The Parish Church of St. Bartholomew, Meltham: Ter-Centenary 1651-1951 (1951)
The Parish Church of St. Bartholomew, Meltham, in the County of York and Diocese of Wakefield: Ter-Centenary 1651-1951 was published in 1951 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first chapel in Meltham.
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The Parish Church of St. Bartholomew, Meltham: Ter-Centenary 1651-1951
The 300th Anniversary of the Consecration of Meltham’s. first Church seems a fitting occasion for the compilation of a brief history, which will be of interest to those who live in the parish today, and also, I hope, may be handed on to, and valued by, those who shall come after us. Any historian of Meltham is, of course, greatly indebted to “The History of Meltham” which the Rev. Joseph Hughes began to compile a century ago, though it was not published until 1866 — and this present Memoir is dedicated by the writer to the memory of that “faithful shepherd of the flock,” who died on the 8th of November, 1863, after an incumbency of 25 years. May I also offer it, to parishioners and friends in the ancient township, in gratitude for the happy fellowship I have enjoyed with them for the past eleven years.
- J.E. Roberts
Vicar of Meltham
Hon. Canon of Wakefield
Hon. Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Wakefield
Our Village is mentioned in Domesday Book, William the Conquerors great survey of the land he had conquered. It was there named Meltha. Other ancient forms were Muletham and (in 1388) Melteham. In an enquiry in the reign of Edward the Third, two tenants from Meltham are named as paying rent to the Lord of Almondbury and in Elizabeth’s reign, one John Beaumont held certain lands within the manor of Meltham in the manor of Almondbury. The connection between Meltham and Almondbury thus goes back to feudal times.
Derivation. The name is Melt-ham not Mel-tham: “ham” meaning home. “Multer” (Norwegian) and “multemyr” (Danish) signify a moor covered with cloudberry bushes, so Melt-ham is “the home amidst the cloudberry bushes.” The cloudberry fruit is like a small strawberry (orange red in colour), the plants are some eight to ten inches high, and the flower is white.
Before 1651 the widespread parish of Almondbury had two chapelries to the ancient Parish Church. Marsden Chapel was founded in 1462 and Honley Chapel in 1503.
To these two houses of God (especially to Honley) would-be worshippers from Meltham would go, though for a long period Meltham folk thought nothing of walking to the Mother Church for Baptisms, Marriages and Burials.
The first seed. In the year 1649 one William Woodhead of Meltham made his will. In it, he directed that out of rents and profits in Saddleworth, his executors should pay the sum of forty shillings a year towards the maintenance of a minister to preach the Word of God at Meltham, “if there should be a chapel there erected.” It is said that he thus prepared for Meltham having its own chapel because of the infirmity and age of his mother who had become unable to worship at Honley Chapel.
Soon after, the chief inhabitants of Meltham “expended considerable sums of money in erecting a chapel” and William Woodhead’s “forty shillings” a year was the beginning of the endowment which provides the Vicar of Meltham’s Stipend.
Of the First Chappel of Meltham we know little, and have no picture. It would be a plain building with no pretensions to architectural merit. The floor would be of mud and clay trodden hard and firm; and at “rush-bearing” year by year, the floor would be covered with rushes — a welcome preparation for winter.
But our first builders were good churchmen who knew that a church must be consecrated by a Bishop for Divine worship. How could this be ? ... Civil war had been raging between King and Parliament. Episcopacy had been abolished in 1643, Bishops ejected from their Sees and many clergy from their parishes. In 1645 the use of the Prayer Book was forbidden by Parliament, and in January, 1649, King Charles the First was beheaded. But the Church had its “resistance movement” and outstanding amongst the resisters was Bishop Henry Tilson, a former Bishop of Elphin in Ireland. He was living in retirement near Dewsbury and from there he bravely exercised his episcopal functions. He ministered at Cumberworth and on October 3rd, 1650, he actually ordained one Christian Binns to the priesthood in Emley Church. (This Mr. Binns was in the following year Curate of Meltham). It was this venerable prelate, living in retirement, in poor and precarious circumstances, who came to Meltham in the 75th year of his age, and consecrated Meltham’s first Church on S. Bartholomew’s Day (August 24th), 1651, We possess a copy of the Consecration Deed.
