Church of England. Diocese of Durham. Bishop (1879.

Primary charge : two addresses delivered to the clergy of the Diocese of Durham in December, 1882 (Volume Talbot Collection of British P online

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Online LibraryChurch of England. Diocese of Durham. Bishop (1879Primary charge : two addresses delivered to the clergy of the Diocese of Durham in December, 1882 (Volume Talbot Collection of British P → online text (page 1 of 8)
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H)ioce0c of Burbain


J. B. LICtHTFOOT, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D.,




* 9



T. The Diocese

(1) Territorial Rearrangements.



(2) D



Division of the Diocese

New Archdeaconry

Iicarrangenient of Rural Deaneries

Subdivision of Parishes - - -

loremn Institutions and Associations.

Diocesan Conference - - .

Diocesan Societies - - -

Organization of Lay Help

Lay Headers

Ministration of Women

(J iris' Friendly Society and Young Men's Friendly
Society - . . .

Diocesan Preachers - - -

(3) Miscellaneous.

Ordinations - - - -

fleeting of Curates - - -

Confirmations - - - -

Church Building and Hestoration

Diocesan Calendar and Magazine
^frospertive and Pros^ieefive.

Burial Laws Amendment Act -
Permanent Diaconate

Salvation Army - - - ,

iievised New Testament -

Church and State ...

Anxieties and Hopes




(4) L
The (














,u»uc .

The Jirst part of this Charge ivas delivered
in Durham Cathedral, he/ore the Clergy of the
Archdeaconry of Durhain, on Thursday, December
IMh; the second in the Chapel of Aucldand Castle,
before the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Auckland,
on Saturday, December 16th.


Reverend Brethren,

THE SOLEMNITY of tlie occasion will Le felt Ly all
who are met together to-clay. Tins is far
more than an ordinary gathering of clergy, whether
for social interchange or for mutual consultation or
even for common worshij:). We have arrived at one
of those marked halting-places in our ministerial
journey, where, resting for a moment, we look behind
and before us ; and taught alike by the failures and
achievements of the past, we gird ourselves up for a
fresh start and a more enern;etic race in the future.
A visitation is a great audit time, when the Bishop
and Clergy alike render an account of their minis-
trations — the Clergy by their answers to the questions
of their diocesan — the Bishop by his charge summing-
up the work of the diocese during the few years past.
It is a foreshadowing and a forecast of the great and
final visitation, when the Master Himself returning
shall demand an account of His talents, when the
Chief Shepherd shall reappear and re(]uire His lluck
at our hands.

4 A Charge.

On this my primary visitation my thoughts
naturally revert to the day when, full of misgivings,
I first came among you between three and four
years ago. The more than kindly welcome which
I received from clergy and laity alike reassured me.
The hopes with which your attitude then inspired
me have not been disappointed. I have not escaped,
and I do not desire to escape, criticism. I have
striven to administer this diocese with moderation
indeed, but without fear or favour of men ; and he
who sets this ideal before him, must expect to dis-
appoint many and perhaps to offend a few. To the
generous forbearance, the ready deference, the frank
counsel, and the hearty co-operation of all — of the
clergy more especially — I am indebted for any measure
of success which may have attended my adminis-
tration since my coming among you. To this same
cause I owe it, that I address you to-day with a
courage and a hopefulness which three years and a
half ago I should not have thought possible.



(i) Division of the Diocese.

A great and momentous chang-e has overtaken the
diocese since the last visitation — a change more
considerable in itself and more important in its
prospective results than any since the establishment
of the see at Durham, if we except the abolition of

A Cha7ye. 5

the Palatine jurisdiction in 1836. The See of
Durham has been shorn of two-thirds of its area
and one-third of its population. It has been severed
from the cradle of its race — the sacred island of
Lindisfarne. It has lost an appreciable part of its
income and its patronage. Nevertheless this change,
now that it is made, must be a subject of unalloyed
joy and thankfulness to all who have at heart the
well-being and efficiency of the Church of England.
When I was working for the division of the diocese,
I was met again and again with the objection —
frankly stated and, I doubt not, sincerely held — that
the dignity and prestige of the ancient See of Durham
would suffer irreparably by the change. My constant
reply has been that the dignity and jDrestige of the see
existed only for the sake of its efficiency, and that
the sacrifice must be made, if it were needed. But I
do not think that any real loss of dignity has been
incurred. I cannot imagine that the mother see will
suffer at all in influence or importance, because a
daughter, who is bone of her bone and flesh of her
flesh, has gone forth from her home to win the hearts
and stir the souls of men. She will be all the
stronger and all the prouder for such a motherhood
as this. Certainly I should be the least inclined of
all men, whether from my personal interests in the
see or from my historical sympathies with the past,
to consent calmly to any real diminution of the
glories of the ancient bishopric. But no local severance
can impair the historical connexion. Columba and

