Papers of Fred Kenworthy

Scope and Content

Extensive collection of materials relating to the life and activities of Fred Kenworthy. It contains material relating to his experiences as a student, as a teacher, as the Principal of the Unitarian College, as a Unitarian minister and as a member of the Ministry Committee of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches and as a delegate to the conference of the International Association for Liberal Christianity and Religious Freedom. It also contains a collection of material produced by a committee (of which Kenworthy was a member) set up to discuss a proposal to amalgamate the Unitarian College with Manchester College, Oxford.

Administrative / Biographical History

Fred Kenworthy was born on 11 February 1909 in Mossley, Lancashire. He was given special permission to enter the Unitarian College Manchester at the age of 17 and was awarded a Manchester University BA in 1928, an MA in 1929, and a BD in 1931. He then spent a year at Strasburg University, after which he became a Unitarian minister at Accrington (1932-1937), at Walmsley (1937-1950), and at Cross Street, Manchester (1950-1955). From 1927, he also served as a part-time tutor at the Unitarian College, Manchester, where he was appointed Principal in 1955. Whilst Principal of the College, he was appointed to the Board of the Faculty of Theology at Manchester University, where he lectured on the history of Christian Doctrine. He also lectured for the University's Extension Studies Department.

He published widely on Unitarian history. He produced several articles for the Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, and for Faith and Reason. He wrote on Unitarianism for the Encyclopaedia Britannica and A Dictionary of Comparative Religion, and wrote on Theophilus Lindsey for a German publication. He contributed a chapter on Jesus and the Gospels toEssays in Unitarian Theology (1959), and his Essex Hall lectureAncient Prophecy and Modern Crisis was published in 1958. He also contributed to the editorship of the Diary of Richard Kay 1716-51, which the Chetham Society published in 1968. He was secretary of the Commission on Unitarian Faith and Action in the Modern World (1964), was a preacher for the General Assembly of Unitarian and Fee Christian Churches in 1964 and served as their President in 1967-8.

He was married and had two children with his wife Ethel. He died on 7 March 1974 in Manchester.


The collection has been divided into the following seven series:

  • Lectures and teaching materials.
  • Printed materials
  • Notes and Notebooks
  • Correspondence
  • Essays
  • International Association for Liberal Christianity and Religious Freedom
  • Proposed amalgamation of Unitarian College, Manchester and Manchester College, Oxford.


A.M. Hill, 'Fred Kenworthy 11 February 1909 - 7 March 1974', Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, 15,4 (1974), pp. 146-147.

Alan Rushton, 'A Sandwich of Principals: McLachlan, Holt and Kenworthy', in Leonard Smith (ed.),Unitarian to the Core: Unitarian College Manchester, 1854-2004 (Manchester: Unitarian College, 2004), pp. 121-142.