So far as can be ascertained to the contrary, Meltham Chapel was the only church in England to receive Episcopal Consecration during the period of the Commonwealth.
The courageous old Bishop, whose name should never be forgotten in Meltham, passed to his rest in April, 1655, and was buried in Dewsbury Parish Church where a tablet perpetuates his memory.
Relics of the old Church are few. In the present pulpit there is the desk of the original pulpit, bearing the inscription, “1651 Cathedra Veritatis” (i.e., the chair or pulpit of truth). Behind the south-west door is the lintel-stone of the first Chapel. On it is carved in simple characters the date 1651. The date mark of our oldest Chalice is 1642.
The first Chapel was the spiritual home of Meltham folk for 135 years. On the 29th day of July, 1785, a Faculty was granted to the inhabitants of “Meltham — half in the Parish of Almondbury to build a new Chapel.” Before considering this further building, let the reader pause to reflect on the back-ground of the times. In 1651 the first Chapel was built in times of religious persecution. In 1786 the first part of our present Church was built in times of slackness and religious sloth. The Eighteenth Century means to the student of English Church History a period of coldness, lack of enthusiasm and feebleness of faith. The Universities had not been so corrupt and inefficient since the days of Edward VI.
Many Bishops were often mere State Officials and thought little of their high office and solemn responsibilities. The beneficed clergy were often absentees and pluralists, leaving their duties to be done by poorly paid curates. The standard of the time was very low. Neglected churches were common, Baptism carelessly administered, Confirmations infrequent. In the year 1800 there was only ONE Celebration in St. Paul’s Cathedral on Easter Day, and there were 6 communicants!!! In social matters there was neglect and brutality. This was the historical background of the time when Meltham folk began to build their second church.
The Second Church. We gather that in part, materials from the first Church were used in the building of the present one — though some were sold to the masons, and were used tor dwellinghouses. As the building finally appeared, it was a plain rectangle, without the present north transept, tower and chancel. On March 5th, 1835 the foundation stone of the Tower was laid and on St. Bartholomew’s Day of that year the top stone was placed in position amidst great rejoicings. Mr. Hughes records that baskets with pulleys attached, were provided to enable the adventurous to make easy ascents to the top. The faculty authorising the erection of the Tower also included the adding of the North Transept with a gallery above it.
The Bells. Then came the determination to have a peal of bells, six in number, which are well-known far and wide today for their sweetness and purity of tone. On the first day of February, 1836, the bells were brought in carts into the village and on the 20th they sent forth their first glad volume of song and “awoke an echo of gladness in every heart in Meltham.” Shortly afterwards a clock with chimes was installed in the Tower. In 1878 a Carillon Machine was installed with four additional bells and in 1936, after ringing for 100 years the bells were restored and re-hung in modern fashion in a metal frame. The prowess of our Ringers today is well-known in the ringing world.
The Chancel. In 1876 the task was undertaken (during Mr. Watson s incumbency) of adding the final portion of the present Church. This work also included and necessitated extensive alterations of pews, removal of the old square pews, etc. The so-called “owners” of pews gave their consents, the vicious system of “pew-rents” was abolished, and Meltham’s Parish Church was made a “free and open” Church for ever. A generous benefactor to this last piece of Church-building was Mr. Edward Brook.
The Incumbents and Vicars. In the early days the priests serving the Chapel were Curates of Almondbury subject to the Vicar’s jurisdiction.
Christopher Binns (1651-1669) was ordained Priest in Emley Church by Bishop Henry Tilson on October 3rd, 1650, and was appointed the first Curate of Meltham Chapel.
George Crosland, May 2nd, 1669.
Randall Broom, 1683-1705. (His grave is opposite the South-East door of the Church).
John Kaye, 1710-1723.
John Stainton, 1724-1728.
Robert Sagar, 1728-1770. (His grave is opposite the South-East door of the Church).
