Records of the Church Service Society, learned society, 1865- , Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Papers of the Church Service Society, mainly correspondence 1858-1951

Administrative / Biographical History

The  Church Service Society was founded in Scotland in  1865  to study the liturgies of the Christian church and to prepare and publish forms of prayer for public worship and services for the administration of the sacraments in the Church of Scotland. The Society was founded by three Church of Scotland ministers; R H Story, who was then minister of Rosneath, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, and later became Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Principal of the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, J Cameron Lees, minister of Paisley Abbey, Paisley, Scotland, and later of St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland, and George Campbell, minister of Eastwood.

The work of the Church Service Society was presented in the publication of a service book entitled Euchologion. The first edition was published in  1867 , and seven more editions were published in the following 30 years. The material included in the service book was gathered from a variety of sources, including the Church of Scotland's own tradition, writings of  John Calvin and  John Knox as well as Eastern and Roman liturgies. The Society had a lot of support and by the turn of the century a third of the clergy were members of the society. Although the Society claimed that they did not wish to impose a liturgy upon the Church of Scotland, the service book paved the way for official publication to be produced by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and led to a more orderly celebration of the sacraments.

By 1929, the Church Service Society encompassed members of both Free and Auld Kirk backgrounds and was a strong influence in the Committee on Public Worship and Aids to Devotion. After the  1939-1945  World War there was a general decline in the study of liturgy in the Church of Scotland, but the Church Service Society continued to be the dominant influence on the Committee on Public Worship and Aids to Devotion which was responsible for bringing out a number of publications on worship in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Forrester, Duncan and Murray, Douglas, Studies in the history of worship in Scotland ( Edinburgh, 1984 )


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : August 2000 : ACCN 4757

Other Finding Aids

Collection level descriptions are available via the department's online manuscripts catalogue available at the Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department website, searching by the call number MS Gen 1695

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description compiled by Wiebke Redlich, Archive Assistant (Hub), 30 July 2003.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Special Collections

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0247 procedures

Custodial History

Held by the Church Service Society


None expected

Related Material

GB 238 MSS CHU 31 Church Service Society, records 1865-1924, available at the  University of Edinburgh, Special Collections Division

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material