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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more than .500 years. I by no means assert that they are con-
temporary with the period to which they are respectively assigned.
In the year a. u. 1273 the rectory of Halifax became impropriate,
and the vicarage fixed in one clergyman, who was called the
perpetual vicar thereof— being obliged to perpetual residence. By
the deed of endoAvment (a copy of which will be found in the


Appendix (A,) as also a Bull of Pope Alexander's issued about the
same time, together with the mandate empowering the Abbot of
St. Alban's to give possession of the church to the prior and con-
vent of Lewes,) the vicar was to receive certain portions of the
revenue, amounting to fifty marks per annum, according to the
accustomed and common taxation. There was granted to him a
piece of land, extending itself in length, from the road along the
river side towards the East, to another road towards the West, and
in breadth from a way on the South side of the church yard or
cemetery, to the land then held by one Richard de Gumar : on this
piece of ground a vicarage house was to be built, in which the
vicar for the time being should reside. He was also to have
" omnes obventiones et proventus spectantes ad alteragium, excepta
decima lane et agnorum, et hedorum ; cetera omnia ad alteragium
spectantia, in usum Vicarii cedere decernimus absolute," but at
his own expence to provide for the service of the mother church
and its chapels, the repair of the chancel, the procurations and
synodals, and all the ordinary burthens.* And the vicar was further
bound by the same instrument to pay the salaries to the officiating
ministers at the cha^Dels within the vicarage, (viz. EUand and
Heptonstall) which is done at this day, each of them receiving the
annual stipend of £4. A dispute having afterwards arisen between
the prior, the convent, and the vicar, a composition real was made
between them in 1275, by Walter GifFord, archbishop of York, and
it was decided with the consent of both parties that the vicar and
his successors for ever should enjoy the tithes of mills and calves,
and also mortuaries, paying yearly to the prior and convent the
sum of £4 13s. which the impropriator still receives from the
vicar annually. And this appears to have been the ancient endow-
ment of the vicarage.

The following is extracted from the taxation book of Pope
Nicholas, (taken for the province of York a. d. 1292,) and

* The repair of the chancel, as well as some of these ancient provisions have been be-
long usage otherwise provided for; the parish has repaired the chancel, as may be seen by
the accounts kept at the Town's Committee Room, for more than a century, although
at a vestry held in 1831, the parishioners passed a resolution that they were not liable to
the repairs of the chancel. When this onus was taken from the vicars does not appear
by any records which I have been able to find, neither is it material now to enquire,
since the usage and provisions of the vicarial tithe commutation act are in unison.


is curious as shewing the value of the living at that time,
p. 322, b.

£. s. d.

" Ecclesia de Halifax 93 6 8

" Vicarius ejusdem 16

The prior and convent of Levv^es continued to present every
vicar, from the period of the endowment until the suppression of the
monastery at the reformation, when the rectory became vested in
the crown. On the happening of that event we find the value of
the living thus set forth in the Valor Ecclesiasticus, Henry VHI.
" Comit Ebor Halifax Vicaria Robertas Holdesworth Incumbent, et
rectoria ib^m appropr' Priori St, Panoraria de Lewes, in Com :
Sussex ! Vicar ib"m valet in exit Vicar ib"m mane cum gardino et
divers stop eidem adjacent per ann : 8s. oblac ili'm com bus annis
XLlb. Xs. Od. minut ac privat decimi combus annis LlXlb.
decimi annis mollend ib'^m per ann : lis.

In Toto C Lib. &c. &c. &c.
The next authentic document states the value of the living at
the time of the Commonwealth ; the document is curious, shewing,
as it does, that the coarse and rude hand of lawless violence had
already wrested from our Church her patrimony.

In the Parliamentary Survey, Vol 18, p. 270, et sequitur, is the
following : "Halifax. — We finde that belonging to this great parish
there is a vicarage presentative with cure of souls, the small tythes
and other profits thereunto belonging worth about £240 per ann.,
when the dues were paid, which are now withdrawn by most of the
chapelryes in the parish. The rectory is impropriate, formerly in the
Crown, and now in the State, the customary tythe thereof worth
£28 and a noble per annum.

In the 27 Henry VIII, (1535) a money composition was agreed
upon between the Prior and Convent of Lewes on the one hand, and
the parishioners on the other, confirmed by the ordinary, for the
Tithes following, "tritici, selignis, hvrdei, avenarum, fabarum,
piscarum et fseni" within the Parish.

