Catalogue description METHODIST CIRCUITS

This record is held by East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO)

Details of NMA
Reference: NMA

Summary of classes


NMA/1 Mid Sussex Circuit (formerly the Lewes Circuit and Sussex Mission Circuit): minutes of quarterly meetings (includes some committee minutes), 1875-1984; quarterly returns of numbers in each society, 1836-1965; preaching plans and directories, 1880-1986; statistical summaries of Wesleyan chapel and other trust properties, 1856-1962; statistical returns on Sunday Schools, 1864-1892; other returns and membership records consisting of quarterly returns of naval and military stations, return of endowments, returns to the Secretary of the District Synod, roll books, stubs of renewal registers, names of Trustees, membership statistics, 1899-1970s; minutes of Local Preachers' meetings, 1864-1880; Stewards quarterly accounts, 1825-1967; other accounts consisting of general accounts, cash books (includes minutes of Missionary Committee), annual accounts, Treasurers' cash book, 1825-1974; baptism registers, 1837-1957; marriage registers, 1900-1968; correspondence and papers concerning manses (including minutes of Seaford Wesleyan Trust), 1920-1962; general correspondence including reports of Sussex Mission and Lewes Prison work, minutes of the Sussex Churches Joint Planning Committee, 1898-1970; correspondence concerning the Lewes church, 1924-1971; correspondence concerning Laughton church, 1941-1973; correspondence concerning East Hoathly church, 1876-1956; correspondence concerning Cuckfield church, 1953-1954; correspondence concerning Buxted church, 1934-1970; correspondence concerning Uckfield church, 1929-1969; correspondence concerning Burgess Hill church, 1945-1970; correspondence concerning Newhaven church, 1934-1973; correspondence concerning Seaford churches (Steyne Road and Chyngton), 1896-1970; correspondence concerning Haywards Heath church, 1924-1971: other records consisting of volume containing constitution of Lewes Young People's Society of Christian Endeavour, rules of Lewes Temperance Society and Temperance Mission Brass Band, names of members of quarterly meetings and names of trustees of circuit chapels, Sussex Mission Circuit lay agents' journal, newspaper cuttings, notes on the congregations at Uckfield, Buxted and Lewes, 1894-1960s; Haywards Heath Primitive Methodist Station records consisting of minutes of quarterly minutes, accounts, circuit plans, newspaper cuttings, 1877-1949; Sussex (Central) Mission records consisting of minutes of the annual meetings, receipts for loans, note of insurance policies for Cuckfield, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill chapels, 1898-1934


NMA/2 Eastbourne Circuit: minutes of the Eastbourne Committee of the Third London Synod, 1910-1913; Third London District September Synod directories, 1907-1929; minutes of quarterly meetings, 1871-1955; minutes of the Women's Work Committee, 1924-1964; minutes of the Missionary Committee, 1965-1982; minutes of the Finance committee, 1909-1968; minutes of Local Preachers' meetings, 1871-1989; minutes of meetings of the united trustees, 1898-1952; documents concerning the history of the circuit, [1803]-1995; documents concerning ministers, 1921-1926; preaching plans and directories, 1880-1996; Circuit Stewards' accounts, 1879-1945; documents concerning the Twentieth Century Fund consisting of subscription list, Secretary's cash books, circuit registers, printed report, 1899-1910; records of the Eastbourne Circuit Extension Fund consisting of lists of contributors, report, handbook of the Floral Bazaar, 1903-1905; circuit schedules, 1871-1926; membership records consisting of class ticket album, class book, 1903-1963; records of the Circuit Youth Committee consisting of photographs, correspondence (including minutes), 1953-1975; Sunday School statistical returns, 1899-1920; circuit trust schedules, 1872-1969; documents concerning manses, [1887]-1966; correspondence concerning buildings, 1893-1954; correspondence concerning finance, 1924-1974; photographs of people and buildings, 1920s-1988; other records consisting of annual report of the Eastbourne Wesleyan Mission Band and Circuit Missions, 1892; Eastbourne and Newhaven Primitive Methodist Circuit minutes of quarterly meetings and reports, 1899-1913; Eastbourne and Hastings Primitive Methodist Circuit minutes of quarterly meetings, correspondence, 1925-1934


