 Bray formed a special committee for creating libraries, styled the Trustees for Erecting Parochial Libraries and Promoting other Charitable Designs.

By 1729, when the Associates of Dr Bray was formed as a new management group, the Trustees had set up at least fifty-six parochial libraries in England and ten in Wales, each costing more than £20.

The Bray Trustees established a parochial library at Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, in 1720, comprising 81 volumes, and it was augmented in 1871. In 1885 Richard Copley Christie described it as a ‘complete and excellently preserved Bray library’.

An inventory compiled in 1976 showed that all but two of the volumes from the 1720 endowment were still present.

The library was transferred on permanent loan to the John Rylands Library in 1978.

Two-thirds of the collection comprises works of Anglican theology and church history published between 1690 and 1720. The remainder consists of general theological books of the nineteenth century.

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Finding aids

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The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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