Records of Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting of the Society of Friends

Scope and Content

Minutes of Quarterly Meeting, 1669-1966 (18 vols.) [II 1-18]; Minutes of Women's Quarterly Meeting, 1678-1911 (6 vols.) [III 2.1-2.6]; Minutes of Meetings of Ministers and Elders, from 1876, Ministry and Oversight, 1689-1907 (3 vols.) [I 5.1-5.3]; reports on ministry and oversight received from various Monthly Meetings, 1879-1904 [I 8]; list of members, 1876-1888 [III 14]; Committee on Money Matters (later Finance Committee) minutes, with rough accounts, 1781-1961 [VI 4.2, 6.1-7, 16]; Children's Schools (from 1936, Work) Committee minutes, 1907-1933, with annual reports and related papers, 1915-1974 (5 items) [VI 24-25]; Library Committee minutes, 1824-1840, 1903-1905 (1 vol.), with related papers [VI 8.1-8.2]; Shetland Relief Committee minutes, 1881-1897, papers only (1 bundle) [VI 10]; Yorkshire 1905 (from 1927, Friends' Service) Committee minutes, 1936-1959, with annual reports, papers, programmes and reports of Easter Settlements, 1915-1960, and cash book, 1933-1948 (4 items) [VI 30-33]; Records of sufferings, 1651-1827 (8 vols.) [V 1.1-1.10]; Petitions to judges and other papers relating to sufferings, 1682-1810 (1 vol.) [V 2]; Vol. listing ecclesiastical prosecutions, 1741-1774 (1 vol.) [V 3]; Letters and papers relating to the case of the Lothersdale prisoners, 1794-1798 (1 vol.) [V 4]; Lothersdale prisoners' stock accounts, 1795-1803, and cash book, 1795-1797 (3 vols.) [V 5.1-5.3]; Prisoners' stock accounts, 1677-1729 (2 vols.) [V 6.1-6.2]; Prisoners' chamber rent and deputation money receipts, 1683-1698 (2 vols.) [VII 1.1-1.2]; Lists of members and attenders, and Quarterly Meeting handbooks, 1878-1985 (with gaps) (56 vols., printed from 1916 onwards) [VII 66-121]; Testimonies concerning deceased Friends and early Publishers of the Truth, and descriptions of the origins of Quakerism in various parts of Yorkshire (gathered at the request of the Second Day Morning Meeting, c.1704), c.1687-1915 (3 vols.) [I 11.1-11.2, VI 18]; Certificates of Friends travelling in the ministry, 1697-1861 (1 vol.) [VI 4]; Contemporary copies of registers of births, 1776-1793, with indexes to registers of births and marriages, 1776-1837 (4 vols.) [I 1.1-1.3, 3]; Marriage certificates, 1773-1878 (6) [III 9.9]; Contemporary copies of registers of burials, 1776-1793, with index to registers of burials, 1776-1837 (4 vols.) [I 2.1-2.3, 4]; Stock accounts, 1665-1861 (5 vols.) [VIII 1.1-1.5; VIII 1.1-1.4]; Accounts, ledgers and other financial papers, 1682-1980 (16 vols.) [VIII 2-4.1, 5.1-5.2, 13.1-15, 17]; Education Committee (later Educational Grants Committee) cash book, ledger and accounts, 1923-1978 (4 vols.) [VI 18]; Friends Russian Relief Fund/Friends War Victims Relief Fund account books, 1907 & 1918 (2 vols.) [VIII 9.1-9.2]; Yorkshire Women's Quarterly Meeting Fund treasurer's cash books, 1784-1919 (2 vols.) [VIII 8.1- 8.2]; Statements and schedules of trust property/charities/charitable funds, 1659-1964 (17 vols.) [III 3-4, 5.1, 6.1-6.31, 6.4, 9.81, 13.01-13.4]; Elizabeth Fry Memorial Trust: Executive Committee minutes, 1953-1957 (1vol.) [VI 40.2]; Management Committee minutes, 1951-1977, with associated papers, 1974-1977 (3 vols.) [VI 40.2-40.4]; Annual reports, 1952/3-1972/3, with other documents collected by E. Mary Kay, 1951-1975 (1 bundle) [VI 40.5]; Trust deeds, 1952 & 1973 (2 items) [VI 40.1]; Portfolio of photographs of Spofforth Hall and West Bank, Acomb, York, no date [VI 40.6]; Maps, mainly of meeting boundaries, including some Ordnance Survey maps (30 items) [III 9]; Vol. of maps of Quarterly Meeting in 1665, 1669, 1773, 1851 and 1891, compiled c.1900 [III 19]; James Backhouse's map of Meetings belonging to the northern Quarterly Meetings, 1773, within vol. of lists and maps of meetings [VI 11]; Epistles, advices, minutes etc. received: From George Fox, Yearly Meeting and Meeting for Sufferings, 1666-1861 (6 vols.) [VI 19.1-19.3, 19.4, 20, 21]; From Women's Yearly Meetings (in London and Philadelphia), 1673-1873 (4 vols.) [III 1.1-1.3, 15]; Reports of Committees on various subjects, 1798-1867 (2 vols.) [VI 3.1-3.2]; Testimonial re. use of Clifford Street Meeting House, York, as military hospital during First World War, 1914-1919 [III 9.82]; Papers re. the Halifax modus, 1681-1802 (1 vol.) [VI 2]; Lists and maps of meetings in Yorkshire, 17th-19th centuries (1 vol.) [VI 11]; includes lists of Monthly Meetings and constituent Preparative Meetings for 1665, 1668/9 and 1773; Register of situations vacant and wanted, 1842-1865 (1 vol.) [VI 14]; Subscription of 1842 for the relief of distress in the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire, 1842-1858 [VI 22]