6 A Charge.

Aidan are still onr spiritual forefathers ; Lindisfarne
and Hexham are still our ancestral homes, though
we have given them as a marriage portion to our
daughter. We cling as firmly, as eagerly, as reso-
lutely, as ever, to all that is noLle, all that is true,
all that is enduring, all that is Christlike, in the
Northumbrian Church in the phst.

I need not remind you that the creation of a see
for Northumberland, carved out of the Diocese of
Durham, is not a project of yesterday. It was
foreshadowed in the well-known Act of Henry viii,
which authorized the appointment of a suffragan
Bishop of Berwick to act as the Bishop of Durham's
lieutenant.^ It was carried out at least on paper by
an Act of the Legislature towards the close of the
next reign. This Act provided for the establishment
of a Bishopric of Newcastle, with the usual accom-
paniment of a Dean and Chapter. Happily it never
• took effect. No blessing could have been expected
to rest on a measure prompted by the most selfish
motives and carried out by the most unscrupulous
means. The aggrandizement of the most rapacious
and worldly of courtiers — John Dudley, Duke of
Northumberland — was the primary incentive to the
chang;e. The humiliation of the See of Durham was
a secondary but not unimportant object in the eyes
of its author. The deprivation and imprisonment of
the learned, gentle, moderate Tunstall — the most
blameless of prelates — was the immediate preliminary
to the step.^

A Charge. 7

Thus tlie Act, though decked out with specious
phrases and high-sounding professions of concern for
the welfare of the diocese, was a mere measure of
spoliation, prompted by the greed and ambition of
one man. It was altogether of the earth earthy ;
and it deserved to perish. Perish it did speedily.
Its rescission w^s one* of the earliest measures of the
siijCceeding reign. From that time forward nothing
more is heard of the scheme till the j)resent gene-
ration. However beneficial in itself, it had been
hopelessly discredited by its origin and its motive.
The Bishops of Durham, burdened with the cares of
a secular princedom in addition to their spiritual
functions, continued to perform the duties of their
office unaided. Even the permissive Act of Henry
VIII, which granted a suffragan to the Bishoj^ of
Durham, was only once called into requisition, though
in mediaeval times the Bishop of Durham had not
unfrequently employed some Bishop in partihus as
suffragan. One Dr. Sparke, Master of Greatham
Hospital in Queen Elizabeth's time, was the first and
last Bishop of Berwick on record.

But the See of Durham, how^ever wide in area, was
not as yet very densely peopled. The whole popu-
lation of the diocese, comprising the two present
counties of Northumberland and Durham, with
a peninsula stretching into Cumberland and islets
dotted over the north of Yorkshire, was less at
the commencement of this century, than the
present population of any English diocese except

8 A CJim^ge.

Hereford. But the century had hardly set in,
when the census rose by rapid bounds. The popu-
lation of the two counties is now four or five times as
great as it was in the opening years of the century.
This increase has been much more rapid in Durham
than in Northumberland. In 1801 Durham numbered
fewer inhabitants than Northumberland by twenty
thousand; in 1831 it had outstripped its neighbour
and counted some few thousands more; and in 1881
it reckoned double the population of Northumberland
though containing only half the acreage.^ No wonder
that with these rapidly gromng numbers earnest
and thoughtful men began to desire for the diocese
more eff'ective spiritual supervision. The Bishops of
Durham had been relieved from the cares of the
Palatinate not a moment too soon. But this relief
was more than counterbalanced by the ever increasing
pressure of work and the ever heightened ideal of
episcopal duty — an ideal springing from the general
revival of Church life, but owing not a little to the
devoted labours of men like Blomfield and Wilber-

