Eng. (Lancashire). Parish Bury.

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

. (page 14 of 52)
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 14 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


expected that I should shortly advert to their introduction here.



142 THE MIDDLE AGES.

The first society was formed in the year 1742, by the venerable
founder of Methodism, at the village of Skircoat Green ; and in
1748 he again visited Halifax, and commenced preaching at the
Market Cross, but was compelled to desist, in consequence of the
tumult occasioned by persons throwing money among his audience.
Notwithstanding the opposition thus manifested, Methodism grew
apace — a meeting house was erected in Church Lane, in the year
1752, at the cost of £300 ; and we find that in the year 1758,
another meeting house existed in Sowerby. To trace the growth
and progress of Methodism, from its first commencement down to
the present period, is foreign to my purpose. The summary in the
Appendix will suffice to afford a tolerable estimate of its present
state in the Halifax circuit.

It would be unjust to withhold from this respectable body the
meed of praise to which they are so eminently entitled ; their
zealous but persevering efforts to afford religious instruction in all
places, but more particularly in these populous manufacturing
districts, have not only been productive of great good, but present
in many respects, an example truly worthy of imitation : a real and
lasting benefit has been imparted, a moral influence has been spread
among the poor and uneducated, and a great reformtion has conse-
quently been effected. The same remark will apply to the strenuous
and successful efforts of the dissenters both at home and abroad.

Having thus shewn the introduction of non-conformity into the
Parish, it may be necessary to state, that notwithstanding it exists
to a considerable extent, the prevailing sentiments do not assume
variety of modification and graduation in the thermometer of that
enthusiasm which is to be found in many of the manufacturing
towns. The want of sufficient church accommodation has unques-
tionably been one great cause of the rapid increase of dissenting
meeting-houses within this district, whatever may be said of the
growth of dissent in general. I have condensed into the form of
a statistical table to be found in the Appendix D, the number
of places of worship belonging to each sect, as they existed in 1 758,
and as they now exist. With the points of doctrine, the modes of
discipline, and the principles of Christian philosophy, on which the
various seceders from the establishment differ, these pages have
no connection. The non-conformist is no longer precluded, by the



THE MIDDLE AGES. 143

laws of the realm, from a full participation of the same civil honors
that a member of the church of England exclusively enjoyed previous
to the repeal of the Corporation and Test acts.

Within these few years the general body of the dissenters have
urged upon the attention of the Legislature their claims, not only
for domestic relief in relation to an authorized register of births, the
celebration of marriages in their own meeting houses, and a full
participation of university honors and privileges, without being
required to conform to the established usages of those seats of
learning, but a separation between church and state has been
solicited by a considerable portion of them, substituting in the
place of an establishment, the "voluntary principle." How far it
may be expedient to concede certain privileges which belong exclu-
sively to the establishment, without endangering that establishment,
is a question for legislative discussion, and not within the compass
of my enquiries. Nor should I have adverted to the subject had not
the voluntary principle been recognised in a petition to Parliament,
from a portion of the dissenters of Halifax. That every grievance
of which the dissenter can complain, with the least appearance of
justice, should be considered and disposed of, and that he should be
placed on a perfect equality with the rest of the king's subjects, no
reasonable mind can entertain a doubt ; but that the paramount
claims of public principle should be abandoned to gratify the air-
built theories and empty declamations of religious sciolism, reason
informs us is neither consonant with the laws of abstract right nor
conducive to the welfare and happiness of mankind, "'^j principle
is not meant the airy speculations of vague and delusive theory ;
but that code of moral law, which is the joint result of reason and
experience." Upon principle then, thus created and established,
we found our attachment to all that is high and honorable in the
contracted paths of private life, to all that is venerable and noble
in the more expanded prospect of public duty. If the exclusive prin-
ciple (for upon the vantage ground of public principle do I take my
stand) be once allowed to be relaxed, Avho shall prescribe any bounds
to its relaxation .-* Who shall presume to di-aw the line of indulgence,
and to say to importunity, — thus far and no farther ! It may indeed
be considered as a general maxim, (and happy would it be for mankind
if the maxim were never lost sight of) that in no instance can relax-



144 THE MIDDLE AGES.

ation of principle be unaccompanied with danger. For the human
mind is sure to lose its respect for principle when it ceases to regard
it as inviolable, and it is soon led to view with indifference, what it
before looked upon as sacred.

