John Grainger

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For other people named John Grainger, see John Grainger (disambiguation).
Canon John Grainger

John Grainger (1830, Belfast– 1891) was an Irish cleric and antiquarian.

Grainger was educated at Belfast Academy and Trinity College, Dublin. After gaining a Doctorate of Divinity he became Rector of Broughshane, County Antrim. He was an indiscriminating collector, who filled his house with a mass of often unlabelled specimens including stuffed birds, shells, insects, coins, minerals, a dolmen, weapons from New Zealand, and archaeological finds.According to Robert Lloyd Praeger his collection of Irish stone tools was ‘’especially valuable as a study in the gentle art of forgery’’.


Partial list

  • 1853.Catalogue of the Shells found in the Alluvial Deposits of a Belfast site of the Irish Mesolithic. Proc. Roy. Irish Acad. 56 C, 1-195.
  • --- Results of excavations in High St., Belfast. Ulster Journ. Arch. ix. 113-121.
  • 1874 On the Fossils of the Post-tertiary Deposits of Ireland. Rep. Bmt. Assoc, for 1874 ; Sections, pp. 73–76.

He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society and the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club.


  • Praeger, R.Ll. 1949. Some Irish Naturalists, a Biographical Note-book.Dundalgan Press, Dundalk, 1949
  • Belfast Nat. Hist. and Phil. Soc. Centenary Volume, 77, portrait. 1924.
  • James, K.W. 1991. Canon Grainger: country rector, magpie collector and Father of the Ulster Museum. Ulster Museum Publication No. 269.