Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Aug/1888) - Some Account of the Parish Church of St. Mary's, Honley

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


BY MRS MARY A. JAGGER, Honley, Authoress of 'Rookery Mill,' 'Is Love a Crime?' etc., etc.

'The decent Church that topt the neighb'ring hill.' (Goldsmith.)

(Continued from last week.)

Monumental Tablets placed within the Church.

In the Chancel on the North Side.

I. 'I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord, and Thy law is my delight.' — Psalm 119, v. 174.

Sacred to the memory of William Brooke, late of Northgate Mount, who departed this life on the 21st day of April, 1846, aged 82 years. Also Hannah, his wife, who died the 26th day of March, 1840, aged 78 years.

In the Chancel on the South Side.

II. 'Thy will he done.'

In memory of the Rev Charles Drawbridge, who for 38 years laboured zealously in this chapelry as the minister of Christ. He died on the 1st day of February, 1862, in the 71st year of his age.
This tablet is erected by an affectionate and sorrowing flock, under a deep sense of their obligation to his earnest, faithful, and devoted ministry among them.
'For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. — 1 Cor. ii, v. 2.
(The monument outside the church, erected to the memory of Mr Drawbridge, will be described under its proper heading.)

On the East Wall.

III. Sacred to the memory of Anne and Elizabeth, the beloved daughters of Thomas and Anne Brooke, of Northgate House, who fell asleep In Jesus, the former on the 11th of December, 1847, the latter on the 26th day of March, 1849, in the 16th year of their age.

'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.' — Psalm xvi., 15.

IV. Sacred to the memory of Betty, wife of Thomas Leigh, who departed this life the 18th day of January, 1814, aged 76 years. Also the above-named Thomas Leigh, who died March 27th, 1825, aged 72 years. Also to Elizabeth, their daughter, who was seized by the hands of death on the 24th day of April, 1837, in the 60th year of her age.

'Blessed are the dead who die In the Lord.' — Rev. cxiv., 13 v.

V. Sacred to the memory of Mary Anne, the beloved wife of George Jessop. who departed this life on December the 15th, 1840, in the 39th year of her age. Also of the above named George Jessop, who departed this life on March 14th, 1868, in the 73rd year of his age.

'For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' — Phil. c. 1st, v. 21st.

VI. In memory of Richard Jessop, who died February 5th, 1865, aged 34 years. Also of George Jessop, junr., who died January 20th, 1866, aged 37 years.

On the South Wall.

VII. In memory of Sarah, relict of John Waddington (and daughter of Robert and Lydia Walker, of Far End, Honley), who died January 20th, 1846, aged 84 years. Also Edward Crossley Waddington, their son, who was born the 17th June, 1800, and died 20th April, 1852, and is interred in the church burial-ground, in the City of New Brunswick. Also Charles John Waddington, their son, who was born 2nd February, 1802, and died 9th December, 1852. Also Sophia Waddington, their daughter, who was born 25th June, 1794, and died 9th August, 1854.

Incumbents and curates of Honley.

In Canon Hulbert's 'History of Almondbury,' he says 'that it is impossible to construct a correct list of all the curates of Honley.' I am sorry to say that many blanks occur, but the following is a list of both incumbents and curates, as far as can be ascertained.

1575. Robert Cryer, M.A. He was curate of Honley, and attests deeds executed by Sir Robert Stapleton. His daughters were baptised at Almondbury — Isabella in 1578, and Susanna in 1581. Sponsors to Isabella were Edmund Thewlis, Cecilia Thornhill, and Joanna, wife of Thomas Hepworth.

1582. James Martindale, M.A. His son was baptised at Almondbury, 12th August, 1582. Sponsors William Armitage, Thomas Marsh, and Alice Wilson.

1618. John Binns, M.A. He was born at Bank End, Thurstonland, and after officiating 18 years at Honley, resigned the curacy for that of Holmfirth. His son refused to take the oath of the King's supremacy.

1662. Thomas Dury. He refused to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity, for which so many clergymen were deprived of their livings. In Hunter's 'Life of Oliver Heywood' he was, however, 'still in the possession of the public chapel at Henley at the end of September, 1663.'

