Manchester Churchwarden Accounts

Scope and Content

Original accounts of the Churchwardens of Manchester. The volume contains accounts of money raised by Church Levies in the parish and the purchase of graves in Manchester Churchyard, and of expenditure on repairs to the Church and maintenance of public worship. It does not contain accounts in relation to their work as Overseers of the Poor. Besides the ordinary statement of accounts, the volume contains interesting occasional entries, including the a purchase of fire engines in 1699, an inventory of church property in 1700, and records of collections for relief of distress outside the parish (including for widows of sailors lost in the Great Storm in 1703 and for French Protestants in 1694).

Administrative / Biographical History

The chief officers of parish administration were the churchwardens and the overseers of the poor. Churchwardens' accounts show how much was spent on the repair and maintenance of the local church. The Churchwardens were also responsible for the levying of parish taxes, known as layes. The townships and hamlets of the parish of Manchester were grouped into six divisions: Manchester town, Salford, Blackley, Newton, Withington and Stretford.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Unknown; acquired by the John Rylands Library some time before 31 January 1900.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Klett, project archivists.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 97).

Custodial History

James Crossley, President of the Chetham Society from 1847 to 1883, purchased this manuscript in 1862 from a gentleman residing near Wigan, whose father was a collector of antiquities and possessed it amongst other similar records. It appears to have been disposed of along with the remains of H. Chetham's Library in the Cathedral to a dealer in Shudehill, by whom it was sold and so came into that person's possession.

The manuscript was Lot 3022 in the James Crossley sale of 19 June 1885.


See Ernest Broxap, Extracts from the Manchester Churchwardens' Accounts, 1664-1710, Chetham Society, New Series, vol. 80 (1921).

Geographical Names