Extracts from the Diary of the Rev. Robert Meeke (1874) by Henry James Morehouse & Charles Augustus Hulbert
6th. — Our feast was to-day, and relations being invited, dined here. Mr. B. and his wife lodged. About 5 o’clock, I was desired to meet Mr. Broome, to make away a difference between two neighbours, and brothers; but we were so far from making peace, that the meeting of the parties occasioned a brawling, railing, and greater contention. God grant that I may be an instrument to reconcile sinners unto God; and also, as occasion serveth, to reconcile contentious sinners one to another; but I desire that such occasions may be few, or none at all. We parted and did no good.
18th. — It continueth frosty weather; sun shineth pleasantly. Lord grant me also the light of thy countenance.
19th. — Lord forgive the sins of this forenoon ― even while I am at my work and study. O Lord, my heart is strangely and strongly corrupted ― vitiated. This afternoon it began to snow fast, it is the first we have had this year, except some small showers and away.
20th. — It is much more snow this morning and winterly weather. Studied little to day, being invited to Mr. Broome’s to dine.
26th. — Studied but little to day, having some business, walked out in the afternoon. Set on two locks in the chappell ― one under the pulpit, another betwixt the chappell and school. Stayed a while with the workman; after he had done gave him a drink and so returned.
17th. — Stayed at home: studied and read. I have many helps ― learned works, both pleasant and profitable to read. O help me to redeem my time, and let my reading be edifying to myself, that I may be an instrument to instruct others.
21st. — This morning rode to Almondbury, Cousin Æ [Æneas Bothomley] and Dame Haigh with me. Preached for Mr. Phillipson. Dined at the vicarage. At night went to Woodsome. Lay all night.
25th. — Read much to day: especially Annotations on the Bible. Lord, give me knowledge of thy will, and teach me to understand the Holy Scripture, that I may open it to others.
2nd. — To-day we killed a swine; I heard his cry into my study ― many creatures die for us, but sinful man deserveth death the most of all.
3rd. — This day I rode a hunting; abundance of people were here. I went afterwards to drink with some company at Slaithwaite. Stayed too long, until some gentlemen were quarrelsome ― so vile and sinful are the customs of this world, that lawful recreations are abused, and it is almost impossible to enjoy the benefit of Society, without sin and vanity.
20th. — Preached by God’s assistance, and in the afternoon many were at the chapell. Lord, do some good by my labours. I hope I am an instrument for the good of some, though I know none who hath acknowledged, he or she, hath been convinced by my preaching; however, let me be diligent in my work, and leave the success to God. I can but plant and water, it is God that giveth the increase.
15th. — Had a funeral at Slaithwaite ― had the drinking at Crimble. We have a very ill custom at funerals-turning mourning into drinking, feasting, and mirth — Lord, heal, reform, forgive ‘the disorders and sins amongst us.
29th. — Returned home from the Visitations at Wakefield; Mrs. Clarke being with me, I called with her at Mr. Rhodes’s, of Flockton.
5th. — Dined at Stoney Bank, my landlady with me. Carried little Betty before me.
16th. — My landlady and I went to Lasceles Hall, dined there and returned home.
18th. — Was invited to dine at G.D.’s of the Crimble, with Mr. Stanhope, of Leeds. I, and my landlord went.
25th. — Went to Manchester, heard great news of a great victory which our fleet hath obtained over the French. Bells rung, and great rejoicing there hath been since Monday past.
27th, — The former good news was confirmed. We all returned back and came home safe and sound. Lord make me thankful for the mercies and comforts of this journey.
28th. — About 2 o’clock went towards Scholes, in Holmfirth, called at Stoney bank, my clerk went with me.
29th. — Rode to Denbeigh [Denby], preached there: dined at Justice Bosvile’s, of Gunthwaite. At night some people, being friends, went with me to the alehouse, where we set up our horses, and then returned to Scholes; some friends with me. We all supped together and parted.
30th. — Blessed be God, arose in good health, and but little wearied, considering how far I rode to preach yesterday, which I use not to do. Dined at Daniel Cartwright’s, where some friends met me. Supped at Stoney Bank, and lay all night.
31st. — It was a high wind last night. I slept so soundly, I heard it not. After dinner returned homewards. It was a very wet afternoon, and windy; called at Meltham. Stayed a while, and then rode to Slaithwaite. In this journey I found very much kindness and respects, ― unexpected, undeserved, ― but alas! I am afraid they whose company I had (although I did receive temporal benefits from them) did but receive little spiritual benefit from me.