The inhabitants of Meltham seem to have entertained a most kindly feeling for Mr. Sagar for, about the year 1760, they enclosed from “the waste” of Mill Moor a portion of land from which they dug out the stones, and prepared it for cultivation. This they gave to the Church for the improvement of the living. This was “The Parson’s Close,” and from this field a portion was taken for the Cemetery (in 1850).
We may assume that after Mr. Sagar’s time the priests serving the Chapel had a greater measure of security of tenure and independence, and might be termed Incumbents.
Edmund Armitstead (1770-1826), ministered in the old Chapel for 16 years and for a further 40 years in the new one. During the whole of that long incumbency he resided at Netherton.
After the death of Mr. Armitstead the Vicar of Almondbury, the Rev. Lewis Jones, appointed himself to the Incumbency of Meltham Chapel. This action caused some stir. There was a popular demand for the appointment of one, the Rev. Robert Kean, who had been Mr. Armitstead’s assistant. When the Vicar arrived for a service, he found the churchyard occupied by a hostile crowd, who refused him admission to the Chapel and questioned his right of appointment. But Mr. Jones was not a man to be trifled with. He took some of the “riotous Melthamers” to York Assizes where they were bound over to be of good behaviour, and the right of the Vicar of Almondbury to “present” to Meltham has never again been questioned.
Lewis Jones held the Incumbency of Meltham along with the Vicarage of Almondbury for ten years. He was a man of energy and forcefulness of character and he is not without memorial in our district, for during his Vicariate of the ancient parish, no less than fourteen new Churches were built and consecrated — many of them through his instrumentality. In most of these cases Schools and Vicarage houses were also provided. After holding the Incumbency of Meltham himself for 10 years, he relinquished it, and appointed in his stead:
Joseph Hughes (1838-1863). The photograph of this good man in the Vicar’s Vestry shows him in riding breeches — horse-riding being a very usual mode of transport in those days in scattered parishes. Mr. Hughes has three memorials in addition to the one in Church. He built our Vicarage (1839) and in 1851 he began to write “The History of Meltham” though it was not published till after his death. This book has preserved from oblivion many interesting facts about our township and Church. The “new” School is also a memorial to him.
Edward Collis Watson, the next Incumbent (1863) was the Vicar’s son-in-law, and was transferred from the incumbency of the sister chapelry of Honley. With his advent we seem to be coming to modern times for the memory of “Parson Watson” still lingers and stories are still told of his firmness of character and the tenacity with which he held to the principles and privileges of the Mother Church of England, and to that part of it in Meltham. He had a large family. The labours of some of them for the Church are still remembered. During his time the Chancel was added.
From 1651-1874 the Incumbents of Meltham had been subservient to the Vicar to a greater or lesser degree (e.g., fees for the “occasional” services had to be remitted to Almondbury). But by an Order in Council, 1874, our Clergy were entitled to the title Vicar. On June 28th, 1874, Mr. Watson signed himself Incumbent. Twenty-one days later in the Register he signed himself Vicar. He died on 5. John Baptist’s Day, 1899, the anniversary of his Ordination, St. John Baptist’s Day, 1859. He had “reigned” in Meltham for 35 years. We are grateful to him and his helpers for making Meltham Church “free and open” for ever.
George Julius Tatham (1899-1902) succeeded in November, 1899, having made a deep impression in a short incumbency in another Almondbury Parish (Milnsbridge). He was stricken with a mortal disease, but faced death with superb faith and courage. His last letter to his parishioners is a very moving document. Mr. Tatham started the Parish Magazine.
After a long interregnum:
Henry Walsham How, Vicar of Mirfield and Honorary Canon of Wakefield Cathedral was instituted as Vicar of Meltham on September 16th, 1902, by Bishop Eden who had just succeeded Bishop Walsham How (the Vicar’s father). During his term of office the illness of King Edward the Seventh — the famous Education Bill of 1902 — the death of Mr. Edward Brook, a dearly loved worshipper and a most generous benefactor of the Church were outstanding events, as also was the enlargement of a very narrow sanctuary by bringing the Altar Rails west-ward, necessitating the shortening of the Choir Stalls, etc.
