Extracts from the Diary of the Rev. Robert Meeke (1874) by Henry James Morehouse & Charles Augustus Hulbert
4th. — Rode to Halifax, to a sale of books, by auction; bought what came to 10s., and then came home.
5th. — Went to Marsden, with thoughts of baptizing mother and son, but when I came to discourse with the mother, I found her unwilling. I should have been at the funeral of old Dame Ramsden, of the Miln, but could not.
10th. — I went to-day with the churchwarden through a great part of our town, on the behalf of our Vicar, who desired me to present a certificate to his parishioners, wishing them to certify for him that he hath been a man of a sober and peaceable life, painful in the ministry, &c. I shewed it accordingly to his desire, but very few signed it ― a few inferiors. I should be sorry to stand in need of such a certificate, through variance with any; but I should be much more sorry to stand in need and be denyed. Lord, give me grace so to carry [myself] blamelessly and inoffensively, that none may have reason to accuse me, or if any do accuse me wrongfully, that I may not want the testimony of better men to testify and clear me. Lord, help me so to walk as becometh a minister of the gospel, amongst all persons, that I may not need, as some others, epistles of commendation, or letter of commendation from any; but that my certificate may be written in the hearts of many ― known and read of all that know me. II Cor. iii. 1.
16th. — About 10 set forth for Lancashire, called on my Sister Br[ooksbank], who went with me; blessed be God, found my mother and other friends in usual health.
20th. — Returned towards Yorkshire, being a fair pleasant day.
21st. — It is again pleasant weather. I was desired to baptize a child, about noon, went, and as I returned, met with one who desireth to be schoolmaster here: but I gave no answer, only left him to the Townsmen.
4th. — Went to meet Mr. Broome, to make away a difference between two neighbours. To make peace is a good work, but difficult, persons are wilful and revengeful. We concluded upon what seemed to agree them, but they would not submit.
13th. — There came one of my chapelry to-day, to desire leave for a Nonconformist to preach sometimes in the week-day, I gave my consent provided they would admit none but sound and peaceable divines.
16th. — To-day, to Lascelles Hall, and baptized Frances, the fifth daughter of Mr. Richardson. Returned home.
19th. — I bless God for the help and assistance of this day. Many people were at the chapell; Lord, do them good by my labours amongst them. In the afternoon, after sermon, one of the congregation desired that my sermon were printed, and another desired to borrow my notes; indeed, the subject treated on was weighty, being from that text Acts xiii, 39, and I hope the discourse upon it was sound and according to truth, but I count it not so exact as to deserve the press, many better and fuller being already printed by more learned men. I desire men’s approbation and instruction, but their commendation is dangerous, a temptation to pride, &c. If men will give it, Lord, keep me from the evil of it, and ascribe all praise to thee, by whose grace I am what I am.
29th. — Being invited, I rode to the funeral of one in Healey, who buryed at Almondbury. I met with some friends there who stayed me late. Blessed be God, I came home in safety, but I lost my way on the Black moor, and I found a poor man’s house, whom I knew, who guided me right.
8th. — It is thus far a wet dropping April, and many are in hopes of a fruitful spring. Lord, grant it, and afford seasonable weather for corn. Every [thing] is very dear, and poor people’s labour is cheap, for our trade of cloth here is much down, money is scarce. I have lent to several who are now indebted to me, and yet I am forced to borrow myself, because I cannot get in my own. Lord, make me thankful I can borrow, though I do it but seldom; for, praised be God, I am rather helpful than needful, I lend ten times more than I borrow. O Lord, give me grace prudently and temperately to enjoy what is given me, and let me neither foolishly spare nor sinfully spend what I ought to use for the glory of God, my own and others good.
17th. — Dined at Edward Mellor’s of Sheepridge: and in the afternoon was with some company at R. Abbotts.
19th. — About 3 o’clock rode to Lasceles Hall. Stayed all night.
20th. — Walked with Mr. Richardson to Woodsome. Sat with Sir John Kaye all the afternoon.
21st. — After dinner returned from Lasceles Hall.
