Records of the Old Meeting House, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, 1738-2002

Scope and Content

Unfortunately, no early material has survived among the Old Meeting House records, but the deposit includes a register of baptisms, 1738-1936, account books and subscription registers from 1811, Sunday school records from 1836, Committee and Annual General Meeting minute books from 1886 to 1974 and an almost complete run of chapel calendars from 1889 to 1914. Of special interest is a bundle of papers concerning the acrimonious dispute between William Linwood, minister between 1842 and 1848, and Henry Hollins, cotton manufacturer and a trustee of the Meeting House. There are also miscellaneous papers of John Harrop White, (1856-1951) mayor of Mansfield and trustee of the Meeting House, who worked on a history of the chapel.

Administrative / Biographical History

This distinguished North Midlands chapel can trace its history from 1666. Following the passage of the Act of Uniformity in 1662 a number of Presbyterian ministers were ejected from their livings. The persecution intensified with the Oxford Act of 1666, and eight ministers sought refuge in Mansfield under the protection of Reverend John Firth. The eight worshipped together until the Act of Toleration was passed in 1688, when all except Robert Porter returned to their livings. Porter remained in charge of the local Presbyterian congregation until his death in 1690.

The Meeting House was erected in 1702, and by 1783 was described as having a Unitarian congregation.


The records are arranged according to type (e.g. accounts, registers etc.) and generally listed chronologically within each section. Material received in subsequent accessions has been added to the end of the appropriate section, forming a second chronological sequence.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript Catalogue, 45 pp

At the National Register of Archives, London:

Typescript Catalogue, 14 pp. This is an out-of-date version of the typescript catalogue in the King's Meadow Campus Reading Room and the current online catalogue.

On the World Wide Web:

Catalogue available through website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Separated Material

Pre-1837 registers from the Old Meeting House are held at The National Archives: Baptism registers, 1738-1835 (RG 4/1583); Burial register, 1800-1811 (RG 4/1583). The website offers paid access to digital images of the registers via a subscription. It is free to search the registers on this website. Indexes to the baptism registers are also available as part of the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and can be searched for free on

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The records were deposited in Nottingham University Library by the Minister of the Congregation of the Old Meeting House, Mansfield in June 1963. Further deposits were made in 1998-1999.


J. Harrop White, 'The Story of the Old Meeting House, Mansfield', (The Lindsey Press, 1959)