Gregg Papers Research


Ms Lorraine Grattan, Ms Carol Conlin, Mrs Audrey MacAfee, Mrs Sara Wilson
Seated: Dr Brian Wilson, Mr Matthew Houston, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan

Image credit: Ian Maginess

Armagh Public Library holds an archive of papers belonging to Archbishop John Allen Fitzgerald Gregg, who was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland from 1939 to 1959. Funding has been gained to carry out research on these papers which contain personal documents, correspondence, photographs, newspaper cuttings and sermons relating to Archbishop Gregg, as well as to other Gregg family members.

Mr Matthew Houston has been offered a full-time studentship from the Department for Employment and Learning, and his PhD project at Queen’s University Belfast is entitled ‘Religion in Northern Ireland during the Second World War’. Speaking about his forthcoming study at Armagh Public Library, Matthew said: “I have just finished studying for a Graduate Diploma in Theology from Queen’s. My undergraduate and master’s dissertations have both focused on aspects of life in Northern Ireland during the Second World War, and my PhD will hopefully allow me to answer some important questions about the role of religion in a society in time of conflict. The Gregg papers will form an important part of the research for my project, allowing me to gain an insight into the difficulties faced by the Church of Ireland, as one of several denominations operating throughout the island of Ireland during those years. The papers will also allow me to discover how Archbishop Gregg, as a significant representative of that denomination, and as an individual, felt the Church should have responded to the various issues presented by the conflict.”

The Keeper of the Library, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan, welcomed Matthew and representatives of the Gregg family to the Library. Dr Brian and Mrs Sara Wilson and Mrs Audrey MacAfee, grandchildren of Archbishop Gregg, have added to the archive which was originally given to the Library by their mother. The Keeper said: “The Gregg papers are the archive of one of the most influential clergy of his generation. As Gregg served as a bishop from 1916 to 1559, his papers may be expected to give a personal perspective on some of the most significant events of the Twentieth Century. We are honoured to hold this source for primary research at Armagh Public Library, and delighted that Matthew Houston is to undertake their primary cataloguing and use them as a source for his research.”