From the 25th April to the 17th May, the M.S. is lost: when he records his Mother’s illness and death.
17th — She grew weaker and weaker, though she was always cheerful when friends came to see her: towards night began to be very ill: we sat up with her, and in the night she would, and was, removed into another bed:― began to be insensible by times, and yet so sensible as to cry for mercy, and to desire a dissolution.
18th. — About a quarter after five o’clock this morning, she drew her last breath, and left us poor sorrowful relations for more joyful and happy society. O Lord, sanctify this breach unto me, and unto all her children, make up our great loss of a dear mother, by the continual care and gracious providence of a loving and heavenly father.
19th. — To-day, some friends came to help and counsel us about the funeral.
21st. — All forenoon was misspent through unexpected company, that we had scarce time for prayer; but after dinner, I endeavoured to help forward the sanctification of the Sabbath, by prayer and reading and repeating a sermon I had about me, something suitable to the occasion.
22nd. — A great number of people came to the funeral, and attended the corpse unto Denton Chapell, where we took leave of my dear mother, and left amongst the precious dust of many loving friends, relations and pious saints, who have been buryied there. Mr. Hyde, sometime of Salford, preached from II Tim. iv, 7 and 8.
23rd. — About two o’clock, Mr. Scholes preached again at his licensed place at Culcheth, from Eccl. vii, 2, latter end. I praise God, my mother was well beloved; died much lamented. Her removal from that neighbourhood will be a great loss to many.
24th. — Some friends went away this morning and others stayed with us. We were busy reckoning up what the funeral lay in; and we found it to be, in mourning and other expences, about sixty pounds[!] Following worldly customs maketh many needless expences at such times.
25th. — Other relations went this morning. None but brothers and sisters were left behind, to mourn together. But alas! the things of this world did endanger, to turn mourning into self-mindedness, and thoughts of death into differences which I am heartily desirous to prevent, and shall no way be occasioned by me. Lord, give us all grace to walk as the children of God ― in love and peace.
26th. — After dinner, returned into Yorkshire, and my brothers came part of the way with me.
27th. — Prepared for Sabbath, but was very dull in my work. It went heavily on, so that I looked over old notes concerning our latter end.
28th. — Preached in the forenoon from Psalms xc, 12. But in the afternoon, from Heb. xii, 15 and 16. I bless God for his help.
30th. — I wrote the last fortnights diary, in which time I saw two of my relations laid in the dust. Lord, prepare me for my end, that I may be peaceable, comfortable, and happy: and let the thoughts of it cause me to put away all my sinful lusts.
17th. — Rode to Greenhead, to see Mrs. Wilkinson, whom I found very weak. Prayed with her and returned.
19th. — Read a monthly Mercury, giving an account of foreign news. O Lord, grant that the christian church may flourish with peace and piety.
20th. — Yesterday afternoon a neighbour’s child was run over with a cart and horse upon the moor. This morning he died. It is but about a week since little Billy Meeke fell off a horse upon the stones upon his breast and face: how soon might his breath have been stifled by such a fall. Blessed be thy good providence, O Lord, which preserved him. Lord keep him always under the shadow of thy wings.
24th. — Rain, windy and cold. My heart is foul and impure. O cleanse me by thy heavenly grace and that living water which cometh from above. I have much to do to keep myself back from sin, though it hath not conquered me this month, it hath not quite made me fall, though I have stumbled oft. O Lord take my part and sin will flee from me.
25th. — It was a fair pleasant day, many at the chapell, but none appeared to be catechised. Lord awaken parents to take more care of children’s education, for so corrupt is human nature that all care and pains is too little to mend it. I experienced it too much myself.
6th. — Rode to Huddersfield to marry a couple; returned by Greenhead, and found Mrs. Wilkinson dead. I was desired to preach at her funeral.
8th. — There were many strangers. I praise God, he encouraged me, and yet gave me occasion to be humble, to ascribe all to him and nothing to myself.
14th. — Yesterday dined at Linthwaite [Hall], with Mr. Thornton.
