Leeds University Library

Summary guide to the Quaker Archives

Document from the Quaker Archives

Original documents 17th-20th century

There are two substantial collections known respectively as the Carlton Hill collection (which broadly covers the Leeds, Bradford, Settle and Knaresborough areas) and the Clifford Street collection (which covers mainly the York and Thirsk areas, but also includes records for Yorkshire as a whole).

Each principally contain minute books and other business records (eg lists of members) generated by the various different levels of Quaker meetings.

There are four hierarchical levels of Quaker meetings:

1. Yearly Meeting (ie the national body), scarcely represented here
2. Yorkshire Quarterly Meeting (QM, known since 1967 as Yorkshire General Meeting)
3. Monthly Meetings (MM)
4. Preparative, or local, Meetings (PM).

Monthly meetings, in particular, have geographical "catchment" areas which change over the course of time. This can make it difficult to identify the archive most relevant to a particular enquiry. There are maps showing the extent of relevant Yorkshire monthly meetings before 1853, 1854-1923 and since 1924.

The records of quarterly and monthly meetings are:

  • Yorkshire QM records, 17th-20th century (Clifford Street)
  • Brighouse MM records, 17th-20th century (includes Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield, and Leeds up to 1923) (Carlton Hill)
  • Knaresborough MM records, 17th century-1853 (Carlton Hill and Clifford Street)
  • Leeds MM, from 1924 (Carlton Hill)
  • Settle MM records, 17th-20th century (Carlton Hill)
  • Thirsk MM records, 17th century-1827 (Clifford Street)
  • York MM records, 17th-20th century (Clifford Street).

The records of many different preparative and other local meetings are also held in the Carlton Hill and Clifford Street archives. Some of these meetings have the same name as the monthly meetings. The same item of business is sometimes dealt with by all three of the hierarchical levels within Yorkshire, moving from PM to MM to QM, so you may need to look at three different sets of records.

Special Collections contains numerous individual Quaker-related manuscripts held separately from the Carlton Hill and Clifford Street archives. Examples are Quaker marriage certificates, letters and diaries, and silhouette portraits.

Please contact us for further details.