Friday, 2 February 2018

Liberiet – The Medieval building in Lund

The red-brick building close to Lund’s Cathedral is called Liberiet. By the name you can realise what was situated in it from the beginning – a library.

Liberiet was built in the second half of the 15th century as the Cathedral library. Originally, the book collection consisted of manuscripts made of parchment. The Cathedral book collection has grown fast after the development of book printing, so the library had to move to a new location.  

There are many stories to tell about Liberiet. It is first mentioned in a written document from 1499 in which the archbishop Birger Gunnersen gave permission to store 60 barrels of carbon in the basement of the building.

However, Liberiet's function abruptly ceased in 1527 by the Danish king Christian III. After the Danish Reformation he made a decision that all the valuable books should be transferred to the Copenhagen University library. The library burned down in 1728 together with all the books.

Luckily,”Necrologium Lundsense” was the book which did not end up in Copenhagen. The Lund University library has this book in its collection. The first parchment in it is the deed of gift by Knut the Saint (Knut den Helige) to the cathedral chapter in 1085.

In the 17th century, Liberiet was used as a classroom for the newly founded University of Lund. At that time Liberiet was known as the Old Academy, while the King’s house (Kungshuset) was later known as the New Academy.

In 1765 the top floor was furnished as a fencing hall where Per Henrik Ling was teaching. Nowadays, Liberiet is used for the Cathedral chapter pilgrimage.

What a fascinating history Liberiet has!

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