Eng. (Lancashire). Parish Bury.

The registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryEng. (Lancashire). Parish BuryThe registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 52)
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of every stroke, or half bushel, and after that rate for any greater or
lesser measure, of and for all the corn of the growth within the
said Manor of Halifax ; and the four and twentieth part of every
stroke, or half bushel, of hard corn ; and the thirtieth part of every
stroke, or half bushel, of all other corn ; and after that rate, for
any greater or lesser measure, of and for all the said kinds of corn
to be brought, or bought to be spent, within the said Manor of
Halifax : A mulcture dish to be made for taking of that mulcture, and
no more, and to be yearly viewed and reformed in the court of the
said Manor, as need should require, or complaint be made. Oats
to be dried at the lord's kilnhouses there, at the rate of fourpence
for each horse -load.

From Sir Arthur Ingram the Manor descended to Charles the
Ninth, and last Viscount Irwin, who died at Temple Newsome a. d.
1778. By his will he bequeathed the Manor of Halifax, with
other estates, to his daughter Isabella Lady Beauchamp, for life.


with remainder to her second and every other son except the eldest,
with shifting uses, remainder to his daughter Frances, and her Issue
male, remainder to other daughters in succession, and their respective
issue male remainder to his right heirs. Whoever succeeded was
to take the name of Ingram. In pursuance of this will they became
the property of the late Isabella Dowager Marchioness of Hertford,
the Lady Beauchamp named in the will ; at whose decease in 1834
they became vested in her sister, the present Lady Gordon.

Tmm 3'AiE2iiiL (S]ETari^(DH.

Drawn by .1. HOKNEE, Engraved by G. BONNER.


The present . fabric of the Parish Church is a handsome and
venerable structure, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, standing at
the East end of the town, on a gentle declivity from West to East ;
rivalled by many, but surpassed by none of the same description
within the county of York ; it presents to the beholder an air of
majestic dignity, or, as Thoresby has observed of its Leeds con-
temporary, " a very spacious and strong fabric, an emblem of the
Church militant, black but comely."

" Its fabric (observes Dr. Whitaker) is entitled to a particular
examination." My reader will therefore permit me to enter with
him its consecrated precincts, and if I trespass too long on his
attention, I hope that it may be attributed to a feeling of respect
for the subject under investigation, than from a supposition that I
wish to make an invidious distinction between the Parish Church
and the more humble temple of the Dissenter. I have too high an
opinion of the parishioners of Halifax, to believe that there are
any among them who can look with indifference on that sacred
pile, and contemplate it as an object unworthy of his regard,
whatever may be his creed. To a member of the Church of
England, let his station in life be what it may, from the peer to
the peasant, high or low, rich or poor, his " Parish Chitrch" is
connected by some more than ordinary tie, some solemn recollec-
tion, or some pleasing association. He takes a pride in its prospe-
rity ; and regards it as an object of his peculiar care.

llie former visits the consecrated spot, he contemplates the
i?culptured marble of ages past, the monumental effigies of the


illustrious dead, now alas ! surrounded by the pomp of heraldry,
without its glitter ; time has not yet erased from the polished surface
the recorded virtues of a noble race of ancestors, entombed within
the sacred mausoleum; he gazes upon the scene, the days of
chivalry pass in review before him, their recollection excites him
to honorable actions, he is reminded that virtue alone is true
nobility, and forms the pious resolve to devote his life to deeds of
benevolence and charity. His untitled neighbour visits the monu-
ment which affection has reared to record the memory of one he
loved ; it speaks in solemn silence the christian hope in which the
departed spirit took its flight, in one simple but expressive word,
" resurgam," the tear of affection steals down the cheek, it drops
upon the grave ; and is rendered holy by the sanctity of its deposi-
tary. Who can linger among such scenes, and not feel what
Addison has so beautifully expressed. " When," he says, " I look
upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me ;
when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire
goes out ; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tomb-
stone, my heart melts with compassion ; when I see the tombs of
the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those
whom we must quickly follow ; when I see Kings lying by those who
deposed them ; when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or
the holy men that divided the world with their contests and
disputes, I reflect M'ith sorrow and astonishment on the little
competitions, factions, and debates of mankind : when I read the
several dates on the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some
six hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all
of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together."
These may be solemn recollections, but are there no pleasing
associations which draw the tie still closer ? Yes ! the churchman
gazes upon his " Parish Church," and is reminded that at its
baptismal font he was signed with the sign of the Cross, and
admitted a member of a Christian community ; that, in the spring
time of youth he there received the E])iscopal Benediction, and
renewed the solemn vow that was pledged for him in his infantine
days ; that, at its sacred altar he became united with the dearest
object of his earthly affections, in one unbroken, one indissoluble
bond of union ; that there, on every returning Sabbath has he