1681. J. Hanson. He was a man passionately fond of all out-door sports, and much admired by the villagers. It is said that he could ride like an Arab Sheik, and had the same fondness for his steed. He was like-minded to his predecessor, Mr Dury, for, in his last illness, he sent for the Rev Oliver Heywood to visit him. Towards his latter end he deeply regretted that his life is a clergyman had been so unprofitable.

1685. William Bray, M.A. This clergyman signs the terrier of lands, bequeathed to Honley and Meltham chapels by Godfrey Beaumont.

1691. William Ramsbottom, M.A. He was curate for one year.

1704. Joseph Lancaster, B.A.

1705. John Wayds, M.A, He was ordained priest by the Bishop of Lincoln 26th May, 1678.

1713. Stephen Carr, M.A. He was ordained deacon by the Archbishop, 21st September 1707- His widow died in 1715, aged 90.

1718. Edward Wareing, M.A, According to Oliver Heywood's Register he was buried in 1720.

1720. Thomas Tatham. M.A.

1722. Obadiah Porritt, M.A.

1724. John Wilson, M.A. He was ordained deacon by the Archbishop, 24th May, 1719.

1733. Thomas Brooke, M.A. Mr Brooke was father to the Rev Samuel Brooke, M.A., head-master of Almondbury Grammar School. His MS sermons, preached at Honley from 1720 to 1733, are written in a peculiar and ancient hand.

1734. William Croft, M.A. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Chester, 16th January, 1731, and priest by the Archbishop, 5th August, 1733. Mr Croft was an earnest, hard-working clergyman, and his exertions were highly appreciated by the inhabitants. He was burled under the chancel.

1760. Joseph Armitage, M A.

1761. Edward Haslsham, B.A. He was ordained deacon by the Archbishop, 10th June. 1750, and priest by the Bishop of Carlisle, 2nd October, 1758. Mr Haslsham was incumbent for nearly 30 years, and also the master of Almondbury Grammar School. He lived on a farm at Honley, and was the author 'of a famous sermon preached at the Parish Church, Batley, occasioned by the Enthusiasts (Methodists) of that place in 1753.'

1788. John Alexander, M.A. This clergyman read the prayers when John Wesley preached in the churchyard.

(In 1795 an application was made to the Bishop that a resident curate might be appointed.)

1796. Thomas Heaton, M.A. He resigned 6th May, 1802.

1802. Robert Smith, M.A. This clergyman forgot his high and holy office, and when remonstrated with upon his shortcomings, was wont to exclaim, 'You must do as I say, not as I do.' He was suspended from officiating.

1814. T. R. Winstanley, D.D.

1823. Charles Drawbridge, curate-in-charge, pending Mr Smith's suspension.

1825. Thomas Dawson, assistant curate.

1845. Charles Drawbridge, M.A. Mr Drawbridge, whose memory is still revered, gave up his income as an officer in the Royal Artillery in order to take Holy Orders and become a curate. Under its proper heading is a copy of the marble tablet in the chancel, erected to his memory. A large upright monument also stands in the church-yard, near to the south wall, erected to the memory of Mr Drawbridge. The following is a copy:—

'In memory of the Rev Charles Drawbridge, who was born at Brompton, Kent, November 5th, 1790. In the year 1809 he was gazetted as ensign in the Royal Artillery, and was promoted to be first lieutenant in 1811. He served with his corps in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. Having retired on half pay in 1820, he was ordained in 1823, and for more than 38 years he fulfilled the duties, first of curate and then of incumbent of this chapelry, with untiring zeal, fidelity, and love. He fell asleep in Jesus, February 1st, 1862, aged 71 years.'
'A good soldier of Jesus Christ.' 2 Tim. ii. v. 3. Also of Sarah Ann, widow of the Rev Charles Drawbridge, who died July 31st, 1863, aged 74 years. Also Marian, their second daughter who died Jane 22nd, I860, aged 30 years.
'They also which sleep in Jesus shall God bring with Him.' — 1 Thess, c. iv. v, 14.

