fonds PR/Y/MB - Parish records of York, St Michael le Belfrey

Identity area

Reference code



Parish records of York, St Michael le Belfrey


  • 1565-2012 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.79 cubic metres

58 boxes and 1 oversize volume

Context area

Name of creator

(fl 1294-)

Administrative history

There was a church of St Michael le Belfrey in York from at least 1294 when it was in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of York and subject to their peculiar jurisdiction. From around 1331 until 1443 it was annexed to St Martin Coney Street.

It appears that for centuries the chief income was from offerings; in 1764 there were no houses, tenements or glebe belonging to the curacy. Queen Anne’s Bounty provided augmentation in 1774 which was used to purchase land in Wigginton. This was supplemented by parliamentary fund in 1812, 1820 and 1823, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners awarded various revenue sources throughout the nineteenth century.

The church sits adjacent to York Minster. The present church was built between 1525 and 1536 by John Forman, Master Mason to the Minster. A gallery was erected in 1785 to meet the requirements of an enlarged congregations and the church was restored in 1867 by architect George Fowler Jones. Its reredos and communion rail were carved in 1712 by William Etty and its stained glass includes an 1896 window by J. W. Knowles of York.

The ancient parish of York, St Michael le Belfrey was united with the parish of York, St Wilfred in 1586 as part of a widespread conglomeration of “decayed” City parishes into more viable units. It remained intact until 1855 when part of the parish was alienated and joined with other units to form York, St Thomas with St Maurice. St Michael le Belfrey persisted, and gained the ex-parochial area of York Mint Yard in 1879.

In 1966 it was united with York, Trinity in Goodramgate with St John Delpike and St Maurice without Monkbar to form the ecclesiastical parish of York, St Michael le Belfrey and Trinity Goodramgate. The parish continues to be known by the name York, St Michael le Belfrey.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute between 1973 and 1982. Further additions were made to the archive in 1988, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2018.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Includes register of christenings, 1565-1963 (note this register uses the Dade registration scheme for the years 1779-1812); register of marriages, 1565-1975, 1983-2001; register of burials, 1565-1854 (note this register uses the Dade registration scheme for the years 1779-1812); register of banns, 1754-1772, 1944-2016; register of services, 1829-1837, 1863-2002; register of minster services, 1832-1837; register of communicants, 1572-1578; records concerning benefice income, including dues to curate and parish clerk, 1565, Easter offerings, 1838-1842, 1867, mortuaries, 1571, and correspondence regarding augmentation, 1858; charity records, including accounts, 1805-1829, 1849-1940, correspondence and papers, 1921-1958, feoffees' records, 1686-1980, and lists of recipients, 1893-1935; churchwardens’ records, including accounts and assessments, 1589-1952, briefs, 1755-1829, restoration papers, 1853-1855, 1890-1891, fabric papers, 1920-1976, and pew register, 1835-1853; constables’ records, including accounts, 1570-1579, 1643-1644, 1656-1659, 1667-1681, 1706-1707, assessments, 1589-1635, 1647-1651, and Clifton township accounts, 1680-1858; records of incumbents, including lists of citizens and occupiers, 1865-1866 and nd, notes of visitations of Cleveland archdeaconry, 1832-1836, parsonage house papers, 1882-1885, and papers relating to Revd. Canon David Watson, including correspondence, press cuttings and a vinyl record, 1958-1984; overseers’ records, including accounts, 1573-1577, 1745-1848, 1853-1872, assessments, 1589-1635, 1647-1651, 1744-1855, 1863-1868, workhouse accounts, 1744-1756, admissions to workhouse, dietary, orders for payments, 1744-1762, settlement papers, 1847-1849, apprenticeship indentures, 1803-1841, correspondence and papers, 1776-1916, lists of paupers, 1833-1872, and Clifton township accounts, 1680-1858; records concerning parish rooms and societies, including deed for parish room, 1887, deeds relating to the church hall, 1886-1887, correspondence and license regarding musical entertainment, 1938-1939, 1950-1951, minutes of meetings of parish room committees, 1887-1889, and parish room accounts, 1921-1933; surveyors’ records, including accounts and assessments, 1763-1825, assessment, 1832, Clifton township accounts, 1680-1858; Vestry/Parochial Church Council records, including minutes of meetings and memoranda, 1571-1599, 1730-1907, 1911-2012, audio cassette recordings of meetings, 1998-2001, accounts, 1917-1964, 1968, electoral roll papers, 1840-1866, electoral roll, 1930, 1983-2007, perambulations of bounds, 1822-1843, correspondence and papers, 1893-1920, Clifton township minutes of meetings, 1680-1858, and agreement for loan of church plate from Holy Trinity Goodramgate, 1985; papers and photographs concerning the ‘Just 10 in York’ mission, 1999-2002; visitor’s book, 1979-1981; church magazines and newsletters, 1970-2009; historical notes and church leaflets, 1970-1996, 2003-2012; photographs (including digital photographs), 1970s-2012; sketch of St Michael le Belfrey church, nd.


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

Includes audio cassette tape and digital photographs. Access to audiovisual material may be restricted due to technical requirements, please contact the Borthwick Institute for more information.

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 2015.

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Registers of christenings, 1650-1963, marriages, 1650-1975, burials, 1650-1854, are also available on microfilm at the Borthwick Institute (References: MF 860-862).

Related units of description

For related material held by the Borthwick Institute, see the parish records of York, St Cuthbert which include a map of the parish of St Michael le Belfrey and Holy Trinity Goodramgate, 1969, and joint annual general meeting minutes, 1974.

See also the parish records of York, St Denys and St George which include a map showing alterations of the areas of the parishes of All Saints and St Crux with St Saviour and St Sampson with Holy Trinity, King's Court; St Michael le Belfrey and Holy Trinity, Goodramgate; St Cuthbert; Holy Trinity, Heworth; and St Denys, 1975. Another map, showing the boundaries of St Michael le Belfrey and St Sampson can be found in the parish records of York, St Sampson.

Publication note

Yorkshire Parish Register Society, 'The parish registers of St Michael le Belfrey, York. 1565-1653.' Transcribed and edited by Francis Collins (Leeds, 1899).

Yorkshire Parish Register Society, 'The parish registers of St Michael le Belfrey, York. 1653-1778.' Transcribed and edited by Francis Collins (Leeds, 1901).

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

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, 24.11.15; revised N.J. Melia, 28.06.18.




Accession area