14th. — Studied little: only read in a new piece, which I borrowed, concerning several intrigues in King James the Second’s reign, which, if true, were sinful and strange, if not true, it is sad to think such books are spread abroad to deceive ; but I am prone to believe they are true. God, by his remarkable providence hath declared his displeasure against that King and his proceedings.
20th. — Went with my landlady to Stainland to do a “welcoming” as it is called; many neighbours went also. It was to [George Dyson’s] daughter, who was married thither. For neighbours to shew neighbourly friendship, is good and commendable; but many customs now-a-day called neighbourhood, tend to luxury, intemperance, &c. Such meetings often end in unmet quarrels, differences, and breaches of neighbourly friendships.
28th. — Rode towards Leeds, dined there about 12 o’clock: and from thence went to Harrogate, where Knaresborough Spaws are. Lay all night.
29th. — This morning went to the Wells and drunk, more for company than for any need; for I had not come thither, but for the sake of Mr. R[ichardson] and his wife.
1st. — This morning, about 1 o’clock, Mr. R. was extraordinarily out of order through the cholick; very bad all day: and yet we set homewards, took horse about 10 o’clock, came to Leeds about 2 o’clock: dined and stayed there until 5; came to Lasceles Hall about 9 o’clock.
2nd. — Blessed be God, I arose in health. Mr. R. had a good night, and was much better. Returned home.
17th. — I received a letter from a relation of mine by the father’s side, the first that ever owned any kindred unto me on that side. I took it as a great kindness, and design, Deo volente, to see him ere long.
22nd. — Read some public news, in a new piece which cometh out monthly. The world is in arms. Lord grant peace and truth.
26th. — It continueth still very unseasonable weather, and many in other places are busy with their harvests, though none begun here. About 9 o’clock I was desired to go visit the sick. I went; after some discourse, prayed with him, and returned at 12. About 2, I was sent for to another, whom I found extremely ill, in body and mind too, the distemper I believe had seized upon his brain ; he talked much, though always upon what was good, but very confusedly. Lord compose his mind and strengthen his body, for thy honour’s sake, for he being one that hath made a profession of religion more than his careless neighbours, they reflect upon him profanely, saying, “this is the fruit of his praying.”
28th. — Preached at home; there were not so many as sometimes, because young people went to other chapells, where there had been Rushbearings. Such is the vanity of the times.
30th. — About 10 o’clock set forward towards York, my brother’s horse being out of the way made us so late. Dined at Leeds: came to York in good time.
31st. — Went towards Bridlington, dined at Kilham, and came to Bridlington in good time. Lay all night at Mr. Smith’s.
1st. — About noon, went to Flamborough, to enquire after some friends: found two brothers, John and Christopher Meeke, who were nearly related to me, being cousins, german to my father. Their father and my grandfather were brothers They shewed much respects to us, and were glad to see us. We lay all night at cousin Christopher Meeke’s.
2nd. — Went to Skipsey to see the tenant who liveth where my father was born: it is an old house, much out of repair, and very mean. I went to see my father’s study. I thank God I have one much more convenient and pleasant; I desire to be thankful and humble, for my parentage is of an inferior rank, but I hope and as I hear, of a religious family, which is better than gentility and greatness. My father was born in a very mean house: my mother in a comely hall: thus the Lord is pleased to make high and low ― noble and ignoble equall, and both one. I am a branch of Yeomanry by the father, of gentility by my mother. Lord grant me true nobility, virtue and grace, above my mother’s blood, meekness and humility according to my father’s name. After we had done our business with the tenant, we returned to Flamborough, but not the same way we went: for in the morning we rode upon the sands, but at night upon the bank.
3rd. — This forenoon went to see the seacoast: we went to the top of a new lighthouse built for the benefit of seamen, betwixt Newcastle and Hull, but for want of maintenance it is of no use. We went also into a great hole in the rock called Robin Lithe hole; at low water it is passable through, but at high water it is filled with waves. After dinner went to Bridlington; saw some friends and returned.
4th. — Preached at Flamborough from II Cor. vii, 1. Dined at cousin John Meeke’s. After service, at night, many came to see me, and supped with us at cousin Christopher’s.
5th. — This morning set towards Hull Came thither in good time. Enquired for some friends. Walked into the town. We went into Trinity House; saw a strange man, taken in a boat near Graynland, [Greenland] by Andrew Barker, in the year 1613; he was brought to Hull: lived for some days, but would neither eat nor speak, and so died. Dined at Nicholas Lockwood’s, who went with us on board a ship: the first I was ever in. It is admirable to see and consider men’s rare works, and inventions to pass the seas, and traffic with other nations, which would be as strangers to us, as another world: but it hath pleased God to give men wisdom in these things. Went to Beverley towards night; lodged there.
