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South Wales church opens new library of theology

25 June 2021

The 13th-century Old Gatehouse opposite St Illtyd’s

The 13th-century Old Gatehouse opposite St Illtyd’s

A CHURCH in south Wales, on the site of one of the oldest centres of religious learning in Britain, has relaunched its connection with scholarship by opening a new library of theology.

St Illtyd’s, in the Bristol Channel coastal village of Llantwit Major, opened the library at Llantwit earlier this month, as part of a broader cultural and educational programme to reinspire interest in the “Iona of Mainland Britain”.

St Illtyd founded a monastery and school in Llantwit Major in the sixth century. It became one of the most significant centres of learning in early medieval Britain, teaching thousands about the faith, including the patron saint of Wales, St David.

The Grade I listed medieval church named after him already includes a museum featuring eighth-century Celtic stones, and, after funding from the diocese of Llandaff and a cultural heritage firm, Coleridge in Wales, is a central part of a programme, Landscapes of Faith, designed to encourage more faith-based tourism into South Wales.

The new library, situated in the 13th-century Old Gatehouse opposite St Illtyd’s, brings together several collections, including the Kingdom of Heaven library: the personal collection of the Old Testament scholar the Revd Professor John Rogerson, who died in 2018.

Other archives and collections are being brought into the library, and it will also become the home of the Beauchief Abbey Press, a small theological publishing house founded in 2013.

The library, as part of the Landscapes of Faith project, will also host interfaith encounters and a number of other community events.

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