Skip to main content

We are delighted to announce that the Rev Eric Jones has accepted our invitation to give the society’s annual lecture on sixty years of Welsh Unitarianism on Wednesday 5 April 2023 at Staverton Park Hotel near Daventry, Northamptonshire, and that the 2024 annual lecture will be given by Professor Grayson Ditchfield, who will speak about Theophilus Lindsey’s early supporters in the founding of Essex Street Chapel on the 250th anniversary year of its opening.

The 2023 issue of Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, the journal of the society, will be published in April.

The April 2022 issue (vol 28 no. 1) of Transactions has two parts and contains a wealth of research, as well as reviews of key books, and is edited by David Steers. Copies are still available to non-members and members to purchase. Please contact the editor (see Transactions page).

Part One looks at Unitarianism, slavery and philanthropy. A number of Unitarians were actively involved in the abolition of slavery. One prominent example was William Roscoe (1753-1831), banker, lawyer, botantist, writer, and collector, whose memorial is located in the cloisters in Ullet Road Church, Liverpool, a set of buildings constructed at the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth centuries.

William Roscoe

Image: William Roscoe (1753-1831) by Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850) (image credit: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)

Ullet Road Cloisters

Image: The cloisters, Ullet Road Church Liverpool (image credit: David Steers)

In ‘“Jewel Case” – The Man and his Money’ Derek McAuley traces the story of the Very Rev George Case (1822-1883) whose journey from the Anglican to Catholic priesthood was followed by a very generous bequest to the Unitarian movement. His father was a contemporary of William Roscoe in Liverpool, but unlike Roscoe, he was deeply implicated in the slave trade. Using modern tools and databases Derek examines the source of Dr Case’s wealth.

Very Rev George Case (image used with permission of Clifton Diocesan Archives)


Rory Delaney examines the source of the Dublin businessman and Unitarian, Thomas Wilson’s (d.1857) wealth and contrasts his attitudes and commercial interests with his contemporary and fellow church member James Haughton (d.1873), a noted anti-slavery campaigner.

In ‘Unitarians and Philanthropy 1860-1914’, Alan Ruston provides a substantial survey of Unitarian philanthropy between 1860 and 1914. Many wealthy Unitarians gave vast sums to build churches, establish charities and develop educational institutions, such as Manchester College, founded in 1786 in Manchester, then moved to Oxford in 1893 following several generous donations.