In the 15 Elizabeth (1572) by orders indented, taken by the

Earls of Sussex and Leicester, commissioners of the Court of Star

Chamber, to hear and determine the causes of controversy between

certain persons, inhabitants of the parish of Halifax, plaintiffs, and

G 2


the Waterliouses, (the lessees of the prior and convent) defendants.
It was ordered 1st, That all actions should cease, &c. 2nd, Tliat,
it appearing that the above recited composition had been in some
parts corrupted, &c. it was ordered, for avoiding all doubts in future
touching the said composition, that the same composition should
remain in force in future, and 3rd, It was ordered, that all manner
of persons, their heirs and assigns, that had any Lands, &c. within
the said vicarage of Halifax, should have, hold, and enjoy their
tithes of corn and hay, and other tithes whatsoever, without inter-
ruption, of the said Waterhouses or their assigns, and pay yearly
during the interest of the said Waterhouses therein, such sum of
money as is particularly expressed in the said composition.

In the 18 Elizabeth (1576) an act of Parliament was passed for
establishing this composition, and so the rectorial or great tithes of
the Parish were commuted ; since which time no alteration has
been made.

The present owners of this commutation payment are the lessees
of the Crown, who are now in treaty for the purchase thereof,
with a view to a subsequent sale either to the respective townships
or to individuals.

Happily both for the church and people in this parish there are
now "neither great nor small tithes in the vicarage of Halifax ;"*
the former having been commuted in the reign of Elizabeth, and the
latter in that of his late Majesty, by an act more particularly noticed
hereafter. I say happily, because I believe that there is neither
a clergyman nor layman who will not hail it as the dawning of a
brighter and happier day for the Church of England, when her
ministers shall cease to derive remuneration from a source equally
obnoxious to both parties.

The parish register contains a table of customary payments which
for a considerable time are stated to have been made to the vicar.
This table is also set forth in Watson's history, together with an elabo-
rate explanation ; from which it appears that the parish was anciently
divided into two divisions, comprising various tovimships, called in
and out of Hardwic, or in Hardwic Forest and out of Hardwic
Forest. I have omitted its insertion in this work, because those

» An expression used in the Terrier of Mr. Burton, when vicar of Halifax, more
prophetic than true, in 1720.


payments are now extinguished, and any reference to them may
only have a tendency to mislead, if they were ever correct, which
is a question much doubted.

A copy of the last Terrier will be found inserted in the Ap-
pendix (A.)

On the incumbency of the present vicar, in the year 1827, that
gentleman endeavoured to inform himself as correctly as possible,
as to the rights and interests of the living as they at that time
existed ; and a communication was made by him to the parishioners
thereon, which gave rise to considerable discussion at the period.
As to the nature of the claim made on the one hand, and the
resistance contemplated on the other, it is not my intention to offer
any observation. The question was happily arranged with the
assistance of the legislature, and the future rights of the Church
clearly defined and rendered more satisfactory to all parties

By an Act of Parliament, which received the Royal Assent
on the 13th April, 1829, intituled " An Act for extinguishing tithes,
and payments in lieu of tithes, mortuaries, and Easter oflferings, and
other vicarial dues and payments, Avithin the parish of Halifax, in
the diocese of York ; and for making compensation to the vicar in
lieu thereof, and enabling him to grant certain leases of lands belong-
ing to the vicarage," the tithes and vicarial dues formerly payable to
the vicar were extinguished ; and thereby (after reciting the divisions
of the parish into the twenty-three townships thereinafter named,
and the expediency of providing an annual stipend thenceforth to
be paid to the vicar of the said parish for the time being, in lieu of
all vicarial tithes, mortuaries, Easter offerings, and dues or payments
in lieu of vicarial tithes, or dues arising or payable within eighteen
townships, and in lieu of all mortuaries, Easter offerings and dues
arising or payable to the said vicar within three of the townships.)
It was enacted that the respective churchwardens for the time
being of the several townships should yearly thereafter pay or cause
to be paid in the proportions thereinafter mentioned, to the vicar
for the time being, one clear annual stipend or sum of £1409 15s. 6d.
free from all taxes, except the ancient annual payment of £4 13s.
payable by the vicar to the King's most Excellent Majesty as rector
of the pari^^h.


