Allingham Manuscripts Queen's University Belfast




Collection of 44 original manuscript letters from the Irish poet, William Allingham (1824-89), to Henry Septimus Sutton (1825-1901). An important collection of letters from one poet to another, the letters provide a unique insight and commentary on the emergence of Allingham as a published author from 1848 to 1855 (one additional letter from 1862 is also to be found). Instigated by Allingham, the letters provide a full and interesting impression of Allingham's development as a writer during these formative years while he was still based in Donegal working as a Custom's Officer. Comments are made on his and Sutton's personal circumstances, their respective works and relations with other writers of the time, in particular their attempts to win support for their writing through relationships with such poets as Coventry Patmore, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) and Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-92). Handwritten versions of some of Allingham's poetry and ballads can also be found throughout the collection. Featured works include: 'The Crucible,' 'Morning,' 'O Were My Love,' 'The Emigrant's Dream,' 'Prize Enigma,' 'Sweet Sunday Bells,' 'Dogmatism,' 'Within a Budding Grove,' 'The Milkmaid,' 'Eolian Harp' and 'The Valley Stream'.


This collection would be especially valuable to students of Anglo-Irish Literature and, in particular, those interested in works of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Victorian literary milieu more generally. Allingham's comments on his own work and development as a writer are enlightening as are details of his personal circumstances and relations at the time.

Physical Characteristics

44 manuscript letters



Collection Type



Policy: Closed   Method:     Periodicity: Closed

It is unclear how and when the collection was acquired by QUB.


The collection is available for reference only under supervised access in the Special Collections Reading Room at The McClay Library. Further information is available here:

Visitor access to The McClay Library

Legal Status

Queen's University has legal ownership of these materials. No details available regarding rights ownership.

Collection Notes

A microfilm copy of the letters is also available for consultation from the McClay Library Borrwer Services Desk (MicA/PR4004.A5/LETT)

Description or Catalogue

Miscellaneous Manuscripts listing:

Manuscripts webpage



Sutton, Henry Septimus (1825-1901)


Author and Poet


Author and Poet. b. Nottingham, 1825. Moved to Manchester in 1850. Editor of the Alliance News in Manchester, 1854-98. Married for the second time in 1857. Cultivated a number of literary and artistic acquaintances and friends including George MacDonald, Francis Power Cobb and Christina G. Rossetti. d 1901. Publications include: Clifton Grove Garland; a poem (Nottingham, 1848); Consider the Ravens (Manchester); The Evangel of Love (London, 1847) Five Essays for students of the Divine Philosophy of Swedenborg (London, 1895); The Letter and Authority of Swedenborg and the "Freedom and Faith" of Dr. Tafel by H.S. Sutton (Manchester, 1883); Our Saviour's Triple Crown: an essay for students of the Divine philosophy of Swedenborg… (London, 1898); Outlines of the Doctrine of the Mind according to Emanuel Swedenborg, with observations by Henry Septimus Sutton (London, 1889); Poems by Henry Septimus Sutton (Manchester, N.D.); Poems by Henry S. Sutton (Nottingham, 1848); Poems (Glasgow, 1886); Quinquenergia; or Proposals for a new practical theology (London, 1854); Rose's Diary and other Poems (Manchester, 1899)



Queen's University Belfast


The McClay Library
10 College Park



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The McClay Library operates a controlled entry system.  Members are required to use their Queen’s staff, student or library card to obtain admission. 

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Administrator Role







Academic Institution





Queen's University Belfast was formerly established as 'Queen's College, Belfast' by Queen Victoria in 1845 as one of a network of three Queen's Colleges in Ireland alongside Cork and Galway. It was raised to the status of a full university in 1908 with its own Charter and Statutes. When Queen's College first opened its doors in 1849, there were 20 professors and 90 matriculated students all based in the main Lanyon building off University Road, Belfast. Since then, the University has grown considerably both in reputation and stature reflecting its status as one of the oldest universities in the UK. Now catering to some 1,300 academics and 17,000 full and part-time students, the University offers courses and research opportunities in Agriculture & Food Science, Arts, Economics & Social Sciences, Medicine & Health Sciences, Science, Engineering, Education, Law and Theology based in centres within several miles of the original site, as well as a Marine Laboratory at Portaferry, a campus at Armagh City and outreach centres in Omagh and Newcastle and a nursing campus at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry. Notable persons to have come through Queen’s doors include Seamus Heaney, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland and senior officer at Queen's, David Trimble, a former member of teaching staff and a joint recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace and actor Liam Neeson.