Manuscripts and Special Collections

Nonconformist church records introduction


Manuscripts and Special Collections holds records from a number of nonconformist churches and chapels in Nottingham, Mansfield and Retford, and from associated regional denominational organisations and committees. 

The first collection of nonconformist church records deposited at The University of Nottingham was that of High Pavement Chapel in 1962, followed by collections from the Old Meeting House, Mansfield, and Mansfield Road Baptist Church, Nottingham, in 1963. Records from Castle Gate Congregational Church and St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Nottingham, were deposited soon after the two churches merged in 1975. Records from Friary Congregational Church, Nottingham, were deposited in 1985, and records from Retford Congregational Church in 1996.

The pages in this resource (listed in the left-hand menu) provide an introduction to the content of the collections, and a general overview of the history of these churches, chapels and organisations.

What are nonconformist churches?

This is the general term for Protestant churches in England and Wales which are not part of the Church of England or the Church in Wales (the Anglican church).

Some nonconformist churches have histories going back as far as the mid-17th century, when 'dissenters' first began to break away from the Anglican church and form their own congregations.

There are many different types of nonconformist churches. Most are grouped into 'denominations', each of which has slightly different traditions and procedures. This is a list of some of the main nonconformist denominations in England and Wales:

  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian
  • Congregational
  • United Reformed Church (formed from most Presbyterian Church of England and Congregational congregations in 1972)
  • Baptist
  • Unitarian
  • Quaker 

There are also many 'free' churches which are completely independent.


Next page: Collections at The University of Nottingham

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651