In 1904 considerable additions were made to Wakefield Cathedral consisting of the erection of a Chapel behind the High Altar, with Chapter House, Canons and Choir Vestries beneath. The addition (consecrated St. Mark’s Day, 1908) is a memorial to Canon How’s father. He himself resigned Meltham after 15 years’ service, on his appointment as Archdeacon of Halifax. He died at Malvern, November 29th, 1923.
Herbert Francis Treseder Barter (like Mr. Watson) came to Meltham from the sister parish of Honley. He was instituted on June 30th, 1917, and held the Benefice for nearly 23 years. He was appointed Canon Honorary of the Cathedral in 1927. During Canon Barter’s term of office may be recalled the lamented death of Mr. William Wrigley, the erection of the Reredos behind the Altar and other events to be detailed later.
After nine years’ retirement Canon Barter died on January 28th, 1949.
James Edward Roberts, Vicar of Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury, Canon Honorary of Wakefield Cathedral and Honorary Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Wakefield, was instituted as Vicar of Meltham, July 13th, 1940.
The Assistant Curates. Doubtless the early Incumbents had some assistance from time to time but Mr. Watson and Canon How were the most fortunate in this respect. Canon Barter had only one curate for a few months and since then the parish has never had that help.
The Registers bear the signatures of Robert Kean (1825), T. Killam-Killam (1883), W.A. Terry, C.R. Dalton (1901), H.S. Stanton Clarke (1902), R.P. Hadland (1904), J.V. Haswell (1910), A.T. Godson (1915), J. Winston (1921).
[The Rev. C.R. Dalton is still alive and celebrated the Eucharist recently in a London Church on his 76th Birthday. He sends greetings to his old parish for Ter-Centenary.]
The Registers. “George Crosland received the Cure of Souls at Meltham, the 2nd of May, 1669.” This is the first entry in our Register, so that we must presume that Marriages and Burials during the previous 18 years were recorded at the Mother Church. From 1705 to 1711 there is no record — probably for the same reason. The first of our Registers covers from 1669 to 1812, and also contains the Churchwardens’ accounts for a number of years. Here we find many quaint entries:
- “1726, Cleansing Chappell, 1/-.”
- “Surpliss Washing and Mending, 2 years, 2/6.”
The prices ruling at that time are interesting, e.g., Half a Swine, 19/-; 4 lb. pot of butter, 1/4; a shoulder of veal 8d.; 3 lbs. and a quarter of mutton, 8d.; a cow, £2/12/6; Boots mending, 7d.; Mean Bridge was built and guaranteed for seven years for £4/7/6!!!
In our first register, Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and Accounts are all together. Later Registration Acts required the keeping of separate volumes.
The Sacred Vessels. The Church possesses a Flagon and two Chalices and Patens of the large old-fashioned type of early times — also two modern Chalices and Patens much smaller and more convenient for their sacred purpose. All are in silver.
The Flagon is almost a foot high and weighs 47 ozs. Inscription, “The gift of Elizabeth, daughter of Timothy Woodhead, to the Chappel of Meltham, 1784.” The London date letter is 1784.
One of the two large Chalices presents an interesting problem. The inscription reads, “Presented by the Rev. Joseph Hughes and Catherine, his wife, to Meltham Church, Whit Monday, 1857.” But the London date letter indicates the year of stamping as 1642. Where had it been for 215 years and where did Mr. Hughes find it? An authority on Church plate gives the following opinion about the “Hughes” Chalice. “At first sight it seems strange that the Chalice presented in 1857 should have been made a couple of hundred years earlier. It is highly probable that this Chalice originally belonged to Meltham Church at its foundation, and that Mr. Hughes was the means of its restoration.”
The other large Chalice was given by Mariae Beaumont, widow of Sir Thomas Beaumont, of Whitley, Knight, 1675. He was a liberal contributor towards the erection of the first Chapel. Pieces of Plate given by Lady Beaumont are in York Minster and at Penistone.
Of the two old Patens the first is quite plain with raised rim. No inscription. Date letter 1674. The second Paten is a beautiful small salver on three feet (li inches high) with raised and ornamented rim. It was probably originally a secular piece. The gift of Elizabeth, the daughter of Timothy Woodhead, 1784.”