The following is also copied from the old parish book, written by the then churchwarden, Mr James Stooks, of Fisher Green:—

'The Rev Charles Drawbridge, of Honley Church, who was minister for the period of 88 years, was greatly respected by the inhabitants, not only as a Christian gentleman of distinguished piety and zeal, but whose administrations were greatly blessed to the souls of many in this place and the surrounding hamlets. He was unflinching in the discharge of his duties, and a firm adherent to Protestant truth. He died July 1st, 1863, lamented by all who knew him.'

1862-4. Edward C. Watson, M.A. This clergyman was formerly curate of Almondbury, now vicar of Meltham.

1864. John Jones, M.A. He was formerly curate of Kirkburton and incumbent of Milnsbridge. Mr Jones exchanged the Chapelry of Houley In 1885 for the rectorship of Arborfield, Berks., with the present vioar.

1885. Edmund Lional Walsh. Mr Walsh was lnduoted to the Chepelry cf Honley on May 9th, 1885, by the late Canon Hulbert, vicar of Almondbury. Since the death of Canon Hulbert, Mr Walsh is the first Incumbent of Honley who can claim the title of vicar of the parish.

The following clergymen, in addition to those already enumerated, often officiated at Honley Church :— Pickles, Smith, Matthison, Stafford, Balmforth, Armistead, Bellas, Sunderland, Pattison, Amerton, Sedgwick, and Baldwin.

Assistant Curates.

1795. George Mason, M.A. He was appointed assistant curate to Mr Alexander, at a stipend of £40 per year, and other fees.

1789. Elkanah Hoyle.

1797. Richard Foster, B.A.

Since 1840 the following are a list of the curates :—

Rev T. Schofield,
Rev Josiah Rogers,
Rev Thomas B. Bensted (the late lamented rector of Lockwood),
Rev William Knight,
Rev E. Davies (now rector of Wilford, Nottinghamshire. where Hy. Kirk White, the poet, is buried),
Rev E. Carr,
Rev E. Boyden,
Rev J. S. E. Spencer (now incumbent of Wilshaw),
Rev Hy. Sinden,
Rev Wm. Yates,
Rev W. E. Chapman,
Rev P. Cronin,
Rev Wm. Gould,
Rev J. T. Hall,
Rev T. Longstaff,
Rev F. S. Thew,
Rev T. Haworth, (senior curate) and
Rev J. Harrison (junior curate).

The Churchyard.

'A simple muster-roll of death,
Of pomp and romance shorn ;
The old names that common breath
Has cheapened and outworn.'

The graveyard attached to the church was closed for burials on June 1st, 1856. God's-acre (its old Saxon name) has a neglected and forsaken appearance, for the present generation naturally frequent the modern and more pretty cemetery. In the graveyard, as well as under the covering of the church, are many of the old names found in the poll-tax of Richard II. — old Honley families still represented by living descendants. With two exceptions the names sound indigenous to the soil. Amongst those names, a Louisa Blennerhasaette, daughter of Captain Blennerhasaette, R.H.A., Tralee, Ireland, gives rise to the thought of 'A stranger in a strange land.' The name of the Rev Charles Drawbridge is familiar more by residence than by birth.

Many who fought out their little feuds are laid side by side, for at the threshold of those green hillocks all love and hate, wronged and wrong-doers, are at peace. That grass-covered earth may be covering those who might have been a Milton, Cromwell, or a Hampden but for the narrow circumscribed lot of their life. In the old village that still remains almost unchanged—

'They walked with noiseless feet the round Of uneventful years.'

The sound of their voices was only heard in the village parliament, whose gathering together would be around some homely hearth, or else floating out from the church, singing God's praises, as oars do to-day over their graves. Those forefathers of the village have long been laid to rest ; forgotten by many but not by all. for many still love to speak of the dead and gone worthies. Their quaint sayings and characteristic actions are handed down from parent to child — those old legends entwined inseparably with the past history of the village.

In the cemetery we see more of the cunning of the sculpture's hand and specimens of poetical rhyme than in the churchyard. In the latter the gravestones, with three exceptions, are laid flat upon the earth. Many, if not all of them, obtained from the neighbouring quarries, are almost black with age, and are of a plain character. The poetical inscriptions only have been copied from these old stones, laid over the place where, as the poet Gray says in his plaintive Elegy—

'Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.'

