Mysterious miniature bible rediscovered at Leeds library

The bible emerged during lockdown Credit: PA Images

A tiny bible which can only be read with a magnifying glass has been discovered at a library in Leeds.

The 1911 replica of a so-called Chained Bible – found during the Covid lockdown – is only slightly larger than a £1 coin.

It contains both the New and Old Testaments printed on 876 gossamer-thin India paper pages.

The book only resurfaced when the library carried out a comprehensive survey during lockdown closures and its origins remain a mystery.

Rhian Isaac, special collections senior librarian at Leeds City Library, said it was billed as the smallest bible in the world when it was first printed – although that was unlikely.

The tiny bible can only be read with a magnifying glass Credit: PA Images

Asked where it came from, she said: "We don't know. It's a bit of a mystery, really.

"A lot of items in our collection were either bought over time or they might have been donated.

"We've done quite a lot of work during lockdown on cataloguing our rare books and special collections.

"Before that, hardly any of these books had ever been seen by anyone or ever been found, really."

Around 3,000 items have been newly catalogued at the library, including some unusual finds, with some dating back to the 15th century.

Members of the public can ask to see the bible.

The origins of the bible at Leeds City Library remain a mystery Credit: PA Images

Rhian Isaac added: "We ask people to get in touch and we can bring them out for people to see.

"You don't have to be an academic or a researcher. If you're just interested, we can get them out for you and you can come and read them in our beautiful grade II-listed building, which is a wonderful place to come and do some studying.

"We would rather these books were used and read. That's what they were made for and that's what we encourage people to come in and do, instead of locking them away.

"They belong to everyone in Leeds. We're just the guardians of them, really."