Wesley Historical Society (Yorkshire) Collection

Scope and Content

This major collection comprises more than 25,000 printed items and some manuscripts related to Yorkshire Methodism that supplements official records deposited in the various Yorkshire local authority archives. It has a considerable number of chapel histories (but no registers) and supporting biographies/autobiographies.

There are also general Methodist histories, Conference minutes, the Methodist Recorder newspaper and other journals and magazines.

The collection is maintained by the Wesley Historical Society Yorkshire. Further information about the Society may be obtained from http://www.wesleyhistoricalsociety.org.uk/societies.html

Administrative / Biographical History

The orginal collection was strengthed by acquiring part of the libraries/collections on the death of the following five members: Rev. Dr. Oliver Beckerlegge, Mr. Alan Cass, Miss Joanna Dawson, Mr. Kenneth Turton and Mr. J.C. Watson. Other donations have come from: Rev. Sydney Dixon, Rev. William Leary and Mr. Morris Morgan.

Key Dates in Methodism in United Kingdom (taken from www.methodistheritage.org.uk/history-familytree.htm)

1791 Death of John Wesley, Wesley Methodist Connexion continued to 1932

1797 Methodist New Connexion

1806- Onwards, Independent Methodists (this still exists as a separate organisation) in 1898 became Independent Methodist Connexion of Churches.

1811 - 1932 Primitive Methodists

1815 - 1907 Bible Christians

1827 - 1836 Protestant Methodists united with Wesleyan Methodist Association in 1836

1832-1837 Armenian Methodists united with Wesleyan Methodist Association 1837

1836-1857 Wesleyan Methodist Association

1837 Armenian Methodists united with Wesleyan Methodist Association.

1849-1859 Wesleyan Reformers continued to1859 renamed Wesleyan Reform Union. Ongoing.

1857 Wesleyan Reformers and Wesleyan Methodist Association united however the United Methodist Free churches continued until 1907.

1859 Wesleyan Reformers changed name to Wesleyan Reform Union.

1898 Independent Methodist Connexion of Churches, formerly Independent Methodists.

1907 Methodist New Connexion, Bible Christians and United Methodist Free Churches combined to form United Methodist Church.

1932 Primitive Methodist Connexion, Wesleyan Methodist Connexion and United Methodist Church combined to form The Methodist Church in Great Britain.

Three main branches of the Methodist Church today are Wesleyan Reform Union, Independent Methodist Connexion of Churches and The Methodist Church in Great Britain.

Branches of the church


Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion (1783 – today)

Wesleyan Methodist Church (1791-1932) became Methodist Church of Great Britain

Methodist New Connexion (1797-1907) became United Methodist Church

Primitive Methodist Church (1810 – 1932) became Methodist Church of Great Britain

Calvanistic Methodist Church (1811-1928) became Presbyterian Church of Wales from 1928

Bible Christian Church (1815-1907) became United Methodist Church

Protestant Methodists (1827-1836) became Wesleyan Association

Wesleyan Association (1836-1857) became United Methodist Church

Methodist Reform Church (1849-1857) became United Methodist Free Churches

Wesleyan Reformers (1849-1857) became United Methodist Free Churches

United Methodist Free Churches (1857-1907) became United Methodist Churches

Wesleyan Reform Union (1859-today)

United Methodist Church (1907-1932) became Methodist Church of Great Britain

Methodist Church of Great Britain (1932-today)


Access Information

Original available for consultation by appointment

Custodial History

The Yorkshire Branch started in 1962 and the orginal library was held by the late Rev. W. Stanley Rose at his manse. It was subsequently transferred to the West Yorkshire Archaeological Society premises, Claremont in Leeds. In 2005 the collection was deposited with the archives at the University of Huddersfield.

Related Material

The main archive of the Wesley Historical Society is housed with Oxford Brookes University Library, Oxford. There is also a significant collection of Methodist material at John Rylands Library, Manchester.