Accordingly in the year 1854 the Town Council of
Newcastle, by a unanimous vote, memorialized the
Home Secretary for the creation of a see in their
midst on the ground that owing to the increase of the
population ' the effective administration of the diocese
had become impossible ' ; and about the same time
the Cathedral Commissioners, who were then sitting,
received more than one memorial from the County of

A Charge. 9

Northumberland to the same effect. In one of these
the memorialists put forward the plea that ' the diocese
contained an estimated population of 770,000.' This
estimate had nearly doubled before the see was
actually created. The Commissioners themselves,
reporting in the following year (1855), mention the
fact that ' local efforts of considerable importance
have already been made at Newcastle for the creation
of a new see there,' and they themselves include it
in their schedule. At the first Church Congress also,
held at Cambridge in 1861, in which the increase
of the episcopate was one of the subjects discussed,
Durham was placed in the forefront of the dioceses
which needed division.^

For long years however local agitation slumbered.
Here and there a voice was raised, but no common
action was taken. Outside the diocese of Durham
however the movement did not rest. The creation of
the see of Ripon in 1836 could not be called an ex-
tension of the episcopate, for it was purchased by the
suppression of another bishopric. Yet the beneficent
effects of the division of an overgrown diocese and
the planting of a see in the heart of a populous
district were soon manifest in the fruits of Bishop
Longley's episcopate ; and this may be regarded
as the first step in the onward progress. The
lesson taught by the creation of Ripon in 1836
was further enforced by the creation of Manchester in
1847. This latter was the first real addition to the
English episcopate since Henry the viii's time,

10 A Charge-

though, the population of England had increased five
or sixfold during the three centuries which had
elapsed meanwhile. So the cry for an increase of the
.episcopate rose ever louder and louder from the
Church. A Society for the extension of the Home
Episcopate was founded. The Premier w^as memorial-
ized. Comprehensive measures of extension were
again and again brought before Parliament. At
length it was seen to be more j)olitic to attack the
need in detail. Special wants must be supplied by
special measures. The result of this change of pro-
cedure was the immediate creation of two new sees.
St. Alban's was founded in 1875; Truro in the follow-
ing year. Each see created w^as a fresh indication of the
wisdom of these measures. Immediate and manifest
results followed in the quickening of Church life.-''

At length Durham awoke again. In the year
1876 the late Bishop of Durham submitted to his
Puride canal Chapters the advisability of creating
a new see for Northumberland. Thoug;li there
was much difference of opinion as to the mode of
endowment, ' the judgment was almost unanimous
as to the advisableness of creating the see.' In the
following year (August 1877) Mr. T. Hedley — the
inheritor of a name famous in the annals of inventive
science — ^bequeathed his personal estate after certain
deductions and on certain conditions for the endow-
ment of such a bishopric. This munificent bequest
clinched the measure. In the following 5^ear (1878)
an Act passed the legislature for the creation of four

A Charge. 11

new sees, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southwell, and
Wakefield. The Archbishop of Canterbury speaking
on the second reading of the Bill characterised the
measure as " one of the greatest reforms proposed for
the Church of Enfdand since the Eeformation," and
looked forward to it as a " means of greatly strength-
ening the Church."' My predecessor in this diocese
also strongly advocated the measure on that occasion.
This was, I believe, the last time that his voice was
heard in the House of Lords. In his last charge,
delivered a few months later, he commended the
foundation of the See of Newcastle to the diocese as a
measure much needed, giving his reasons for this
opinion, and referring to the decision of the Ruri-
decanal Chapters which I have already mentioned.
But he was not sanguine about the result. ' The
prospect,' he said, ' of the accomplishment of this
good work is, I fear, remote.'^

The division of the diocese was thus bequeathed to
me as a legacy by my predecessor. As this topic
was prominent in his last public utterances to the
diocese, so also it had a conspicuous place in my first
words spoken among you. Preaching at my enthrone-
ment, I expressed the hope that ' the inauguration of a
new episcopate might be marked by the creation of a
new see ; that Northumberland which in centuries
long past gave to Durham her bishopric might receive
from Durham her due in return in these latest days ;
and that the New Cnstle on the Tyne might take its
place with the Old Castle on the Wear, as a spiritual

