Records of High Pavement Presbyterian (Unitarian) Chapel, Nottingham, 1576-1982

Scope and Content

The bulk of the Chapel's records date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries although there are a number of items from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including the classis minute book, 1654-60. The records cover the foundation, administration and functions of the Chapel and its associated organisations, including the Provident Friendly Society, Historical Society, Sunday School and Day Schools. There is a large series of portraits, prints and photographs of Chapel ministers and prominent persons associated with the Chapel since the seventeenth century.

The remnants of the Chapel's library can also be found in the collection. This includes a number of significant seventeenth and eighteenth century imprints.

The personal papers of John Crosby Warren (d 1931), a prominent member of the congregation and Warden of the Chapel, also feature. They include correspondence, draft articles and lectures, and material collected by him relating to the history of the Chapel.

A number of accruals have been received from the Chapel which are, as yet, uncatalogued.

Administrative / Biographical History

The origins of the High Pavement Chapel are to be found in the ministry of John Whitlock and William Reynolds at St Mary's, and of John Barrett at St Peter's, Nottingham, during the period of the Commonwealth. The three set up a presbyterian classis, serving Nottingham and its neighbourhood, but were ejected in 1662. They suffered persecution under the Clarendon Code, attended lively conventicles in Nottingham from their base at Mansfield, and came together again to found the first High Pavement Chapel in 1690 or 1691.

By 1802, the Reverend James Taylor had begun to preach Unitarian doctrine and from about this time on High Pavement became a Unitarian chapel.

High Pavement Chapel made a notable contribution to Nottingham education by founding one of the first non- sectarian charity schools in the country in 1788. Its descendant survives today. The Chapel also set up a successful mutual insurance association in 1807, the Provident Friendly Society, which only came to an end with the advent of National Insurance in 1948. The Chapel's Sunday School was established in the late eighteenth century. It should also be noted that the Chapel's members made a significant contribution to civic life, a number becoming Nottingham Mayors.

In 1863 the foundation stone was laid for the new, daughter church, of Christ Church, Peas Hill, Nottingham. The records of this church can also be found in the collection.


The collection is arranged as three deposits; Hi, Hi 2, Hi 3. Material within each deposit is arranged according to form (e.g. minutes, accounts) and then chronologically within each section.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.

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

Other Finding Aids

NOTE: Copyright on all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

  • In the Reading Room, University of Nottingham Library: 3 Typescript Catalogues: Hi, Hi 2, Hi 3
  • At the National Register of Archives, London: 3 Typescript Catalogues: Hi (32 pp); Hi 2 (27 pp); Hi 3 (36 pp)

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: 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 the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email ). The Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

LANGUAGE: English.

Custodial History

The records were received by Nottingham University Library from the Minister and Council of High Pavement Chapel between 1962 and 1982.


John Crosby Warren, The High Pavement Chapel, Nottingham: A Biographical List of Portraits and a List of Books, Documents and Relics Relating to Our Congregational History. Rev. Benjamin Carpenter, Some Account of the Original Introduction of Presbyterianism in Nottingham and the Neighbourhood with a Brief History of the Society of Protestant Dissenters Assembling on the High Pavement in that Town. Rev. Benjamin Carpenter