Leighton Library

Leighton Library, Dunblane
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Leighton Library, Dunblane

Claiming to be the oldest purpose-built private library building in Scotland, the Leighton Library is located on the Cross in Dunblane. It was established to hold a scholarly collection of 1500 volumes which had been the property of Robert Leighton (1611-84), Bishop of Dunblane and Archbishop of Glasgow, who had left the books to Dunblane Cathedral along with £100 as a contribution towards erecting a building to house them. The library is open to the public and the collection has grown to around 4000 books and manuscripts, dating from 1504 to 1840.

The two-storey building, with fore-stair, was completed in 1687. The lower floor is barrel-vaulted and originally provided a residence for the librarian. The upper floor provides storage for the books in cupboards lining the walls. The first recorded librarian was Robert Douglas, a former minister at Bothwell and son of the last Bishop of Dunblane.

The library is maintained by the Leighton Trustees, established in 1691.

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