Chetham Society

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The Chetham Society is a text publication society and registered charity (No. 700047).[1] It was established on 23 March 1843 for the publication of "remains historic and literary connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester".


The Chetham Society is the oldest historical society in North West England. It was founded by a group of gentlemen (including the lawyer James Crossley and the clergymen Thomas Corser, Richard Parkinson, and Francis Robert Raines), who wished to promote interest in the counties’ historical sources. The society held its first meeting on 23 March 1843 at Chetham's Library, in Manchester, which was established in 1653 by the will of the philanthropist Humphrey Chetham. The society became a registered charity in 1988.

The Chetham Society was amongst the earliest antiquarian and historical societies to be established in Britain during the nineteenth century, and appears to have been modelled, in part, on the Durham-based Surtees Society founded in 1834.[2] Many distinguished historians and scholars have been involved in the life of the society, including John Eglington Bailey, John Parsons Earwaker, Edward Hawkins, Henry Hoyle Howorth, George Ormerod, Frederick Maurice Powicke, William Stubbs, Thomas Frederick Tout, and Joseph Brooks Yates, amongst others.[3]


Membership of the Chetham Society is open to all individuals and institutions interested in the various historical and literary aspects of Lancashire and Cheshire.


For more than 170 years, the Chetham Society has maintained a regular output of valuable works of scholarship that make significant contributions to the study of the history of North-West England. Since 1843 the society has published more than 275 volumes in three series. The Old Series (O.S.) ran from 1843 until 1888 (comprising 114 volumes and two volumes of indexes); the New Series (N.S.) commenced in 1883 and ended in 1947 (totalling 110 volumes); and the Third Series (T.S.) began in 1949 (volume 51 was published in 2013). In recent years (particularly since the inauguration of the Third Series in 1949) the society's focus has tended to shift away from its traditional role of publishing original primary texts and towards that of publishing scholarly secondary analyses.

Recent volumes have included:

  • Hodgkins, D., ed. (2013), The Diary of Edward Watkin, Chetham Society, Third Ser., 51, ISBN 978-0-9554276-4-0 
  • Collins, S.F. (2012). James Crossley: A Manchester Man of Letters. Chetham Society, Third Ser., 50. ISBN 978-0-95542-763-3. 
  • Virgoe, J.M. (2012), Thomas Eccleston (1752–1809): A progressive Lancastrian agriculturalist, Chetham Society, Third Ser., 49, ISBN 978-0-95542-762-6 
  • Gratton, J.M. (2010), The Parliamentarian and Royalist War Effort in Lancashire, 1642–51, Chetham Society, Third Ser., 48, ISBN 978-0-95542-761-9 
  • Wilson, J.F., ed. (2009), King Cotton: A Tribute to Douglas A. Farnie, Chetham Society, Third Ser., 47, ISBN 978-1-90547-209-3 
  • Lynch, M. E., et al., eds. (2006), Life, love, and death in North-East Lancashire, 1510–37: A translation of the Act Book of the Ecclesiastical Court of Whalley, Chetham Society, Third Ser., 46, ISBN 978-0-95542-760-2 
  • Guscott, S.J. (2003), Humphrey Chetham, 1580–1653: Fortune, politics, and mercantile culture in seventeenth-century England, Chetham Society, Third Ser., 45, ISBN 1-85825-191-5 



General Editors[edit]

  • 2003–present Prof. T. J. Thornton
  • 1991–2005 P. H. W. Booth
  • 1991–2004 Prof. J. K. Walton
  • 1991–94 J. H. G. Archer

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Charity Commission of England and Wales", Charity Commission of England and Wales, 18 July 2013, retrieved 18 July 2013 
  2. ^ Levine (2003), p. 42
  3. ^ "Chetham Society: Officers and Council" (PDF), Chetham Society, 13 January 2014, retrieved 13 January 2014 


  • Levine, Philippa (2003), The Amateur and the Professional: Antiquarians, Historians and Archaeologists in Victorian England, 1838–1886, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-53050-7 

Further reading[edit]

  • Crosby, A. G. (1993), "A Society with No Equal": The Chetham Society, 1843–1993, Chetham Society, Third Ser., 37, ISBN 1-85936-001-7 
  • Tait, James (1939), "The Chetham Society: A retrospect", Chetham Miscellanies: New Series: Vol. VII, Chetham Society, New Ser., 100, pp. 1–26 

External links[edit]