Manuscripts and Special Collections

Castle Gate Independent/Congregational/United Reformed Church, Nottingham

The roots of Castle Gate Church lay in an Independent congregation which met in Nottingham in the 1650s. The minister was ejected under the Stuart Restoration in 1662-1663. A meeting house on Castle Gate in Nottingham was registered in 1689 when the Act of Toleration allowed for dissenting Protestant congregations to worship. By the 19th century the church was Congregational in denomination. The old chapel was replaced by the present building in 1863. The chapel had a burial ground to the east, which was sold for development in 1955. The remains were to be re-interred, but the Castle Gate collection does not contain any evidence for where they were moved.

Interior view of Castle Gate Church, built 1863 (CU/P 3/27b)  Exterior view of Castle Gate Church, built 1863 (CU/P 3/31a)

Interior and exterior views of Castle Gate Church, built 1863 (CU/P 3/27b and CU/P 3/31a)

Castle Gate was a large and popular church, and established a number of daughter churches in the Nottingham area, including St James’s Chapel and its successor Park Hill, Bloomsgrove Mission in Radford and its successor Norton Street, Queen's Walk, and Thorneywood. St Ann’s Well Road Church was an independent foundation which joined with Castle Gate in 1971.

Discussions began in the 1960s about a possible merger with another city centre church, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. In 1972 both Castle Gate and St Andrew’s joined the new United Reformed Church denomination. The formation of the URC gave the merger discussions new impetus, and in 1975 the two churches joined to form St Andrew’s-with-Castle Gate United Reformed Church. The new church was based at St Andrew’s on Goldsmith Street, Nottingham.

The Castle Gate church buildings were sold in 1980 to the Congregational Federation. The Federation represents those Congregational churches which chose not to join the United Reformed Church.



The following list was drawn up by Prof. Malcolm Jones of St Andrew’s-with-Castle Gate URC in September 2010. The dates refer to the dates the ministers were in post.

  • Rev. Thomas Palmer (1643-c.1660 [conjectural])
  • Rev. John James (c.1669-c.1678)
  • Rev. John Gibbs (1678-1682)
  • Rev. John Ryther (1686-1704)
  • Rev. Richard Bateson (1705-1739)
  • Rev. John Farmer (assistant minister 1730)
  • Rev. Floyd (assistant minister 1730-1731)
  • Rev. James Sloss (joint minister 1733-1739; minister 1739-1772)
  • Rev. Gervas Wylde (assistant minister 1741-1748)
  • Rev. Thomas Bingham (assistant minister 1748-1753)
  • Rev. John Troughton Alliston (co-minister 1760-1771)
  • Rev. James Popplewell (assistant minister 1764-1767)
  • Rev. Richard Plumbe (1772-1791)
  • Rev. Richard Alliott senior (1794-1840)
  • Rev. Richard Alliott junior (assistant minister 1828, co-minister 1829-1840, minister 1840-1843)
  • Rev. Samuel McAll (1843-1859)
  • Rev. Clement Clemance (1860-1875)
  • Rev. Robert Nobbs (assistant minister 1870-1872)
  • Rev. John Bartlett (1875-1883)
  • Rev. Baldwin Brindley (1884-1901)
  • Rev. A.R. Henderson (1902-1919)
  • Rev. E.J. Hawkins (1920-1930)
  • Rev. G. Hartley Holloway (1931-1937)
  • Rev. J.E. James (1941-1943)
  • Rev. R. Angel Wakely (1944-1950)
  • Rev. Ronald Ward (1953-1959)
  • Rev. Robert Duce (1961-1970)
  • Rev. Brian Nuttall (1971-1975)
  • Rev. Ronald K. Ross (Minister Emeritus 1971-1975; formerly minister of St Ann’s Well Road Congregational Church)



Records of Castle Gate Church can be found in the Castle Gate collection (CU). The earliest documents are 17th-century deeds to church property on Houndsgate and Castle Gate (CU/D), and a scrap book containing material dating back to 1727 (CU/S 1). 

The collection contains minutes of church meetings from 1736 onwards (CU/M). The first minute book also contains an account of the history of the church back to c.1655. There are lists of members from 1818 to 1969 (CU/R), and annual reports, containing church membership rolls and accounts, from 1863 to 1931 (CU/V 3), and a virtually full set of church magazines and news-sheets, 1897-1975 (CU/V 1). There are also various orders of service, programmes, notices and other papers relating to services and events at the church, 1863-1975 (CU/V 8). There is a plan of the burial ground in 1956 (CU/P 2/16) and papers relating to its sale  (CU/D 6/1-10).

The collection contains papers relating to the Sunday Schools and Band of Hope, 1801-1926, but only one register of children attending, from 1840 to 1842, and an address list dated 1840-1860 (CU/Su). The church was the focus for a number of societies and groups. Papers relating to the Literary and Debating Society, c.1878-1934, are particularly rich (CU/So 1). The collection also contains a large number of photographs and portraits of its past ministers (CU/P).

Records of the church drama group, the Stanwell Players, will be found in the St Andrew’s-with-Castle Gate collection (CAA), as the group continued until 1991.

Photo montage of Castle Gate Church, minister and congregation, c.1950s (CU/P 3/34)

 Photo montage of Castle Gate Church, minister and congregation, c.1950s (CU/P 3/34) 



The Castle Gate collection at The University of Nottingham contains a number of original registers:

Pre-1837 original registers of births, baptisms and burials associated with Castle Gate are held at The National Archives:

  • Birth and baptism register 1734-1816 (RG 4/1586)
  • Baptism register 1706-1735 (RG 4/2049)
  • Birth and baptism register 1760, 1796, 1801-1832 (RG 4/2673)
  • Birth and baptism register 1787-1795 (RG 4/3664)
  • Birth and baptism register 1809-1837 (RG 4/2576)
  • Burial register 1831-1837 (RG 4/1409)

Microfiche copies of these registers can be seen at The National Archives and at Nottinghamshire Archives.

The website offers paid access to digital images of the registers via a subscription. It is free to search the registers on this website. 

Indexes to the pre-1837 birth and baptism registers are also available as part of the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and can be searched for free on


Further Reading

Henderson, Alexander Roy.  History of Castle Gate Congregational Church, Nottingham, 1655-1905 ( London : James Clarke & Co, 1905) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 3.M72 CAS; and copies in the Castle Gate Collection, CU/V 7/3 and CU/Z3/V/48]

Duce, Robert.  Castle Gate Church in the twentieth century : being a continuation of the History of Castle Gate Church, Nottingham, 1655-1905, by A.R. Henderson ([Nottingham] : St. Andrew's-with-Castle Gate United Reformed Church, c1977) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Pamphlet Not 3.M72 CAS; and copy in the Castle Gate Collection, CU/V 7/7]


Next page: St Ann's Well Road Congregational Church, Nottingham

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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