Of the modern plate
- G.J. Tatham, Vicar, 1899-1902, bequeathed his Chalice and Paten to the Church. Date letter 1892.
- In 1950 a few friends gave a smaller Chalice and Paten to the Church in memory of H.F.T. Barter, Vicar 1917-1940.
The Windows. Our Church does not possess much stained glass but what we have is all good. The two windows in the South Wall of the Chancel are in Memory of Mr. Watson (Vicar, 1864-1899). They portray Our Lord as the Good Shepherd and The Light of the World.
The window in the South Wall of the Nave is to the memory of Mr. Tatham (Vicar, 1899-1902). It portrays Our Lord in the Act of Blessing.
The beautiful three-light East Window was erected to the memory of Mr. Edward Brook, by his widow (1904). Amongst a group of Saints our Patron Saint is shown holding a model of the Church in his hands.
The Schools. The earliest record of a School in our township is a clause in the Will of one Matthew Lockwood, dated May 23rd, 1715, by which he directed that the interest of £20 is to be paid “to a schoolmaster for teaching children in the town of Meltham.” Our first register records the burial in 1734 of Mr. Wm. Ripley, Schoolmaster. But the first actual school building was erected in 1737 on School Green. Perhaps Mr. Ripley kept school in his own house.
After the school of 1737 had fallen into decay another was erected in 1823 with a school house attached. Twenty-three years later the accommodation was inadequate for the increasing population and the school was enlarged as far as the limits of the site would permit, the cost being defrayed by subscriptions and grants from societies.
In 1870 the premises were used as an Infant School in connection with the Memorial School recently erected on the other side of the road from the Church, upon pieces of ground given by Mr. Charles Brook the younger.
The raising of a new School had long been the earnest desire of Mr. Hughes. For this reason (though he did not live to see it) the School is a ‘memorial’ to him. The foundation stone was laid by his daughter in 1867. In the years 1895 and 1901 additions were made to the Schools, at a cost of £3,000. The “old school” was first rented and then bought by the Conservative Club authorities. The money received from the sale was invested with the Charity Commissioners and the interest therefrom provides the Meltham Scholarships today.
The Reverend Abraham Woodhead. No history of Meltham would be complete without a reference to the most famous of all “Melthamers.” He was the nephew of the original promoter of the building of the first Church, and we are probably quite safe in assuming that he knew what was going on in Meltham when he was 43 years of age, for he was born in our village in the year 1608.
His baptism is recorded (in Latin) in the Almondbury register as Abraham, son of John Woodhead, of Meltham, baptized April 2nd, 1609. At the early age of 16 years he won a scholarship at University College, Oxford, and had a brilliant academic career. He became a Fellow of his College and received Holy Orders in the Church of England. He became tutor to the Duke of Buckingham, who, in later years was the outstanding figure in the Court of Charles the First. Mr. Woodhead had a residence at York House. But the end of monarchy was at hand (for a time), Buckingham was assassinated, and the King was beheaded. Abraham Woodhead retired to Hoxton where he lived in obscurity, pursuing his studies until he died in his 70th year (1678). Had the times been less troublesome he would certainly have been accorded the honour of burial in University College Chapel. In fact the inscription for a monument in the Chapel was actually in existence, but he was laid to rest in a humble grave at the old Church of St. Pancras. On his grave this inscription was written: “I have chosen to be an abject in the house of God, and have remained in solitude, not seeking what is useful to myself, but to the many.” Some people when they rise to exalted positions in life forget, or pretend to forget, their humble origins. Not so Abraham Woodhead. Notable figure in University life, and an associate of the great ones of the earth, he never forgot the Melt-ham — the home amidst the cloudberry — his native village on the Pennines.
We possess a copy of his Will, dated the 8th of June, 1675. After committing his soul into the hands of an all-merciful Redeemer, he directs that after some provision for a relative the residue of his possessions should be paid “to the Minister of the Word of God that shall be settled and officiat at ye Chappell of Meltham and so to his successors in ye same place and office for ever.”
