Letter book and diary

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 BRD1
  • Former Reference
      GB 135 BRD1
  • Physical Description
      16x20 cm Manuscript volume 160 leaves. Original vellum binding in good condition.

Scope and Content

This sub series contains a one volume Letter book and Diary. It is Volume 1 of 4. Volumes 3-4 have not been catalogued.

The volume falls into three distinct sections. The first (pages 1-48) consists of exercises in arithmetic with the emphasis on the working out of practical problems concerned with money — part of Bardsley's efforts to educate himself to the level where he could take on financial responsibilities within the society.

The second section (pages 49-180) contains transcripts of the letters written by Bardsley between 19th September 1772 and 4th October 1773. The letters date from after Bardsley entered the itinerancy and cover his time in the Derbyshire and Macclesfield circuits.

The third section (pages 181-319) consists of his journal/diary from 20th August 1765 to 5th October 1766, which period predated Bardsley's entry into the itinerant ministry in 1768.

The diary represents a remarkably vivid account of the everyday life and ministry of a local preacher who went on to become one of Wesley's chief itinerants.

The contents of the diary cannot be described in detail in this catalogue, but briefly summarised, it covers Bardsley's early preaching attempts in Manchester and surrounding towns and villages out as far as Stockport and Macclesfield at the same time that he was earning a living by among other things, washing bottles in a Manchester cellar. He was also forming a close relationship with Molly Chorlton who Bardsley later promised to marry but then withdrew from the commitment. The worship life of the Manchester Methodist society is described in detail and among several interesting features of the narrative, Bardsley often summarised the sermons of other preachers as part of his own drive for education.

This handlist relates to the second section of the volume: transcripts of the letters written by Bardsley while he was itinerant in the Derbyshire and Macclesfield circuits.