The history of the Franciscan Order and the vision of its founder's life and work have continued since medieval times to fascinate both academic scholars and ordinary Christians. Prominent among the former was the late Anglican Bishop John R. H. Moorman, who by the time of his death in 1989 had amassed a collection of over 2,000 manuscripts and books on St Francis and the Franciscan movement.
In his will, Bishop Moorman bequeathed his Bibliotheca Franciscana to Gladstone's Library, and endowed a scholarship program to enable students, scholars and authors to utilise this collection for reading and research. The collection's strength is its concentration on the history of the Franciscan movement to 1517. It includes books about St Francis and the history of the Friars Minor, Poor Clares and Secular Franciscans together with works of more important Franciscan authors and sets of periodicals dealing with Franciscan history. Among incunabula are an early edition of a confessors' handbook by Nicholas of Osimo printed in 1476 and a copy of Ubertino of Casale's Arbor VitaeCrucifixae Jesu printed in Venice in 1485. In addition, there are various editions of the early biographies of St Francis and eighteenth and twentieth-century editions of Luke Wadding's Annales Minorum.
Records for all items in the Bishop Moorman Franciscan Collection can be found in our online catalogue together with records for Franciscan material added to the main collection since 1989.