Society of St Gregory Archive

Scope and Content

Papers of the Society of St Gregory including papers on the constitution, deed of covenant, merger with the Church Music Association, policies, minutes and papers of Annual General Meetings, minutes and papers of Executive Committee meetings,papers of groups and sub-committees, correspondence, summer schools, publicity, recordings including casette tapes and vinyl records, publications including monographs and journals, and papers on external organisations.

The Archive also includes three minute books of the Church Music Association prior to its merger with the Society of St Gregory in the early 1970s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Society was founded by Dom Bernard McElligott, a monk of the Benedictine monastic order at Ampleforth Abbey, who wanted to realise Pope Pius X’s ambition in 1903 for Christians to participate more closely in themost holy mysteries [of the liturgy] and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church. In 1927, Dom McElligott became a priest in Cardiff, ministering to a parish served by monks from Ampleforth, and was determined to fulfil this desire forfuller participation. Writing to the weekly Catholic newspaper, The Universe, he proposed the formation of a society concerned with promoting active liturgical participation for the lay faithful. The Society of Saint Gregory was formed on 12 March 1929, undertaking the task ofpromoting full and active liturgical participation. The Liturgical Movement of the early twentieth-century was influential in preparing and developing the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on sacred liturgy, SacrosanctumConcilium. The Society naturally engaged with the movement and promoted it, embracing the aims of Sacrosanctum Concilium to foster a deeper awareness of the centrality of the Liturgy assource and summit in Catholic Christian life, and the ministerial function of sacred music in this context. To this end, the Society encouraged the development of new compositions, using texts in English connectedwith the scripture and the liturgical action, across a variety of musical styles. Today the Society of Saint Gregory continues to live the aim of the council, promoting and encouraging full, active and consciousparticipation of the people in the liturgy. It runs an annual Summer School, a Composers’ Forum, a Winter Assembly with an annual Crichton Memorial Lecture, a journal (Music and Liturgy), and a network ofdiocesan contacts for members throughout Great Britain, The Society enjoys the patronage and support of the Bishops’ Conferences of England and Wales, and of Scotland.


Arranged hierarchically.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mary Ryan (Trustee) 23 October 2020, Acc No Misc.2020/21:12.

Other Finding Aids

Separated Material

Talbot Library (Liverpool Hope University)

Church Music Association Library, including 3,000 printed scores, back issues of Church Music and some Catholic Truth Society pamphlets

Society of St Gregory Composers Music Scores

Stored Privately

Music Library of Mr Whiteside: 100 items of music scores and volumes

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possiblewith identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

Duplicates removed.

Custodial History

Previously held by the Society.