Meltham Feast (1830s)
The following summaries are compiled from books and contemporary newspaper reports, and help give a flavour of the Meltham Feast.
The conversion of St. Bartholomew's into a church from a chapel was celebrated during the annual feast. The celebrations included members of the public being winched to the top of the newly constructed church tower in a basket. According to the Rev. Hughes, local man Joseph Taylor got so carried away that, "in defiance of the entreaties and remonstrances of the bystanders", he climbed up the side of the tower using the mason's ladders with his one-year-old daughter Levina in his arms before "holding her in triumph on one of the east pinnacles of the tower."
Notes and References
- By 1851, Joseph Taylor was the "Collector Of Poor Rates and Registrar of Births & Deaths" and 16-year-old Levina was working as a cotton winder. Hughes states that James Garlick was so horrified by Taylor's antics in climbing the tower the "he rushed into his house to escape the sight of what he believed inevitable — namely, the destruction of both father and child." Levina married Ishmael Redfearn in 1858 and died in 1907 aged 73.