fonds MR/Y/CEN - Society records of the Methodist Church, York, Central (formerly Centenary) Chapel

Identity area

Reference code



Society records of the Methodist Church, York, Central (formerly Centenary) Chapel


  • 1839-2006 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.53 cubic metres

26 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Central Chapel, York, was opened in 1840 as the Wesleyan Centenary Chapel, a year after the foundation stone was laid. It was named to commemorate the centenary of Methodism, which was founded in 1739.

Situated on St Saviourgate, the new chapel could accommodate 1,500 people and was designed by James Simpson of Leeds. The building included classrooms, bandrooms, vestries and a caretaker's house.

The chapel was expanded in 1861 with the addition of two new schoolrooms and six new classrooms for Sunday School, although these were destroyed in a fire in 1863. The main chapel was enlarged in 1881 and 1885 and a new organ was installed in 1914, and rebuilt in 1931. The chapel was refurbished in 1993-1994.

Originally part of the single York Circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, from 1867 Central Chapel was part of York, New Street Circuit and then in 1888 this Circuit was divided and the chapel became head of its own Circuit, known as York, Centenary Circuit.

The Primitive, Wesleyan and United Methodist churches united in 1932 and Central Chapel remained part of the York, Centenary Circuit of the new Methodist Connexion until 1981 when it became part of York, South Circuit. In 2012 it became part of a single York Circuit of the Methodist Connexion.

In the 1980s Centenary Chapel merged with Wesley Chapel in Priory Street and the church has henceforth been known as Central Chapel, or Central Methodist Church.

As of 2016 it is still in use.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute prior to 1984. Further additions were made to the archive in 1984, 1990, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2011 and 2014.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Register of baptisms, 1848-1892; register of marriages, 1844-1965.

Records of Trustees, including meeting minute books, 1880-1958, treasurer’s account books, 1867-1878, 1954-1972 bank book, 1876-1881, and property papers, 1857-1957; Leaders’ meetings minute books, 1849-1935, 1945-1958, and correspondence, 1923-1934; Church Council (previously Leaders’ Meeting) minute book, 1972-1978, 1981-1995; Worship Consultation Committee minutes, 1990-1991, and the minutes of its successor body Church Life Committee, 1991-1993, and reports, 1993; World Service and Mission Committee records, including minute book, 1973-1993 and report, 1986; Church Family Committee minute book, 1979-1991; Missionary Committee minutes, 1934-1973; Social Committee records, including minute book, 1969-1989, and petty cash book, 1977-1982; and Bazaar Committee minute book (previously Ladies Working Society Committee), 1884-1931.

Financial records, including Society Steward’s account books, 1931-1934, 1957-1984; accounts for building the chapel, 1839; pew rent books, 1840-1936; collection journals and accounts, 1932-1983; Envelope Fund papers, 1932-1994; Centenary Poor Fund cash books, 1933-1984; and papers relating to fundraising, 1988-1993.

Property records, including Development Committee papers, 1977-1994; correspondence from the Methodist Church Property Division, 1982-1987; papers relating to possible relocation and eventual redevelopment of existing site, 1981-2006; papers relating to adjacent properties, 1962-1974; and papers of York Methodist Construction Company Ltd, established to undertake work on the chapel, 1992-1995.

Records of chapel groups and associations, comprising Sunday School records, including teachers’ meeting minute books, 1873-1888, 1919-1927, 1959-1982, annual report, 1980, attendance list, 1985-1986, group register, n.d; Men’s Club account book, 1924-1941; Young Women’s Class register, 1932-1950; Women’s Meeting register, 1953-1981, and minute book, 1944-1980; Ladies Fellowship papers, including minute book, orders of service, programmes and other papers, 1980-1999; Neighbourhood Committee minute book, 1987-1989; records of Carecent, a chapel group providing day care to the homeless, including committee minutes, accounts, registers and correspondence 1985-1997; and Choir records, 1913-1974.

Press cuttings advertising the opening of the chapel, 1840; Book of Remembrance from the 80th anniversary, 1936; programme, service sheet and correspondence for 140th anniversary of the chapel, 1980; service sheet for 150th anniversary of the chapel, 1990; programme for dedication of refurbished chapel, premises and organ, 1994; programmes for organ opening and dedicatory service, 1999; and programmes for 105th and the 183rd Wesleyan Methodist Annual Conferences held at Centenary Chapel, 1908, 1926.

Historical material, including certificate of ordination of Matthew Lumb, with holograph signature of John Wesley and seal, 1788; list of ministers, 1848-1981; printed papers relating to the chapel organ, 1876-1929, 1992; ‘History of the York Centenary Methodist Forces Canteen 1939-1944’ [1940s]; and typescript reminiscences of chapel congregation, 1964, 1968.

Unlisted material.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute. This includes all material received up to and including 2003. Later material has not yet been listed, please contact the Institute for more information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

A copy of the baptismal register, 1848-1892, is also available on microfilm at the Borthwick Institute (References: MF 1784).

Related units of description

Circuit records for the York Circuit, York, New Street and York, Centenary Circuits of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, and York, Centenary and York, South Circuits of the Methodist Connexion are also deposited at the Borthwick Institute. The records of the York Circuit and York, New Street Circuit form a single archive (MRC/1), as do the records of both Centenary Circuits (MRC/3).

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 05.12.16.




Accession area