7th. — Set towards York this morning, came thither soon in the afternoon. Went to the Minster, to the top of the Lanthorn, round about the Church [Minster]. It is a curious, spacious, sumptuous building; such as I never saw the like.
8th. — Rode to Leeds; it was a wet, rainy day, so that we stayed all night. This was the first rain we had since I went from home. Blessed be God for the comforts of the journey, the health and safety afforded us, and for his good providence over us when abroad, for the friends, &c., which we found.
14th. — Preached, and offered up the prayer appointed for the day; but the company was small. Lord, pardon the people’s fault and negligence, for many are backward to holy duties.
19th. — Stayed at home all day, reading an Account of Publique Affairs, in a piece, called “The present State of Europe,” which cometh out monthly. All nations around us are at variance. Lord, grant peace, if it may be for thy glory.
23rd. — We got our corn cut. Many were at supper according to the custom of this place, when they have shorn all.
25th. — Preached to day, and administered the Sacrament. O Lord, help thy word and ordinances.
26th. — This morning, I rode to see my mother, and blessed be God, found her much better than she had been. O Lord, preserve her life, and renew her health and strength.
27th. — Stayed with her all day.
28th. — Returned home, and brought a little piece of plate, to drink in, which my dear mother gave me. Lord, make me as dutiful to her as she is loving to me.
29th. — It is now brave harvest weather. Much corn is uncut, and more unhoused.
30th. — Being desired, I went to make an end of a difference betwixt two or three neighbours, but could not.
4th. — This morning rode to Meltham, to meet uncle Hyde; dined their at cousin Taylor’s, and about mid-afternoon returned. Our Court was kept to day, at Slaithwaite.
6th. — Went to see a woman who had cut her throat. Endeavoured to convince her of the greatness of her sin, and the danger she was in, the mercy of God had prevented her, that she could not do as she would.
14th. — This morning Mr. Wilkinson and his brother came hither before I arose, and called me up. I rode with them to course. About 1 o’clock returned, and they dined here.
16th. — Many went to Marsden, to hear and see what was said and done by the coroner and jury, who were met to examine persons concerning the aforesaid woman’s action, who cut her throat, and is now dead; and ordered to be buryed at a lane end in Lingarths.
7th. — Being invited to Roe, after baptizing Joseph Bamforth’s daughter, as I returned, I met with a young minister who hath been some time at Marsden, but not yet resolved to stay. O Lord, provide for them, for they have been long destitute, and many are backward to provide for themselves.
10th. — This day was appointed for a thanksgiving day, for a victory at sea against the French; for the discovery of a plot against his Majesty’s person, and for his safe return. But the proclamation came too late, so that I could give no timely notice. I went therefore to Halifax. The Vicar (Dr. Wilkinson) preached from 1 Thes. v. 16. There was a great congregation.
27th. — Dined at John Mellor’s of Lingarths. It was a rainy day, the weather, as all things in this world is very uncertain and changeable.
 This probably refers to the Christmas festivities.
 He was descended from the Stanhopes of Horsforth, near Leeds, in which town he resided, and of which he was elected an alderman. He also filled the office of mayor.
 This was the battle of La Hogue.
 Gunthwaite Hall the ancient residence of the Bosviles.
 G.D. 1663, R.D. still remain on this ancient Hospitium at Crimble, Golcar, but no longer a public house. The ancient family of Dyson, of High Westwood House, still exists in Huddersfield.
 Of this person and his descendants we learn some particulars from the MSS. of the Rev. John Murgatroyd, who married into the family. He records in 1773, a conversation he had with an aged neighbour, “Old Reuben Langfield, who says he was born in 1691, told me that the present Edmund Mellor’s great great grandfather was known to him. He has seen him Card ‘ith nook ‘oth house, at Lingarths, and his name was John Mellor, his wife was a very fat woman: came from Edge End, near Meltham, usually called Dame Mellor. They had five children, John, Joseph and three daughters. He said John [the younger] was the late Edmund Mellor’s father, and lived at Well House, in Golcar. Joseph was never married, and lived at Lingarths, after his father’s death, (and also on his mother’s, who lived some years after her husband) paying his brother John an acknowledgment, but removed to Thorps, when the said Edmund was married. The said Joseph bought Thorps, and died there. John, Edmund’s father, lived years after Joseph. The said Joseph gave [to] Edmund, Thorps and Pickle Top.” According to this genealogy, however, the descent of five generations is not apparent, but it is probable that the second Edmund mentioned had then a family.