Title: Clifford Street Collection
Date: 17th century-21st century
Collection group(s): Quaker Collection
The Clifford Street, York, collection of archives contains records of the meetings of the Society of Friends in Yorkshire at two levels.
First, Records of the county-wide Quarterly Meeting (since 1967 styled Yorkshire General Meeting);
Secondly, Records of York Monthly Meeting from 1668, and of Thirsk Monthly Meeting (1670-1827) which was dissolved in 1827. In that year the Particular meetings which made up that monthly meeting were annexed either to Darlington or to Guisborough (both in Durham Quarterly Meeting) or to York Monthly Meeting. In 1827 likewise, Thornton-le-Clay Meeting was transferred from Pickering Monthly Meeting to York Monthly Meeting.
Knaresborough Monthly Meeting was dissolved in 1853. Darley Meeting joined York Monthly Meeting and the Darley records went to York, but are now again to be found under the same roof as the Knaresborough Monthly Meeting records. (See Handlist 99: "Inventory of the records of Brighouse, Knaresborough, Leeds and Settle Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends, formerly preserved at the Friends' Meeting House, Carlton Hill, Leeds").
Not all Quaker meetings which the county records show to have existed have left visible evidence of their existence. Nevertheless the documents which remain are substantial.
So far as can be judged, York Monthly Meeting itself lacks entirely only records of the Tadcaster (later Clifford) and Whixley meetings. Thirsk Monthly Meeting lacks all meeting records for Bilsdale and for Borrowby. It should be noted that Borrowby minutes from 1832 (the meeting had joined Darlington Monthly Meeting in 1827) are preserved with the Darlington Friends' Meeting House archives [Durham Record Office list, 1983, Os/PM/1]. Borrowby Friends were included at various earlier periods in meetings called Osmotherley [the modern name], Allerton [Northallerton], Rounton and Thirsk. It seems to be the case that rural local meeting records are very patchy, particularly for the eighteenth century.
Monthly meetings in Yorkshire Quarterly (now Yorkshire General) Meeting have changed in their extent and their names over three centuries. Among the changes in the centre and the east of the county the following brief outline may be noted particularly:
Kelk (North Wolds) MM in 1702 became Bridlington MM; it was dissolved in 1773.
In 1743 Elloughton MM became Cave MM, and this was united in Owstwick & Cave MM in 1784, which became Hull MM in 1803.
In 1788 Malton MM united with Scarborough MM as Pickering MM. Pickering and Hull Monthly meetings were united in 1858.
Richmond MM was joined to Westmorland Quarterly Meeting in 1816, and later (in 1860) transferred to Durham Quarterly Meeting, whither Guisborough MM had been transferred in 1850.
Closer to the present York Monthly Meeting area: Thirsk MM was dissolved in 1827. Borrowby joined Darlington MM (Durham Quarterly Meeting). Bilsdale and Helmsley joined Guisborough MM (in 1833 Helmsley joined Pickering MM). Huby and Thirsk joined York MM. Northallerton was in the compass of Darlington MM except for the period 1913 to 1949, when it was in York MM.
It has already been noted that at the dissolution of Knaresborough MM in 1853, Darley Meeting was joined to York MM, which also took the growing group at Harrogate under its wing.
Yorkshire Friends' Archives: Microfilm project, 1982-1984
In arranging for the deposit of the Clifford Street archives at the Brotherton Library the Friend Custodians were asked to investigate - both for security and to facilitate wider research - the possibility of microfilming older documents.
Twenty-seven reels of film of the seventeenth and eighteenth century archives have been provided by the Brotherton Library, together with a 350-page inventory and index to the contents of the film. Particulars are available from the Special Collections department.
The following printed sources in the field of Quaker history provide useful background reading: the ‘Rowntree’ series, notably W.C. Braithwaite, The Beginnings of Quakerism, 2nd edition (1955), and The Second Period of Quakerism, 2nd edition (1961); articles in the Journal of the Friends' Historical Society, vol.1 (1903) to date; W.P. Thistlethwaite, Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting (of the Society of Friends), 1665-1966 (Harrogate, 1979); and David Rubinstein, Yorkshire Friends in Historical Perspective: An Introduction (York, 2005). For York MM, consult Stephen Allott, Friends in York (York, 1978), and W.P. Thistlethwaite, The Quaker Meetings of Knaresborough and Harrogate (Harrogate, 1984).
The Clifford Street collection contains the records of the meetings of the Society of Friends for the Yorkshire General Meeting (1665-1966 Yorkshire Quarterly meeting) and York and Thirsk Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends, formerly preserved in the Safe at the Friends’ Meeting House, Clifford Street, York.
The earliest surviving catalogues of the archives of Yorkshire Quarterly meeting and York Monthly Meeting date from the middle of last century (original references VIII 11.1 & VIII 12).These catalogues served until the early years of the twentieth century when a card catalogue of the contents of the Safe at Clifford Street Friends' Meeting House was prepared (original references VIII 11.6). The current catalogue has provided the opportunity to update the contents in various ways. Material continues to be added to the collection, and it is intended that the handlist should reflect new additions as quickly as possible.
Original reference numbers are recorded in the alternative reference field. The original references indicate the order in which the manuscripts were kept when in the safe at Carlton Hill Friends' Meeting House. Additions to the collection since 1981 were allocated references using the same numbering system. New references were assigned in November 2013 when the catalogue was imported into the Special Collections new collection management system (KE Emu) in 2014. Abbreviations used in the handlist and indexes:
AS Friends' Adult School
FBG Friends' burial ground
FMH Friends' meeting house
GM General meeting
Catalogues of archives are usually arranged in hierarchies - one hierarchy for each collection in the archive. The details on display will be of a record at a particular level of the hierarchy. There may be other records above, below, or alongside this record in the same hierarchy. The full hierarchy is shown below.
Books, manuscripts and archives in Special Collections are usually grouped together in collections. Catalogue records for individual objects link to a collection record, which show the object's context, and associated material.
You can see the full hierarchy under 'In this collection'.
Catalogues of archives are usually arranged in hierarchies - one hierarchy for each collection in the archive. The details on display will be of a record at a particular level of the hierarchy. There may be other records above, below, or alongside this record in the same hierarchy. You can see the full hierarchy under 'In this collection'.