NMA/3 Brighton and Hove Circuit: minutes of quarterly meetings (includes committee minutes), 1921-1989; minutes of circuit trustees' annual meetings, 1922, minutes of manse trustees' meetings, 1946-1973; minutes of the Women's Department of the Missionary Society, 1946-1959; minutes of local preachers' meetings, 1946-1979; minutes of Church Youth Council meetings, 1961-1973; correspondence and papers consisting of buildings and contents insurance policies, papers concerning the reorganisation of the Brighton circuits, correspondence, 1932-1975; correspondence concerning Franklin Road, Portslade church, 1930-1964; correspondence concerning Mile Oak Road, Portslade church, 1949-1957; correspondence concerning Portland Road, Hove church, 1929-1936; correspondence concerning Southwick churches, 1946-1964; correspondence concerning Preston Park, Brighton church, [1852]-1937; correspondence concerning Norfolk Road, Brighton church, 1955-1965; correspondence concerning Hurstpierpoint church, 1955-1965; correspondence concerning Bristol Road, Brighton church, 1924-1956; correspondence concerning Stanford Avenue, Brighton church, 1925; correspondence concerning Old Shoreham Road, Hove church, 1925; papers concerning manses, 1925-1968; accounts, 1949-1957; cash books, 1934-1949; Circuit Stewards' account books, 1961-1976; weekly envelope offering cash books, 1972-Circuit debt account, removal and manses account, 1940-1961; general income account, Methodist Chapel Aid Association Limited account, Chapel committee Manchester Interest Free Loan account, Manor Hall Road (manse) account, Osmond Gardens (manse) capital account, 1947-1976; manse accounts, 1949-1961; annual balance sheets, 1981-1987; register of deeds, circuit schedule book, circuit trust schedules, circuit plans, 1921-1981; photographs of ministers, c1909-1912; Norfolk Road Circuit (formerly Brighton Circuit) income and expenditure book, minutes of quarterly meetings, 1866-1915; Brighton (Dorset Gardens) Circuit trust schedule, notes of early Methodism, [1808]-1938; Brighton (Mission) Primitive Methodist Circuit The Story of Rev William Dinnick, 1840-1901


NMA/4 Rye Circuit (formerly the Sussex Circuit): registers of members, 1774-1815; baptism registers, 1795-1939; minutes of Local Preachers' meetings, 1834-1966; minutes of quarterly meetings (includes Trustees of Peasmarsh Sunday School, Beckley chapel, Rye chapel) minutes, 1870-1966; Stewards' accounts, 1863-1966; annual balance sheet, 1897; list of contributions to circuit funds, 1898-1901; Joint Rebuilding Fund accounts, 1945-1947; circuit plans, circuit schedule book, 1814-1947; copy minutes of Circuit boundary Committee, 1879-1880


NMA/5 Brighton (Dorset Gardens) Circuit: general circuit book, 1807-1841; baptism registers, 1853-1946; income and expenditure accounts, 1807-1865; minutes of quarterly meetings, 1867-1896; minutes of local preachers' meetings, 1862-1889; circuit plans, 1923-1928; programme for a bazaar at the Royal Pavilion on behalf of Preston Park Wesleyan Church, 1924


NMA/6 Brighton (Mission) Circuit: membership books containing lists of members (includes Brighton Society pew register), accounts (includes Bedford Street Chapel), minutes of Leaders' meetings, minutes of quarterly meetings, 1829-1876; baptism register, 1841-1908; minutes of quarterly meetings (includes accounts), 1824-1934; Treasurer's accounts, 1915-1934; Trustees' papers consisting of returns of Bible Christian Chapels, London District balance sheet, London district Secretary's income and expenditure book, 1863-1882; printed material consisting of history of the United Methodist Church in Brighton and Hove, address to the Final Synod of the Portsmouth District of the United Methodist Church, 1928-1932


NMA/7 Brighton (Dome Mission) Circuit: minutes of quarterly meetings, 1934-1982; minutes of committee meetings, 1934-1951; minutes of General Purposes Committee, 1957-1982; accounts of receipts from collections, class monies, fellowship etc, 1946-1972; income and expenditure accounts, 1945-1968; expenditure accounts, 1948-1972; annual accounts, 1937-1954; mission anniversary accounts (Superintendent's Fund), 1944-1953; circuit plans and directories, 1938-1988; Trustees' papers consisting of correspondence, reports and bills, draft minutes of Trustees' meetings, inventory of circuit property, 1941-1972; papers of E A Ovenden, Circuit Steward, 1923-1951; baptism register and counterfoils, 1923-1924, 1967-1979; other papers consisting of order of service commemorating the bi-centenary of the Methodist Quarterly Meeting, printed history of Methodism in Brighton, souvenir brochure celebrating the 250th anniversary of the conversion of John Wesley, [1807]-1988


