It’s our 500th post, and we wanted to bring you something special, so how about the state of the art in medieval anti-book-theft devices: the chained binding. Manuscript books were expensive to make and difficult to replace, so naturally, it was important to have good security. In a chained library, an iron clasp was screwed into the wooden boards binding the book. A chain ran from that clasp to a bar along the shelf on which a number of books were housed, shelved with the fore-edges out (note the title written on this book’s fore-edge in the middle picture). Original chained bindings rarely survive today, but remarkably an entire chained library is preserved at Hereford Cathedral.
Cartagena, Alonso de, 1385?-1456. Lectura arboris genealogiae regum Hispaniae : & specialiter in recta linea Regum Castellae et Legiois : manuscript,