Related Bodies

Presbyterian Historical Society

The Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland was established in 1907 to promote the knowledge of, and advance the public education in, the history of the churches of the Presbyterian Order in Ireland. It reports to the General Assembly but the planning and carrying out of its activities is delegated to a Council that includes representatives of the three strands of Presbyterianism in Ireland, namely the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland and the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland.

The main activity of the Society is the collection and preservation of manuscripts, archives, printed publications, pamphlets, photographs and objects of historical interest connected with the churches of the Presbyterian Order in Ireland; these are made available for public consultation in the Society’s library or through exhibitions both within the library and in other locations. Although the collections relate mainly to these churches they are of wider ecclesiastical, social and political interest. The Society has therefore a three-fold role – as a library, an archive and a museum.

Other activities of the Society include:

  • An annual lecture series on Presbyterian history with a Field Trip in June and, occasionally, one-off visits to places of interest are also arranged (A printed programme of events is published each year).
  • Publishing books and pamphlets and the production of the annual Bulletin that includes some of the papers delivered at lectures of the Society.

A more detailed account of its activities and the collections it holds can be found on the Society's website

The Society seeks to collect the following types of items of Presbyterian interest:

  • Artefacts such as old communion vessels and communion tokens (subject to limitations of space).
  • Photographs of ministers, churches and events as well as portraits.
  • Printed books including congregational histories, biographies and autobiographies.
  • Magazines, journals and financial reports of churches.
  • Manuscripts and archives including the records of individual congregations, papers of missionaries, sermons and diaries.

Donations of books, pamphlets, congregational relics, records and histories would be welcomed by the Society; these can be made as gifts or as indefinite loans and can also be donated as a bequest.

Some of the Society's holdings of the include:

  • Communion plate, long handled collection plates, commemorative items, banners, and an excellent collection of communion tokens.
  • An extensive library of books on Presbyterianism in Ireland and elsewhere that include histories of congregations as well as early copies of Bibles and Psalters.
  • A collection of nearly 12,000 pamphlets, mainly 19th century.
  • Photographs and portraits of ministers of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and photographs of their churches.
  • Good runs of magazines of the three Presbyterian churches some dating back to the early 19th century.
  • Information on different churches belonging to the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
  • Copies of The Witness newspaper published under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, 1874-1941, now only available on microfilm.
  • Manuscripts and archives of ministers, organisations and missionaries.
  • Some congregational records both in original and copy form as well as microfilm copies of all Presbyterian Church records filmed by PRONI.

Contacting the Society

The Society's offices are located at 26 College Green, Belfast BT7 1LN

Tel:  +44 (0)28 9072 7330