I give the copies without any comment.

At the entrance of the churchyard is a large square monument, erected to the memory of William Land, who died in April, 1828, aged 32 years. Upon the stone is engraved the following :—

'Young men behold as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now so you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me.'

On a line with the above is a stone erected to the memory of Mary Wood, aged 32 years. This inscription tells its own tale :—

'Young maidens all who pass this way,
Read and reflect on what I say ;
Though I am dead, this stone's my tongue,
To tell the world my grief and wrong,
Could I my grief to you disclose,
If you could feel another's woes,
You could not carelessly pass by,
Or read these lines without a sigh.
My tale is short, my words are few,
Which here record my grief to you,
A wretch in whom truth found no place,
Seduced and brought me to disgrace,
Despised, forsaken, in despair,
My grief was more than I could bear ;
To bear my sorrow oft I tried,
But sunk beneath at last and died.
If e'er the villain pass this way,
And read these lines, to him I'll say.
Tremble, O wretch, for we shall meet
Together at the Judgment Seat.'

On a large flat stone la engraved the names of three brothers Jaggars, of Oldfield, with this inscription :—

'Within this dark and silent grave,
Here lie three brothers, just and brave,
Which once in gay activity did roam.
But alas! their spirits fled, and life is gone
Until the last dreadful trumpet sounds
Their farther settled quarters found.'

This flattering epitaph on a wife is written :—

'Say what a good wife should be, and she was that.'
This good woman was the wife of J. Sanderson, clothier, Deanhouse.'

An equally good husband lies near, called George Brook. Upon this stone is engraved :—

'Here lies a husband and a father dear,
Ye mourning friends now drop a silent tear ;
Remember, too, that you must shortly come
And lie with me beneath the silent tomb.'

There is a hopeful inscription upon the tombstone of an old Honley native, J, Lancaster :—

'He declared he was happy in the midst of death.'

We now come to another well-known name, Thomas Walker, butcher. A large weeping ash covers his grave, and this inscription is carved upon the upright stone : —

'True genuine virtue be possessed,
The ready band and glowing breast,
A foe to hypocritic feud,
Whose only aim was to do good.'

God's-acre contains not only the bearded grain, but the flowers as well. Here and there a child's grave is mingled amongst those larger hillocks. I will only give the inscriptions from two stones. The first a child four years of age :—

'How sudden and how awful was the stroke,
By which the slender thread of life was broke,
Reader reflect, what happened unto me
For aught thou knowest, may happen unto thee.'

On the stone laid over another child is carved :—

'Refrain your tears, pray shed no more,
Because your children's gone before,
In love they lived, in peace they died.
Their life was asked, but was denied.'

Over the remains of J. Dyson, of Steps Mill, his sorrowing widow thought fit to inscribe the following lines :—

'When death was sent from God above.
So suddenly to part our love.
No friend, nor yet physician's art.
Could then prevent his fatal dart.'

Another widower thought that these lines would perpetuate his grief :—

'In peace she died, her soul resigned,
To God who kindly gave it,
Why should'st not thou do so with thine?
Christ lived and died to save it.'

On the stone erected to the memory of a well known cabinetmaker is: —

'No more ye rich survey your store,
Elate with heaps of shining ore.
Behold the Lord gave me a sadden call,
Prepare to follow me my kindred all.'

On a mother's stone is engraved :—

'Now friends and relatives farewell,
Till we in brighter realms shall dwell,
Mourn not for me, but pity take
Upon my children for my sake.'

On many other stones are engraved suitable texts from the Bible, but their Inscriptions are too numerous to be introduced here.

The cemetery was consecrated on September 24th, 1857. The first funeral was that of William Hirst, of Townhead. I may here mention as part history of the church, that Charles Hawkyard, who was sexton at the church for 43 years, is laid in the cemetery. He died in 1860, and upon the stone placed over his remains the following lines were composed by a local poet

'You ask dear reader how it is that I,
A maker of men's graves should hither lie?
Death found me at my duty where I fell,
Pulling the frail rope of St. Mary's bell.'

(To be continued next week.)