The Rev John Booker Collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 418 Booker
  • Former Reference
      GB 418 C.7.47-C.7.49
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      3 boxes, 20 files

Scope and Content

Papers of the Rev John Booker (1820-1895), curate of Prestwich, 1848-1858. Consists mainly of material produced by Booker for his Chetham Society publications on chapelries in the parish of Manchester. See A History of the Ancient Parish of Denton, Chetham Society, old ser. 37 (1855), A History of the Ancient Chapels of Didsbury and Chorlton, Chetham Society, old ser. 42 (1857), and A History of the Ancient Chapel of Birch, Chetham Society, old ser. 47 (1859).

Administrative / Biographical History

The clergyman, John Booker was born in Leeds on 31 March 1820, and was the son of the spirit-merchant, John Booker, of Leeds, Yorkshire. His two brothers were the Cambridge-educated clergymen Samuel Briddon Booker (1824-1911); and William Booker (1828-1903) who was vicar at Brighouse, Yorkshire for many years. John Booker was educated at Leeds Grammar School and at Shrewsbury. He matriculated at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge (1840), and later migrated to Magdalene College where he attained a B.A. (1844) and M.A. (1855). He was ordained as a deacon (1844) and as a priest (1846).

Booker was the curate at Harpurhey, Manchester (1844-8), Prestwich, Lancashire (1848-58), and Ashhust, Kent (1858-63). In 1863, he became vicar at Benhilton, Surrey, where he remained until 1895, also serving as a surrogate in the diocese of Rochester during this time. He died, aged 75, on 16 July 1895, at Benhilton, Surrey. He had married one of the two daughters of James Prince Lee (1804-69) who was the first Bishop of Manchester from 1847 to 1869. Booker’s widow (whose maternal grandfather was George Penrice of Elmbridge) was living at the vicarage at Elmbridge, Droitwich, Worcestershire in 1898.

Booker was the author of several works on the history of some of the churches and townships within the parish of Manchester, including the estates and genealogies of important local families; these works included Memorials of the Church in Prestwich (Manchester: Simms and Dinham, 1852); A History of the Ancient Chapel of Blackley (Manchester: George Simms, 1854); A History of the Ancient Chapel of Denton, Chetham Society, old ser., 37 (1855); A History of the Ancient Chapels of Didsbury and Chorlton, Chetham Society, old ser., 42 (1857); and A History of the Ancient Chapel of Birch, Chetham Society, old ser., 47 (1859). His antiquarian expertise and scholarship were recognised in his election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (1855).

  • Manchester City News, 11 May 1895;Venn, J., and Venn, J.A., Alumni Cantabrigiensis (Cambridge, 1922-58).


The collection is arranged into 2 series: Papers of Rev John Booker and Printed volumes of Rev John Booker.

Access Information

There are no restrictions on access to this collection. Viewing is by prior appointment. Please contact

Acquisition Information

The following is taken from Chetham's Library's Minutes of the Local Committee, 19 Mar 1896: "A letter was read from Mrs Booker, widow of the late Revd John Booker, Vicar of Elmbridge, Droitwich, in which she stated that her late husband had bequeathed the interleaved copies with MS notes of the several volumes he had written on the topography of Lancashire to the Chetham Library, and she mentioned that it was her husband's wish that if he himself were unable to publish the notes they should be edited and published by the Chetham Society. Mrs Booker further stated that if in the cost, or any other way, she and her family could assist in this they would only be too glad to co-operate in the work".

Archivist's Note

The bundles were left in the order in which they were found, but were numbered and catalogued by H. Lofthouse in August 1953. A few copies of the Manchester Mercury for 1770 and 1771, which were in very poor condition, were removed and added to the collection of miscellaneous newspapers.


No further accruals are expected.