A small portion of the Vicar of Meltham’s income today, comes through that pious bequest. The thoughtful reader of these notes will, I think, reflect upon the similarity of experience between the courageous old Bishop, who consecrated our first Church, and Meltham’s famous son. Both of them, after distinguished academic careers, lived awhile “in the fierce light that beats around a throne.” Both of them ended their days in seclusion, obscurity and comparative poverty. Both of them were faithful to the end. “May they be numbered with God’s Saints in glory everlasting.”
A MISCELLANY OF EVENTS DOWN THE YEARS
1900. The Rev. G. J. Tatham published the first Parish Magazine. Stained Glass Windows were erected in South Wall of the Chancel to the memory of the Rev. E. C. Watson. The Infant School was enlarged by Classrooms and Cloakroom at a cost of £1,240.
1901. Captain Brook and four others welcomed home from the South African War. The Rev. G. J. Tatham died. He left his Communion Vessels to the Church — his family gave the Litany Desk and parishioners erected the Stained Glass Window in the South Wall of the Chancel.
1902. Canon H. Walsham How instituted. (The historian is at a disadvantage in this section because the magazines files from 1904-1917 have not, apparently, been preserved).
1917. October 8th, Mr. William Wrigley died — a well-known public figure and a faithful servant of the Church in parish and Diocese.
1918. Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Quarmby gave £500 as a memorial of their son, Second Lieutenant James Schofield Quarmby, who was killed in action, December 2nd, 1917. Mr. Wm. Carter and his family gave £100 in memory of Mr. Alfred Ernest Carter, who was killed in action, May 3rd, 1917. This constitutes the Quarmby-Carter endowment, the interest of which is applied to Church Expenses. November 11th, Armistice Day, The end of the first Great War.
1919. In memory of Mr. William Wrigley of Bent House his widow and family gave a Reredos — in triptych form. The theme is a sunset scene with Our Lord healing the sick.
1920. The first Parochial Church meeting under the Enabling Act was held. This act constituted the P.C.C. in every parish a statutory body.
1921. The War Memorial (1914-18), containing 98 names was unveiled by Captain J.L. Watson, M.C., and dedicated by the Vicar, the Rev. H.F.T. Barter. Archdeacon Walsham How gave the address.
1922. April. The new Burial Ground was consecrated by Bishop Eden in a snowstorm. May 18th, at a public meeting it was decided to have a District Nurse for the township. August, a decision was taken to provide a new organ to be erected in the gallery (unfortunately the plan was not carried out). The scheme was launched in December.
1924. January. The interior of the Church was “colour-washed.” June. The M.U. Banner dedicated. Buses began to run between Meltham and Huddersfield, which event was said to have “a marked effect” upon the Sunday evening Congregation. November. Tree planting in new graveyard
1925. March. The Girls’ Friendly Society kept its. Jubilee. On Whitsun Day Altar Lights were first used in Meltham Church (given by an anonymous donor). August. G.F.S. members went to Jubilee celebrations in London.
1926. Members of the M.U. went to London for the Jubilee of the Society.
1927. June. The Rev. H.F.T. Barter was installed as a Canon Honorary of Wakefield Cathedral. On St. Bartholomew’s Day the new organ was dedicated by Archdeacon Harvey. The cost of the organ was £1,608 and of the electric installation £181. A sustained effort over the period 1922-1928 resulted in the sum of £1,889 being given and “raised” for these and other improvements. A balance of £81 was allotted to the Churchwardens’ Account.
1928. Consternation was caused throughout the Church of England by the action of the House of Commons in refusing to approve of “The 1928 Prayer Book.” The work of revising this Book had gone on for 20 years. October. Dr. Eden, Second Bishop of Wakefield, resigned after occupying the See since 1897 when he succeeded Bishop Walsham How. Canon James Seaton, Principal of Cuddesdon Theological College was consecrated in York Minster on All Saints’ Day, and enthroned at Wakefield on St. Andrew’s Day, 1928.
1930. January 14th. The heavy stone disc of the Western face of the Church Clock fell into the road. By great good fortune no one was hurt. October. The Church Clock was restored by Miss H. B. Haigh as a memorial to her father and mother.
