fonds MR/Y/WC - Society records of the Methodist Church, York, Wesley Chapel

Identity area

Reference code



Society records of the Methodist Church, York, Wesley Chapel


  • 1846-1989 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.44 cubic metres

24 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Wesley Chapel opened on Priory Street in 1856. Day schools, Sunday schools and a preachers' house were added the following year. Designed by James Simpson of Leeds, the chapel could accommodate 1,500 people and replaced the chapel in Albion Street as the only Nonconformist place of worship in the rapidly developing area around the railway station and workshops.

A new organ was installed in 1892 and the chapel and schools were enlarged in 1907, 1910 and 1914. In 1867 members of the chapel began mission work in Skeldergate, leading to the creation of the Skeldergate Mission Hall in 1900.

The chapel was part of the York Circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion until 1867 when it became the head of its own circuit covering the area of the city to the west of the River Ouse, known as the York, Wesley Circuit. Following the unification of the Primitive, Wesleyan and United Methodist churches in 1932 it became part of a new Wesley Circuit of the Methodist Connexion, which now included the former Victoria Bar Circuit. In 1981 it became part of York, South Circuit.

The chapel was closed in 1982 and its congregation transferred to the Centenery Chapel in St Saviourgate, now called Central Chapel.

Name of creator

(1816-c 1861)

Administrative history

York, Albion Street Methodist Chapel was opened in 1816. Situated at the corner of Albion Street and Skeldergate, it could accommodate 700 people. A Sunday School opened there the following year.

By the mid nineteenth century the building was deemed too small for the rapidly growing population south of the river Ouse and around the railway station and workshops. A new and larger chapel opened in 1856 on Priory Street, eventually superseding the Albion Street chapel, which was sold by 1861.

The chapel was part of what was then a single York Circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion from its foundation to its closure.

The chapel building was used as commercial premises and later demolished in the twentieth century.

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, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2016.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Register of baptisms for Albion Street Chapel, 1848-1856; register of baptisms for Wesley Chapel, 1856-1982; register of marriages, 1859-1983.

Records of Trustees, including meetings minute book, 1856-1871, 1906-1976, bank book, 1854-1860, treasurer’s account book, 1856-1947, 1949-1973, secretary’s correspondence, 1959-1972, and papers concerning appointments of new Trustees, 1881-1963; Leaders’ meetings minute book, 1856-1880, 1912-1953, 1959-1981, and related correspondence, 1974-1979; Chapel Committee minute book, 1947-1962; Society Steward’s account books for Albion Street Chapel, 1849-1856, Wesley Chapel, 1856-1926, 1932-1940, and receipts and vouchers, 1856-1944; Wesley Chapel Trust accounts and annual reports, 1959-1971; pulpit notices, 1945-1946; service sheets, 1856-1983.

Financial records, including collections journals and accounts, 1856-1877, 1922-1976, pew rents book, 1867-1880, 1923-1977, envelope offering account books, 1964-1980, vestry cash books, 1947-1953, cash books of Methodist Church Council, 1973-1982, income and expenditure analysis book, 1960-1969.

Property and fabric records, including Building Committee minutes, 1848-1856, papers concerning use of chapel buildings, 1855-1980, and sale of land to York, Holy Trinity Church, Micklegate, 1895-1910, conveyance of chapel to York Assembly of God and of the Sport and Community Centre to York City Council, 1983;

Records of chapel groups and associations, comprising records of Priory Street Day School, including deeds, minutes, financial records, and fabric papers, 1855-1982; records of chapel Sunday School, including minutes, admission register, and attendance registers, 1846-1958; Priory Street Young Men’s Class records, including reports, press cuttings, newsletters, and souvenir publication ' Our Class History and Work,' 1862-1908; records of Workers’ Band (Wesley Brotherhood), including minutes and papers relating to group outings, 1907-1978; Young Disciples’ Roll, 1954-1958; Literary Committee minute book, 1899-1908; chapel choir records, 1961-1979; copies of ‘Notes and News’, the journal of the York Old Priory Choir, 1924-1989; records of Detached Youth Project, York, including annual reports, 1975-1978, letters, 1977-1978, and prayer letter, 1978; Brunswick Terrace Hostel annual report, c.1976.

Records of Forces Canteen on Priory Street, including committee minutes, 1940-1945, and visitors’ book, 1942-1945.

Historical material, including press cuttings and programmes relating to foundation of chapel, 1855-1856; anniversary souvenir book, 1856-1936; photographs of chapel, ministers and unidentified soldiers, 19th-20th century; printing blocks for chapels including Wesley Chapel, Peasholme Green Chapel and Lady Huntingdon’s Chapel, n.d.

Unlisted material.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

The archive comprises the records of both Albion Street Chapel and Wesley Chapel, York.

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 2008. 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

Copies of the baptismal register, 1848-1900, and the marriage register, 1859-1899, are also available on microfilm at the Borthwick Institute (References: MF 1785).

Related units of description

Circuit records for York Circuit and York, Wesley Circuit of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, and the York, Wesley and York, South Circuits of the Methodist Connexion are also deposited at the Borthwick Institute. The records of York Circuit are part of the records of York (New Street) Circuit and the records of both Wesley Circuits form a single archive.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

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, 25.11.16.




Accession area