joined in the sublime and holy liturgy, and heard the grand truths
of revealed religion proclaimed from its pulpit ; and finally, when
he has finished his earthly pilgrimage, does he hope to be gathered
to his fathers within its sacred walls.

" A silent, solemn, sacred spot,

The mouldering realms of peace ;
Where human passions are forgot,

Where human follies cease.''

" The precise date of the original foundation of the Church
cannot now be ascertained ; neither to which of the Earls Warren the
good work is to be attributed. The silence of Domesday forbids
us to believe that it existed at that period. Neither is it probable
that it was erected while the Lordship of Wakefield remained in
the Crown. All the neighbouring Churches, not of Saxon origin,
were built by the great Norman lords, soon 'after their accession
to the estates severally granted to them. The reign of Henry I.
(viz. from 1100 to 1135) in particular was a general sera of church
building in the North, and the probability is that the first Church
was erected during that period." Among the principal features of
the national character at that early period, a proper attendance
upon the duties of public worship might be justly reckoned among
the most prevailing ; whatever might be the apparent ignorance of
the people, " all had devotion at least, and would resort to their
Parish Church with an eagerness and regularity not always imitated
by those who are more enlightened."

Of the first or Norman building not a vestige remains. This
seems to have been destroyed as being too small, or having become
dilapidated, about the time of Edward I ; for the windows of the
North wall of the Nave, surrounded by demi cylindrical mouldings,
and with only a single ramification, may be safely assigned to that
age. This is the only remnant of the second Church. It is evident
that when the plan of the third, that is, the present edifice, was
adopted, the parish which had then the Chapels of Elland and
Heptonstall, must have become opulent as well as jiopulous. Zeal
in those days was never wanting. With respect to the precise
time at which the work was begun, all evidence, internal as well
as external, concurs in fixinsr it to the time of Henry VI., and the


whole work to the incumbency of one vicar, Thomas Wilkinson."*
On. entering the South porch we are introduced into a lofty and
spacious edifice, consisting of a lobby, nave, side aisles, and chancel.
" Though the general proportions which are singularly light and
airy, the mouldings of the columns remarkable for their cavettoes,
and the precise turn of the arches is so completely maintained
throughout, as to prove a general adherence to the original plan ;
yet two afterthoughts appear to have occurred in the progress of
the work. The workmen seem to have begun at the West end,
and with the intention of mounting a tower on the wall of the
West front, and on the two next columns Eastward. An evidence
of this is the beginning of the staircase in the wall, which now
leads to nothing. It seems, however, that, as in consequence of
the low situation of the Church a very lofty bell tower was required,
the constructors of the work very prudently distrusted the strength
of these two columns, and began the entire steeple from the ground
westward of the Church. Hence they proceeded eastward, intend-
ing, as it should seem, to carry the Church no farther than the
entrance of the present choir ; for on the springers of the second
columns West from thence are cross springers North and South,
evidently intended for arches to divide the nave and choir : nay,
more, in the more northerly of these two columns is actually
remaining the groove for the great beam to support the rood loft,
which shews that this arrangement had actually taken place ; yet
before the work was quite completed, or very soon after, the work
was extended three arches further, and on exactly the same plan
with the parts already finished." These are described by Mr.
Watson as broken arches, as an evidence of the alterations which
the Church has undergone.