1934. Interior of the Church decorated.
1935. Easter Day. A Processional Cross (an anonymous gift) was used for the first time. May 6th, Observance of the Silver Jubilee of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary.
1936. February 20th, The Centenary of our Bells. January 20th, His Majesty King George V died. August, a donation of £400 from Mr. C.L. Brook made possible the re-conditioning of the Bells in a new frame, and the renovation of the Carillon was paid for by a general subscription. Bishop Seaton re-dedicated the Bells on New Year’s Eve. All Saints’ Day. M.U. Banner dedicated.
1937. Electric light installed in the Schools. May 12th, Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
1938. The Jubilee of the Diocese of Wakefield (founded 1888). Services were held in all parts of the Diocese. The great Thanksgiving Service in tire Cathedral was on May 25th, the Eve of the Ascension. It was known that Bishop Seaton was seriously ill and having heard of the wonderful service he died before the day closed.
In connection with the Jubilee a Choir Festival was held m the Cathedral on June 18th in which Meltham Choir took part. This year also the Fourth Centenary of the publication of the Bible in English was commemorated. Dr. Seaton was succeeded as Bishop by the Suffragan Bishop, Dr. Hone,, who was enthroned on Friday, October 14th. Clouds of war gathering. The “Munich” agreement seemed to disperse them for a little while.
1939. July, Meltham got a severe shock when notice was given of the impending closure of the Mills of the United Thread Company. September, War declared on Germany. Oak Prayer Desk given by the G.F.S. Candidates.
1940. Canon H.F.T. Barter resigned the Benefice on June 8th and Canon J.E. Roberts was instituted on July 13th. A Wednesday morning Eucharist was begun for Intercession, and has been continued ever since. A list was given of articles “wanted” and there was a ready response. The honour of giving the first Chasuble fell to the Mothers' Union who gave the white one. This was followed later by the gift of the green one (anonymous). The violet (in memory of Parents) and the red (by Confirmation Candidates).
1941. Easter Day, The Eucharistic Vestments (Amice, Alb and Chasuble of the appropriate colour) were used for the first time in Meltham Church. September, A Private Communion Set given by Miss A.A. Taylor of Romiley. A violet Super-frontal given in memory of Canon H.S.S. Clarke.
1942. Cottages and land in Town Gate belonging to the Benefice were sold and the proceeds taken by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to the endowment of the Benefice.
1943. The P.C.C. sanctioned the proposal to convert the Transept under the North Gallery into a Side Chapel.
1944. A deluge of rain on Whitsun-Monday did much damage and caused loss of life in the district. .
1945. United Service for the Township in Thanksgiving for the Cessation of War (May 8th). October 25th, The Senior Scholars of our School began attendance at Marsden Senior School. First Christmas Midnight Mass in Meltham Church.
1946. Dr. Hone resigned the Bishopric of Wakefield and Archdeacon Henry McGowan, who was nominated as Fifth Bishop of Wakefield, was consecrated in York Minster on Candlemas Day and enthroned at Wakefield on February 16th, 1946. At Bartholomewtide, Bishop McGowan was too ill to pay a promised first visit to Meltham. Whitsun Excursion for Sunday School Scholars was begun.
1947. Opened with a very severe spell of wintry weather lasting from January 26th to March 26th — one of the hardest winters in living memory.
1948. On September 8th, Bishop McGowan died after a long and wearying illness. During an all too brief episcopate he had endeared himself to all who came to know him.