NMA/8 Hastings Circuit: minutes of quarterly meetings, 1862-1970; minutes of local preachers' meetings, 1834-1977; minutes of Trustees' meetings, 1892-1943; minutes of the General Purposes Committee, 1967-1970; minutes of the Finance and Invitation Committee, 1934-1941; Stewards' accounts (includes minutes of quarterly meetings), 1839-1938; Jubilee Fund accounts, 1867-1879; circuit fund accounts, 1937-1956; preachers' travelling expenses accounts, 1862-1893; Priory Road manse trust accounts (includes minutes of Trustees' meetings),, 1897-1918; account of money received from overseas and home missions, chapel fund, ministerial training fund etc, 1941-1957; statement of membership and accounts, 1938; circuit book, 1822-1836; circuit schedule books, 1838-1942: circuit chapel trust schedules, 1860-1929; circuit plans, 1824-1953; baptism register, 1838-1949; registers of deeds, 1907-1974; quarterly meeting attendance register, 1959-1966; other records including printed histories, [1821]-1950: records of the Hastings, St Leonards and District Council of the Evangelical Free Churches consisting of minutes, accounts, rules and leaflets, 1902-1965


NMA/9 Hastings Station: minutes of preachers' meetings (includes committee minutes), 1877-1895; baptism register, 1859-1936


NMA/10 Hastings, Bexhill and Rye Circuit (St Leonards Circuit, St Leonards and Bexhill Circuit): minutes of quarterly meetings, 1886-1979; minutes of local preachers' meetings, 1886-1970; minutes of the General Purposes Committee (formerly Finance and Invitations Committee), 1925-1978; minutes of the Invitations Committee, 1936-1944; accounts of the Twentieth Century Fund, 1899-1902; Stewards' account books, 1928-1985; general circuit and manse accounts, 1960-1974; manse furnishing, repairs and removal account, and circuit stewards' day book, 1974-1979; circuit stewards' day book, 1970-1977; circuit stewards' accounts, manses accounts, 1973-1983; trust account book, 1968-1984; insurance account book, 1970-1974; ministers' stipend accounts, 1952-1985; financial statements and bills, 1938-1941; circuit plans, 1886-1966; circuit schedule books, 1886-1974; quarterly meeting attendance registers (includes circuit meetings), 1965-1978; General Purposes Committee attendance register, 1970-1977; correspondence concerning chapels, 1905-1965; other records consisting of copies of The Methodist Church Record, programmes for services, rallies and garden parties, 1897-1939


NMA/11 Bexhill and Hastings Circuit (formerly the Bexhill Station Circuit): minutes of quarterly meetings, church meetings, leaders' meetings and official meetings, 1924-1938; station report forms, schedules of Sunday Schools, annual statistical reports of Christian Endeavour societies. Bands of Hope and Adult Temperance Societies, schedules of property, 1911-1933


NMA/12 Brighton (Mission) Primitive Methodist Circuit: minutes of quarterly meetings (includes inventory of articles at the Providence Chapel, Worthing, minutes of committee meetings, minutes of Leaders' meetings, letters concerning the High Street New Chapel, Islingword Road Chapel, Queen's Park Road Chapel), 1860-1903; minutes of Sunday School teachers' meetings, Sunday School Council meetings, Youth Council meetings, 1933-1952; quarterly account books (includes minutes of the Hove Branch quarterly meetings), 1850-1915; Trustees' memoranda book, 1901-1925; baptism register, 1842-1986; correspondence and papers consisting of agreement to lease Longstone Hall, bills and vouchers for the repair of the London Road Chapel, correspondence concerning the sale of the Newhaven Primitive Methodist Chapel, 1896-1934; printed histories, [1840]-1901