25th. — Many friends came to our house ― dined here. Some stayed all night. Many were at chapell. All people having got in their hay, young people were at liberty. Sights of vanity soon call multitudes together.
3rd. — Studied none to-day, being withdrawn by the company of my brothers.
4th. — Studied all day. About 3 o’clock received a letter from Marsden, where brother J. had met with two Lancashire men, who told him sister Margaret was married to one whom my mother was altogether against, and all friends too. O Lord, humble her for her faults : but in mercy cause everything to work for her good, and make the man whom she hath chosen a loving and suitable companion.
9th — A close moist day. No sun: when I came to the moor, it proved rain: I preached at Meltham, there were just 25 persons besides myself. Our days which we call feasts, are far from being kept as they ought.
16th. — This is the second day of our shearing. Lord, grant a seasonable harvest. Rode to Deanhead, Mr. Ashton preached. Stayed too late.
23rd. — Rode into Lancashire to Clayton Bridge; brother and sister had walked out: presently after, came my sister Peggy and her husband, who stayed all night.
24th. — After dinner walked out to have met Mr. Leach, who, as I heard, was come over to see his friends, but I missed of him. Rode to Denton, found all well, my brothers were with me. We stayed all night.
27th. — Preached at Denton, from I John i, 6 and 7. Blessed be God for his assistance. After dinner, rode to Harden, Sir John Arderne and his Lady having gone from home.
29th. — I went after dinner from Denton to Hyde, and my brother John with me. Stayed until night and returned.
30th. — My uncle Hyde went with us to Clayton Bridge; all the goods were appraised.
31st. — To-day divided. A share fell to me, viz: of those which were my father’s. Lord, make me thankful for worldly good things; but I beseech thee, grant me both now and for ever a better portion.
2nd. — My brothers came with me to Brookbotham, and there we parted. Upon Standedge, I met with some company who almost brought me home.
11th. — Being invited, I rode to Crosland, to Adam Dyson’s to dinner, and my landlady with me. About 4 o’clock returned.
12th. — Stayed at home, it was a wet day, but blessed be God, most of our corn about here is housed, and I hope well.
14th. — Studied all-day. About 4 o’clock Mr. Broome and the Schoolmaster came to see me. Stayed until it was dark.
23rd. — Designing to preach at Almondbury tomorrow, I did not study anew, but looked over former labours. O Lord, bless my labours at home and abroad. At noon dined with Sir John Kaye, at Slaithwaite. Went with him to Woodsome; lay all night with Mr. Norris the chaplain.
24th. — Preached at Almondbury. I bless God for his assistance. Dined and lodged at Woodsome.
25th. — Took leave this morning, and when I took horse, my horse proved lame, which did indeed trouble me, not being my own.
27th. — I rode to Honley, to see Dame H., and about half-a-dozen of our neighbouring wives went with me. Dined there and returned.
30th. — Was preparing all day for to-morrow. About 4 o’clock, one from Huddersfield came to desire me to preach for the Vicar; he being gone from home on a sudden. Through intreaty I was persuaded, and was forced to send the sexton about to give notice of my absence.
6th. — Rode over the Moss to baptize a child. Dined at John Mellor’s, of Wellhouse.
9th. — It is a very clear pleasant day. The sun is more delightsome than rain and clouds; but these have their use as well as the sun. And so have afflictions as well as consolations.
11th. — This day also is very fair and clear, but windy. The best of comforts are mixed with some alloys; nothing is perfect in this world. I bless God, I want nothing in this world. I have friends and fulness, conveniences and delights, and some inconveniences, and small inconsiderable troubles. I desire to be truly thankful for what I have, and consider the defects and imperfections of worldly happiness to raise my affections higher.
13th. — This morning rode out to seek a hare with my landlord; it is a recreation which many delight in, but in which I find no pleasure.
14th. — About 5, my uncle Hyde and my brother came to see me.
16th. — My uncle and brother went home. It was a very rainy day, I would have persuaded them to stay, but could not.
17th. — To-day is more boisterous and rainy, so it was well they went yesterday, for business would have forced them to-day. Blessed be God, I have all comforts in this world: kind friends, loving and beloved relations, comfortable habitation, all necessaries, very many conveniences and delights. O that I were sufficiently thankful!
