Extracts from the Diary of the Rev. Robert Meeke (1874) by Henry James Morehouse & Charles Augustus Hulbert
In offering to the public the following Extracts from the Diary of the Rev. Robert Meeke, who was Incumbent of Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, from 1685 to 1724, the Editor conceives that no apology is now necessary. They are selected from the daily jottings of a good man, made nearly two hundred years ago, for his own use, and not for the inspection of others; but they will be found to present a striking picture of the habits of society at the time, as well as a faithful record of the thoughts and feelings of an amiable clergyman.
Mr. Meeke appears to have kept a Diary for about 35 years, but the only part which has so far been recovered, extends over little more than five years, probably the earliest of that long period. For the recovery of the M.S. from which the present Extracts are made, the public is indebted to the Rev. Canon Hulbert, now Vicar of Almondbury, in whose possession the original is, and who in 1864, being then a successor of Mr. Meeke in the Incumbency of Slaithwaite, published “Annals of the Church in Slaithwaite,” in which he gives an interesting but necessarily brief notice of Mr. Meeke and his Diary. From this work, with additional information obtained elsewhere, the Editor has compiled his Biographical notice of Mr. Meeke, and in making this acknowledgment he has also to express his cordial thanks to Canon Hulbert for the kind courtesy and liberality with which he placed the M.S. of the Diary in his hands for the purpose of the present publication.
Mr. Meeke, by his will, bequeathed not only his own Diary, but also that of his father, the Rev. William Meeke, of Salford, near Manchester, who died in 1658, to his friend Edmund Bothomley, of Hill Top, in Slaithwaite, in whose family they are believed to have remained until dispersed by sale, nearly sixty years ago, and it is much to be hoped that now attention is again called to the facts, due search and enquiry will be made, especially by Inhabitants of Slaithwaite and the neighbourhood, which may result in the recovery of the missing volumes.
The information they contain cannot fail, from their connection with the District, to give to them a peculiar local interest, at the same time, they no doubt would be found to possess a much wider interest ― both in Yorkshire and Lancashire ― in illustrating the respective periods of our National History, to which they refer.
Any person, therefore, who may be fortunate enough to meet with any volume, or part of any volume, will much oblige by communicating the fact to Fairless Barber, Esq., F.S.A., of Castle Hill, Rastrick, Hon. Secretary of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Association.
Since the above was written and these Extracts were prepared for the press, Canon Hulbert has kindly undertaken to append a History of the Meeke & Walker School in Slaithwaite, shewing the great benefit that Institution had conferred upon the inhabitants of the district, thereby adding materially to the interest and importance of the volume.
In conclusion, the Editor feels it necessary to state, that in transcribing these Extracts from the Diary, he has thought it desirable to modernize the spelling, although he has not in all cases strictly adhered to it; he has, however, carefully avoided any alteration in the Author’s style or mode of expression.