NMA/13 Staple Cross Circuit (formerly the Sandhurst Circuit): minutes of quarterly meetings, 1867-1902; circuit plan, 1834-1835; circuit schedule books, 1838-1902; trust property schedules. 1859-1910; Sunday School schedules, 1871-1902; other records consisting of service register kept by Carlos Coleman of Brede, article on Thomas Collins the Superintendent Minister of the Sandhurst Circuit, 1836-1904


NMA/14 Wadhurst Circuit (formerly the Ticehurst Circuit): minutes of quarterly meetings, 1867-1972; minutes of local preachers' meetings, 1868-1974; minutes of Trustees' meetings. 1886-1965; minutes of the Boundary Committee, 1933; minutes of the General Purposes Committee, 1960-1972; Circuit Stewards' accounts, 1876-1974; missionary accounts, 1867-1965; Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society circuit officers' accounts, 1927-1938; Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society Women's Auxiliary circuit officers' accounts, 1923-1963; circuit schedule books and plans, 1867-1974; trust property schedules, 1868-1974; Sunday School schedules, 1869-1941; circuit plans and directories, 1948, 1974; other records consisting of register of deeds, register of Trustees, report on the Wadhurst Circuit to be presented to the Home Missions Department Commission of Investigation. c1930-1967


Records for Family Historians


Records giving details of individuals are mainly of two kinds: the membership lists, and the registers. The early Wesleyan circuit lists of members are particularly good, often including full lists of members in each Society in the Circuit. They include


Sussex/Rye Circuit, 1774-1815 NMA/4/1/1-2


Lewes and Brighton Circuit, 1807-1810, continued for Brighton Circuit 1810-1841 NMA/5/1/1/1


Hastings Circuit, 1822-1836 NMA/8/3/1


Lewes Circuit, 1825-1836 NMA/1/9/1


There are also less complete membership lists for various places at later dates


Registers of Baptisms may be in three places. Before 1837 many are in the Public Record Office (though ESRO has transcripts of all these, and contemporary copies of a few). After 1837 some are among the records of individual societies or chapels (NMB series). Both these series are identified in the Guide to Nonconformist Registers in the Search Room. In addition, some Circuits maintained registers, and it may be necessary to track these down for particular chapels by identifying the Circuit in which the chapel lay at any given date, and consulting the relevant Circuit list (NMA series)


Registers of Marriages in licensed chapels may survive from the late 19th century. All deposited registers should be in the Society lists (NMB series); others may still be with the church concerned. Methodist marriages may otherwise be found in Anglican registers, or as Registry Office ceremonies


Methodist Chapels do not have Burial grounds. Entries will be found in Anglican registers (since all parishioners were entitled to burial in churchyards regardless of religious affiliation), or after 1854 in the registers of municipal or local authority cemeteries (unconsecrated sections)

Date: 1774-2003
Related material:

Information about Methodist denominations and circuits, and Methodist societies, appears in the paper copy of this catalogue in ESRO

Held by: East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO), not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Physical description: 14 Subfonds
Access conditions:

Documents are closed to public inspection for 30 years from the last date of a document, unless a longer period is specified. The closure period does not apply to registers, pulpit notice books, handbills, brochures, news letters etc and other items which have already been made public

  • East Sussex
  • Religious movement
Administrative / biographical background:

Methodism developed in the later 18th century as an offshoot from the Anglican church. Its earliest form was as the Wesleyan Church, always predominant in East Sussex, with early 19th-century splits into Primitive Methodism (1811) and the Bible Christians (1815)


In 1907 the Bible Christians and the United Methodist Free Churches (which briefly had one congregation in Brighton) were joined together as the United Methodist Church. All Methodist sects were united in 1934


Most branches of Methodism had four levels of government: the national Conference; the District (a regional grouping); the Circuit (a local grouping of congregations); and the Society. The last two levels only are represented by locally held records. Circuits tended to be large in earlier years, splitting up as membership increased


The Society consisted of the formal membership of an individual chapel; others might attend, but were not members. Not all Societies had actual buildings, and preaching meetings, some open-air, could be held in places where there was no Society. The Circuit usually represented an area grouping of Societies, though occasionally a Society was a Circuit of itself


Within Societies, Leaders ran Classes (groups) of members, and Trusts were concerned with buildings, manses as well as chapels and churches. Ministers were generally appointed to Circuits, with the senior minister as Superintendent, and were fewer in number than the meeting places; much use was made of lay preachers

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