The collection comprises four soft bound notebooks containing manuscript sermons. The dates and places in Nottinghamshire where the sermons were given are included in the notebooks. It has been concluded therefore that the notebooks date from 1794 to 1958. It is possible though that the sermons were written much earlier that these dates indicate. The first three volumes are in a different hand to the fourth. The dates and locations suggest that these three are the work of Rev. William Smith and that the last volume is that of his son, Edward. The sermons deal with issues of faith and morality.
The first volume contains the sermon, 'The Benefit of Affliction' (MS 139/1). A note on the title page records that it was given at Linby, Nuthall, Gotham and Ratcliffe on Soar in 1795.
The second volume (MS 139/2) contains two sermons, 'He has shewed thee O Man what is good', given at Cotgrave, Tithby and Orston on 13 May 1781, and at Cotgrave, Plumtree, Colston Bassett, Cropwell and Tithby in 1796 and 1797, and 'Love maketh no evil to his neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law', given at Cotgrave in 1780, 1781, and 1796, Tithby in 1780 and 1797, Colston Bassett, Cropwell, and Plumtree in 1797, and Edwalton in 1797 and 1958 (the latter was given by Rev. J.E.H. Wood who made annotations to the sermon).
The third volume (MS 139/3) contains the sermon, 'One thing needful', given at Sutton in Ashfield on 20 July 1794, and Linby and Papplewick on 5 October 1794.
The fourth volume (MS 139/4) contains the sermon 'Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it', given at Cotgrave at Easter 1802, Linby and Papplewick at Easter 1805, Cotgrave and Orston in Easter 1811, and Owthorpe in Easter 1812.