Arbroath and Montrose Methodist Circuit

Scope and Content

Minute books of church and its organisations 1872-1976; schedules 1873-1973; financial records 1798-1989; register of baptisms 1848-1886; circuit notebook 1857-1863; notebook of communion roll, trustees, service details etc. 1883-1894; material relating to communicants and church members 1873-1889; records of organisations within the church 1857-1898; records of the Sewing Guild c.1924-1945; miscellaneous invoices, receipts and specifications relating to Station Road Manse and the Wesleyan Bazaar 1902-1905; legal papers relating to the Wesleyan Chapel, Arbroath 1738-1944; correspondence 1882-1967; plans and specifications concerning the Church and manse c.1862-1964.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Arbroath and Montrose Circuit is part of the Scotland District of the Methodist Church of Great Britain. Initially part of the Aberdeen and then the Dundee Circuits, the Arbroath and Montrose circuit was established in 1810. In Arbroath the Wesleyan Church, a minister's cottage, garden plots, stabling and outhouses were all built on land at Ponderlaw Street, part of the Carmichael Mortification, in 1772. The continual raising of loans on the property by the Trustees meant that the Arbroath Methodists were plagued by debt, a situation which was not fully resolved until the beginning of the 1860s. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a new manse was purchased in Seaton Road; part of the cost was met by St. John's Methodist Church, Glasgow, so as a gesture of appreciation, the Wesleyan Chapel was renamed St. John's Methodist Church.

Despite the financial problems of the nineteenth century and their legal ramifications, the congregation in Arbroath initiated a programme of expansion from 1883, which focused on the modification and extension of the Chapel itself and the building of a hall in 1896. This was necessary to accommodate groups such as the Sunday School which in 1881 had at least 70 scholars.

Although part of the same circuit, the chapels at Montrose and Arbroath never appeared to be particularly close. Montrose built their first church in 1814 with a seating capacity of 200, but the earliest surviving record of joint circuit meetings occurs in 1869 when meetings of the Trustees were held alternately at Arbroath and Montrose. However, financial issues were dealt with separately from 1875 and in 1878 it was decided that the congregation in Montrose should have their own minister, and the members requested that the Montrose and Arbroath circuits be separated. By 1921 the Synod agreed that Montrose and Arbroath, along with Blairgowrie, should form three independent single church circuits. From this time, Arbroath and Montrose were known as the East Coast Mission, but as they were financially independent of each other and with ministers only exchanging preaching duties one Sunday per quarter, the title was purely nominal. The Church and Circuit reconstruction of 1976 did see the two working together again as one circuit and by the 1990s financial difficulties dictated the removal of a resident minister from Arbroath from which time the circuit superintendent was stationed in Montrose.


Records are arranged chronologically within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The records were deposited by the Wesley Historical Society in 1997 (AccM/344).


Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, September 2001.

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