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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with many other cases of severity and oppression equally gross.

To remedy these grievances tiie present act was introduced in
the year 1793, it repeals the former acts, and grants other powers
for similar purposes. By this act certain commissioners and their
successors to be elected as therein mentioned, being seised of £20
a year, real property, or £500 personally ; are appointed to hear
and determine matters of debt under 40s., and to administer sum-
mary justice between the parties. There is nothing peculiar in the
act to distinguish it from other local acts of a similar nature. The
power of imprisonment for debts of 40s. and under is still retained,
although the period of confinement is limited to forty days. On the
introduction of the original bill into parliament, this clause was
omitted, but it was urged by its sui:)porters that the very spirit of
the act would be left out without such a clause : it became law.

In the year 1828 the commissioners obtained leave to bring a
bill into Parliament to amend the present act, and to divide the
court into two separate jurisdictions ; the parishes of Halifax and
Huddersfield, &c. to form one division, and the parishes of Brad-
ford, &c. to form another division, and to extend the powers of the
present act. The bill did not pass into a law, but the commission-
ers have nevertheless divided the court into two separate jurisdic-
tions, and have also erected an additional goal at Halifax.

The act may or may not vest in the commissioners this extraordi-
nary power ; but the same principle will equally apply to the creation
of as many jurisdictions, and the erection of as many gaols as the
commissioners may deem expedient ; a most dangerous precedent,
and the sooner the power is abrogated the better.

The number of actions entered in the Halifax and Huddersfield
division of the court amounted in one year, ending February, 1831,
to 10,0G4, the amount sued for to £9.311 Os. lid.; the number
of actions compromised on payment of tenpence, 5664 ; the number


tried, 4400 : out of this latter number, 1837 executions were is-
sued, viz. 427 against the goods of debtors, and 1410 against their
bodies. The executions were thus disposed of, 600 paid, 788
settled with plaintiff, 349 were imprisoned for terms not exceeding
40 days, 100 could not be levied. The costs in the majority of cases
for which executions are issued, amount to 8s. 4d. Without enter-
ing upon the question as to the expediency or policy of abolishing
imprisonment for debt in all cases, it must be confessed that some
alteration in the law by which Courts of Conscience are regulated,
is absolutely necessary ; partial in their operation, and susceptible
of being converted into instruments of oppression, their powers of
arrest and imprisonment, (if needful) ought only to be entrusted to
competent persons qualified to act in a judicial capacity. If the Court
Baron constituted as it is, be not entrusted with the exercise of that
power, it is not fitting that three commissioners should be permitted
to imprison his Majesty's subjects for debt, their only requisite
qualification for the important office of a judge being the possession
of £20 a year, or £500 personally, (putting education out of the
question,) but particularly wherein the exercise of the authority in
many cases not only requires great caution and discrimination, but
also some knowledge of the rules of law.

In consequence of the streets and footpaths in the town being
greatly obstructed by stalls and standings, several of the inliabitants
purchased the site of the present New Market-Place at considerable
expense, and erected shambles and market shops therein, and in
the year 1810 an act was passed for regulating the "New Market-
place," the propi-ietors whereof were empowered to choose five of
their number to be trustees for managing their affairs ; and to raise
a sum not exceeding £3000 in addition to the money advanced, to
be divided into equal shares of £50 each, and applied towards pay-
ing the expences of obtaining the act, in the purchase of premises,
and in making and maintaining the Market-Place. The act prohibits
the slaughtering of cattle, &c. there, except in slaughter houses to
be set apart for the purpose ; and also the setting up of any shops
or stalls in the foot-paths or high- ways. The proprietors are em-
powered to make such rules, regulations and bye-laws as they or
their trustees shall think fit for regulating the market, &c. provided