Upon principle, the fabric of our constitution both in church and
state is reared and supported, and hy principle alone can it be
strengthened and maintained. This is the high ground upon which
every pure and patriotic mind must take its stand, and upon this
we must rest our defence of all that is dear to us as Englishmen and
as Christians. The political and the ecclesiastical establishments of
a state mutually support and maintain each other, it is the state
which protects, honors, and cherishes the church ; it is the church
M'hich defends, adorns, and consecrates that political body with
which she is so intimately connected. So long as Christianity is
"part and parcel of the law of England," so long as it forms a con-
stituent part of the body politic, so long is it essential to its general
and easy reception, that an establishment should exist, not for the
sake of rendering the church political, but the government religious ;
and experience teaches us with how powerful a bond of united
interest the ecclesiastical and civil institutions of our native land are
cemented and confirmed : it should be borne in mind, that it has
ever been the constant policy of those who have aimed at the des-
truction of all civil government, to direct the first blow at the
church establishment ; for as long as the church remains unpolluted,
the bonds of civil union are uninjured. The history of our own
country in former years, and the records of other nations, will bear
a powerful and overwhelming testimony to the practical truth of
these opinions ; may that truth never be confirmed by our own
practical experience.



THE MODERN ^RA.

1662. — In this year several of the inhabitants of the Parish, but
more particularly tradesmen and victuallers, coined copper pieces,
penny and half-penny tokens. For this there was an urgent necessity,
since at that time but few brass half-pennies were coined by authority,
and no great quantity of farthings. This money was coined by the
tradesmen and victuallers, at pleasure ; it was struck for necessary
change ; the figure of the coin was sometimes octagon, but generally
round, the devices various, and the materials lead, tin, copper, or
brass. All tradesmen who issued this useful kind of specie, were
obliged to take it again, when brought to them, and they usually
kept a sorting box, into the partitions whereof (which, we may sup-
pose were as numerous as there were people in the place that coined)
they put the money of the respective coiners, and at proper times when
there was a competent quantity of one person's money, sent it to him
to be changed into silver. Specimens of these sorting boxes are said
to be very scarce. A few of these Nummorum Famuli are still in
existence, one in the museum of the Halifax Literary and Philoso-
phical Society, the most proper place for their reception and
preservation. One of these coins bearing the inscription, "John
Farrar, in Halifax, his halfpenny, 1667," was exhumed lately in
digging the foundation of the new Chapel in King-Cross Lane, in
Halifax.

The best account of these Tokens is to be found in Leake's
Historical Account of English Money, London, 1745, 8vo. ; Mr.
Thoresby's Museum, p. 379, and Mr. Drake's Eboracum, in the
Appendix. The halfpence are represented by Thoresby " as shame-
ful light, a common halfpenny of the King's outweighing twelve of
them." They were cried down by proclamation in the year 1762.
1745.— At the time of the rebellion Halifax manifested most



14G THE MODERN JF.TiA.

unequivocal proofs of loyalty to the house of Hanover. A voluntary
association of the gentry and tradesmen of the Town was formed,
for the patriotic defence of the Altar and the Throne, against the
attacks of popery and arhitrary power. The accounts of the vic-
tories from time to time obtained over the rebels by the king's forces
were welcomed by the inhabitants with every demonstration of pub-
lic joy : the money expended by the Churchwardens in distributing
ale to the troops as they passed through the town to the battle of
Culloden ; and the sums paid to the ringers for their services, form
no inconsiderable item in the Parish accounts at that period.

A loyal and patriotic club, designated, the Union Club, was at
the same time established under the auspices of Sir George Saville,
Bart, a name ever to be remembered in the Parish of Halifax ; and
in the year 1759, the first local Newspaper, called the Union
Journal, or Halifax Advertiser, was published, under the patronage
of the worthy Baronet, in support of the principles of the club.

