Glasgow Clerical Literary Society


This society is particularly interesting as some of its members were ministers of churches that later ‘came out’ in 1843; that is, their congregations broke away from the established church in what is known as the Disruption of 1843, when the Church of Scotland was divided in two, and the Free Church of Scotland was formed.

In 1826, there were 33 Ordinary Members, with one name in this list being scored out at some point, and six Honorary Members. Members hailed not only from various places in and around Glasgow — from Anderston, Shettleston and the city centre — but from Bothwell and from Blantyre (both located southeast of Glasgow, near Hamilton), Strathblane (approximately 10 miles north), as well as from Paisley (approximately 10 miles to the west) Greenock (about 25 miles west) and Helensburgh (approximately 30 miles to the northwest). Some of the members have the church to which they belonged to next to their name. For example, Mr James Henderson was listed as being from St Enoch’s Church in Glasgow. (For more information about this church and Henderson, see ‘Glasgow — St Enoch’s‘ on the Ecclegen website, and ‘St. Enoch’s Church‘ on The Glasgow Story website.)

The group met on the second Wednesday of each month. Similarly to other literary societies, this group met to listen to lectures given by guest speakers and (non-fiction) essays written by society members, and to discuss current events and issues. Among the papers that were read aloud were essays entitled ‘On the Organic remains of a former world’, ‘The connection between prayer and ministerial duty and usefulness’, and ‘On the general state of Geology & on earthquakes’. The subjects discussed were by and large based on religious matters, and issues and debates on religious doctrine.

Date of Existence


Source of Information

Glasgow Clerical Literary Society Minute Book, 1826-39


Mitchell Library Special Collections

Reference Number

Baillie’s Library, 35790 (G 206 CLE)

Additional Notes