such rules, &c. be not repugnant to the act or to the law : the rules
are subject to appeal at the general Quarter Sessions. The propri-
etor's dividends are limited to £10 per cent., and there is a clause
in the act providing and enacting that when any surplus balance
shall remain after defraying all costs, &c. and the full dividend of
£10 per cent, amongst the proprietors, it shall be lawful for them
to place such surplus balance out at interest to accumulate, and
when the sum of £1500 shall be raised, to erect a Town's Hall in
some convenient situation near the New Market-Place, with suitable
offices and conveniences for the use of his Majesty's justices of the
peace for the riding, for the purpose of holding their private sessions,
and transacting their public business therein : and also if the Lords
of the Manor of Wakefield and Halifax shall think fit, for holding
the Court Leet and Court Baron therein, free from any charge by
the proprietors for the use thereof : and also for the inhabitants of
the town and parish to make use thereof, for holding any lawful
public meetings on business therein, free from any charge, on deli-
vering to the clerk of the proprietors three days previous to such
meeting, a request in writing for the purpose, signed by ten or more
inhabitants of the town and parish who should possess or occupy
lands or tenements of the value of £20 per annum, of which number
the constable or constables of the town shall form part. The Hall is
nevertheless to be under the direction and controLof the trustees, and
to be made use of by them when not wanted for the purpose afore-
said in such manner as they should appoint. Any further surplus is
to be applied in the improvement of the town, and to be suffered to
accumulate for the building of any public hospital or dispensary, or
any other purpose whatever, beneficial to the town and the inhabi-
tants. There is a proviso in the act that no more than £1500 part
of the £3000 shall be raised until after the Town's Hall shall have
been erected. The penalties and forfeitures under the act are to be
applied one half to the informer, the other to the use of or towards
erecting « public general dispensary in the town, or such other pub-
lic estab..-ument, school, or charity, as the proprietors shall order
and direct.

In the year 1822 an act was obtained for lighting with gas the
town and township, and the neighbourhood. The subscribers were
incorporated by the name of The Halifax Gas Light anu Coke


Company. The joint stock of the company is not to exceed £12000,
and to be divided in shares of £25 sterling each. The Gas Works
are erected in Southowram, on the hank of the Hebble : there arc.
three gasometers, capable of containing 73049 cubic feet of gas.
The township is now handsomely lighted.

On the 17th June, 1 823, an Act received the royal assent, "for
paving, cleansing, watching, and improving the township, and for
supplying the same with water :" this act repeals the two former
acts. The power of carrying it into execution is invested in certain
trustees to be qualified as therein mentioned, and contains several
important provisions in regard to the police of the township, and
the purchase of premises for widening and improving the streets,
&c.. My limits will not allow me to give even a summary of the
act, which contains 139 sections, of too important a nature to
be abbreviated, so as to answer any useful purpose. Since the
passing of this act many great and useful improvements have
been made in the town. Among the principal may be mentioned
the widening of Bull Green ; the opening of a handsome thorough-
fare from Northgate to the centre of the town, called Broad-
street, and Waterhouse-street ; the widening of Northgate, al-
though this is only partially effected ; the clearing away of
many old houses in the vicinity of the church, and widening the
streets there. The antiquated houses of the 16th century in Crown-
street are not only an ornament to the place, but are interesting
reminiscences of the olden time, too venerable, too intimately asso-
ciated with the recollections of the old inhabitants, to be sacrificed
at the modern shrine of expediency, they ought to be permitted to
remain until the stern law of necessity demands their removal. —
The same cannot be said of the shambles at Hall End, and the ruin-
ous old buildings at the rear, their removal is a consummation
much to be desired, and the scite they occupy would aff"ord a most
excellent situation for a handsome Exchange or other public build-
ing, not forgetting that necessary appendage, — a well regulated
clock : at the rear of the building might be erected a police station
and engine house, surmounted by a bell tower. These are not only
conveniences in a populous commercial town, but it may be said
that an absolute necessity exists for them. They should occupy a
centrical situation.


Amidst the various improvements a due attention to the health
of the inhabitants has not been lost sight of. The township has
•been well and effectually drained, and various public nuisances re-
moved, and to these circumstances, (which it is but justice to the
medical gentlemen connected with the town to say, was adopted at
their recommendation,) may be attributed in a great measure, (as a
means under divine providence) its preservation from that dreadful
scourge which not many years ago visited the land.

