Records of Halifax Preparative Meeting of the Society of Friends

Scope and Content

Minutes of Preparative Meeting, 1724-1796, 1822-1980 (11 vols.) [EE 16-18, 20-23, 32, 30, 35, 35.1]; Minutes of Women's Preparative Meeting, 1707-1797 (2 vols.) [EE 25, 19]; Minutes of Meetings of Elders and Overseers, 1953-1975 (1 vol.) [EE 36]; Histories of the Modus in Halifax parish, 1721-1729 & [1799] (3 items) [EE 34, 26-27]; see also Clifford Street archive, VI 12; Birth notes, 1912-1950 (1 vol.) [EE 24.3]; Presentations of marriage, 1707-1780 (1 vol.) [P 39]; Burial notes, 1939-1950 (1 vol.) [EE 24.4]; Register of births and burials, 1654-1828 (1 vol.) [EE 24.1]; Accounts, 1926-1971 (2 bundles) [EE 33.1-33.2]; Bank pass books, 1936-1964 (3 vols.) [EE 33.91-93]; Schedule of deeds for Meeting Houses and burial grounds at Harwood Wells, Skircoat; Rishworth; Clare Road, Halifax; and Sowerby Street, [Halifax], 1829-1870 (1 item) [X 6/1]; Premises account book, Harwood Wells Meeting House, 1856-1879 (1 vol.) [X 6/2]; Title deeds for Rishworth Meeting House, 1723/24-1771 (2 items) [X 3/1-2]; Title deeds for Halifax burial ground, 1863-1870 (5 items) [X 2/1-5]; Title deeds for Halifax: Clare Road Meeting House, 1742-1760 (5 items [X 5/1-5]; Miscellaneous title deeds and related documents for property in Halifax and district, 1789-1885 (9 items) [X 1/2-9; X 4/5, 7-8; X 10]; Plans and other related documents for Harwood Wells property, c.1869-1888 (7 items) [X 7/1-7]; Ordnance Survey map of Rishworth property, 1893 [X 8]; Scrapbook about activities of Halifax Meeting, 1928-1990 [EE 39.1]; Photograph album re. Slater Ing Guest House, 1929 [EE 39.2]; Miscellaneous papers, 1910-1934 (1 bundle) [EE 31]

Administrative / Biographical History

William Dewsbury is attributed with settling the Meeting in Halifax after preaching there in the early 1650s. The earliest local sufferings recorded by Besse were in January 1661, when Nathaniel Crowther and John Howker were amongst those imprisoned in York Castle for refusing to take the oath of allegiance. Halifax Meeting is first recorded in 1669 as part of the newly formed Brighouse Monthly Meeting. It included Friends in neighbouring Rishworth (or Rushworth), and its leading members were Abraham Hodgson, Robert Colme, Joshua Smith, Edward Haley, Henry Dyson and Abraham Wadsworth. Halifax Friends were amongst those who suffered distraint of goods under the Conventicle Act in the early 1670s and again, and much more severely, in 1683, for absence from the national worship. Five Friends lost livestock, household goods and crops to the total value of 196. The first Meeting House and burial ground were purchased in 1696 and lay outside the town, at Harwood Wells, Skircoat (also known as High Road Wells). "The most persistent and intractable case of tythe evasion ever to come before QM" is how Pearson Thistlethwaite described the Halifax Modus case. Suspicious payments by local Friends were first queried in 1701 and judged to be a composition in lieu of tithes. But it took over a century, with many investigations into the peculiar local circumstances, before the matter was finally settled. In 1723, a Meeting House was opened in Rishworth and an independent Preparative Meeting formed. This was discontinued in 1802 and local Friends returned to Halifax. The Meeting re-located to a site in Clare Road, in the centre of Halifax in 1743, where a new Meeting House was built. This had been extended by 1851, and was superseded by a smaller house in the same road in 1990. The Preparative Meeting was discontinued in 1996, but Meetings for Worship continue. The Meeting has always been a constituent of Brighouse Monthly Meeting.


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

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 Monthly Meeting and Halifax: Clare Road Adult School

Additional Information

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