Wallace Papers

Papers and correspondence of Colonel Robert Hugh Wallace (1860-1929), head of the firm of Messrs Hugh Wallace and Co., Solicitors, Belfast and Downpatrick. The archive comprises: political correspondence, 1893-1923, with leading Unionists such as Sir Edward Carson, James Craig and Walter H. Long; diaries and correspondence covering the Boer War, 1899-1902, where Wallace served with distinction as Lieutenant Colonel of the 5th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles; papers relating to World War I, 1912-1914, when he was Commander of the North Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteer Force and, 1914-1918, when he raised and trained the 17th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and subsequently took over command of the 19th Battalion until his retirement in January 1918. Documenting Wallace's role as a leading Orangeman (County Grand Master of Belfast 1903-1921 and Grand President of the Grand Orange Council of the World 1909-1912), the collection also includes correspondence, 1897-1906, and two volumes containing the main part of a detailed manuscript history of Orangeism in Ireland written and compiled by him, and dated 1899. Church papers in the collection include antiquarian and original material, 1734-1927, largely pertaining to Down Cathedral, of which he was Secretary and Treasurer for a number of years, and Down Parish Church. These also touch upon matters such as the sectarian strife of the early 1920s when there were Republican attacks on Church property. Other interesting aspects of the collection relate to the history of Downpatrick including a volume of maps and surveys of the town, 1708-1839. There is also documentation about the Masonic Order, 1883-1929, of which Colonel Wallace was a member, and a wide range of miscellaneous material including: a minute book of the Committee of Subscribers for the Relief of the poor in Downpatrick, 1801; a volume containing fifteen photographs, 1859, of army officers in Australia and a journal of H.G. Moore, Downpatrick, serving as a member of the British army in South Africa, 1873-1877.


The Wallace Papers are particularly strong because of the wide range of subjects which they provide information about for the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These include political history, military history, church history, the Orange Order, etc. In addition, they constitute a substantive database of varied reference material for the area of Downpatrick.

Physical characteristics

c.950 individually numbered documents, 35 volumes and 32 photographs, 1708-1945, comprising a range of correspondence, diaries, maps, surveys, legal documents and printed and pictorial material and occupying 15 PRONI boxes.

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI reference D/1889 for detailed catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room .


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Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 08 February 2018