We may infer from this fact that the Schoolmaster was then
abroad in Halifax : to shew the progress he has since made, a short
description of the Union J ournal, and a comparison of the intelli-
gence conveyed in its first number, with the publications of the
present day, may not prove uninteresting.

The paper was embellished with two plates ; one representing
Britannia seated on a Woolsack, her left arm resting on a cage
supported on her knee, from which cage three birds appear to
have just escaped ; on the dexter side of the Woolsack stands a
little chubby fellow, emblematical of Liberty ; and on the sinister
side a bee-hive surrounded with bees, emblematical of Industry.
Motto— Britannia loves Freedom. The other plate represents a
warrior trampling on two French flags, supporting in his right arm
a spear, his left arm bearing a shield charged with the arms of i
England, resting on his thigh. The paper was published weekly, j
and advertisements taken in at 3s. 6d. During its continuance, |
it contained little local information, being principally filled with j
extracts from the London Journals, Gazette, &c. The first num- ;
ber is very barren of local news, it merely consists of the following \
intelligence : — that a "wager had been determined for a considerable i
sum, that a mare did not draw three packs of goods from the Hanging
Gate, below Blackstone-Edge. to Halifax, in eight hours ; which she !



THE MODERN ^RA. • 147

performed in 6h. and 2m. with great ease, and what is remarkable, she
did not sweat an hair in coming in. "May 4th. Sunday, was observed
with the usual diversions, the annual wake or tide in the pasture
ground near the river Calder in Skircoate, where under the pretext
of viewing the grazing animals, was assembled an amazing multi.
tude of people, who spent the greatest part of the day in running,
wrestling, and leaping, &c., someM^hat resembling the Olympic
Games of old ; and to refresh fainting nature, hucksters, tiplers, &c
were present with their wares." The amusements of our gentry
have decidedly progressed with the march of intellect. "July. The
inhabitants of the town were for three days amused with a grand
cock match between Robert Stansfield and Robert Hawkesworth.
Esqrs., and William Southern and -Harvey, Esqrs., when twenty
two battles were won by the former, and thirteen by the latter."—
The following "curious wager was this year made, for £50, between
Mr. Hoyland, of this town, and Mr. Oldfield, of Chester. Mr.
Hoyland betted that his black Galloway would walk round Skircoat
Common on its hind legs, in ten minutes, without its fore legs ever
touching the ground. Mr. Oldfield offered £5 to be off the wager
on seeing the galloway perform its exercise."

1760.— To the honor of the Parish be it recorded, that Halifax
could at this time boast of having three independent companies of
Mihtia, clothed at their own charge. I have no wish to disturb
the gravity of my readers, at the expense of their forefathers, but
I much doubt whether their appearance on parade, clothed in
their new regimentals, would not at the present day relax the
risible muscles of many a loyal and dutiful son. That they may
not plead the want of precedent in the selection of a Regimental
Uniform, should their country require their services in the field, the
soldier like appearance of their honored sires may serve as an in-
struction. The following will suffice :—

"The independent companies of Militia of this town, under the
command of Colonel Spencer, Captain William Ingram, and Cap-
tain John Tarlton, were reviewed by the Earl of Scarborough in
Price s Square, (now the Manufacturer's Hall,) and went through
their manual exercise, platoon, and street firing ; the companies
were clothed in their new uniform, provided at their own expense.
Ihe Colonel's company in blue, lapelled and faced with buff. Cap-



148 THE MODERN .^RA,

tain Ingram's company in scarlet coats, and scarlet breeches, (!) la-
peUed and faced with green, green waistcoats, gold laced hats, and
cue wigs. And Captain Tarlton's company in blue, with gold vel-
lum button holes. Captain Johnson's company of the train of Ar-
tillery wore the uniform of the heavy blue and buff, with gold laced
hats."

