Catalogue ReferenceD/MC2
TitleRecords of Reading Primitive Methodist Circuit

Circuit administration
Quarterly Meeting minutes, 1837-1940 (incomplete); Circuit Committee minutes, 1844-1845, 1856-1939; Preparatory Meeting minutes, 1856-1893; Finance Committee minutes, 1900-1940 (incomplete); Emergency Committee minutes, 1939-1940; manse trustees' minutes, 1909-1938; manse correspondence and accounts, 1933-1938; papers re. Whitley Wood site trust, 1913-1940; annual reports and schedules, 1842-1931.

Preaching plans and directories
Plans, 1834-1868 (very incomplete); plans and directories, including Bradfield branch/circuit, 1884-1918 (incomplete); plans and directories, 1919-1940 (very incomplete).

Local preachers
Minutes, 1849-1940.

Circuit registration.
Registers of baptisms, 1831-1944, 1955.

Primitive Methodist Conference preaching plans (Reading and Luton), 1841, 1867; church yearbook and calendar, 1937-1938; photograph of the Revd W J Smart, 1930s.


The following documents were previously catalogued as D/N :

Old reference - New reference

D/N 5/1/1 - D/MC 2/1A/1

D/N 5/1/2 - D/MC 2/1A/2

D/N 5/1/3 - D/MC 2/1A/3

D/N 5/1/4 - D/MC 2/1A/4

D/N 5/1/5, 5B - D/MC 2/1A/5

D/N 5/1/6 - D/MC 2/1A/6

D/N 5/1/7 - D/MC 2/1A/7

D/N 5/1/8 - D/MC 2/1A/8

D/N 5/1/9 - D/MC 2/1A/9

D/N 5/1/10 - D/MC 2/1A/10

D/N 5/1/11 - D/MC 2/2A/1

D/N 5/1/12 - D/MC 2/2D/1

D/N 5/1/13 - D/MC 2/2D/2

D/N 5/1/14 - D/MC 2/5A/2, 4-6; 9/1

D/N 5/1/15 - D/MC 2/4A/1-8

D/N 5/1/16 - D/MC 2/5A/7-8; 5A/9/1, 2, 6
RepositoryBerkshire Record Office (code: GB 005)
Extent17 vols, 17 bdls, 3 files, 5 docs, 1 roll
Admin HistoryA note inside the cover of the first Quarterly Meeting minute book (D/MC 2/1A/1) states : 'Reading was opened on Sunday April 12th 1835 by Brother John Ride from Shefford Circuit and made a Separate Circuit at the General Quarterly Meeting, held at Shefford March 6th 1837, with 450 Members.' (Shefford circuit was renamed Newbury in 1845 - see the introduction to D/MC 8.)

Expansion was rapid, and before the formation of other circuits to the north and east, the new Reading Primitive Methodist circuit, with missions and branches in High Wycombe, Rickmansworth, St Albans, Hertford, Watford, Brentford, Windsor, Maidenhead and Kingston upon Thames, saw membership rise to 1551 in 1844. By 1850, however, the figure was down to 630 and the circuit had shrunk to serve Reading and a radius of about ten miles (D/MC 2/4A/1-2 and 5A/1-3).

Silchester and neighbouring societies became a separate branch in 1858 (eventually forming the Silchester circuit : see D/MC 3), but within a decade the loss of over 200 members there had been made good. In 1877, a small group of societies formed a Bradfield branch (see D/MC 4), leaving a nucleus of a dozen societies to take the Reading Primitive Methodist circuit into the 20th century (D/MC 2/4A/3-6 and 5A/4-7).

Renamed 'London Street circuit' after national Methodist union in 1932, the former Primitive Methodists amalgamated with the former Reading Wesleyans in 1940.

Apart from 1903-1907 and 1912-1918, a fine series of Quarterly Meeting, committee and local preachers' meeting minutes survives for the entire life of the circuit from 1837. Annual reports, schedules and preaching plans, despite gaps, also constitute a mine of information on 19th century developments.
AcquisitionDeposited in April 1975 (acc. 2002 part); March 1983 (acc. 3212 part); February 1986 (acc. 3767); September 1986 (acc. 3875 part), February 1988 (acc. 4191); October 1992 (acc. 5106 part); December 2018 (acc. 10429)

Schedule of accessions
Acc. 2002 (part): 1A/1-10; 2A/1; 3D/1-2; 4A/1-8, 5A/2, 4-8; 5A/9/1, 2, 6; 9/1
Acc. 3212 (part): 3E/2-4
Acc. 3767: 3E/1
Acc. 3875 (part): 5A/9/3-5; 5A/10; 9/2-4
Acc. 4191: 5A/1, 3
Acc. 5106 (part): 6A/1
Acc. 10429: 7A/1-3
ArrangementClassification scheme for Methodist circuit records

[This scheme shows how the collection is arranged. This collection does not include every type of record in the scheme. See the summary for records included in this collection.]

1 Circuit Meetings and Administration

1A Quarterly Meeting/Circuit Meeting Minutes
1B Accounts [of Quarterly Meeting]
1C Correspondence
1D Other records

2 Circuit Committees

2A Finance and Invitation/ General Purposes Committees
2B Missions Committee
2C Youth and Education Committees [including Sunday School]
2D Women's Committees
2E Christian Citizenship/Social Responsibility Committee
2F Manse Committee
2G Other Committees

3 Trustees (later Property Committee)

3A Property [deeds, registers of deeds, etc]
3B Trustees [registers and lists of trustees]
3C Minutes
3D Manses [including minutes of manse trustees]
3E Other records

4 Circuit reports and schedules

4A Reports and chapel, trust and school schedules
4B Other reports and schedules

5 Preaching plans and directories

5A Plans [including combined plans and directories]
5B Directories

6 Local preachers

6A Local preachers' meeting minutes
6B Accounts
6C Other records

7 Circuit registration

7A Baptism
7B Burial

8 Membership

8A Roll books and registers
8B Other records

9 Printed material/Miscellaneous
Related MaterialRecords in other collections

Circuit records
D/MC 5/3D/1-4: Manse trustees' records, 1924-1940
D/MC 5/3E/1: Whitley Wood site trustees' meeting minutes, 1920-1940
MF 599: Baptism register, 1831-1837

Records of individual churches

D/MS 25: Bradfield Tutts Clump
D/MS 26: Burghfield Common
D/MS 52: Pangbourne
D/MS 55: Cumberland Road
D/MS 58: Friar Street
D/MS 59: London Street
D/MS 62: Oxford Road/West Reading
D/MS 64: Wokingham Road
D/MS 72: Swallowfield Riseley Common
D/MS 74: Theale
D/MS 87: Yattendon
D/MS 103: Gallows Tree Common
D/MS 105: Woodcote
Access ConditionsWith the exception of registers of baptism, marriage and burial, and other material whose contents have been made public, records of the Methodist Church are closed for 30 years, and pastoral records for 75 years, in accordance with Methodist Church standing orders.

Applications for access to closed records must be made in writing to the County Archivist.
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