J.B. Armour Papers

The records and papers of the Rev. J.B. Armour, Presbyterian Minister and Home Ruler, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, 1841-1928. Consisting of a range of correspondence, press cuttings and other documents, the Armour Papers comprise an interesting collection bearing on religious, political and educational matters in late 19th and early 20th century Ulster. Religious papers comprise Armour's (sometimes controversial) sermons, details of his part in debates of the Presbyterian General Assembly and letters to his friend, John Megaw J.P., also of Ballymoney, 1859-1863, discussing various religious issues such as the Great Revival of 1859. Politically, the collection contains over 100 letters to Rev. Armour, 31 of which are from Ulster Protestant Home Rulers supporting his stance in favour of Gladstone's 2nd Home Rule Bill, 1893, a position for which he is best remembered. There is another group of 26 letters, 1878-1928, from Sir John B. Dougherty, Professor at Magee University College, Londonderry, Liberal MP for Londonderry City during World War I and Under Secretary for Ireland in the Asquith Administration. These cover a number of subjects including the UVF gun-running, the political situation in Britain and the Irish Convention. However, it is Armour's own voluminous letters to his sons, particularly during the Ulster crisis, c.1912-22, which make up the great bulk of the political papers. A keen educationalist, Armour's lifelong work and involvement in the field of education is also well-represented in the content of the archive. There is much correspondence about subjects such as: intermediate education in the 1880s and Armour's vigorous support for it in the educational debates of the General Assembly arising out if his involvement as principal and teacher of Ballymoney Intermediate School from 1878; the Irish University question after 1900 and, in particular, the Irish universities bill of 1908, which he championed, and his work as a member of Senate of Queen's University of Belfast between 1910 and 1914.


The principal strength of the Armour Papers lies in the quality and depth of the political correspondence, etc., which provides a valuable insight into the Protestant Home Ruler perspective and viewpoint from the 1880s to the 1920s. The collection is also useful because of the material relating to the subject of Irish university education after 1900 and the attitudes of the Presbyterian Church in Ulster on a wide range of issues.

Physical characteristics

c.1,300 items, 1859-1930, comprising a range of documents, folders of newspaper cuttings, 4 photographs and 2 postcards occupying 5 PRONI boxes.

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI reference D/1792 for catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.


Accrual Policy
Accrual Method
Accrual Periodicity

The majority of the papers (c.1,000 documents) were deposited as an indefinite loan in August, 1964. The remainder (c.300 items) were transferred as a gift in November,1979.

Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 09 February 2018