Chetham Society

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Chetham Society
Formation 23 March 1843
Type Historical society
Legal status Charity
Purpose Historical study and research
Headquarters Manchester, England
Region served
Lancashire, Cheshire, and Greater Manchester
Official language
11th President
Professor Paul Fouracre

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


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 foundation 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] During its early years, the Society enjoyed the support of patrons such as the Prime Minister of the day Sir Robert Peel, the Bishop of Chester, the Earls of Balcarres, Burlington, and Derby, Lord Stanley of Bickerstaffe, Lord Francis Egerton, as well as several other peers and MPs who became members.[3] Many distinguished historians and scholars have been involved in the life of the society, including John Eglington Bailey, Christopher Robert Cheney, John Parsons Earwaker, Edward Hawkins, Henry Hoyle Howorth, George Ormerod, Frederick Maurice Powicke, William Stubbs, Thomas Frederick Tout, John Michael Wallace-Hadrill, and Joseph Brooks Yates, amongst many others.[4]


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.

Old Series (1843–93)

The Old Series (O.S.) ran from 1843 until 1893 (comprising 116 volumes). Publications included Pott’s Discovery of Witches, Civil War Tracts, and various diaries, journals, autobiographies, correspondence, Heralds' visitations, family deeds, papers, letters, and accounts, school registers and records, wills, and ecclesiastical and parish histories.

New Series (1883–1947)

The New Series (N.S.) commenced in 1883 and ended in 1947 (totalling 110 volumes). Publications covered a diversity of areas and topics, including charters, cartularies, rolls, rentals, surveys, autobiographical writings, biographies, genealogies, and various parish, town, and local histories.

Third Series (1948–present)

The Third Series (T.S.) began in 1948 (volume 51 was published in 2013). In recent years (particularly since the inauguration of the Third Series), the society's focus has tended to move away from its traditional role of publishing original primary texts towards publishing scholarly secondary analyses. Recent volumes have included:

  • Ford, C.S. (2001), Pastors and Polemicists: The Character of Popular Anglicanism in South-East Lancashire, 1847–1914, Chetham Society, T.S., 44, ASIN B0010S1QG8, LCCN 2002416626, OCLC 52133208 
  • Guscott, S.J. (2003), Humphrey Chetham, 1580–1653: Fortune, Politics, and Mercantile Culture in Seventeenth-Century England, Chetham Society, T.S., 45, ISBN 1-85825-191-5 
  • 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, T.S., 46, ISBN 978-0-9554276-0-2 
  • Wilson, J.F., ed. (2009), King Cotton: A Tribute to Douglas A. Farnie, Chetham Society, T.S., 47, ISBN 978-1-905472-09-3 
  • Gratton, J.M. (2010), The Parliamentarian and Royalist War Effort in Lancashire, 1642–51, Chetham Society, T.S., 48, ISBN 978-0-9554276-1-9 
  • Virgoe, J.M. (2012), Thomas Eccleston (1752–1809): A Progressive Lancastrian Agriculturalist, Chetham Society, T.S., 49, ISBN 978-0-9554276-2-6 
  • Collins, S.F. (2012). James Crossley: A Manchester Man of Letters. Chetham Society, T.S.,. 50. ISBN 978-0-9554276-3-3. 
  • Hodgkins, D., ed. (2013), The Diary of Edward Watkin, Chetham Society, T.S., 51, ISBN 978-0-9554276-4-0 



General Editors[edit]

  • 1991–94 John H. G. Archer
  • 1991–2004 Prof. John K. Walton
  • 1991–2005 Paul H. W. Booth
  • 2003–present Prof. Timothy J. Thornton


  • 1843–52 Dr William Fleming
  • 1852–68 William Langton
  • 1868–82 Richard Henry Wood
  • 1882–88 John Eglington Bailey
  • 1888–90 Rev. Canon Richard Tonge
  • 1890–1920 Charles William Sutton
  • 1920–40 Ernest Broxap
  • 1940–51 Dr Moses Tyson
  • 1951–64 Rev. John Flitcroft
  • 1964–84 Prof. William Reginald Ward
  • 1984–94 Rev. Dr Henry D. Rack
  • 1994–2008 Dr Alan G. Crosby
  • 2008–13 Christopher L. Hunwick
  • 2013–present Dr Robert E. Stansfield


  • 1843–52 William Langton
  • 1852–79 Arthur Henry Heywood
  • 1879–1915 John Joseph Jordan
  • 1915–20 Maj. William Lees
  • 1920–26 John Moodie
  • 1927–33 Thomas William Sowerbutts
  • 1934–60 John Humphreys King
  • 1960–68 Harold Lupton Howard
  • 1968–70 Sidney Proctor
  • 1970–72 Alan Siddall
  • 1972–83 Prof. Owen Ashmore
  • 1983–84 Prof. William Henry Chaloner
  • 1984–89 Gordon Bradley Hindle
  • 1989–94 John Leslie Ogilvie Holden
  • 1994–2001 Ernest Edwin Mullineux
  • 2001–present Dorothy J. Laver

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Charity Commission of England and Wales", Charity Commission of England and Wales, 11 Dec 2013, retrieved 11 Dec 2013 
  2. ^ Levine (2003), p. 42
  3. ^ Hawkins (1844)
  4. ^ "Chetham Society: Officers and Council" (PDF), Chetham Society, 4 November 2015, retrieved 4 November 2015 


  • 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 
  • Hawkins, Edward (1844), Travels in Holland, the United Provinces, England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1634–5 by Sir William Brereton, Bart., Chetham Society, O.S., 1 

Further reading[edit]

  • Crosby, A.G. (1993), "A Society with No Equal": The Chetham Society, 1843–1993, Chetham Society, T.S., 37, ISBN 1-85936-001-7 
  • T[ait], J[ames] (1945), "Centenary of the Chetham Society (1843–1943)", Chetham Miscellanies: New Series: Vol. VIII, Chetham Society, N.S., 109, pp. 3–10 
  • Tait, James (1939), "The Chetham Society: A Retrospect", Chetham Miscellanies: New Series: Vol. VII, Chetham Society, N.S., 100, pp. 1–26 

External links[edit]