Administrative / Biographical History

There is strong evidence for a Quarterly Meeting being held in Yorkshire in December 1665; however the first full series of Quarterly Meetings took place in March, June, September and December 1666. This pattern continued unbroken to October 1966. After 1966 it was re-named Yorkshire General Meeting. Over the centuries, the following Monthly Meetings have existed within the Quarterly Meeting boundaries: Balby (1669-); Brighouse (1669-); East Riding (1665-1669); Elloughton, later Cave (1669-1784); Guisborough (1669-); Kelk, later Bridlington (1669-1773); Kirkbymoorside (1665-1669); Knaresborough (1669-1853); Leeds (1924-); Malton (1669-1788); Owstwick (1669-1784); Owstwick and Cave, later Hull (1784-1858); Pickering (1788-1858); Pickering and Hull (1859-); Pontefract (1665-); Richmond (1665-); Scarborough (1669-1788); Skipton, later Settle (1665-); Thirsk (1669-1827); York (1669-). Major boundary changes of its constituent Monthly Meetings occurred in 1669, 1773, 1784, 1788, 1853, 1858 and 1923. For at least the first century, meetings were always held at York, and it was commonly known as York Quarterly Meeting. Premises were shared in Far Water Lane (later Clifford Street) with York Monthly and Preparative Meetings from the late 1670s. The evidence for the first Women's Quarterly Meeting dates it to September 1677, but it was not until 1778 that it was established on a regular basis. It continued to meet until late 1906, when separate women's meetings were abolished. Quarterly Meetings of Ministers and Elders began in 1689 and were concerned with regulating the behaviour of ministers, liberating them for service, issuing testimonies for deceased ministers, and oversight of meetings for worship. The main business of Quarterly Meetings concerned the Quaker testimony against tithes; the Women's Quarterly Meeting was also heavily involved in the distribution of poor funds. Quarterly Meeting offered a wide range of assistance to members. In relation to Quaker sufferings, it could intercede with the authorities, offer legal advice, support and defence in Court proceedings, reimburse fines and distraints, pay prisoners' chamber rent and supply them with money, food and fuel, arrange employment for prisoners and care for prisoners' families. Its other activities included poor relief, provision of loans, maintenance and guardianship of orphans, arrangement of apprenticeships and employment with Friends, provision of marriage portion funds for poor Friends, care of the elderly and the sick both financially and through hostels and the Retreat, provision of burial grounds, and pastoral care through overseers. As the majority of this work involved raising and distributing funds, it is clear why the first real standing committee was that on money matters, dating from 1787. Quarterly Meeting was also active in the field of Quaker education.


The records are numbered and arranged according to the system used when they were in Clifford Street 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 in Clifford Street, York


In English

Other Finding Aids

Contents listed in Handlist 75, Inventory of the records of Yorkshire General Meeting and York and Thirsk Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends formerly preserved at the Friends' Meeting House, Clifford Street, York (1986)

Alternative Form Available

There are additional microfilm copies of I 1.1-1.3, 3, I 2.1-2.3, 4, I 5.1-5.2, I 11.1-11.2, II 1-6, III 1.1, III 2.1-2.3, III 3-4, V 1.1-1.6, V 2, V 3, V 4, V 5.1-5.3, V 6.1-6.2, VI 2, VI 3.1, VI 4, VI 4.2, VI 11, VI 18, VI 19.1-19.4, VI 19.20, VII 1.1-1.2, VIII 1.1-1.4, VIII 2, VIII 4.1, and VIII 8.1

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, Knaresborough, Leeds, Settle, Thirsk and York Monthly Meetings. Miscellaneous Quarterly Meeting records are also held within the Carlton Hill archive. Related material in other repositories: Annual returns of sufferings, compiled from 1793 onwards by each Quarterly Meeting and now amongst records of Meeting for Sufferings, Library of Society of Friends; Records of Balby Monthly Meeting, Sheffield Archives; Records of Pontefract Monthly Meeting, West Yorkshire Archives Service: Wakefield; Records of Bridlington, Cave, and Owstwick Monthly Meetings, East Riding of Yorkshire Archives Service; Records of Guisborough and Richmond Monthly Meetings, North Yorkshire County Record Office; Records of Owstwick, Owstwick and Cave, Hull, Malton, Scarborough, Pickering, Pickering and Hull Monthly Meetings, Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull; Records of Darlington and Staindrop Monthly Meetings, Durham Record Office; Records of Kendal and Sedbergh Monthly Meeting, Cumbria Record Office: Kendal; Records of Marsden Monthly Meeting, Lancashire Record Office; Microfilm copies of Quarterly Meeting records in Clifford Street archive, Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, University of York


See J. Besse, A collection of the sufferings of the people called Quakers (Luke Hinde, 1753), vol.II ch.IV; J. S. Rowntree, Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting of Friends 1650-1900: a historical review (Orphan's Press, no date); J. W. Rowntree, "The rise of Quakerism in Yorkshire", in Essays and addresses (Headley, 1905); "Meetings in Yorkshire 1668 I-III", in Journal of the Friends Historical Society, vol.2, 1905, pp. 32-36, 73-76, 101-103; N. Penney ed., The First Publishers of Truth (FHS, 1907), pp. 286-320; W. Pearson Thistlethwaite, Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting of the Society of Friends, 1665-1966 (author, 1979); D. M. Butler, The Quaker Meeting Houses of Britain (FHS, 1999), vol.II, sections 38-40.

Additional Information

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