History of the Society

The Scottish Church History Society was founded in 1923 and is thus one of the oldest ecclesiastical history societies still functioning.

History of the Society

The Scottish Church History Society was founded in 1923 and is thus one of the oldest ecclesiastical history societies still functioning. In early years it tended to be very Presbyterian in flavour, devoting much attention to the reformers and to the covenanters and their times. It is now entirely non-denominational in its coverage nor does it expect its members necessarily to be Christian,

The Society’s origins lie in the church rather than in university teaching, and perhaps because of that it has always been very welcoming to anyone interested in the subject rather than targeting academic historians. This is shown by the list of past presidents of the society which, as well as including the acknowledged heavy-weights in the field such as G. D. Henderson, John Burleigh, Gordon Donaldson, Alex Cheyne and Stewart J. Brown (our Honorary President), also includes several ‘independent researchers’ with no academic affiliations, of whom the late Dr John Durkan, the Society’s first Roman Catholic President, was an outstanding example.

Scottish Church History, the journal of the Society, was known as The Records of the Scottish Church History Society for its first 93 years, changing its name (and the colour of its cover) in 2019 to mark its increase to two issues per year and its entering the Edinburgh University Press stable.

The Editor of the Journal is always happy to consider papers for inclusion in future issues provided they have a connection to Scotland, to the Church and to history. Since 2013 all papers have been peer-reviewed.

The contents of its back numbers, nearly a century’s worth, provide a rich source for anyone interested in the highways and byways of the history of the church. If some of the early ones are now somewhat dated in their approach there is still much material valuable to present day researchers. Even an examination of the topics covered shows the ebb and flow of historical fashion over the last century.

The Society holds two conferences each year, where we welcome papers from academics and independent researchers. Our annual Scottish Church History Essay Prize recognises exceptional PhD research and scholarship in the field of Scottish church history. All entries are considered for publication within Scottish Church History, and the winning author is awarded a prize of £500.

Those wishing to become members of the Scottish Church History Society are invited to go to https://www.euppublishing.com/page/sch/subscribe