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Leighton Library, Dunblane

Scotland's oldest purpose-built library founded in 1687

The Books

The library originally housed the books bequeathed to it by Robert Leighton, numbering around 1400. The first floor consists of a single room lined with presses. The original presses, on the left as you enter, hold Leighton’s books. These have been added to over the years so that the library now houses around 4,500 volumes printed in 89 languages, including Greek, Persian, Syrian and Gaelic.

The books have been fully catalogued and may be accessed at Stirling University. Arrangements are made between the Leighton and Stirling University Library to allow serious students to have access to the books and manuscripts for academic study.

For the more casual visitor to the library, however, a myriad of fascinating books vie for attention. Original books owned by Leighton include a volume of poetry by George Buchanan, tutor to the infant James VI and a Book of Psalms dating from 1504 making it the oldest book in the library. 

Those books added to the collection over the years include a first edition of The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott as well as volumes of Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle with its fascinating early drawings of animals.

Two Breeches Bibles, a signed copy of a volume donated by Queen Victoria and some intriguing early maps form only a sample of the treasure trove which awaits.

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