Papers of Rev. J. B. Armour, Presbyterian minister and Home Ruler

Repository: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Identity Statement

TitlePapers of Rev. J. B. Armour, Presbyterian minister and Home Ruler
Archive ReferenceGB 0255 PRONI/D1792
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1860-1930
Extent Mediumc 1,300 documents, photographs, postcards + newspaper cuttings


Creator(s): Armour, James Brown, 1841-1928, Presbyterian minister and Home Ruler

  • Administrative History ↴

    James Brown Armour was born into a Presbyterian farming family of Scottish ancestry in Lisboy, near Ballymoney, in January, 1841. He was educated in the early 1860s at both Queen's College, Belfast and Queen's College, Cork graduating eventually from the former in 1866 with a master's degree in classics. He then trained to become a Presbyterian Minister at the Assembly College in Belfast and was called to Trinity Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney in July, 1869, a position he held until his retirement in September,1925. Reverend J.B. Armour is best remembered for the significant role he played in Ulster politics at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. Professor F.S.L. Lyons, in ' Ireland since the Famine ', cited Armour as ' the famous Presbyterian minister ' who was ' a notable example ' of those Protestants who took the Home Rule side. Yet, until the 1890s Armour was somewhat lukewarm on the issue having opposed the 1886 Home Rule Bill because it excluded Irish members from Westminster. Indeed, it was not until the 1892 election campaign that he abandoned his Liberal Unionist position and at a special meeting of the Presbyterian General Assembly in Belfast on 15 March, 1893 emerged on to the Ulster political stage as a major figure when he proposed an amendment to the official resolutions and came to be regarded as a leading Protestant champion of Home Rule. After 1896, however, he entered a political wasteland and remained largely inactive until the Home Rule crisis began to unfold after 1910. In 1912, he wrote essays and spoke out in favour of Home Rule as a force for reconciliation, undoing ' the evils of the paper union of 1800.' The outbreak of war in 1914 and its effects on the Irish situation confirmed his political retirement but up to this point he remained active in helping to push for an Irish settlement.
  • Archival History ↴

    Deposited by Rev. J C K Armour and Rev. J S S Armour
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Armour, James Brown, 1841-1928, Presbyterian minister and Home Ruler ↴

    The collection consists of correspondence, documents, photographs, postcards and newspaper cuttings, 1859-1930, comprising the records of the late Rev. J.B. Armour, Presbyterian Minister and Home Ruler, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, 1841-1928.
    Armour’s clerical background and his prominent role in politics and education render his papers a rich source for students of Irish history for this period. On church matters, the collection contains the texts of his sermons which often reflect his hostility towards Anglicanism and its role and doctrines which he saw as part of the Tory/landlord ascendancy. There are letters to his friend John Megaw, Ballmoney,1859-1863, in which he discusses religious issues such as the Great Revival of 1859, about which he expressed grave doubts because of some of its bizarre excesses. His leading part in the religious debates of the Presbyterian General Assembly over the decades is also documented in detail.

    – Extracted from a full account of the Armour papers in the PRONI catalogue:

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    D1792/A Correspondence
    D1792/B Drafts by Rev. J. B. Armour for sermons and political speeches
    D1792/C Printed and photographic material, etc, relating to Rev. J. B. Armour’s career
    D1792/D ‘Notes on the life of J. B. Armour, M.A.’, by his son, J. B. M. Armour, M.A., B.D
    D1792/E Genealogical and miscellaneous papers about the Armour and Stavely families
    D1792/F Miscellaneous papers, including W. S. Armour correspondence

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The collection can be consulted in the reading room in PRONI in accordance with PRONI's rules and regulations.
Conditions Governing ReproductionItems may be copied for personal research use only. If a researcher wishes to publish any documents from this collection, a request must be submitted in writing to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
Creation Dates1860-1930
Extent Mediumc 1,300 documents, photographs, postcards + newspaper cuttings
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids A descriptive list is available to search online at: Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteNatalie Milne
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997. UK Archival Thesaurus (UKAT)
Date of Descriptions41699