The atmosphere is not so subject to those impurities arising
from the smoke of steam engines which is generally the case in
manufacturing towns ; this may arise in a great measure from the
manufactories being confined to the banks of the Hebble. A whole-
some provision in the local act requires that the furnaces of all
steam engines erected within the township shall consume their own
smoke, although to answer any useful purpose, it should have inclu-
ded all steam engines within two miles of the parish church. The
vicinity of the North Bridge is subject to much annoyance on this

The town is well supplied with water, the produce of two springs,
one in the township of Ovenden, from whence it is conveyed by
pipes into two reservoirs constructed for the purpose about a mile
N. W. of the town, and from thence served to the inhabitants. The
town possesses a better system of nightly watch and patrol than it
formerly enjoyed ; the present establishment is generally considered
an efficient force. The system of police (so far as two honorary
constables and one deputy constable to perform the duty can be
called a police) is altogether ineffective, but as the subject of muni-
cipal government is under the consideration of the legislature, we
may expect that something will be done to put the whole system of
provincial police on a better footing.

The holding of the cattle markets on Cow Green is altogether
an intolerable nuisance : if the powers of the local act are not suffi-
cient to remove it, extended powers should be applied for : the
public streets of the town should at all times be kept free and open,
and not subject to those annoyances which every Saturday arise
from the obstruction of the public thoroughfare : long established
custom may in some degree sanction the practice, and innkeepers
may be interested in the continuance of the nuisance ; but it cannot


be disputed that some other place should be set apart for the hold-
ing of our cattle markets. These observations will equally apply
to the very dangerous and illegal practice of exercising horses in the
streets at the half yearly fairs.

An annual fair is held in the town on the 24th June, being the
festival of St. John the Baptist to whom the church was dedicated.
In ancient times among Christians upon any extraordinary solem-
nity, particularly the anniversary dedication of a church, tradesmen
used to bring and sell their wares, even in the church yards. I
have before extracted Mr. Watson's observations on this subject,
when describing "Ratton Row," p. 330.

"The custom (says Mr. Brand in his Antiquitates Vulgares) our
forefathers did, in all probability, borrow from their fellow heathens,
whose Paganalia or Country Feasts were of the same stamp with
that of the wake. At the conversion of the Saxons by Austin the
monk, it was ordained by Pope Gregory the great, as follows : — On
the day of dedication, or the birth-day of the holy martyrs whose
relicks are there placed, let the people make to themselves booths
of the boughs of trees round about those very churches which had
been the temples of idols, and in a religious way to observe a feast ;
that beasts may no longer be slaughtered by way of sacrifice to the
devil, but for their own eating and the glory of God ; and that
when they are full and satisfied they may return Him thanks,
who is the giver of all good things." This then is the beginning of
our country ivakes. Sir H. Spelman calls them Bacchanals, be-
cause the Saxon word JJ^ak, signifies drunkenness. Mr. Strutt
gives a different etymology, he nevertheless deduces the origin of
our fairs from these ancient wakes where great numbers attending,
by degrees less devotion and reverence were observed ; till at length
from hawkers and pedlars coming thither to sell their petty wares,
the merchants came and set up stalls and booths in the church-yards
and not only those, says Spelman. who lived in the parish to which
the church belonged resorted thither, but others from all the neigh-
bouring towns and villages ; and the greater the reputation of the
saint, the greater were the numbers who flocked together on the
occasion. Kennett in his Parochial Antiquities says, that from the
solemn feasting at wakes and fairs came the word fare, provision ;
good /are, to fare well,


The manner of holding fairs in the present day is too familiar
to my readers to need any explanation here.

A fair is also held on the first Saturday in November for the
sale of cattle and horses.

We now proceed to notice the places of religious worship, in-
stitutions, and public buildings within the town.


