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Canterbury Cathedral
UK News

Bible returns home 500 years after it disappeared from Cathedral

by Tola Mbakwe

The pocket-sized Bible went missing when the cathedral's monastic community disbanded during the Reformation in the 16th century.

Now known as the Lyghfield Bible, after the 16th century Cathedral monk who once owned it, the 690-leaf volume was purchased at an auction in London in July.

The £100,000 purchase was made possible with a grant of almost £96,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF). There was also further funding from the Friends of the National Libraries, the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral and a private donation.

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of NHMF, said: "Not only an incredibly rare book directly linked to one the most turbulent periods of British history, the Lyghfield Bible is also exquisitely beautiful.

"We at the National Heritage Memorial Fund agreed it was imperative it should be saved for the nation and returned home to Canterbury where its important story can be told to future generations of visitors, pilgrims and students."

Exactly what happened to the Lyghfield Bible is not known, but now it is back to join the very small percentage of the book collection that survived. There are only 30 volumes from the thousands that the cathedral once had.

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