25th. — Went to Golcar, to gather chapel wages; received but 16s. instead of 40s. and more. Trade is bad and money scarce.
26th. — Rode to Stainland, baptized two children, one in the house of Thomas Lockwood, where there hath not been a child born this 80 years and above.
30th. — Dined at Abraham Beaumonts, of Meltham, with a new married couple, viz., Mr. Radcliffe and his wife. After dinner we went into the town to drink a shot, as the custom is. We stayed so long that it was late before I came home, Mr. Broome being with me.
7th. — Aunt Hyde came and cousin Robert Tr., whom I had not seen for some years. After dinner I went with them to Shepley. Lay all night at Mr. Matthewman’s.
8th. — About noon returned home.
13th. — I rode with my landlady and a neighbour to see a friend about four miles off. It was dark and a very thick mist upon Crosland Moor as we returned back. I was got out of my aim, and knew not where I was. My landlady was much dejected and out of hopes, but blessed be God for his guiding providence, which brought us right off the moor at last, to a place I knew, and in the road where I borrowed a boy and lanthorne to guide us over another moor; I desire, with thankfulness, to remember this preserving guiding providence, for the hearing my request when I was wandering and could neither guide myself nor others. See God’s providence over travellers, Psalm cvii, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
16th. — Yesterday a neighbouring minister came visit me: lay with me all night, and to-day, about 10 o’clock he returned back.
19th. — Preached both ends: blessed be God for his help. It was a cold day, but many people in the afternoon made the chapell warm.
22nd. — I was desired to go [see] some friends at Mr. Broome’s. We had oysters and supper. After supper I was very sick and out of order.
25th. — Preparing for the sabbath to-morrow, being appointed to be a thanksgiving for the king’s return home.
28th. — Was called out of bed to go baptize a child in Crosland. I went and returned before noon.
29th. — It is now wet weather, thick and foggy, the vapours arising from the earth hinder the light of the sun: and so my sinful corruptions, arising in my heart, might justly deprive me of thy shining countenance. Lord, sanctify the circumstances which oftentimes follow my offences.
3rd. — Preached at Elland ― married a couple. Dined at T.B.’s, with the wedding folk.
9th. — Studied all forenoon. After dinner went to visit a sick woman. As I came away I visited an old man who is not sick, but very weak, poor, and in a miserable condition. Formerly he was well to live, had a great household, and now hath not a good bed to lye on. It is said he was prodigal, careless, shiftless: however it is, it may teach me the mutability of worldly riches, which take wing and flee. O my soul, seek thou after those which are the true riches, Luke xvi, 2.
15th. — God be merciful unto me. I am afraid of thy judgments. I am not so much afraid of sin as of shame and suffering. Lord, convince me of my folly, and make me as much an enemy of sin as I am to shame and death.
24th. — Preached by God’s assistance both ends, and when I had concluded, desired some of the heads of the chapellry to meet me to morrow to consider the repairs of the chapell.
30th. — This day begins my 38 year, being born on Tuesday the 30 of December, 1656, betwixt 3 and 4 in the afternoon, in Salford, near Manchester. Many days and years are past in comparison of what some have seen; and the Lord hath been gracious to me through them all, though I have been unthankful. I know not now what time and trials are before me. Lord, prepare me for the last, and give me wisdom to redeem the former.
 This respectable family still resides at Ramsden Mills, Golcar. Now an important Woollen Manufacturing Company.
 Rev. Thomas Clarke.
 This was probably the mother of Messrs. John and Thomas Wilkinson, and the widow of Mr. Matthew Wilkinson.
 This was Mr. Abraham Radcliffe, of Almondbury, an attorney, who married Mary, daughter of Abraham Beaumont, of Meltham, by whom he had three children, viz., Abraham, William and Sarah. She died in 1700. He afterwards married Abigail, daughter of Luke Wilson, of Mytham Bridge, near Holmfirth.
 Mr. Richard Matthewman, of Cliff Top, in Shepley.