The act directs the proportions to be raised in each toAvnship,
as set forth in the following table.

A Table showing the proportions to be raised in each township,

and paid to the vicar of Halifax for the time being, in lieu of
tithes, 8;c.

£. s. d.

1 Erringden 35 1 6

2 Fixby 8 15 3

3 Halifax 243 13 6

4 Heptonstall 80 10

5 Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse 78

6 Langfield 38 18 8

7 Midgley 39 3

8 Norland 25 3 9

9 Northowram 151 1 6

10 Rastrick 45 10 6

11 Rishworth 27 5 6

12 Shelf 38 3 2

13 Skircoat 65 8 2

14 Southowram 83 13 2

15 Sowerby Ill 14 5

16 Soyland 61 3

17 Wadsworth 93

18 Warley 89 17 10

19 Barkisland 15 17 3

20 Ovenden 57 12

21 Stainland 20 12 6

£1409 15 6
These payments are to be made by the respective churchwarden or
churchwardens of each township, on Easter Monday in every year,
in the vestry room of the church, or in such other place as may be
agreed on.

The proportions are to be raised and paid for the first eighteen
townships by an assessment on all inhabited houses, com mills,
arable, meadow and pasture lands, orchards and gardens, and the
proportions to be paid by the last mentioned three townships are


to be raised by a charge on all inhabited houses, rateably in pro-
portion to their value : the mode in which the property is to be
rated is set forth in the 10th sec. of the act. This annual stipend
is in lieu of and for all manner of tithes, mortuaries, Easter dues,
oblations, obventions, and other dues and offerings of every
denomination w^hatsoever, (save and except surjDlice fees usually
accustomed to be paid in respect of marriages, christenings, church-
ings, and burials within the parish,) and all compositions prescriptive
and customary, or other payments whatsoever, payable to the
vicar, in respect of the messuages and lands, &c. in the first
eighteen townships, and in lieu, &c. of all manner of mortuaries,
Easter dues, oblations, and other dues and offerings of every
denomination whatsoever (save and except surplice, &c.) within
the three last mentioned townships. The respective townships
may redeem their respective proportions on payment of a sum in
gross, not being less than twenty-eight years' purchase. The
townships of EUand-cum-Greetland and Stansfield were at liberty
to become parties to the act within twelve months after its passing,
of which privilege they did not avail themselves : they are not
precluded, however, from redeeming their Easter dues on the same
terms as the other townships, and there is a proviso in the act that
nothing therem contained shall extend to interfere with the vicar's
rights in Elland and Stansfield, unless they shall bring themselves
within the operation of the act.

By this act, the vicar, and his successors for the time being, with
the consent of the Crown, and the Diocesan, is empowered to grant
building leases for ninety-nine years, to take effect in possession
(without fine) of the land belonging to the vicarage described in the
following schedule. The vicar is also empowered, with the same con-
sent, to^grant improving leases for terms of sixty years, of the lands
marked with an asterisk in the same schedule, being the commons
and waste lands allotted to the vicar, under the several inclosure acts.
In the Township of Halifax :

A close of land in Lister Lane, containing 2 acres 1 rood and
7 perches.

In Soifthowram :

A close of land called Hawkins Royd, adjoining the Gas Works,
containing 2 acre? 3 roods and 30 perches.


In Barkisland :

* A piece of land situate at Ringstone-Edge, containing 150
acres and 35 perches.

In Oven den :

* A piece of land situate on and being parcel of Harewood-
Well Moor, containing 216 acres.

In Stainland :

* A piece of land situate on Crow-Edge otherwise Cross-Edge,
containing 52 acres.

* A piece of land called the Vicar's Pen, situate at or near
Great Penam-End at the bottom of Lindley Moor, containing 7

In Elland-cum-Greetland :

* A piece of land called the Vicar's Park, situate on Greetland
Moor, containing 75 acres.

In Stansfield :

* A piece of land situate on and being part of the Blackmoors,
containing 408 acres and 20 perches.

* A piece of land situate at Birdstones, containing 77 acres
and 18 perches.

* A piece of land situate at Clunters, containing 25 acres and
3 roods.

* A piece of land situate at Chisley Stones, containing 90
acres and 3 roods.

