Letters of the Most Rev. Archibald Campbell Tait (1811-1882) and Mrs. Catherine Tait (d. 1878)

Scope and Content

The collection consists of: letters from Tait as Headmaster of Rugby including one in which he states '12 or 13 the best age for a boy to come to Rugby. A boy must have been three years here before he can be a candidate for an exhibition'; letter from Moffat, Scotland, as Bishop of London, and other letters as Bishop; letters from Fulham Palace, the House of Lords, and London House; and, letters from Lambeth Palace and Addington Park, Croydon. There are also letters (6) of and relating to Catherine Tait, his wife. The material also includes several small portrait photographs and other illustrations of Tait and signed carte de visite.

Administrative / Biographical History

Archibald Campbell Tait was born in Edinburgh on 21 December 1811. He was educated at schools in Edinburgh and then he studied at Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford. He became a Fellow and Tutor at Balliol and was ordained in the Church of England in 1836. In 1839 he spent the summer in Bonn acquainting himself with the language and literature of Germany. In 1842 he succeeded Dr. Arnold as Headmaster of Rugby and the next year in 1843 he married Catherine Spooner (1819-1878), daughter of William Spooner, Archdeacon of Coventry. Tait became Dean of Carlisle in 1849 and in 1856 he was appointed Bishop of London. In 1868 he was made Archbishop of Canterbury, and enthroned in February 1869. The Most Rev. Archibald Campbell Tait died on 1 December 1882.

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. 19. Stow-Tytler. 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 Tait related material (check the Indexes for more details): letter on behalf of Tait to J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, 1863, at H-P Collection (LOA 89/43). In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of Tait related material.