Neale Papers

Scope and Content

Correspondence and papers of the Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-66). Includes correspondence concerning the Cambridge Camden Society and Sackville College; verses, hymns, sermons and notes. MS.2678 includes papers of John David Chambers (1805-1893), lawyer and liturgical scholar.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Mason Neale (1818-1866) was the only son of the Rev. Cornelius Neale (d.1823) and Susanna (nee Good); matriculated 1836 Trinity College Cambridge, BA 1840. Ordained deacon by the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol 1841; assistant curate Guildford, Surrey. Ordained priest 1842 but did not hold a benefice. DD (Harvard University). A founder of the Cambridge Camden Society (1839), and in 1846 became the Warden of Sackville College, East Grinstead, where he founded the nursing sisterhood of St Margaret. Under his wardenship the College buildings were restored, adding ornaments in the rebuilt chapel which resulted in an inhibition from the Bishop of Winchester (removed in 1863).

Married Sarah Norman Webster 1842; five children. Publications include theological and ecclesiological works, hymns, books for children and miscellaneous writings.

Sackville College, East Grinstead, was a charitable institutions founded in 1608 by Robert Sackville (2nd Earl of Dorset) for the shelter and maintenance and thirty poor and aged householders under the charge of a warden and two sub-wardens. The College continues to operate as a charitable foundation; Act of Parliament of 1624, Royal Charter of 1631.

The Cambridge Camden Society was founded in 1839 at Cambridge by Benjamin Webb, John Mason Neale and Alexander Beresford-Hope. In 1845 it moved to London, and changed its name to the Ecclesiological Society. The Society had a major influence on the development of church architecture during the mid-nineteenth century. Its famous Journal, The Ecclesiologist, was published between 1841 and 1868, and combined scholarly articles with trenchant criticism.

In 1879 the Society was re-founded by Beresford-Hope. It was known then as the St Paul's Ecclesiological Society, because it originally met at St Paul's Cathedral, London. For more than fifty years it published scholarly transactions under that name.

In 1937 the Society restored its old title of The Ecclesiological Society. In the 1940s and 1950s it published transactions under that title. History of the Society 1839-1868: James White, The Cambridge Movement: the Ecclesiologists and the Gothic Revival, Cambridge, 1962. ed.s Christopher Webster&John Elliott, 'A Church as it Should Be': the Cambridge Camden Society and its Influence (Shaun Tyas, 2001).

Access Information

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Sources: DNB, Sackville College website:; Ecclesiological Society website:

Other Finding Aids

E. G. W., Bill, A catalogue of manuscripts in Lambeth Palace Library. MSS. 2341-3119 (Oxford, 1983).

Conditions Governing Use

Custodial History

Given by St Margaret's Convent, East Grinstead, in 1972 (MSS.2677-2684) and 1979 (MSS.3107-3118).



Related Material

MSS. 1491, 1604, 1750, 1977-93, 3120, 3594-3595, 3598. Court of Arches case&35; 3486. CM 29/1-3.

Geographical Names