Until the year 1798, the parish church was the only place of
worship belonging to the Establishment within the township. To
the munificence of the late Dr. Coulthurst are we indebted for this
handsome edifice : it is pleasantly and eligibly situated. The
building which is altogether elegant, and the masonry excellent and
elaborate, is adorned with Ionic pilasters, and has a cupola at the
West end. The cemetery attached, observes Dr. Whitaker, ought
to operate as an example of neatness to all the chapelries in the
parish : there is considerable taste displayed in many of the tombs.
It was erected under the sanction of an act of parliament passed in
the year 1795; and the land purchased by Dr. C. of the trustees
of Waterhouse's charities. The act empowered Dr. C. and his
heirs to sell or let the pews, galleries, and a portion of not more
than one fifth of the burying ground at prices to be regulated by
the archbishop of York ; the remaining four-fifths to be a common
burying ground for the inhabitants of Skircoat and Southowram.
A portion of the space within the church, with seats as the arch-
bishop should direct, was to be provided for the poor. The act also
provides an income of not less than £100 a year for the incumbent
from the seats : the repairs are provided for by an assessment of
the pew owners.

In the year 1810 the governors of Queen Anne's bounty granted
an augmentation of £100 to meet a benefaction of £200 from
Thomas Dyson, Esq. and others ; and in 1816, another £100 to meet
a subscription of £200 ; and in the year 1825 a further sum of £600
was granted by lot. Out of these augmentations a comfortable
house has been erected contiguous to the church, for the residence of
the incumbent. The right of presentation is vested by the act in
Dr. Coulthurst and his representatives, for the term of 60 years,
after which time it belongs to the vicar of the parish.

umw^ ;


ST. James's church.
The rapid increase of the population and the great extension of
the town rendered another church absolutely necessary for the ac-
commodation of the inhabitants. Although the project was much
canvassed during the incumbency of the late Rev. Samuel Knight-
we are indebted to the present Rev. vicar for originating a subscrip-
tion for the laudable purpose of erecting this edifice. A represent-
ation of the facts being made to His Majesty's commissioners for
building, and promoting the building of additional churches, they
offered to contribute a proportion of the expense, provided a
sufficient sum to make up the deficiency was raised by voluntary
subscription. During the life of the late Wm. Rawson, Esq. the
cause of true religion never wanted a friend in the town of Halifax,
his name occupied the first place in the list with a donation of £200,
the good example thus set was speedily followed, and the necessary
sum soon raised.

The scite being purchased, the stone was the munificent gift of
Michael Stocks, Esq. the produce of his quarries at Shibden dale.
The edifice is erected on raised ground in a delightful situation. It
is in the pseudo-gothic style, with turrets at the West end ; and
was built from a design of the late John Gates, Esq. and under his
superintendence. The internal arrangements consist of a spacious
centre, and two side aisles ; all the pews in the lower part are
capable of containing five persons. There are galleries on the
North and South sides and at the West end. The church will seat
upwards of 1 206 persons, including free seats ; the cost of its
erection was £4122 lis. Od, There is a convenient cemetery
attached. The whole was consecrated by the archbishop of the
province in the year 1831, but not opened for public worship till
January, 1832. The right of presentation is in the vicar of the parish.
The Rev. JohnWorgau Dew was the first incumbent, whose lamented
death took place Sept. 5th, 1834. The Rev. J. Gratrix, A. M.
became his successor.


It appears from the Rev. Gliver Heywood's diary, that the Pres-
byterians erected a chapel on this spot in the year 1697. The
present building appears to be an enlargement of the first chapel.
There are galleries on three sides, and in that at the West end
there is a small organ. Gn the \\hole the interior arrangements
z 2


are strikingly neat, though the exterior presents anything but a
pleasing appearance. It now belongs to the Unitarians.

In the cemetery attached are several tomb-stones of the early
Presbyterians, who formerly resided in this town. Under the
East gallery is a brass plate — " To commemorate the interment in
a vault below of Ann Heywood, relict of Samuel Heywood, Esq.
attorney-at-law in Nottingham, descendant in the third degree from
Oliver Heywood, one of the founders of the Presbyterian churches
in this neighbourhood. She died Feb. 5. MDCCCXXV. Aged

Quaker's meeting house.

