Records of Leeds: Carlton Hill Preparative Meeting of the Society of Friends

Scope and Content

Minutes of Preparative Meeting, 1692-1850, 1863-1979 (15 vols.) [E 1-9; KK 1-2, 6-9]; rough minutes, 1790-1877 (12 vols.) [E 10-21]; Minutes of Women's Preparative Meeting, 1703-1904 (6 vols.) [E 22-27]; Minutes of Meetings of Overseers, 1923-1964 (3 vols.) [O 65, 73-74]; Minutes of Meetings of Elders, 1943-1980 (1 vol.) [O 75]; Minutes of Headingley evening meeting, 1891-1895 (1 vol.) [O 10]; Minutes of Overseers' Education Committee, 1911-1955 (1 vol.) [OO 7]; Minutes of Finance Committee, 1975-1989, including petty cash book, 1924-1975 (1 vol.) [O 77]; Minutes of Carlton Hill Trust Fund Committee, 1922-1967 (1 vol.) [V 38]; Minutes of Premises Committee, 1942-1976 (1 vol.) [O 76]; Account of sufferings, 1776-1795 (1 vol.) [O 4]; Lists of members, c.1797-1807, c.1828-1853, 1858-1909 (11 vols.) [O 3, 2, 1, 14, 13; FF 81-85; J 63]; Tabular statements, 1881, 1883, 1889-1896 (1 bundle) [M 18]; Birth notes, 1822-1895 (19 vols.) [J 1-19]; Burial notes, 1823-1903 (19 vols.) [J 20-38]; Leave for interments, 1770-1887 (2 vols.) [J 39-40]; Account book, 1748-1824 [O 5]; Record of payments from legacy funds, and various financial memoranda, 1820-1850 (1 bundle) [O 6]; Charitable funds book, 1816-1818 [O 7]; Guide Fund account book, 1827-1910 [E 28]; Building accounts for Carlton Hill Meeting House, 1864-1881 (1 bundle & 1 item) [V 6; O 12]; Collections account books, 1880-1896, 1927-1929 (2 vols.) [O 15, 52]; Cash books, 1909-1954 (2 vols.) [O 53-54]; Vouchers and correspondence, 1909-1928 (3 bundles) [O 23-36, 40-45]; Receipts and accounts, 1923-1968 (5 bundles) [O 55-56, 46-48]; Title deeds and related papers for property in Leeds, 1672-1989 (43 items & 13 bundles) [V 7-8, 10, 12-13, 15-22, 26-28, 33-36]; Papers re. Cottage Estate Fund, 1873-1911 (1 bundle) [V 30]; Papers re. Maria Binns Trust, 1854-1946 (1 bundle) [V 32]; Plans of Carlton Hill Meeting House, 1873-1923 (56 items) [DD 14/1-56]; Ordnance Survey map, Carlton Hill area of Leeds, 1910 [LL 78]; Epistles, advices, minutes etc. received: From Yearly and Quarterly Meetings, 1675-1738 (1 vol.) [O 9]; Ms. "A glance at the first spreading of the truth and the rise of Friends", Isaac Brown, 1868 [V 29]; Account of the history of Leeds Meeting and Carlton Hill Meeting House, Richard Dawson Gardner, 1918 [O 12a]; Correspondence file, 1938-1956 [O 60]; Educational register, c.1900-1930 [O 66]; Miscellaneous papers, 1707-1911, 1874 onwards, 1944-1960&1961 onwards (4 bundles) [O 16; KK 10; O 61-62]

