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Gradwell Collection
Radcliffe Collection
Andrew F. Walls Centre
Other Collections

The Gradwell Collection, entrusted to Liverpool Hope on the closure of St. Joseph's College at Upholland, contains material covering the following subjects: theology, philosophy, church, secular and local history, ecclesiastical history, art, architecture, sociology, education and works of general reference. It also includes recusant works and early printed books. Donations and subscriptions aside, the book collection has not been added to since 1975 when the College ceased to operate as a seminary, however, the journal and periodical collection which is mainly theological, has been kept up-to-date and can be found with the main collection of journals in The Sheppard-Worlock Library. The Gradwell is particularly strong in Catholic studies with standard works of Catholic reference and Liverpool Hope University has added a substantial number of volumes from the Corpus Christianorum series to complement the reference collection.

The collection also houses a section devoted to the Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890), who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010 and soon to be canonised before too long. Newman stands as a Victorian giant in the field of theology, philosophy and education. Influencing many academic and spiritual disciplines, Newman's writings and his lifelong search for religious truth continue to inspire scholars throughout the world. Liverpool Hope University aims to enhance and extend the reach of John Henry Newman’s life and spirituality with the development of the John Henry Newman Studies Project, an international forum for research and academic study of the meaning of Newman’s thought and work.

The Newman section, within the Gradwell collection, contains a generous corpus of Newman's own published works (including first editions) and books on or related to Newman. This scholarly resource is complemented by the availability of a recently updated extensive collection of Newman related publications from the main Sheppard-Worlock Library collection, further details of which can be found on the library catalogue. The collection also includes, preserved on microfilm, the diaries, letters and miscellaneous documents from the Cardinal Newman archive held at the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, in Birmingham. Contents of the archive can be found on the Cardinal John Henry Newman Archive on microfilm. To use the archive please email

Also in the Gradwell is a significant collection of St. Thomas Aquinas material and material relating to Vatican II, including the complete series of Concilium Tridentinum, Acta et Documenta Oecumenico Vaticano II Apparando and Acta Synodalia. The collection also includes some archival material relating to the Vatican II Council collected by a delegate and observer of the Vatican II Council, Rev. Dr. William G Baker. The Vatican II Council archive list of contents is available to download.

The Gradwell has a substantial quantity of primary recusant material from the 17th and 18th centuries; this includes devotional works, sermons, tracts, pamphlets, biblical studies and more. There is a rich seam here of very high quality research material for those working in this generally under-researched area. Finally there is material which, while perhaps not being of obvious research significance, simply needs preserving. For example, there are materials from the 16th century in this class such as editions of the Fathers in Greek and Latin.

This is an exciting and important collection which, in addition to servicing some general undergraduate needs, has the potential to provide the basis for high quality research in one of our key mission areas. It is certainly worth noting that the Gradwell is well represented in English Catholic Books 1701-1800, F. Blom [...] et al.

The Gradwell is only part catalogued and it may be necessary to book an appointment to discover the full extent of the resources available. The Gradwell Classification can also be downloaded to discover the subject coverage of the collection. For assistance please email

Named after its chief donor, Sir Frederick Radcliffe (1861-1952), the Radcliffe Collection is the Anglican library of Liverpool Cathedral and St Aidan’s Theological College. The focus of the collection was primarily to be a ‘liturgical library’. Radcliffe aimed to buy exemplars of every book printed for liturgical use in England during the Tudor and Stuart reigns, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, to be brought together alongside medieval manuscripts to document and observe the liturgical transition during this period. Indeed the collection houses Missals dating from the pre-Reformation era, some 15th century European manuscript books of hours, 16th and 17th century bibles and early commentaries, hymn books and ecclesiastical music, and a large number of early printed books chiefly of liturgical and scholastic interest.

The manuscripts and early printed books (books printed before 1801) were deposited at The Sheppard-Worlock Library in 2012 following the completion of the environmentally controlled vault built specifically to house rare books. The Radcliffe Collection catalogue lists the holdings of early printed books, including 26 incunabula (books printed before 1501), and manuscripts. To view these materials please email to make an appointment.