"This produced the bold and lightsome choir, of which the East
window, according to the inscription upon his arms, was erected at

* The folio wiug extract from an original MS. referred to by Wright and Watson
written by John Waterhouse of Shipden, and sometime Lord of the Manor of Halifax,
raaj' be considered as the best information that can be obtained as to the precise ajra of tho
present erection. " In the time of John Waterhouse of Halifax, deceased, who died about
Candlemas 26 years since, (i. c. 1540,) at his death being near 100 years of age, I tro^^•e
three years under, and when he was a child, about 6 or 7 years of age, was the Church of
Halifax begun to be builded, and he and many more children stood upon the first stone of
the steeple. It was 20 years in building. By this it appeareth that John Waterhouse was
bom in 1 143, and in 1657, it is 207 years since the foundation of Halil'ax Church was laid."


the expense of Vicar Wilkinson a. d. 1480 : according to my
hypothesis, therefore, the West end must have commenced, and
the first columns erected some time before, and probably as early
as the first years of Wilkinson's incumbency, whom, from an
original attestation to a charter I know to have been vicar a. d. 1440."

There are two side chapels connected with this Church, that on
the North is known to have been erected in conformity with the
will of Archbishop Rokeby, who died a. d. 1521 ; it is eleven
yards and a quarter in length, and five yards and a quarter in
breadth, and was ordered by the Bishop to be erected and used as
a chantry. The insertion of the masonry into the former wall is
sufficiently conspicuous, and the arches within, which have a kind
of torus moulding instead of cavettoes, prove that it is of a
different sera from the body of the Church, to which it is attached.
Nearly opposite, but of much greater extent, is the chapel of Dr.
Holdsworth, the twelfth vicar, who was unhappily murdered in the
vicarage house a. d. 1556. This chapel is sixteen yards and a
half in length, and five and a quarter broad, within is a tomb in
which the vicar lies interred.* The arches of this chapel are pre-
cisely the same with those of Rokeby's chapel. Without, it is
distinguished by perpendicular detached buttresses, on a rhomboid
base, surmounted by spouting monsters, which discharge the water
from the roof, and exceedingly resemble the fantastic architecture
of King James V. buildings at Falkland, Linlithgow, &c. On the
whole, the chapel may be assigned to the earlier years of Dr.
Holdsworth's incumbency.

At the entrance of the chancel stands the skreen, dividing it
from the " aula," or body of the church ; this, as in many of our
ancient parochial churches, is of excellent workmanship, and too
well known to need any description, it is surmounted in the centre
by the royal arms of Queen Anne, which are executed in a superior
manner, and present a handsome appearance, viewed on either side.
At the South end of the"skreen, is the entrance of a small staircase,
which leads up to a door at a moderate height from the pavement,
(by which door we now enter the High Sunderland gallery.) If
I might be permitted to indulge in the hypothesis, I should say

* Mr. Watson says, p. 365, he was buried under the great tomb-stone in the South
chapel, without any inscription.


that at this door was formerly the place for the jjulpit, probably the
rood loft, as appears from the following rubrics : " Incepta vero
ultima oratione ante epistolam subdiaconus per medium chori ad
legendum epistolum in pulpitum accedat. Quando Epistola legitur
duo pueri in superpelliciis, facta inclinatione at altare ante gradum
chori in pulpitum per medium chori ad gradale incipendium se pre-
parent et suum versum cantandum." The pulpit to which these
stairs led, might indeed be the rood loft, for it is highly probable
that the rood loft which formerly existed in this Church was placed
over the skreen, occupying the entrance to the choir, that that was
the case sometimes, is manifest from the will of Henry VI., where
there is mention made of a " reredosse (skreen) bearing the rood
loft departing the choir and the body of the Church ; and the upper
stair usually ascends nearly even with the top of the skreen." On
pursuing my inquiries on this truly interesting subject, I am led to
believe that from this place the sermon was made, the curate being
obliged to preach four times in the year, by an ecclesiastical con-
stitution of Archbishop Peckham, in which is this injunction,
" Exponat populo vulgariter absque cujuslibet subtilitatis textura
fantastica." From which reading and preaching to the people
assembled in the nave " ubi insident ipsi parochiani laici," a
learned antiquary observes, the body of the Church received the
name of " auditorium." That this staircase did not lead to any
place devoted to the use of the people is, I think, highly probable,
for not only does the chancel seem to have been considered in all
ages, the most sacred part of the Church, but by the Laodicean
Canon none were admitted but those of the priesthood during the
oblation ; and women were totally excluded by another Canon of
the same Church.