12 A Charge.

fortress strong in the warfare of God.' But before this
I had taken one important step. Immediately after
my appointment I had sought an interview wdth the
Duke of Northumberland and received from him the
promise of the munificent gift (£10,000) which was
the foundation stone of the undertaking. Thus the
measure which, promoted three centuries and a half
earlier by the greed and ambition of one Duke of
Northumberland had proved abortive, was destined
in our days to be realized by the unselfish munifi-
cence of another. I pledged myself then and there,
that the success of the measure was assured by his
generosity ; and the other day, when he presided
at the reception of the Bishop of Newcastle, thereby
crowning the work which he himself had begun, I was
able to remind him of the pledge thus given and
redeemed. But the cloud still hung heavily over
these northern counties when I came among you.
It was a period of almost unparalleled commercial
and agricultural depression. The special industries
of the diocese had suff'ered perhaps more than any
others. By the termination of the strikes and the
resumption of work the worst anxiety had indeed
been removed ; but confidence was not restored.
Not only had great losses been incurred in the past ;
but a sense of instability, than which nothing is more
fatal to charitable benefactions on a large scale, had
been engendered. For the time therefore I held my
hand, warned on all sides that it would be fatal to
move at a moment so inopportune. Thus fifteen

A Charge. 13

months elapsed since I entered my diocese, when the
first Diocesan Conference assembled towards the end
of September, 1880. Meanwhile a spur had been
applied to our tardiness. The See of Liverpool was
an accomplished fact. The people of Liverpool had
busied themselves wdth zeal, and the great wealth of
the place ensured them an early success. In my
opening address at the Conference I referred at length
to the foundation of the See of Newcastle as a
measure of immediate and pressing importance. The
division of the diocese was also one of the subjects on
the programme. Excellent papers w^ere read on it,
and an interesting discussion ensued. I stated on
this occasion that the first consecration in which I
had been called to take part was the consecration of a
Bishop for Liverpool, and that it was my earnest
prayer that the second might be the consecration of a
Bishop for Newcastle. I added also the hope that this
stirring of the question at the Diocesan Conference
would 'prove the beginning of the end.'

The prayer was granted ; the hope was fulfilled.
That day did prove ' the beginning of the end.'
The first printed circular was issued, if I recollect
rightly, soon after the Conference. Within fifteen
months from that date we were able to announce
publicly that the requisite endowment had been
obtained and that the establishment of the new see
was therefore an assured fact. For the first few
months I kept the matter in my own hands, until
I was able to announce that two-thirds of the sum

14 . A Chai-ge.

required in addition to Mr. Hedley's legacy had been
secured. At length in December, 1880, a committee
was called together ; and a more general and active
canvass was commenced. To the executive com-
mittee, and more especially to its treasurers and
secretaries, I desire here to record my sincere thanks
for their energetic labours. To the clergy generally,
and more especially to the Rural Deans and Arch-
deacons, the speedy success of the measure is largely
indebted. The Archdeacons above all (one alas ! is
no longer with us to receive this expression of my
thanks) have laid me under the deepest obligation.
Speaking at Newcastle, early in June 1881, I had
expressed the hope that I might be able to announce
the completion of the fund at the Congress which
Avas fixed for the ensuing October. This hope
was not gratified. The Congress met, and I had
still to ask ' Usquequo Domine.' But a great
impulse was given to the work by this meeting.
A special Congress Fund was established at the
suggestion of the Bishop of Manchester and under
the direction of the then Archdeacon of Northum-
berland. We were now approaching the limit' at
which it might be possible by careful investment and
by guarantees to establish the bishopric shortly,
when the princely gift of Benwell Tower, as the
episcopal residence, dispensed with any anxiety about
guarantees, gave us a large margin, scattered all
misgivings, and rescued us from further delay. The
gift was made known privately by the donor in the

A Charge. 1 5

middle of October 1881, tliougli not published till
later. Tlius less tliiin thirteen months from the time
when active steps were first taken had sufficed to
secure the foundation of the see. The signal munifi-
cence of Mr. Spencer was not the less welcome because
it came after the establishment of the see was assured.
From first to last the sum raised for the endowment,
including Mr. Hedley's benefaction, amounted to above
£70,000, besides the gift of the episcopal residence.
Unlike Liverpool, we received nothing from the
Additional Home Bishoprics Fund, wdiicli was already
more than exhausted by promises made elsewhere.
St. Alban's, Truro, Liverpool, Newcastle, have been
added to the list of English sees within a period of
five 3^ears. Southwell and Wakefield, we trust, will
not long be delayed. The endowments for these
new sees have been raised mainly by voluntary
contributions. This fact has had no parallel in the
history of the English Church for many centuries.
The number of additional bishoprics under Henry viii
was slightly greater, but they cost their founder
nothing. Yet this is only one out of many signal
fruits of the great awakening in the life of the Church
which we have been permitted to witness in our
generation. Have we not good cause to thank God
and take courao-e ?''