1949. The Side Chapel. The project of converting the transept under the North gallery into a Side Chapel, was a long time in coming to fruition, owing to the difficulty in getting permits for materials. But at long last a worthy beginning was made. On February 13th, the Quarmby Memorial Altar, in memory of a former Churchwarden and Chairman of School Managers, was dedicated at Evensong. A bronze tablet, near-by, bears the following inscription: “The Altar in this Chapel (with its Ornaments) was given to the Glory of God, in honour of the Blessed Sacrament, and in Loving Memory of Sir John Sykes Quarmby, Kt. (1868-1943) and Laura Helena, his wife (1866-1949). Requiescant in Pace.” The Priest’s Chair is in memory of Thomas Albert Hirst, a faithful servant of the Church, and the Prayer Desk commemorates Brian Garside, a devout and faithful Server. The Sanctuary Lamp is a gift from Wakefield Cathedral. The Book of Memory records the names of those who made the great sacrifice, 1939-1945. Other gifts have come in due course. The Altar Book in Memory of Arnold Haigh (sometime Chairman of the Urban District Council). The Credence Table (Candidates of G.F.S.), Floor-coverings, Carpet (M.U.), Prayer Books, Four Super-frontals, etc. St. Mark’s Day (April 25th), The Ven. R.P. Wilson, Archdeacon of Nottingham, was consecrated Bishop in York Minster and was enthroned as Sixth Bishop of Wakefield on May 30th. June, 400th Anniversary of the First Book of Common Prayer.
1950. On Sunday, June 25th, at the 9 a.m. Eucharist, two memorials were dedicated to the memory of the late Canon H.F.T. Barter. A mural tablet by the High Altar provided by the family and a small silver Chalice and Paten the gift of friends. On Sunday, October 1st, a Sanctuary Lamp, before the High Altar, was dedicated. It is the gift of Mr and Mrs. F.E. Dawson — a Thankoffering to mark their Silver Wedding. 'November, At the November meeting of the P.C.C. there was placed on record the deep debt of gratitude the Church in Meltham owed to Mr. W. R. Carter who had completed 30 years’ service as Secretary and Church Treasurer.
1951. A Chain of Office provided by public subscription tor the use of the Chairman of the Urban District Council for the time being was blessed at a Special Civic Service on Trinity Sunday, May 20th.
In preparation for the 300th Dedication Festival, the Church was cleaned and decorated throughout, and improvements made to the heating and lighting.
THE TER-CENTENARY PROGRAMME
The Preparation Messengers at Evensong
- July 29 The Lord Bishop of Wakefield.
- Aug. 5 The Rev. E.H. Tucker (Marsden).
- Aug. 19 The Rev. C.S. Dunn, M.A.
Feast of St. Bartholomew, A.M.
- Friday, August 24th
- Administration of the Blessed Sacrament, 6 a.m.. 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
- Evensong, 7-30 p.m. The Rev. H.N. Pobjoy, M.A. (Emley).
Saturday, August 25th
- Re-Union Tea, Evensong and Social Gathering.
August 26th (Sunday in the Octave)
- Eucharist, 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
- Preacher at Evensong (6 p.m.) : The Very Reverend The Provost of Wakefield Cathedral. (The Chairman and Members of the Urban District Council attend in their official capacity).
Aug. 27 (Mon.) G.F.S. Re-Union Social.
Aug. 28 (Tue.) M.U. Day Service at 3-30 p.m.
- Preacher: The Rev. N.A. Moore, A.K.C. (Denby).
Aug. 29 (Weds.) Men’s Evening, 7-30 p.m.
Aug. 31 (Fri). Young People’s Gala Night.
Sep. 1 The Altar Servers’ Guild Office sung at 3-45 p.m.
The Thanksgiving Messengers at Evensong
Sep. 2 The Rev. J.E. Barlow, M.Sc., B.D. (St. Michael’s, (Wakefield).
Sep. 9 Canon A.F Bellman, M.A. (Vicar of Almondbury and — by virtue of that office Patron of the Benefice).
Sep. 16 The Rev. T.W. Clacy (Honley).
Sep. 23 The Rev. T.W. Sweeting, M.A. (South Crosland).
Sep. 30 Final Day of Thanksgiving and Harvest Festival
- H.C., 7-15, 8 and 9 a.m.
- The Right Reverend A. H. Morris, M.A., LL.B. (Bishop Suffragan of Pontefract) will preside arid preach at the Sung Eucharist, 10-45 a.m.)
- 2-30 p.m., Family and Gift Service.
- Preacher: The Rev. W. Littlewood, L.Th. (Lockwood).
- 6-30 p.m., Evensong and Te Deum.
- Preacher: THE VICAR.