Kents Road Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection consists of papers concerned with the meeting of the Christian Brethren at Kents Road, in Haywards Heath, from the 19th century until the 1970s. Included is a significant collection of papers connected with William Chadwick Grimsdick, the son of the founder of the Haywards Heath meeting, who became a prominent member and preached globally. Later in life William devoted much time to travelling for the purposes of meeting Brethren and addressing meetings around the English speaking world, and many of these papers are directly connected to this in the form of correspondence to and from his family, showcasing his work around the world, the nature of the meetings he attended and addressed, and the people he came into contact with. Also included are notes detailing meetings given by William in the UK, with transcripts of the readings he gave. Further correspondence shows his views concerning scripture and the doctrinal discussions he engaged in, notably with, and in defence of, F.E Raven. Circular papers show additional Brethren politics and doctrinal debates. Additionally, two family histories written by Edward Morris are included to provide background information on the history of the Kents Road meeting and its prominent members.

The rest of the collection focuses on papers related to William Chadwick Grimsdick's extended family, primarily the Morris family. The majority of this material is concerned with the Aberdeen conference and division of 1970, which led to the majority of the Kents Road meeting breaking away from Taylorite Exclusivism. The collection includes much correspondence concerned with the split, for example between Brethren members discussing the events and their consequences. There is important circular correspondence from and to Jim Taylor Jnr with regard to the split both in support of and against his version of events, as well as interesting transcripts of meetings given by him at Aberdeen.

There is also much correspondence related to the activities of the Exclusive Brethren before the split, for example their politics and struggles with the non-Brethren world. Newspaper cuttings and legal papers supplement this. A large part of the collection consists of notes on meetings held or addresses given, often featuring transcripts of readings given at meetings or lyrics of hymns. An interesting individual document is an academic paper given at a conference on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by a former member of the Exclusive Brethren, which gives insight into the views and activities of the Brethren such as 'withdrawing'. Pamphlets and circulars are also found in large number in the collection, providing examples of the opinions of members with regard to doctrine and scripture.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Kents Road meeting was one of an Exclusive Brethren nature, established in the 1880s by Edward Grimsdick, a farmer who was inspired to instigate the meeting after dissatisfaction with the local Church of England services led to his encountering the Exclusive Brethren at Burgess Hill. His son, William Chadwick Grimsdick, became a prominent member of the meeting and was later invited to address meetings around the world. Although the meeting was originally located in South Road, it was moved to Kents Road in the 1930s. William Chadwick Grimsdick's niece, Agnes Emily Kelland, married Dr Edward Morris and they remained members of the Kents Road Brethren until 1970. It is from this branch of the family that the majority of the materials in this collection are accumulated. The meeting initially aligned itself with F.E Raven's London branch, with whom William Chadwick Grimsdick was closely involved, though later it was aligned with the Taylor faction. Following the 1970 Aberdeen conference and subsequent division, almost all members of the Kent Roads meeting broke with the Taylorites, lessening their Exclusivism to become a slightly more liberal group with connections to other local Christians.

Arrangement

Upon arrival at the archive, the collection was arranged in four boxes, each containing multiple folders, and this original order has been maintained. The collection has been organised into the following series: 

  • KRP/1 General meeting agendas, correspondence and miscellaneous papers.
  • KRP/2 Correspondence at the time of the 1970 division.
  • KRP/3 Correspondence after, but relating to, the 1970 division.
  • KRP/4 Sundry papers concerned with Exclusive Brethren.
  • KRP/5 Correspondence concerned with Exclusive Brethren.
  • KRP/6 Anti-Taylorite materials.
  • KRP/7 Publications and circulars.
  • KRP/8 Circulars related to the 1970 division.
  • KRP/9 Meeting Notes.
  • KRP/10 Papers of William Chadwick Grimsdick.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Acquisition Information

Gregory Morris

Conditions Governing Use

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

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

The collection was donated by Gregory Morris. The papers came into the possession of Mr Gregory Morris through his father's side of the family, who were descended, through the marriage of William Chadwick Grimsdick's only niece Agnes Emily to Dr Edward Morris. The papers are mostly her collection.

Accruals

None expected

Related Material

Papers of John Potts

GB 133 JBP

Papers of Gordon W. Simmonds

GB 133 GWS

Bibliography

Tim Grass, Gathering to his name: the story of the open brethren in Britain and Ireland (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2006)

Roger Shuff, Searching for the True Church (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2005

Geographical Names