The Bar Convent's Library & Archives provide unique and intimate details of our story, and offer a rich source for research students.

The main library is largely devoted to Church History with special emphasis on the recusancy period. It includes many standard works and is regularly updated with new publications.

In addition there is the historic Convent Library of antique books written in several different languages, dating from 1508 to 1850. Our reading room houses a number of Catholic learned journals and some theology. There is a further feminine collection of books by and about women, mainly in a religious context.

The archives will be of particular interest to those interested in the history of the Congregation of Jesus (previously named the Institute of Blessed Virgin Mary) or the annals of the Bar Convent and its school.

For the study of Mary Ward we rely mainly on transcripts, as the original papers are in Munich. The history of the Bar Convent itself is supported by its own documents, including letters, journals, registers and a special collection of account books dating from 1733, from which a vivid picture of school and convent life can be drawn.

Researchers and students should apply to our Special Collections Manager in the first instance, stating their area of study. For further details, please contact Dr Hannah Thomas –

For more information about our collections, please see the Catholic Archive Society’s website.

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Pre-book a visit to our library
Fascinating artefacts on display
Mary Ward, foundress of the COJT
The Historic Library