Upon entering the chancel from the nave, we observe on either
side the remaining stalls, appropriated formerly to the use of the
priest and his clerks, where, and at the altar, the church service
was performed, prior to the reformation ; the stalls are now
divided oif into pews for the use of the vicar, and the clergy
officiating at the Church,

Proceeding onward we ascend three steps ; here formerly stood
the high altar, now occupied by the communion table. The table
itself has nothing M'orthv of note, and is of modern date, the former


having in all probability been destroyed during the civil wars.
There is nothing connected with the present appearance of the
altar to claim more than ordinary attention.

Within the chancel are deposited the remains of many of the
late vicars, who now rest from their labors, and of the major
part of whom it may be truly said, their works do follow them ;
for there is no parish in the United Kingdom which has more
reason to boast of the sound orthodoxy of her clergy than the
parish of Halifax.

On the North side of the Church is a gallery, the seats or pews
in which belong to the adjoining out townships, and are let by them
at considerable rents. The township to which each pew belongs,
has its name painted on the front. At the rear of this gallery is
another, which runs back into Rokeby's chapel, and is commonly
called the Calf Gallery.

At the West end of the Church over the entrance to the nave
is the Organ Gallery. In the year 1764 a subscription was set on
foot for purchasing the present valuable organ, for providing a
salary for the organist, and keeping the organ in repair ; the amount
raised was upwards of £1,200, out of which sum the organ loft was
purchased. Considerable opposition appears to have been mani-
fested by the township of Sowerby, to the erection of this organ,
on the plea, that it would entail additional expense upon the town-
ship, and their churchwardens appeared by Proctor to oppose the
faculty ; a suit was instituted, but such was the strong feeling of
the parishioners generally in favor of the organ, that a subscription
was entered into amounting to upwards of £720, to defray the
expenses of the suit. The call on the subscribers amounted only
to twenty-five per cent. The sum received was £194 5s., when
the law suit was happily terminated, and on the 11th July, 1766,
the Faculty for playing the organ was granted by the Archbishop
of York.*

• Among the organists who have presided at the Parish Church, it may be well to
record that the celebrated and renowned astronomer, Dr. Herschel, was foremost. Having
come to England along with a German regiment as a performer on the hautboy in thi-
military band, his extraordinary musical genius and abilities attracted the attention of
Dr. Miller, the historian of Doncaster, on whose solicitation he left the corps, aud became
an inmate m the family of his new acquaintance. Soon after this event, the present mag-
nificent aud powerful organ, equalled by few and excelled bj- none for the fub and exquisite
richness of its tone, came new from the hands of Sni'tzlcr. Many were the competitor*


On the North side of the Church under the middle window,
(observes Mr. Watson) " is a cavity in the wall, and a projecting
stone, where probably some chauntry priest officiated." At the
present day it is not visible, having been probably covered over by
the wood work there, rendered necessary by the damp state of the
wall. Mr. Watson also observes " that on the right hand of what
is called the sun door was a cavity, now filled up, where tradition
says the holy water was kept."

On the South side of the Church is a handsome circular painted
window, erected in the year 1830 at the expense of Christopher
Rawson, Esq. of this town : its shape is oval, and the first series
of panels are in imitation of the beautiful window in the South en-
trance of York Cathedral, known by the name of "The Mary gold
Window," from the circumstance of its containing representations
of that flower, which was a great favorite with the ancients. In the
central compartment is emblazoned the Rawson's Arms and Crest,
and the intermediate panels are filled up with a wreath of foliage,
after the Herba Benedicta, a plant much copied by the members of
the early English style of Ecclesiastical Architecture. The window
was executed by Barnett, of York.