There is a proviso in the act that nothing therein contained
shall extend to prevent, after the termination of the present
incumbency, a division of the parish into disti'ict parishes

Independently of the land specified in the foregoing schedules
of the act, and allotted to the vicar under the several enclosure
acts that have been passed in connection with the parish, the
vicarage is endowed with a close of land, containing about two
acres, two roods, and sixteen perches, called Shack Field or
Vicar's Field, between Southgate and the manufacturer's hall. By
an act of Geo. III. passed in 1781, part of this field was vested in
trustees for making a road from Southgate to the manufacturer's
hall ; and the vicar and his successors were enabled to grant building
leases of the other parts of the said close for any term not exceeding
99 years from the making thereof, so as such leases should take


effect in possession and not in reversion, and so as there should be
reserved the best and most improved yearly ground rents that could
reasonably be obtained for the benefit of the vicar. This land has
been let on building leases accordingly.

The vicar is also entitled by custom to a small proportion of
surplice fees from the several chapelries in the parish.

There are a few^ benefactions to the vicar arising from different
sources ; for preaching sermons on certain occasions, and the
performance of other duties, which are clearly defined, the whole
emoluments whereof are very inconsiderable.

These are the principal resources whence the vicar of this
extensive parish derives his income. The patronage immediately
connected with the vicarage is the right of presentation to all the
episcopal chapels within the parish. The right of presentation
to Trinity Church is at present in the representatives of the late
Rev. Dr. Coulthurst, who have three nominations after the present
incumbent, when the right vests in the vicar. Christ Church, in
Skircoat, is private property.

The vicar for the time being is also a trustee of Waterhouse's
and Smyth's Charities, and a governor of the Free Grammar
Schools at Skircoat, and at Hipperholme ; but from these he
derives no income, and the duties attached to some of them, are
at times arduous.

The present fabric of the vicarage house was erected a. d. 1712,
during the incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Burton, but not at his
expence, as has been erroneously stated, and as the following
extracts from the parish books will shew.

" Memorandum. — That the ould vickeridge house was pulled
down July the twelfth day, 1712, and was rebuilded by y^ liberall
contributions of neighbouring gentlemen, and y'^ inhabitants of the
town of Halliffax, and y^ inhabitants of y^ neibouring towns within
the parish of Halliffax, the charge of which was disbursed by
Samuel Stead, and the house was thacked the 1 1th December, 1712."

"Memorandum. — That upon 21st of December, 1713, Mr.
Thomas Burton, then vicker of Halliffax, did with his family goe
to dwell in ye new vickeridge house, it being finished ; and ye whole
charge of rebuilding it, besides y** ould materials about it, and work
given, amounted to about £350, payd by me Samuel Stead."


Perhaps a more suitable spot in the whole township could not
have been chosen for the residence of the vicars, if we recur
to the period of its first erection : seated, as we may imagine
it to have been, " in a dark and solemn grove, on the bank
of a small murmuring rivulet, with every circumstance thereunto
appertaining very much to contribute to, and heighten contempla-
tion." It is perliaps one of the best and pleasantest vicarage
houses within the diocese, possessing sufficient accommodation to
enable the vicar for the time being to " maintain hospitality"
as his station demands. It is conveniently situated with
regard to the church, and lies retired from observation, with a
frontage towards the pleasure grounds. The removal of a cluster
of low and ill built houses, which at present appear to encroach
upon its retirement, is a consummation much to be desired : the
site they occupy would not only render the approach to the church
both handsome and commodious, and also aflford ample room for
carriages, without inconveniencing pedestrians; but would lay
open to the distance a view of that venerable building. The subject
is well entitled to the consideration of the proper authorities.


It now becomes necessary that we advert to the history of the
Manor of Halifax, or in other words the Manor of the Rectory to
which we have had occasion to refer in the preceding chapter. I
shall endeavour to be as concise and clear as possible. Mr. Watson
observes that at Halifax there has of long standing been a Manor
within a Manor. In Kirkby's inquest, being an inquisition taken
by John de Kirkby, treasurer to king Edward I. and his fellows,
commissioners assigned to enquire of the fees holden in chief
in the county of York, of the said king, and the rents of assize then
due to him, being the 24th year of his reign, the prior of Lewes
was found to hold Halifax ; this must have been then by grant
from some of the Earls of Warren. To this priory it continued to
belong until the reformation, when, by one sweeping grant the
House and its possessions were given in 29th Henry VIII. to Thomas
Lord Cromwell, who, being attainted two years afterwards, his
lands reverted to the Crown, the manor was made part of the dower
of the Lady Ann Cleve, 32 Henry VIII., and she held it until her
death, in 1555. Mr. Watson mentions that several exceptions
were made in the granting of the Rectory Manor to Lady Ann,
a lease thereof having been granted by the Priory to Robert
Waterhouse, of Halifax, 27 Henry VIII., the said Robert paying
the same rent to the Crown which he paid to the convent. Mr.
Watson also refers to a written account which says, that the pre-
mises being of the value of sixteen pounds fourteen shillings, were
granted to Lady Ann Cleve, for the term of her life, by the
king's majesties letters patents without any thing paying for
the same ; also that there was an annual rent of twenty-one
pounds six shillings going out of the King's Manor of Wakefield,