1769. — The attention of the country was this year drawn to a
circumstance which occured within the Parish, and excited much
notice, namely, the capture of a most notorious and desperate
gang of Coiners, who were apprehended in the vale of Turvin, a
romantic and beautiful spot in the township of Erringden ; the scene
of their operations. It was their practice, (which it seems they
had carried on with impunity for six years, at the time of their ap-
prehension,) to diminish guineas by clipping and filing them,
while the clippings and filings were melted down and re-struck in
rude dies resembling Portugal coin of 36s. and 27s. pieces. They
had no screw presses for the purpose, but fixed their dies in heavy
blocks. The impression was produced by the stroke of sledge ham-
mers, which were nightly heard on every side, no one daring for
some time to interrupt so powerful and desperate a gang ; indeed
the practice had become so common, that large undiminished
Guineas were openly bought by the gang, at twenty-two shillings
a-piece. Their illicit proceedings did not escape the notice of govern-
ment : through the instrumentality of Mr, Deighton, a Supervisor
of Excise, acting under the advice of Mr. Parker, an eminent soli-
citor in the town, some of the gang were brought to justice. At
the York Spring and Summer Assizes, 1770, several were arraigned
on the charge of high treason, tried, and convicted, but only two
were executed, viz. James Oldfield, of Warley, and David Hartley
of Erringden, the latter was called — King David, by his fraternity.
They had another chief named David Greenwood, of Hill Top, in
Erringden, distinguished by the appellation ofDxike of Edinburgh,
this man used to provide the cash, sometimes as much as one hun-
dred guineas at a time. At a subsequent Assizes he was also tried
convicted, and ordered for execution, but he died in York Castle,
before the sentence could be carried into effect. There was another
indictment against him at the same Assizes for a fraud in obtaining
£20 from the widow of David Hartley, under a pretext that he had



THE MODERN ^RA. 149

paid that sum to Mr. Parker, the Crown Solicitor, at the preceding
Assizes, as a bribe to get Hartley acquitted. Upwards of forty-
men were connected with the gang, who appear to have been a
most daring set of villains : nineteen of them were liberated on en-
tering into recognizances with sureties to appear when called upon.
The leniency of the Crown upon this occasion seems to have been
misplaced, for it is a fact, that the major part of those who were liber-
ated were subsequently convicted of a second offence ; and notwith-
standing two of that number were then acquitted on account of a
flaw in their indictments ; before the expiration of four years from
their acquittal, they were a third time tried, and convicted for fresh
offences of a similar nature, although their operations were princip-
ally confined to shillings and half-pence. One of these, named
Thomas Greenwood, was a Woollen Manufacturer, residing in
Wadsworth. He was usually called Great Tom, or Conjuror Tom,
from his expertness in coining, which he had carried on for twenty
years. I shall give some account of him in a subsequent part of the
work. The gang used to have an annual supper at Mytholmroyd
Bridge at Michaelmas, called the coiner's feast.

The apprehension of the principals in this affair, was followed,
not only by the murder of Mr. Deighton, who was shot in Bull Close
Lane: but of another person at Heptonstall, who was instru-
mental in their apprehension.

1783. — In this year a riotous mob assembled in the town to de-
mand a reduction in the price of grain, and to compel the dealers to
sell at such prices as the mob thought fit to dictate : they seized upon
large quantities of corn, sold it at their own price, and the owners
received the money when they could get it. Two of the ring leaders
named Spencer and Saltonstall suflfered the full penalty of the law
for their temerity, and were executed on Beacon Hill. Both of
these men were connected with the gang of coiners, before-
mentioned ; Spencer, it is believed, hired Thomas and Norminton
to murder Mr. Deighton.

1795. — The Parish does not appear to have been altogether free
from the taint of republicanism, which spread through the country
at the period of the French Revolution. The turbulent spirit, and
the levelling principle, manifested itself in a considerable degree ;
and the same incendiary methods to inflame the minds of the lower



150 THE MODERN JERA.

class of people, and to efface every remaining impression of either
allegiance to the sovereign, or submission to the laws, were too
successfully practised by emissaries from the corresponding society.
A considerable quantity of muskets, bayonets, and other w^eapons
of warfare were sent from Birmingham to EUand, and the disaffected
in those parts were trained in the night, to the use of arms. By
the vigilance of the local Magistracy, the designs of the disaffected
were happily frustrated, and a company of Volunteers was formed
in the town, to repress any local disturbance.

