Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The records deposited in 1934 included two major groups, the 'Trevecka Group' and the 'Bala College Group'. The former, which represents the largely autonomous 18th-century development of Methodism in Wales, beginning in the 1730s, is centred on the archives of the founding father of Welsh Methodism, Howell Harris, and of the religious community which he established, the 'Trevecka Family'. Besides the 290 volumes of Howell Harris's diaries (for 1735-73), listed in a schedule [c.1941], it comprises some 3000 letters, accounts of Societies (individual groups of adherents) and records of Associations. An inventory of the correspondence is provided in M H Jones, The Trevecka Letters (Caernarfon, 1932). There is a typescript index to this volume (1970). An additional group of Trevecka papers is listed in a typescript schedule [1938]. The 'Bala College Group' represents the development of Methodism during the 19th century, its spread in North Wales, the separation from the Established Church in 1811 and the formation of the Confession of Faith in 1823. This group is listed in a schedule [1936] with small supplementary schedules (1938 and 1964). Other small supplementary groups are 'Bala College Safe' [1934] and Trevecka College (1964). A further five volumes (1941-74) list in a single unclassified series the 'General Collection' which embraces all accessions made to the 'C. M. Archives' during the period 1934-74, some 29000 items. This series includes the records of Associations, District Meetings, colleges, individual churches and personal archives, both those of ministers and laymen. These five volumes are provided with an index (1992). The accessions for 1974-83 are listed in a second series, differing from the first in that it is classified (vol. VI, 1988). In content, the accessions of these years are distinguished from those of the earlier period by the high proportion of records of individual churches, many of them deposited because of the closure of the church. A third series, following a classification similar to that of the second, lists accessions from July 1983 (vols VII and VIII, 1991 and 1992). The records of the North Cardiganshire Presbytery, detailed in a schedule [c. 1940], have been withdrawn. Particular mention should be made of the archives of the Foreign Mission, which cover the missionary work of the Church in North East India from its beginning in the 1840s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Presbyterian Church of Wales (Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church) began in the 18th century in an evangelical revival, founded by members of the Church of England. Becoming religious societies after 1735, the group broke from the Church of England in 1811, formulated a constitution, etc., in 1832 as the Calvinistic Methodist Connexion. During the 20th century the name was changed to the Calvinistic Methodist Church of Wales or the Presbyterian Church of Wales.

Conditions Governing Access

Prior written permission must be sought from the Curator before access may be given to Howell Harris diaries and the Foreign Mission mss.

Other Finding Aids

Regular lists of accessions to the archive have appeared in the Journal of the Calvinistic Methodist Historical Society since 1922. A good account of the archive by K Monica Davies and Gildas Tibbott will be found in National Library of Wales Journal, 5 (1947), pp.13-49. See scope and content note for schedule details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission is needed from a church official or from the Archive Curator for complete copies of baptismal, marriage or burial registers.

Custodial History

When an agreement for the deposit of the records was made between the Presbyterian Church of Wales and the National Library in 1934 the 'C. M. Archives' already had a recognised existence with a designated Curator. Although the policy of the denomination has been to centralize records in the National Library, some records have also been deposited in local record offices.

Accruals

Accessions to the archive still come to NLW through the Curator.