The remainder of the Radcliffe collection (printed after 1801), contains liturgical and antiquarian books and books of general theological interest and also includes the library of St. Aidans Theological College donated after closure in 1969. This part of the Radcliffe is fully catalogued and available on the Library catalogue.

There are also significant holdings of materials from the Library of Christopher Wordsworth (1848-1938); great-grandson of Christopher Wordsworth (1774-1846), Master of Trinity College Cambridge, great-nephew of the poet William Wordsworth, nephew of Charles Wordsworth (1806-1892), Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, son of Christopher (1807-1885), Bishop of Lincoln, and brother to John (1843-1911), Bishop of Salisbury and Dame Elizabeth Wordsworth (1840-1932), the founding Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, a college for female undergraduates.

Christopher Wordsworth served as chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral and later was a canon of Salisbury Cathedral, where he held a number of posts including that of librarian and chancellor.

Wordsworth’s library collection reflects his academic interest in historical and liturgical research as well as containing books and manuscripts that belonged to or were written by his brother, father, uncle and grandfather. This collection is now fully catalogued and can be searched on the Library catalogue. To limit your search to the Christopher Wordsworth Collection select from the drop-down menu under 'Location' using the advanced search tool. There is also the Christopher Wordsworth Collection Catalogue that can be downloaded for study.

The Andrew F. Walls Centre for the Study of African and Asian Christianity (CSAAC) has moved to the first floor of Special Collections in The Sheppard-Worlock Library, accessible via the Reading Room, to provide more space for the increasing number of donations and to house the books and the journals, newsletters and other ephemera altogether in one place.

Materials have been donated to the Andrew F. Walls Centre primarily by Professor Walls himself, the University of Edinburgh (Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World), and the University of Aberdeen. The collection offers resources across a range of mission studies, its principal focus being Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Missions from the West have had a part in the African and Asian Christian story, and this collection has substantial holdings on the history of mission and missionary activity in other parts of the world, as well as on mission theology and practice, other faiths, and the history of religions. The collection also includes many volumes on the historical, political, economic, social and religious background and context of African and Asian Christianity. The Centre was officially opened by Professor Walls in May 2008.

The collection currently contains over 10,000 catalogued items including books, journals, reports and newsletters from organisations and churches and other ephemera. There are also a significant number of recent donations yet to be catalogued which are available to browse on the open shelves. The Centre also holds the Church Missionary Society Archive on microfilm and the (Wesleyan) Methodist Missionary Society Archive on microfiche. To view the microfiche/film collections please email to book an appointment.

In addition, the Butler Collection was donated by the University of Edinburgh to sit alongside the Andrew Walls Centre material. The collection focuses on Non-Western Christian Art and contains a range of formats including some Indian theological journals, and artefacts.

Several individuals have also donated materials to the Centre including; Rev. George Hood’s collection of materials which he acquired during his time as a missionary in China; South African materials donated by the Brothers Hofmeyr, Prof. J.W. (Hoffie) Hoymeyr and Mr. G.S. (George) Hofmeyr; Indian Christianity material from Canon Daniel O’Connor, and books from Mrs M.E. Cecilia Irvine and Mr. R. Ross Noble. Most recently we have received generous donations from the Methodist Church House, London and the Wesley Historical Society Library in Oxford. We welcome donations on World Christianity and Missions History, for further information please consult the Special Collections Management Policy. Any queries about the collections with us please email

Some donated special collection material has been integrated into the main collection where it is felt they complement and enhance the existing collection and will be best exploited by users e.g. Liverpool Excellence Collection and Merseyside CND Collection. These collections are governed by the main library’s Collection Management Policy and managed by the Faculty Librarians. To search any of these collections on the Library catalogue limit your search by selecting the collection from the drop-down menu under 'Location' using the advanced search tool.

These collections are as follows:

Education Research Collection (Ed Stack)

This research collection of books, pamphlets and journals on education and related subjects was donated by the University of Liverpool. These materials are housed in the Ed Stack adjacent to the Education collection in the main library.

The collection contains:

  • 30,000 books and pamphlets covering all aspects of education, particularly from an historic viewpoint and with large sections on special education and religious education
  • Bibliographies, Government publications and other statistical publications, and annual reports of organisations connected with education
  • 400 journals with strengths in learning difficulties and special education, educational psychology, and education overseas.

