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About Chetham Society

The Chetham Society is the oldest historical society in North-West England, and the second most senior historical society in the North. It was founded in 1843 by a group of gentlemen of a 'literary and historical turn' who wished to promote interest in, and access to, the counties' rich historical source materials. The Society held its first meeting at Manchester's historic Chetham's Library, established in 1653 by the will of Humphrey Chetham (1580-1653), where the Society's Annual General Meetings are still held today. The founders adopted the name Chetham in honour of Humphrey Chetham because he - more than any other individual - was a patron, philanthropist, and benefactor of learning in the region.

The Society's founders intended to publish 'Remains Historical and Literary connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester', namely to produce editions of important documents relating to the two counties. Whilst some literary works were published during the Society's early years, the focus of its publishing has been largely historical. Since the 1870s, the Society's primary emphasis has been on local and regional history, and the scope of its publishing activities has widened to include not only editions of primary sources but also the fruits of original research in the form of monographs, shorter papers, and postgraduate theses.

Society Officers

Past Officers

Click here to view a PDF containing information about all past Chetham Society officers since 1843.

Current Officers

Professor P. J. FOURACRE, B.A., Ph.D., P.G.C.E., F.R.Hist.S.

Vice President
The Rev. H. D. RACK, M.A., D.Phil.

S. J. HARRIS, B.A., Ph.D.

D. J. LAVER, B.A., A.C.A.

Membership Secretary

General Editor
Professor T. J. THORNTON, M.A., M.B.A., D.Phil., F.R.Hist.S., P.F.H.E.A.

Members Of Council
P. H. W. BOOTH, B.A., M.A., Litt.D., P.G.C.E., F.R.Hist.S.
D. J. CLAYTON, M.A., Ph.D., F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S., M.C.L.I.P.
A. G. CROSBY, M.A., D.Phil., F.R.Hist.S.
Prof. P. J. FOURACRE, B.A., Ph.D., P.G.C.E., F.R.Hist.S.
S.J. HARRIS, B.A., Ph.D.
G. C. F. FORSTER, B.A., F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S.
Professor A. J. KIDD, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., F.R.Hist.S.
M. E. LYNCH, B.Sc., M.A.
Canon M. R. POWELL, B.D., Ph.D.
E. A. ROSE, B.A.
P. SHAPELY, B.A., Ph.D., F.R.Hist.S.
M. TEBBUTT, B.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Rules of the Society

Adopted 23 March 1843 and Amended 1986, 1988, and 1994

  1. The Society shall be called 'The Chetham Society for the Publication of Remains Historical and Literary connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester', and its objects shall be: The education of the public through the publication of monographs and editions of documents concerned with those counties for the purpose of furthering knowledge of their history and to undertake such other activities as may enable the Society to further these objects.
  2. Proposals for publication may be accepted either from members or from non-members of the Society.
  3. The affairs of the Society shall be administered by a Council consisting of a President, an Honorary Treasurer, and Honorary Secretary, at least one and not more than three Honorary Editors and up to twelve other members who shall all be members of the Society. The Officers and Council shall be elected annually at the Annual General Meeting of the members. Six members, not less than one of whom shall be an Officer, shall constitute a quorum of the Council. The Council shall have the power by resolution to co-opt up to four additional persons as members of the Council of the Society, such co-opted members to serve until the Annual General Meeting of the Society following the date of the resolution to co-opt. No-one may be appointed as a co-opted member if, as a result, more than one-third of the members of the Council of the Society would be co-opted members.
  4. Membership of the Society is open to all interested persons and institutions upon payment of an annual subscription, which shall entitle them to one copy of the Society's publications. The subscription of a member of the Society shall be determined upon recommendation by the Officers and other members of the Council at the Annual General Meeting of members. The subscription shall be due on a date to be determined by the Council. Any member whose subscription is in arrears for one year shall thereupon cease to be a member of the Society. Institutional members are entitled to be represented at any General Meeting by a nominee of their choice.
    The subscription and investment income of the Society shall be used exclusively to promote its objects as defined in Rule 1.
  5. The Society's publications shall also be freely on sale to the general public.
  6. Not more than fourteen months shall elapse between each of the Annual General Meetings of the Society and not less than fourteen days' notice of the Meeting shall be sent to each member. Notice shall be deemed to have been given if posted to the address on the member's application form. The Council shall present a report on the work of the Society and a statement of the Society's income and expenditure to the Annual Meeting. Additional General Meetings shall be held if deemed necessary either at the request of the President or six members of the Society, provided that fourteen days' notice is given. Six members shall constitute a quorum for any General Meeting.
  7. The Society's accounts shall be audited annually by a person (who need not be a member of the Society) elected for the purpose at the Annual General Meeting. Any bank account and any money invested shall be kept in the name of the Society and cheques shall be signed by one of the Officers. Cheques over £50 are to be signed by two out of three of the following officers: the President, the Honorary Secretary, the Honorary Treasurer.
  8. No alteration shall be made to any of the above Rules except at a General Meeting and no amendment may be made which would render the Society not charitable at law. Notice of any proposed alteration must be sent to the Honorary Secretary one month before such a meeting and circulated with the agenda of the meeting.
  9. The Society may be dissolved by a Resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a General Meeting convened for that purpose of which twenty-one days' notice shall be given to the members. In the event of the Society's dissolution, all its remaining assets, after the settlement of all liabilities, shall be given or transferred to such registered charity or charities established for similar charitable purposes as the Society shall decide and, if and so far as effect cannot be given to the aforesaid provision, then to some other charitable object with the prior approval of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales.
  10. Members of the Society assembled at the Annual General Meeting shall be empowered to appoint, on the nomination of the Council, a number of its members as Vice-Presidents, in recognition of distinguished contributions to the work of the Society. Appointment to the post of Honorary Vice-President shall not thereby confer membership of the Council, nor shall it exclude members thus appointed from being elected as ordinary members of the Council.