to this Manor of Halifax, and parcel of the lease of Robert
Waterhouse, not charged in this value, neither any parcel of the
possessions assigned to the said Lady Ann Cleve, but remained
in the king's hands extinct. The king had also in spiritualities
in Halifax, and other the members of the same, to the yearly value
of ninety-five pounds six shillings and eight pence which w^ere
letten in farm to John Waterhouse and others, by indenture,
under the convent seal of the monastery of Lewes, and not charged
in the said value. The benefices of Coningsborough, Braithwell,
Sandal, Harthill, and Dinnington, are in this account said to be
members of the Manor of, Halifax and not to be granted to the
said Lady Ann, but to have been made over to Robert Waterhouse
as often as they should happen to be void during his tei-m. By
letters patent dated 14th June, in the 37th Henry VHL, the
reversion of the premises expectant upon the decease of the Lady
Ann, was granted to John Waterhouse, of Halifax and Shipden
Hall, gent, son and heir of Robert Waterhouse, (by Sybil, daughter
and coheiress of Robert Saville, second son of John Saville, of
HuUenedge,) and Robert Waterhouse, son of the said John, Barrister
at Law and Justice of the Peace, for the sum of one hundred and
fifty pounds, five shillings, and ten-pence, to hold to the said John
and Robert, their heirs and assigns, for ever, in capite, by the
service of the hundredth part of a knight's fee. Robert survived
his father, and held the same of Henry VII L, Edward VI., Philip
and Mary, and lastly, of Queen Elizabeth, in whose reign he died
seized, and the Manor descended to Edward Waterhouse, (after-
wards Sir Edward,) his son and heir, who held the said Manor in
his demesne, as of fee of the said Queen Elizabeth, and subsequently
of King James, by the said service, the Advowson still remaining
in the Crown, The family of Waterhouse appear to have had
several transactions with the Priory of Lewes. By leases of lands
and churches under the Priory they obtained great wealth, and
became persons of considerable weight and interest in this parish.
They had their principal seat at the Moot Hall, in the town ;
Shipden was also theirs. Sir Edward Waterhouse is said to
have been a consumer of the property. Having obtained the
king's license, he sold the Manor to Sir Arthur Ingi'am, who granted
dced^^ of infranchisement to severed copyholders, reserving yearly


quit rents, fines on deaths of principal tenants, and alienations in
fee simple, or fee tail. The lessees also covenanted to appear and
do suit and service at the Lords Courts in Halifax, there to be
impanelled and sworn of juries, as often as should be needful, to
enquire and present misdemeanors, and other things inquirable
and presentable within the said Manor ; and to perform and keep
all reasonable orders, by-laws, and directions, at such courts to be
made, for good order and government, within the said Manor ; or
else to satisfy and pay such reasonable essoigns, and amerciaments,
wherein they should at any court be essoigned, amerced, or pained,
for their default of suit, or otber defaults or offences. Also that
they would grind all their corn and grain which they should buy,
or bring into the said Manor, to be spent in their houses, upon any
part of the premises, or within the said Manor, at the corn mills of
the said lords, their heirs and assigns, situate within the parish of
Halifax aforesaid, and that they, their heirs and assigns, would not,
at any time hereafter, erect any corn mill or mills within the said
Manor, or do anything to the prejudice of the lord's mill, or mills,
in Halifax aforesaid. The tenants to be well and orderly used in
the grinding of their corn and grist, and to have their grinding
dispatched in reasonable and convenient time, and no greater
mulcture to be taken for the grinding thereof than the twentieth part

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 9 of 52)