The Ecclesiological Society

History of the Society

The original Cambridge Camden Society was founded in 1839 at Cambridge. In 1845 it moved to London, and changed its name to the Ecclesiological Society.  The Society had a major influence on the development of church architecture during the mid-nineteenth century, under the influence of its founders Benjamin Webb, John Mason Neale, and Alexander Beresford-Hope. Its famous Journal, The Ecclesiologist, was published between 1841 and 1868, and combined scholarly articles with trenchant criticism.

In 1879 the Society was re-founded by Beresford-Hope. It was known then as the St Paul's Ecclesiological Society, because it originally met at St Paul's Cathedral, London. For more than fifty years it published scholarly transactions under that name. For Beresford-Hope's inaugural address, click here. For a brief overview of the history of the Society since 1879, click here.

In 1937 the Society restored its old title of The Ecclesiological Society. In the 1940s and 1950s it published transactions under that title. More recently it has published a series of monographs, details of which will be found in publications.

The history of the Society from 1839 to 1868 has been written by James White, The Cambridge Movement: the Ecclesiologists and the Gothic Revival, Cambridge, 1962.

A church as it should lbeAn important new series of essays on the impact of the Society in its very early years has recently been published (February 2001). Find out more by clicking on the picture or clicking here. Edited by Christpher Webster and John Elliott, the title is 'A Church as it Should Be': the Cambridge Camden Society and its Influence, published by Shaun Tyas, ISBN 1900289350. The price in the UK is £40. Publisher's address: Shaun Tyas, 1 High Street, Donington, Lincolnshire, PE11 4TA, UK or email The book is of 460 pages, with 87 photographic illustrations.

The Society has had a splendid seal since very early days, designed by Pugin. About the Seal of the Society

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