(ii) The New Archdeaconry.

Only second in importance to the creation of a.
new see in the territorial re-arrangements of

16 A Charge.

the diocese has been the creation of a new arch-
deaconry. Even, if the division of the diocese had
not been imminent, the division of the Archdeaconry
of Durham would have been a pressing need. The
County of Durham, with its exceptional adminis-
trative difficulties, with its ever increasing and ever
shifting population, and with the incessant parochial
developments and readjustments rendered necessary
thereby, had outgrown the powers of one Archdeacon
however energetic. But the time was fast approaching
when the county would become co-extensive with the
diocese, and it was a striking anomaly that a Bishop
of one of the chief English sees, still retaining an
exceptionally large population, should be dependent on
the co-operation of a single Archdeacon. It is true
that the Archdeaconry was in some degree relieved by
the Officialty. But the relief was more nominal than
real ; and, as a matter of fact, the Officialty had of
recent years been held with one or other arch-
deaconry, latterly with the Archdeaconry of Durham.
As the parishes included in the Officialty are scattered
up and down the Archdeaconry of Durham, this
arrangement was perhaps as convenient as the circum-
stances permitted. Moreover the Officialty was itself
an anomaly. It originated in a privilege granted in
Norman times to the Prior of Durham by the BishojDs
to exercise independent jurisdiction over the cures
supplied by the monastic house. To these parishes
the Prior was regarded as Archdeacon ; and after the
Reformation this jurisdiction devolved on the Dean

A Charge. 17

as his representative. Though it might have been
exercised by him in person, he generally delegated
it to an Official, elected by the Dean and Chapter.
The anomaly was thus twofold. In the first place
the archidiaconal jurisdiction of the Official was not
marked by continuous geogra^^hical boundaries, like
an ordinary archdeaconry. His territory was spo-
radic. It was an archidiaconate within an archi-
diaconate. But secondly (and this was the greatest
anomaly) it was quite independent of the Bishop.
The Official was not only not appointed by the Bishop
but was independent of the Bishop. He was not the
Bishop's eye, but the Dean's eye. Thus the parishes
of the Officialty, so far as regards the episcopal
supervision exercised through the Archdeacon, were
peculiars. The anomaly was probably unimportant,
when it was first created ; but as the patronage of the
Dean and Chapter increased, it became more flagrant.
At the time of its abolition it included not less than
48 parishes, and this number would have grown from
time to time by the formation of new parishes. When
I applied to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the
creation of the new Archdeaconry of Auckland, they
at once laid their finger on this blot. At first I
pleaded for the retention of the Officialty. Though
the exemption (in one important respect) of a large
number of parishes from episcopal jurisdiction was an
irregularity indefensible in itself, yet it had been so
worked as to be unproductive of any real evil beyond
the inconvenience ; and I could not but respect the

18 A Charge.

sentiments and attachments which had gathered about
an institution dating eight centuries back and con-
nected with the name of AV^illiam of Carileph. But
the Commissioners conceived their duty to be clear.
A main purpose of their existence was the abolition of
peculiars. By Act of Parliament they were charged
to see that every parish in its entirety was comprised
in one rural deanery, and every rural deanery in its
entirety in one archdeaconry. Thus the letter not less
than the spirit of the statute seemed to them to demand
the abolition of the Officialty, as a preliminary to the
creation of the Archdeaconry. Moreover they had a
strong precedent for this mode of dealing with the

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Online LibraryChurch of England. Diocese of Durham. Bishop (1879Primary charge : two addresses delivered to the clergy of the Diocese of Durham in December, 1882 (Volume Talbot Collection of British P → online text (page 1 of 8)