Archibald Wilson d.1869

From Book Owners Online

Archibald WILSON d.1869

Biographical Note

Native of Greenock. Attended Queen’s College, Cambridge between 1843 and 1847. Wilson was ordained a priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, in the diocese of Glasgow and Galloway. He was incumbent at Girvan in 1847, and Dumbarton between 1848 and 1851. He then moved to the Anglo-Catholic Cumbrae Cathedral where he was Canon and Chanter until 1851. There is a gap in his career due to illness, until his move to Dundee in 1864, where he became incumbent of St Mary’s, Lochee.


Wilson’s library is strong in seventeenth-century Anglo-Catholic texts, the works of nonjurors, as well as contemporary works by authors involved in the Oxford movement. Like his contemporaries, he valued the Divines of the English Church such as Lancelot Andrewes and Richard Hooker. Though the majority of his library contains texts printed in the nineteenth-century, he clearly had an interest in owning both the new editions of texts alongside their originals. It is clear from the inscriptions in his books that these interests began as a student in Cambridge.

Examples from his library are: Edward Stillingfleet’s Origines Sacrae (Cambridge, 1702) (Dundee Br UF 210 S. 857)

John Henry Newman’s An essay on the development of Christian doctrine (London, 1845) (Dundee Br 230 N 553)

John Tillotson’s A discourse against transubstantiation (London, 1685) (Dundee Br U 265.3)

The full catalogue of his library is printed in the appendix to the 1869 catalogue of the Brechin Diocesan Library.

On his death Wilson left his books to the clergy of the diocese of Brechin. Initially Wilson’s library remained in the home of his widow, on South Tay Street in Dundee, where it was used by the clergy of the diocese. In 1875 the books were moved to the diocesan library in Brechin, and moved with the rest of the library to the University of Dundee in the second half of the twentieth century. They now form part of the Brechin Collection, maintained by the Archive Services of the university.

Characteristic Markings

Wilson used a stamp wioth his name, a bookplate used while he was in Greenock, and also inscribed his books with his name. The latter was done most regularly while he was studying at Cambridge. He annotated some of his books, usually with contextual information about the author.


  • Bertie, David M. Scottish Episcopal Clergy, 1689–2000, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000
  • Catalogue of the Brechin Diocesan Library, Deposited at the Chapter House Brechin; with an Appendix containing Catalogue of Books Bequeathed to the Diocese by the Late Archibald Wilson, Montrose, 1869
  • Rutherford, Mhairi. 'Intellectual Culture and Episcopal Identity in Scottish Episcopal Libraries: The Case of the Brechin Library, 1780–1880,' unpublished PhD thesis, University of Stirling, 2022