Huddersfield Chronicle (09/May/1863) - Meltham: Oratorio

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.


It is our painful duty to record the death of this amiable man and respected Christian minister. So recently as Sunday, the 1st November, he took part in the services of his own church, and gave a lecture in the school room in the evening. He had engaged to preach in the Parish Church of Huddersfield on the 8th instant ; but on the morning of that day, he was called away from his earthly labours to his everlasting rest.

He was appointed to the church at Meltham twenty-five years ago, thus fulfilling his sacred office exactly a quarter of a century. By his faithful preaching, his active benevolence, and his unwearied exertions, a gratifying change was wrought in Meltham – from being a place of active contention, it was converted into one of peace and quiet submission to the laws. By courteous behaviour to all, including those not of his own congregation, by treating his Dissenting brethren as members of the Church of Christ, and by considering himself as the minister of all, he obtained an influence and secured an amount of love which tended to the peaceful happiness of his ministerial life.

When he accepted Meltham, there was not a parsonage. Now, the "village preacher's modest mansion," with its beautiful garden adorns a rising ground which overlooks the town.

We doubt whether there is a more favoured place as regards church extension than Meltham, three additional churches having been built in the township by the munificence of those worthy families who reside there nor has their liberality been confined to the three churches which they have built and endowed. Mr. Hughes received ample proofs from time to time that the original church was not neglected. The very day on which the deceased was taken ill, a contract was made by that noble-minded man, Charles Brook, jun., for the purchase of a site for a new school, – he having stated that he considered the incumbent of Meltham to be worthy of all that could be done for him.

The deceased was an ardent lover of his native principality, and was a fluent speaker in the Welsh language. He delighted in the antiquities, "the language, and the poetry of his poor Ancient Britain ; and adopting the signature of "Carn Ingli," an English curate, he contributed papers which were esteemed good at the Bardic meetings at Carnarvon and elsewhere.

Sunday, the 8th of November, will be a day long remembered in Meltham, as the day on which their beloved minister departed, and all felt that they had lost a counsellor and a friend ; and we doubt not that the affectionate prayers of the inhabitants for the deceased's widow and child will be accepted at the throne of grace, and that in answer to such prayers strength may be given them from on high to bear with Christian resignation the severe loss they have sustained.

The funeral took place at Meltham on Thursday morning the 12th.

When the procession approached the church, a scene was witnessed which it is not easy to describe – all the neighbouring clergy and gentry, the Local Board of Meltham, the schools, and a large proportion of the inhabitants were ranged in order, – and as Mrs. Hughes descended the steps of the mourning coach, loud exclamations of grief showed that the deceased had laboured among a warm hearted people, who not only valued their departed minister, but deeply sympathised with the bereaved widow and her daughter.

The service was impressively conducted by the Rev. George Hough, incumbent of Crosland, and the Rev. E. C. Ince, incumbent of St. James's, Meltham Mills, and thus amid the tears of his people, and the sorrows of his surviving friends, the deceased's remains were consigned to the silent tomb.

A correspondent from Fishguard writes us :– The Rev. Joseph Hughes, whose recent decease has caused so much sorrow among his parishioners at Meltham, in Yorkshire, was a native of the parish of Newport in Pembrokeshire, and spent his early years under the shadow of that picturesque mountain (Carn Ingli,) whose name he adopted, when the influence of the Awen, compelled him to become a Bard. From his youth to his death, he was of a most sweet and happy disposition, equally beloved by his early friends in Wales, and by those of his riper years in Yorkshire. He had a finest poetical mind, and his impromptu Welsh verses will long live in the memory of the few friends of his youth who survive him. He left Wales for Yorkshire in 1830, and was first curate of Lockwood, near Huddersfield, becoming incumbent of Meltham some years afterwards.