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Jesus College Libraries: Celtic Library

The Celtic Library is closed during lockdown.

The Celtic Library at Jesus College supports study and research in the Celtic languages, namely WelshIrishScottish GaelicBretonCornish, and Manx, together with Celtic history, archaeology, and culture.

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Celtic Library

Members of the University of Oxford specialising in Celtic studies may apply for admission to the Celtic Library. Other readers may be granted reference access by appointment. Please contact the Librarian in the first instance.

The Celtic Library is open for browsing and borrowing, from 9.30 a.m. until 9.30 p.m., 7 days a week, with a closure for cleaning between 12.30 and 1.30 p.m. If you wish to stay and study, please book an early or late study session.

Face coverings are required unless you have an exemption. Please clear and clean your desk as you leave.

If you cannot get to the library during the new opening hours, you can use our new Click & Collect service. Find the book you need on SOLO, choose 'Jesus College Library', and click the green Request button. Staff will have the book ready for you the next working day. Students who do not otherwise have access to the Celtic Library may also request individual books via Click & Collect.

Finally, we can Scan & Supply single book chapters and journal articles from the collections, within copyright restrictions. 


The Celtic Library occupies a separate room within the modern languages section of the Meyricke Library (the main library for students at Jesus College). Please borrow and return your books at the self-service machine on the ground floor. Readers from other colleges may borrow only from the Celtic Library, not from the general Meyricke Library collections. Note that the Celtic Library is reached by two flights of thirteen steps: we can offer alternative arrangements for consulting books on request.

Books in the Celtic Library appear in SOLO, the library catalogue covering the majority of the library collections of the University of Oxford. The library preserves books from the collections of Celtic scholars including Charles Plummer, D. Ellis Evans, and Robert Leith Thomson.


The Red Book of HergestThe Celtic Collection is arranged by language as follows:

Z      General
ZA    Welsh
ZB    Irish
ZC    Scottish Gaelic
ZD    Manx [Librarian's office]
ZE    Breton [Librarian's office]
ZF    Cornish [Librarian's office]
ZG    Basque (historic) [attic - ask staff]

Each language has six broad subdivisions:

i     General
ii    Linguistics
iii   Literature
iv   History
v    Religion and mythology
vi   Music

Welsh manuscripts

Twenty of Jesus College's Welsh manuscripts (on deposit in the Bodleian Libraries) were catalogued by J. Gwenogvryn Evans for the Historical Manuscripts Commission. MSS 15, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23, 28, 57, 61, 88, 90, 101, 111, 112, 119, and 137 to 141 are described in pages 1-90 of Report on manuscripts in the Welsh language. Volume II. Part I (London: H.M.S.O., 1902).

Facsimiles of fifteen of these manuscripts are available at Digital.Bodleian. Please see the copyright notice there for information on reproducing images from our special collections. Finally, MSS 20, 57, 111, and 119 have been edited for Welsh Prose 1300-1425.

Readers with disabilities

Readers with disabilities, and prospective students, are invited to contact the Librarian to discuss support in using the Library. A guide to access to the College buildings is available on the main College website.

Students may nominate another member of College, or a support worker approved by the University's Disability Advisory Service, to accompany them in the Library or borrow books on their behalf. Library staff can deliver books to the Lodge for readers who cannot access the Library: simply email with the books you need and we will issue them within one working day; you can also return them to the Lodge. Please ask staff if you would like to reserve a desk in one of the ground floor reading rooms.

Contact the Library

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Office open - please drop in: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Telephone: (01865) 279704
(internal: 79704)

[picture of Owen]

Owen McKnight (College Librarian)

More in Oxford

Another significant collection for Celtic studies in Oxford is the Celtic collection at the Taylor Institution Library. Books and journals on the archaeology of the Celtic countries are also held in the Sackler Library.

J.R.R. Tolkien's personal Celtic library is preserved at the Weston Library under the auspices of the English Faculty Library.

The Language Centre supports learners in the Celtic languages among many others.