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Leighton Library, Dunblane

Scotland's oldest purpose-built library founded in 1687

The History

Dunblane has been an important religious site since St. Blane arrived here around 600 A.D. The bishopric dates from 1141, during the reign of David I who granted the city a charter. The cathedral was completed by Bishop Clement around 1240. During the reformation in Scotland the nave of the church was rendered roofless and worship in the protestant mode was carried out in the choir area.

Following on from the execution of Charles I and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, one of the first acts of the newly-restored King Charles II was to endeavour to introduce bishops once more into the church in Scotland.

Leighton’s time in Dunblane and Glasgow was one of very great religious conflict. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw an end to bishops in the Church of Scotland but not to conflict. The Leighton Library is only two miles from the battlefield of Sheriffmuir where conflicting religious ideologies played a major part in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715.

During this period the library continued to function as a lending library and fascinating records of the borrowings still exist. The Leighton continued functioning as a lending library until around 1840 when demand appears to have ceased. Following restoration in the 1980s, it is now a beautiful visitor attraction, manned by volunteers and open from May to September each year.

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