Letters of Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-831
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      3 letters. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
  • Location
      Dc.4.101-103 Bonar; Gen. 1981/24; Gen. 2039/57

Scope and Content

The material is composed of: a letter, 1867; letter about a full answer to Mr. Christopher's letter mentioning the addressee's The saintly calling, 1875; and, letter to 'My dear Madam' reluctantly responding to a request for his autograph and expressing cheer with what was said about his Kelso tracts, 1853.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Scottish divine and hymn writer Horatius Bonar was born in Edinburgh on 19 December 1808. He was the younger brother of John James Bonar (1803-1891) who preached in Greenock, and the older brother of Andrew Alexander Bonar (1810-1892). Horatius Bonar was educated at the Royal High School in the city and studied at Edinburgh University. On becoming a preacher he worked in Leith for a while before going to Kelso as minister of the North Church. He was an extremely popular preacher there and he became well-known throughout Scotland. While in Leith he had begun composing hymns and he also produced evangelical books. In 1883 he was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church. Horatius Bonar died in Edinburgh on 31 July 1889.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 22 (Supplement). London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1909.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show another reference to Bonar related material within Special Collections Division, Edinburgh University Library (check the Indexes for more details): letters (2) to D. Laing about the Bonar family, Greenock, 1866. At the New College Library, Mound, Edinburgh, there is: a copy of The Holy bible belonging to Horatius Bonar, signed and dated 1837 on the title page, and with the text heavily underlined, at MSS BON.2; and, an address to theological students, material on Chalmers' centenary, and sermons, at MSS BOX 14.2.1-5; and hymns with corrections, at MSS BOX 14.3.

The collection entitled Papers of Rev. Andrew A. Bonar (1810-1892) is held at Edinburgh University, New College Library, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LU

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: sermons, poems and hymns, Ref. MS.1758 ff.58-74, and letters to J. J. Bonar, 1830-1873, Ref. MS 15997, National Library of Scotland, Manuscript Collections