Bangor Cathedral can boast of a rich and varied library. Its greatest treasure is Bishop Anian’s Pontifical which dates from at least the early years of the fourteenth century. It is written on vellum with illustrations inlaid with gold leaf and bordered in blue, green and black.
A pontifical is a book containing the text of liturgical ceremonies performed by bishops, such as ordinations, benedictions, confirmations and the consecration of churches. The Pontifical of Anian contained all these elements and included almost all that was necessary for a bishop’s public duties together with the appropriate music, written in the standard notation of the day, on four lines.
During the second world war it shared with some of Britain’s most historic treasures the sanctuary of the tunnels beneath the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. It was finally returned on 11th April, 1946
Bishop Anian’s Pontifical is now deposited for safety in the Library of the University of Wales Bangor.