The Society emerged from conversations between Michael Farrer and
Brent Skelly in the late 1990s. Both were aware that there was increasing interest by historians in the field, but that few publication outlets were available. They wondered whether there might be a way of making some of the fruits of research available to the wider public, and of stimulating additional interest amongst both scholars and the serious minded layperson. They came to the view that a society might provide such a function.
The idea was floated with Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, formerly fellow of Keble College and the author of
The Vision Glorious—a wide ranging study of the Oxford Movement and Anglo-Catholicism. He was supportive of the idea and agreed to take the role as President, enlisting also Revd Dr Perry Butler, author of
Gladstone, Church, State and Tractarianism and editor of
Pusey Rediscovered, as Chairman.
By June 2000 the Society was ready to be launched and the inaugural lecture was delivered by Bishop Rowell at St Mary’s Bourne Street. Membership increased rapidly, largely by word of mouth. By the tenth anniversary of the Society,
some thirty lectures had been made and eleven substantial