Society of Antiquaries of London (Biographical details)

Society of Antiquaries of London (institution/organisation; British; 1707; formal inauguration)

Also known as

Society of Antiquaries of London


Burlington House, Piccadilly, London SW1


One of the oldest learned societies in Britain which traces its roots to the foundation of a College of Antiquaries in about 1586 which had the aim of establishing a "cultural longevity" for England. However in 1614 "his Majesty [James I] took a little Mislike of our Society … yet hereupon we forebare to meet again …". Following this there are some indications of an informal society existing in the seventeenth century and at times the Royal Society (charter granted in 1662) displayed an interest in archaeology. The formal inauguration of the present Society of Antiquaries was in 1707, and it was in receipt of a Royal Charter in 1751. Its aims are "the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries". It has a body of elected Fellows, maintains a library, publishes 'The Antiquaries Journal' and other publications, and offers small research grants.


Joan Evans, 'A History of the Society of Antiquaries' (Oxford 1956); Pamela Willetts, 'Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Society of Antiquaries of London' (Brewer 2000).