Talbot Library including Loughlin Collection

In 2014 the Lancaster Diocese Trustees and Liverpool Hope University reached an agreement to deposit the Talbot Library on permanent loan for the preservation of the collection and for the benefit of religious studies scholars at Liverpool Hope University and throughout the North West. The collection contains some 50,000 books including a substantial number of early printed books (pre-1801), a collection by and about G.K. Chesterton, part of the Loughlin Collection, and notably a collection of books on John Henry Newman, to complement our own collection of Newman resources at Liverpool Hope. The rare book collection was entrusted to Special Collections in June 2015 and is housed in the environmentally controlled vault, however, the material is uncatalogued so please email to make an appointment to view.

The remainder of the Talbot Library book collection and journals are housed in The Sheppard-Worlock Library and is now available to browse. Work needs to be done to de-duplicate, catalogue and process the collection and so is not currently listed on the online library catalogue. The original card catalogue will be available for consultation and it is also possible to consult the collection. The Talbot Library Classification scheme and the Talbot Library Irish Studies Collection are also available to download.

Cornwell Collection

Liverpool Hope Library is privileged to house the Anthony Cornwell collection of books, previously held in the Talbot Library in Preston where Cornwell spent many hours cataloguing the stock. The collection covers subjects such as theology, history, literature, art and some music books and is fully catalogued and available on the Library catalogue. The books are located in the foyer of The Sheppard-Worlock Library.

Sisters of Notre Dame Collection

The library has recently received a most generous donation of theology materials from Sister Mary Charles-Murray and Sister Maura O'Carroll from the British Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Mary Charles-Murray is a noted Patristics Oxford scholar and her research interests are reflected in her outstanding private collection which focuses on the Church Fathers, both Latin and Greek, and early Christian Art. The collection of Sister Maura O'Carroll, now retired, is centred on medieval Church history, particularly the Preaching revival of the 12th-13th Centuries. To support this study works of the Church Fathers mostly in translation have been collected as well as a number of catalogues of medieval manuscripts with an emphasis on the Dominicans. The two collections complement each other very well and are fully catalogued and easily accessible in the library foyer.

Picton Collection

The Picton Collection is a collection of theology material on long-term loan from the Liverpool City Library Collection. This collection contains many of the classic New Testament works published before 1975, some old but extremely useful linguistic studies including older Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek lexicons, and several sets of theological texts. The collection not only enhances but also complements The Sheppard-Worlock's own collection of theology holdings, both lending and reference.

Centre for Millennialism Studies

The Centre for Millennialism Studies is focused on the study of contemporary manifestations of millennialism and apocalypticism; particularly the ‘afterlife' of apocalyptic texts and ideas within popular culture. The collection consists of books, DVDs, games, graphic novels, comics, pamphlets and newspapers and is located in the Group Study area of The Sheppard-Worlock Library.

Other discrete collections include the personal libraries of Father Marmion, Peter Wilkinson, John Elford and Derek Worlock.

Reciprocal arrangements with Biblioteca Diocesana of Modena-Nonantola Diocese

As the first step of collaboration between Liverpool Hope University and Biblioteca Diocesana of Modena-Nonantola Diocese, the two institutions are opening their catalogues.

  • Library catalogue - contains the catalogues of 100 ecclesiastic libraries of which Modena-Nonantola hold copies PBE03 and PBE09
  • Serial Catalogue - this also covers multiple libraries catalogues with MO033 held at Modena-Nonantola

Currently the online catalogues cover 30% of all documents. The library staff at Modena-Nonantola can undertake a search of the complete paper catalogue (especially ancient documents, manuscripts, etc.) and, if required, are able to check if specific documents are available.

Within Italian copyright legislation Modena-Nonantola are offering to provide a digital version of documents for Liverpool Hope staff or students to support their studies and research. Anyone interested in these arrangements should email Susan Murray, Director of Library and Learning Spaces,

Useful information

To view the manuscripts or rare books in Special Collections please make an appointment. Email Special Collections or visit About Us for more information.