On an escutcheon over the entrance to the South porch are the
arms of the Lacis. This may be considered as the principal entrance
to the Church, (although that on the North side is apparently of
greater antiquity ;) on each side is found a bench extending its

for the organist's situation, and on the arrival of the clay of trial, Hersehel and six others
entered the lists. Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Wainwright preceded Herschcl, and so rapid was
his execution, that old Snetzler ran about the Church angrily exclaiming ; "Te Tevel, te
Tevel, he run over te kee'sh like one cat, he will not gif my piphes room; for to shpeak."
During Waiuwright's performance Dr. Miller enquired of his friend Herschel what chance
he had of loUowing this performer. " I dou't know," replied Herschel, "but I am sure
fingers alone won't do." When it came to his turn, Herschel ascended the organ-loft, and
produced so uncommon a richness, such a volume of slow harmony as astonished all pre-
sent : and finishing this extemporaneous effusion with a steady, harmonious, and dignified
performance of the Old Hundredth Tsalm, he drew from the delighted builder the f xclama-
tion, " Aye, aye, tish is very goot, very goot indeed, I will luf tish man, he gifs my piphes
room for to shpeak." Herschel, on being asked how he contrived to produce so astonish-
ing an effect, observed, " 1 told you fingers alone would not do ;" and producing from his
waistcoat pocket two pieces of lead, remarked, " One of these I placed on the lowest key,
and the other upon the octave above, (pedals not being then invented,) and thus by accom-
modating the harmony, I producedtheeffectof four hands instead of two." This superiority
of skill obtained Herschel the situation ; but he soon after removed to Bath, where he burs t
forth from obscurity, and rose to the highest pitch cf celebrity in the dignified science of


whole length ; it appears to have undergone some modern repara-
tions, which may perhaps account for the absence of those appear-
ances that are sometimes found in the porches of our ancient
churches. However it may in general have been passed over as a
matter of ornament, it is without doubt a very ancient appendage
to the Church, and upon inquiry we shall find that it had its especial
uses ; an enquiry, I can assure my readers, far from being devoid
of interest. Here (on the right of the entrance to the Church)
was placed a stone bason, the receptacle for holy water, used by every
one about to enter the sacred edifice. It was also used for the
christening of children, and weddings, as may be seen from the will
of Henry VI. before mentioned, where referring to the foundation
of his college at Eton, is this article : " Item, in the South side of
the body of the Church, a fair large door with a porch, and the same
for christening of children, and weddings." Somner relates, that
in 1299, Edward I was married at Canterbury to Margaret, sister to
the King of France, by Archbishop Winchelsea, " in ostio ecclesiaj
versus claustrum." That it was also used for the churching of
women appears from a rubric in existence printed at Paris, 1515 ;
but its most particular use was in administei-ing baptism ; here the
necessary questions being asked, and prayers being said, the parties
were led into the church to receive the blessing. Nothing can be
more apparent that had it not been for the porch, the performance
of these rites would have been many times impracticable.

Within the lobby, and opposite the entrance to the nave stands
the Font, which is of stone, the bason is in the ancient octagonal
form, and of the usual capacious dimensions ; the faces of the octagon
are at present blank, although it is evident something has been cut
upon them. The cover of lattice, is of excellent workmanship, and
worthy the attention of the curious ; its height is sixteen feet, the
form spiral, and richly carved with crockets. The register informs
us that it was re-erected in the year 1660.

Within the lobby is also a figure of wood representing an old
man, holding the poor box. The man here represented was desig-
nated by the familiar appellation of " Old Tristram." He was for
a considerable time dependant upon the parish for parochial relief ;
and if any reliance is to be placed on tradition, the workhouse was
the place of his birth, parentage, and education. From the same


source, it appe.ir< that it was liis practice to carry a box appended
to some part of his person, with the memorable inscription thereon,
" Pray remember the Poor," much after the present fasliion, but
I know not why he was thus immortalized. His son followed the
same occupation, and their names occur in the parish books during
the sixteenth century. The great grandson was interred in Decem-
ber, 1833. Peace to their manes.

The steeple at the West end is a fine substantial turret, thirty-
nine yards from the ground to the summit of the pinnacle. It is

Online LibraryEng. (Lancashire). Parish BuryThe registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 52)