The Society’s library comprises a collection of journals, books and other material. The collection comprises journals from many British archaeological societies, standard tests on the archaeology and history of the region, plus some important items of wider relevance.

The collection of journals is now housed in the Seaborne Library on the main campus of the University of Chester, where it is available for reference only by members of the Society, students and the general public; please sign in at the library helpdesk. Volumes which come under the heading of ‘local studies’ are currently housed at Chester History and Heritage in St Michael’s Church in Bridge Street Row East. The Society’s collection of manuscripts is cared for at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies in Duke Street, Chester.

The books are stored in the Cheshire Libraries central store and is accessible through the Cheshire Libraries Service online catalogue.

A search will produce a result such as:,wrdl: Britannia

To see a list of all the Society’s books available press ‘Advanced search’ then ‘Shelving location’. If you then tick the box marked ‘Chester Archaeological Society’ and press the Search button you should reach the full list of all our 515 books. As you will see, these are not available for loan but can be viewed at your local library.

Many thanks to Peter and Joyce Carrington and Hilary Lidbury for all their hard work to make this possible.

If you have any specific queries or requests you should contact the society’s librarian.

The Society also possesses a collection of leaflets, pamphlets, offprints, excavation reports etc click here to download a listing of these publications.  If any member is interested in consulting any of these for research purposes please contact the society’s librarian.


The library developed through the purchase, exchange and presentation of periodicals, books, pamphlets, prints and manuscripts. Its most important acquisition was the antiquarian collection of the historian J P Earwaker (1847-95), which related to all aspects of Cheshire’s history.

Although the main emphasis was on local archaeology and history, the collection also covered such subject areas as religion, the arts, languages (including dialect glossaries), literature and general archaeology and history. The library also acquired many pamphlets, some dating back to the sixteenth century and including a large number of printed sermons.

The library’s map and print collection illustrated places in Cheshire and its surrounding counties and included examples of the work of Nathaniel Buck and T Landseer. There were also many late nineteenth-century photographs of Cheshire buildings.

An Oral History Collection was created in the 1980s. It contained recollections of life in Chester during the past century, reflected in over 120 interviews recorded on cassette tapes.

Between 2010 and 2014 the Society reviewed and reduced the size of its library holdings, recognising that it was not equipped to conserve them or make them accessible as they deserved. It retains a core collection of journals, books and pamphlets relevant to the aims of the Society (see our Acquisition and Retention Criteria); other items of local interest have been transferred to Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, Chester Cathedral Library and the Grosvenor Museum.

Sermon delivered to the House of Commons, 19th February 1645, celebrating the surrender of Chester to Parliamentary forces in the English Civil War

Some of the Society’s books after the move to Cheshire Libraries Reserve Store, summer 2014

The former Chester City Subscription Library, the Society’s first meeting room and museum.