1799. — In this year, the crops throughout the country generally
failed, and in the following year, much distress prevailed in the
Parish in common with other places. The poor at that time lived
principally on oatmeal, very little flour being then used : yet such
was their extreme state of destitution that many were compelled to
live upon Barley or Bean Meal, neither could they obtain a sufficiency
of those articles. Oatmeal was sold in the town as high as £5 5s. per
load, and Flour £6 per pack ; and to add to the general distress, work
was very scarce. A royal proclamation was issued, recommending
economy in the use of grain, in private families: parliamentary
enactments followed : general subscriptions were entered into for
the relief of the distressed : but all proved inadequate to arrest the
progress of the famine, until a gracious Providence was pleased to
restore a period of plenty. It is called Barley-time in some parts
of the Parish, to this day.

1811-12. — Were rendered remarkable in the manufacturing
districts, by a daring spirit of insubordination and riot that
manifested itself among the workmen connected with machinery.
This lawless system, which assumed the name of Luddism, first
broke out at Nottingham, and spread into Yorkshire and Lancashire.
The destruction of Machinery was the principal object of these
deluded men ; and to effect this, every species of crime was resorted
to, fire arms were seized, illegal oaths were administered, and noctur-
nal meetings held. At Huddersfield they began their operations,
which ultimately spread in all directions.

Among the particular instances of resistance they met with ; and
which are worthy of record, the bravery of Mr. Cartwright, of
Rawfolds, near Cleckheaton, should not be passed over unnoticed.
On the night of Satiurday, April r2th, 1812, nearly two hundred



THE MODERN ^RA. 151

men surrounded the mill of this gentleman. Mr. Cartwright had
prepared for the attack, and with four workmen and two soldiers
determined to resist the lawless band. The assailants marched to
the attack in companies, armed with pistols, hatchets and bludgeons,
and attempted to break into the miU ; they were completely de-
feated by the gallant little garrison, and were compelled, after a
contest of twenty minutes, to retire in confusion, leaving two of
their number mortally wounded upon the field. The firmness and
resolution of Mr. Cartwright did not pass unrewarded ; the manu-
facturers of the district duly appreciated his conduct, and as an in-
stance of their approbation, presented him with the sum of three
thousand pounds, which they had raised by subscription.

Defeated in this attempt to eifect the destruction of property,
they had recourse to assassination ; Mr. Horsfall, of Marsden, an
extensive manufacturer, was shot in open day, on his return from
Huddersfield market ; several other attempts at murder were also
made. For a more particular description of these unlawful pro-
ceedings the reader is referred to the works of Mr. Baines, who has
entered fully into the subject, and treated it with great ability.

Happily, in this country, miscreants of the description here al-
luded to, seldom escape the retributive arm of justice. The assist-
ance of the legislature was called into operation ; sixty- six persons
were in the course of the latter year apprehended and committed to
York Castle. The public were much indebted to Joseph Radclift'e,
Esq. an active and intrepid Magistrate, who was afterwards created
a baronet for his services : a special commission was issued for the
trial of these prisoners in January 1813. Eighteen were condemned
to death : three of them, the murderers of Mr. Horsfall, were ex-
ecuted on Friday, January 8th, and fourteen on the Saturday week
afterwards, some were sentenced to transportation; and a few
liberated on bail. The example thus made soon put a stop to these
diabolical proceedings, and shewed that the adoption of vigorous
measures by the constituted authorities, is the best preventative
against popular excess.

1815-20. — With the exception of the seditious meetings holden
in various parts of the district, at which the lowest and basest of
the people were encouraged, by men a little higher than themselves,
to lift their hands against the constituted authorities of the land ;



152 THE MODERN /ERA.

no circumstance of importance occurred in connection with the
history of this place worth recording. How far those proceedings
might admit of extenuation, in consequence of the distress which at
that time generally prevailed, is not my province to enquire ; the
country had just emerged from a long, arduous, and expensive
struggle with the despot of France, for the support of which it had
been found necessary to tax our resources to the fullest extent ; the
reduction of that taxation, and the lightening of the public burthens,
could not be effected in a moment ; it required not only time to
renovate our national prosperity, but that the best energies of our
legislators should be directed to that important end. That the
illustrious statesmen who at that time held the reins of government,
were not unmindful of the duty they owed their country, her present
renown and glory sufficiently testify.



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 14 of 52)