The respectable society of Friends have long had a meeting
house in this town at Ward's end. There is a burial ground attached
to the chapel. In 1759 the number of their meeting houses exceeded
that of any other separate class of dissenters in the parish.


A handsome erection has this year (1835) been built on the scite
of an old chapel there, belonging to the ana-baptists, erected in the
middle of the last century.


This chapel is the oldest place of worship in the town belonging
to the Wesleyan Methodists. The first chapel was erected near
the present scite, in the year 1752 at a cost of £300; and the
present building finished in the year 1777. It is a spacious erection,
heavy and devoid of external ornament, but light, airy, and con-
venient within, and capable of containing a congregation of three
thousand persons. A very capacious burial ground is attached to it.
Also an house for the minister. A powerful and well-toned organ
has lately been erected.


This is altogether a handsome erection, and affords a perfect
contrast to the last mentioned. The interior is well arranged, and
displays a degree of taste in the fitting up, so that on the whole,
neither the exterior nor interior ajipearance of the place is surpassed
by any chapels belonging to this denomination of christians in the


Dr:nvn by J. HORNEK. Engraved ■y WHII^TER

Drawn by J. HORNER Engraved by WHIMPER,

Drawn hy J. HORNER. Engraved by WHIMPER,


West Riding. The first stone was laid on the 3rd day of March,
1829 ; and the first sermon preached in it on the 6th of November
following. The cost of its erection amounted to nearly £4000.
An addition has lately been made of a handsome organ.


This chapel belongs to the Independent Dissenters, and was
founded in the year 1771, finished the following year, and first
preached in May 24th, 1772. It was expressly built for the late
Titus Knight the father of the late vicar. It is a lofty and spacious
structure, of red brick, and presents a very handsome appear-
ance ; the interior is light, airy, and commodious, and capable of
containing a very large congregation. The cost of its erection
amounted to upwards of £2000. There is a cemetery attached to it.


Also belongs to the class of Dissenters calling themselves In-
dependents. It was erected in the year 1819, upon the scite of an
old chapel formerly used by the followers of Johanna Southcote, and
other sectarians. The building is of stone, of the Doric order of
architecture, and displays in its internal arrangement a degree of
elegance and taste, which is generally the case in the modern
chapels of this class of Dissenters. The roof is illuminated with
stained glass. The cost of its erection is stated to have been upwards
of £6000. There is also a spacious burial ground attached to this


This chapel belongs to the New Connexion of Methodists, and
was re-built in the year 1815, upon the scite of one erected by this
denomination in 1798. It is a plain stone building, surrounded on
three sides by a burial ground, on the fourth side is attached the
minister's house.


This is another chapel belonging to the Methodist New Con-
nexion. The foundation stone was laid October 1st, 1834, and
is at present (August, 1835) in an unfinished state.



This is a plain stone building belonging to the Primitive Me-
thodists, or Ranters; and erected by them in the year 1822. In
front there is a small burying ground.


Near to Trinity Church, is a plain brick building, erected in the
year 1815, and capable of containing about four hundred scholars.
The school is upheld and supported by subscription, and at present
affords instruction to near two hundred scholars, who are educated
in the principles of the Established Church.


This school, for the instruction of children of all denominations,
was instituted Jan. 1st, 1813. A large and commodious building
was erected a. d. 1818, in Albion-street, for a schoolroom, and
it is supported by the voluntary contributions of persons of all
denominations. 7'he room is capable of containing three hundred
and iifty scholars. The school has received several benefactions,
and the total number of children admitted since the commence-
ment of the institution, is 3064 boys, and 1636 girls, making a total
of 4700. It is needless to observe, the Lancasterian system is


This charitable institution requires no preface to shew its utility
in a populous and labouring community. The inhabitants of Halifax
ever ready to attend to the call of humanity, held a meeting on the

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 31 of 52)