David Shaw’s Blog on the history of the book, early music, the history of Canterbury Cathedral Library and its collections.


Other blog posts

Recent event

Researching the administration of the Poor Law in the eighteenth century

Monday 8 April 2024
Kent Archives and Library Centre, Maidstone

Recent publications

When was Canterbury Cathedral’s medieval library demolished?’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 142, 2021, pp. 321–326.
[Download PDF]

‘Eighteenth-century stationers and the distribution of Poor Law settlement certificates in East Kent’Publishing History, 2022 [2023].
[Download pre-print PDF]

Conferences and seminars

William Somner
Conference and exhibition
Saturday 23 March 2019
Canterbury Christ Church University
David Shaw,  ‘William Somner’s books
Libraries in an Age of Revolution
Conference at Winchester College
25–26 April 2019
David Shaw, Canterbury ‘Cathedral Library and the Civil War’.
Canterbury Cathedral and its administration in the Restoration period
Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society

Wednesday 11 March 2020
Paper for octavos: Innovation in early sixteenth-century book production.
Tuesday 15 December 2020
The Bibliographical Society
by Zoom
Download PowerPoint
(recording available )
The Cathedral Library:
books and their owners

(exhibition, talk, and afternoon tea)
Monday 16 August 2021
Cathedral Archives and Library
and Canterbury Cathedral Lodge
The Poor Law settlement system in East Kent in the eighteenth century
A talk to the Kent Family History Society, Canterbury, Friday 10 March 2023
The Poor Law settlement system in Kent in the eighteenth century
A talk to the Deal branch of the Kent Family History Society
Tuesday 10 October 2023
The archaeology of the printed book
Friends of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust
29 February 2024, 7.00 pm (
Sarah Dixon’s Poems on several occasions (Canterbury, 1740) and its reception: an examination of the list of subscribers.
Saturday 2 March 2024, 2.00 pm

Recent publications

  • ‘Eighteenth-century stationers and the distribution of Poor Law settlement certificates in East Kent’, Publishing History, vol. 86, 2022 [2023], pp. 5–27.  [pre-print pdf]
  • ‘Early printing: Indulgences’ (for the Hospital of St James, Compostela, [Toledo, 1503]). Canterbury Cathedral blog, Picture This: October 2021.
  • ‘Cashing in on a new invention: Aldus Manutius, italic type and small-format books’. A History of the Book in 20 Books from the Cathedral’s Collections, 2021.
  • ‘When was Canterbury Cathedral’s medieval library demolished?’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 142, 2021, pp. 321–326.
  • ‘What happened to the sackbuts and cornetts at Canterbury Cathedral?’. Southern Early Music Forum Newsletter, March 2020, p. 5. [Blog]
  • (with Sarah Griffin) ‘William Somner and his books: provenance evidence for the networks of a seventeenth-century Canterbury antiquarian’, in: Kentish Book Culture: Writers, Archives, Libraries and Sociability c.1400–1660, edited by Claire Bartram, Peter Lang, 2020, pp. 233–285.
  • ‘Canterbury Cathedral Library’s five copies of the 1763 Baskerville Bible’, The Baskerville Society Newsletter, vol. 7, no. 1, April 2019.
  • ‘The Library’s five 1763 Baskerville Bibles’, Newsletter 59, Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library, Summer 2019, pp. 10–11. [Read online]
  • ‘Printed material in the Cathedral Archives’, Canterbury Cathedral Archive and Library Newsletter, 58, Winter 2018, p. 4–5. [Read online]
  • ‘John Mower, vicar of Tenterden in the late fifteenth century: his will, his career and his library’, The Library18 (2) (June 2017): 152–174. [Read online]
  • ‘Unlocking the Chest: financial record-keeping at Canterbury Cathedral in the late 17th century’, Cathedral Libraries and Archives Association Newsletter, Winter 2016, pp.21–22. [Blog]
  • ‘Cornetts and sackbuts in Canterbury Cathedral at the Restoration (1660)’. Southern Early Music Forum Newsletter, December 2016, p. 6. [Blog]
  • ‘The one-pull press and printing on half sheets’, Houghton Library Blog, 27 May 2016. [Link]
  • `The Revd Robert Hunt of Reculver and Jamestown, Virginia’, Canterbury Cathedral Archive and Library Newsletter, 55, October 2015, p. 3. [Link] [Blog]
  • ‘Canterbury Cathedral’s oldest printed item: Der Ackerman von Böhmen (1463)’, Picture This, Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archive, 1 January 2014. [Link] [Blog]
  • ‘One book, five printers: Shared printing in early sixteenth-century Paris (Franciscus Lichetus, Commentaria, Paris, 1520)’, Le Bulletin du bibliophile, 2013, no. 2, 267–288. [Download pre-print version]