In the heart of the west wing- the oldest wing of the house dating to 1425- is the library. Until 1931 this was the dining room. Mary Roxburghe's father, Lord Crewe, buying the house in at that time, added the beautiful bookshelves here and created numerous others all round the house. He filled these with tens of thousands of books. 

Both he and his father were passionate collectors of books and pamphlets, many of them by now extremely rare. Knowing the great importance of these books and wanting them to be kept together as the Crewe Collection, the duchess left them to Trinity College in Cambridge, where the two men had been undergraduates. The librarian of the library, built for the college by Sir Christopher Wren, came several times with colleagues to Horsley. They selected around 7,500 books, which now have pride place in the reading room in the beautiful Wren Library. Find out more about the Crewe Collection. 

Lord Houghton (Mary Roxburghe's grandfather) was fascinated by the French Revolution, collecting books, pamphlets and objects from this period, hence the bust of Napoleon Bonaparte watching over the books.

The room is divided by a pair of 15th century wooden arches. Intriguingly, both arches bear witch's marks. The marks- in this case taper burns- were placed with the intent that no witch could pass them.