Administrative / Biographical History

William Dewsbury of Allerthorpe was convinced by George Fox in 1651 and began to travel with Fox through Yorkshire. When Fox made his way towards the north-west, Dewsbury remained to preach in Leeds, and a Meeting was settled soon afterwards. Meetings were held in private houses, as well as on Holbeck Moor and Woodhouse Moor. According to Besse, the first instance of a meeting being broken up in Leeds was in 1656; large numbers of arrests at meetings were made during 1683-84, including a raid on the home of Grace Sykes. Friends were also beaten and arrested for attempting to preach at local churches. Leeds Meeting was recorded in 1665 as part of Pontefract Monthly Meeting, and again in 1669 as part of the newly formed Brighouse Monthly Meeting. The Meeting covered a wide area beyond the city, including Morley, Carlton, Holbeck, Hunslet, Chellow, Wortley and Woodhouse. Its leading members in 1669 were Christopher Roads, Henry Ewbank, John Wails, Simon Whitehead, Bartholomew Horner, Stephen Elbeck, Richard Stirke and Thomas Thackery. The first Meeting House was built in Water Lane in Leeds, on land adjoining an existing burial ground, in 1699; from 1703 this was also host to Brighouse Monthly Meeting and in 1788 it was rebuilt to accommodate meetings of Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting. There was a boarding school based at the Meeting House, run by Joseph Tatham, from 1756 onwards. Leeds was a very active Meeting during the mid to late 19th century. Its members established a Peace Association in 1842, and were involved in the anti-slavery movement (such as Thomas Harvey and Wilson Armistead). In 1864 part of the estate of Robert Jowitt at Carlton Hill on Woodhouse Lane was bought and a new Meeting House, with schoolrooms, erected. This opened in 1868. By 1892 Leeds was the third largest Meeting in England, but until the Adult School movement gained momentum, its membership was largely drawn from the more prosperous. The first Yearly Meeting to be held outside London took place in Leeds in 1905 and spawned the Yorkshire 1905 Committee. The Meeting was known as Carlton Hill from 1920, when Preparative Meetings were created at Great Wilson Street and Burley Road. From 1924, it became part of the newly formed Leeds Monthly Meeting. The main Meeting House at Carlton Hill was sold in 1921, and the Meeting left the site completely in 1979. A new Meeting House was built in 1987, further up Woodhouse Lane, where the Meeting is still based.


The records are numbered and arranged according to the system used when they were in Carlton Hill Meeting House

Access Information

The conditions of deposit include a clause requiring written prior permission from a Friend Custodian for access to consult current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old

Acquisition Information

The collection of archives of the Society of Friends formerly held at the Friends Meeting House at Carlton Hill, Leeds


In English

Other Finding Aids

Contents listed in Handlist 99, Inventory of the records of Brighouse, Knaresborough, Leeds, and Settle Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends formerly preserved at the Friends Meeting House, Carlton Hill, Leeds, 2nd edition, 1997. Document E 3 (1749-1792) has been indexed in the Library's Quaker Archives database.

Conditions Governing Use

As with access, the photocopying of current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old requires the permission of a Friend Custodian

Related Material

Related material in Leeds University Library: Records of Brighouse and Leeds Monthly Meetings, Leeds Friends Adult Schools and First Day Schools, other Leeds Preparative Meetings, Leeds Advisory Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Leeds Fifty Club, Leeds Young Friends Club, Leeds Friends Tract Association, Joseph Tatham's School, Leeds Friends Essay and Illustration Society, Leeds Friends Old Library, Leeds Peace Association, and Great Wilson Street Young People's Society of Christian Endeavour and Friends Christian Union


See J. E. & R. S. Mortimer, eds., "Leeds Friends' minute book 1692-1712", in Yorkshire Archaeology Society Record Series, vol.CXXXIX, 1980; W. Allott, "Leeds Quaker Meeting", in Thoresby Society Miscellany, vol.14 part 1, 1966, pp. 1-77; J. E. Mortimer, "Leeds Friends and the Beaconite controversyquot;, in Journal of the Friends Historical Society, vol.54, 1976-1982, pp.52-66; J. E. Mortimer, "Thoresby's "poor deluded Quakers": the sufferings of Leeds Friends in the 17th century", in Thoresby Society Miscellany, second series, vol.I, 1990, pp. 35-57; M. A. Ellison, "Further thoughts on Leeds Friends and the Beaconite controversy", in Journal of the Friends Historical Society, vol.57 no.1, 1994, pp.57-73; J. E. Mortimer, "Quaker women in the 18th century: opportunities and constraints", in Journal of the Friends Historical Society, vol.57 no.3, 1996, pp.228-259; A. Prior & M. Kirby, "The Society of Friends and business culture 1700-1830", in D. Jeremy ed., Religion, business and wealth in modern Britain (Routledge, 1998), pp.115-136.

Additional Information

The records are deposited and remain the property of the Society of Friends