Letters of Rev. Ralph Wardlaw (1779-1853)

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of: a letter from Wardlaw to 'My dear friend' observing that 'Mr. Buckingham is to take breakfast with us tomorrow morning' and that an invitation is extended for 'a little after nine'; a letter from Wardlaw at Ettrick Bank, Rothesay, 1848; a letter from Wardlaw at Garthamloch, 1850; a letter to the editor of the Patriot; and, a prayer, 'Zion! Tis Jehovah's dwelling' written at Garthamloch, 1849. There is also an engraved portrait of Wardlaw by Henry Anelay and George Shaw.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Scottish Congregationalist divine Ralph Wardlaw was born on 22 December 1779. He was educated in Glasgow and studied for the ministry at Glasgow University, matriculating in 1791. On completion of his theological studies in 1800 he became a Congregationalist. The power of his preaching was noticed and his friends opened a chapel for him in Glasgow in 1803, in North Albion Street. A new and larger chapel was opened in 1819, in West George Street. Earlier, in 1811, Wardlaw became Professor of Systematic Theology at the Congregationalists' Glasgow Theological College. His publications include Essay on Lancaster's improvements in education (1810), Essay on benevolent associations for the poor (1817), and Christian ethics (1832). The Rev. Ralph Wardlaw died in Easterhouse, Glasgow, on 17 December 1853, and he was buried at Glasgow's Necropolis.

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. 20. Ubaldini-Whewell. 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 various references to Wardlaw and Wardlaw family related material (check the Indexes for more details): correspondence of the Wardlaw family, with particular reference to the Rev. R. Wardlaw, at Gen. 863/3, ff.1-35; letter to the Rev. Ralph Wardlaw from Rev. J. Campbell of Shackewell, 1817, at Gen. 863/3, f.1; letter from J. Conder, editor of The eclectic review asking for reviews, 1820, at Gen. 863/3, f.9; letter from Dr. E. Henderson describing Russia as a 'model state', 1816, at Gen. 863/3, f.11; letter from J. H. Hinton, about Wardlaw's work on 'physical depravity', 1834, at Gen. 863/3, f.13; letter from Dr. Magee, Dublin, 1817, at Gen. 863/3, f.15; letter to John Murray, declining an invitation to review a book, 1839, at Gen. 971/2/39; letter from J. R. west, Trinity College, Cambridge, about Wardlaw's Christian ethics, 1824, at Gen. 863/3, f.34; and, letters about Wardlaw from and to other Wardlaws, at gen. 863/3, ff.18-31, 32, 16.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes: correspondence relating to Dublin Theological Academy, 1840-1847, Dr. Williams's Library, Ref. 494 NRA 13042 London New Coll.