Autobiographical volume by William Bilby (1664-1738), nonconformist preacher, 1714-1717

Scope and Content

The leather bound volume, which seems to date from the 1714-1717 period, comprises manuscript recollections by William Bilby entitled 'Some remarkable passages in my life'. It includes a separate section entitled 'An appendix to the former narrative containing some more remarkable passages in my life in the several stages to which provenance brought me'. The recollections candidly document the key events and changing beliefs in Bilby's religious life. Lists of significant books are cited, and people mentioned. The notes provide insight into questions of social attitudes and spiritual faith in 17th-century England.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Bilby was born in Nottingham in July 1664, the son of William and Alice Bilby. He was educated at Nottingham High School for Boys until 1683. During the following year he studied under John Billingsley at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. He entered Queen's College Cambridge in 1685/6, graduating B.A. in 1689/90. Bilby first entered the Anglican church and held curacies at Little Saxham in Suffolk, Claypole in Nottinghamshire and Sawley in Derbyshire. His views on religion gradually changed, and by 1693 he had become a moderate Calvinist. He held ministries at Gedney and Wigtoft in Lincolnshire and Hinckley in Leicestershire before his retirement to Nottingham in 1722. He married twice, first (about 1690) to Francis (d.1703) and then, in 1725, to Sarah Vaus. Bilby died in August 1738.


No archival arrangement has been necessary.

Access Information

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the volume. Copyright on the description belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

The volume was acquired by Nottingham Subscription Library (Bromley House), Nottingham and transferred to the care of the University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts in 1962.


C.M. Bolam, 'Some Remarkable Passage in the Life of William Bilby (1664-1738) with an Appendix' in Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society: Volume X, Number 3 (October 1953)