THE Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, has appointed Christine Penney as the new librarian of the Hurd Library at Hartlebury Castle.

She has more than 40 years of experience of working on historic books and archive collections and has been a committee member of the Friends of Hartlebury Castle and the Hurd Library since its formation in 2007.

The library was built by a former Bishop of Worcester, Richard Hurd, in 1782/3 and contains his important and wide-ranging collection of books, including some belonging formerly to Alexander Pope, William Warburton and George III.

Bishop Hurd died in 1808 and included the library in his will, which stated: "I give and bequeath to my Successors in the See of Worcester and all succeeding Bishops of that See for the time being forever the use of all my books which I shall leave in the Library of the Episcopal House or Castle of Hartlebury at my death and also all the furniture of the same Library."

Ms Penney will be working to develop links between the Hurd Library and other libraries and academic institutions and is keen to encourage scholars’ visits.

She said: “This magnificent library is the only example of an Anglican bishop’s collection remaining on its original shelves, in the room built for it.

“It has enormous potential for study and research and it will be an honour and a privilege to help it to become better known to scholars and, eventually, to the wider community.”

Bishop John said: “I am delighted that Christine Penney has accepted this appointment. The Hurd Library is a treasure of international significance and I doubt if there is anyone else so well qualified to care for it.”

At present, the library is open only to scholars. Those wishing to visit should contact Virginia Wagstaff, secretary of the Friends of Hartlebury Castle and the Hurd Library, on or 01299 250883.