Historical Notes On The Church At Illingworth
By Graptolite

A collection of notes by GraptoliteJ. H. Ogden – based on his local history column in the Halifax Guardian

This version was transcribed by Sue Johnson from an exercise book, with a collection of newspaper cuttings pasted in, which was found in Halifax Reference Library

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 1

How much that is interesting is associated with an old church; it is a monument of ages gone by, a connection link which joins the past to the present, and points to the future. Here the memories of the past are shadowed; the pious benefactions of our ancestors are recorded; and here the civil and religious efforts of our forefathers are expressed. Many are the associations which cluster round the sacred edifice rendering it an object of veneration to the reflective mind. The Church in times past was the only centre of light – the only educational influence – at work. No wonder that men should seek their last resting place beneath its shadow, within the precincts of "God's acre" where

Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep

It is with these thoughts I put together a few notes, obtained at random, concerning the Church at Illingworth and its surroundings, which may not be considered out of place at a time when one of the oldest vicars in the parish, who has laboured amongst the people in the hill district with great zeal and pulpit ability for near half a century, has just gone to his rest, and his successor only just been inducted to the living.

The present Church at Illingworth is but a century old, having been built in 1777; but it stands on the site of a very old church. As to the precise date when the older church was erected there is no absolute certainty. Watson's History of Halifax says

Illingworth chapel: Situated in such township of Ovenden, was built about 1525 for Henry Savile, Lord of Ovenden, gave of waste land there, by deed, bearing the date January 26th 17 Henry the Eighth, to certain feoffees in trust, that they should stand seized thereof to the use of a chapel there, to be built in honour of the Virgin Mary, paying yearly to the Lord One red rose

But, Crabtree, in his History of Halifax, points out a mistake, Watson thus made. The deed of gift is in Latin, and Crabtree says

The words are "ad usum unius Capellae ib'm in honore beata Mariae, Virginis, oedific, not oedificand: (the word in the grant do not warrant Mr Watson's construction "to be built") paying to the Lord one red rose

This shows that the chapel, at the date of this deed might have been some time erected, and was not to be built afterwards. The feoffees to whom this acre of land was conveyed in trust were: James Bawmforth, William Doughty, Wm. Illingworth, jun. John Maude, jun. Richard Best, Thomas Shaw, John Cockroft, Henry Cockroft, John Croyser, John Greenwood, jun. Henry Illingworth, John Best, Robert Walker, Jun and Richard Deyn. The site is described as

one acre of land of the wastes of Ovenden, as the same laid there-on the East part of Chornheys, on the West part of the land of Henry Illingworth, on the North o the land of Richard Illingworth, and on the South part of the house of one John, Illingworth

Some have maintained that the Church was built as far back as the reign of Henry the Third, their belief possibly being based on the fact that a deed, bearing date 1711, recounts that an acre of land was given for a chapel at Illingworth by Henry Savile, by a deed dated the 26th day of January, in the 17th year of the reign of Henry the Third. Evidently this is a mistake, as older documents (which are more likely to be correct) show that it was "in the 17th year of Henry the Eighth." So that is was in Roman Catholic times when the chapel was built; though near the dawn of the Reformation, and it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. A piece of stained glass, belonging to the old building, representing the Virgin Mary, has been preserved, and is now fixed in a frame and hung up in the vestry of Illingworth Church. This piece of glass, with the exception of two carved panels of the old oak pews, is the only vestige that remains of the old building. At the beginning of the 16th century, Halifax had become a rich and prosperous town, having become noted for the woollen manufacture, and it is possible that along the banks of the Hebble in wheatley and in Mixenden, some of the small weavers of the parish had settled. In an act of parliament in 1555 passed for the relief of weavers in Halifax, the preamble recites that "the parish of Halifax and other places thereunto adjoining, being planted on great wastes and moors, where fertility of the ground is not apt to bring forth any corn nor good grass but in rare places and by exceeding great industry of the inhabitants, and the same inhabitants altogether do live by cloth making" and "hath ever been used only to repair to the town of Halifax, &c and there to buy upon (from) the wool driver" (or dealer) It was during this rapid development of trade and increase of population that so many chapels of ease in the parish of Halifax seem to have been built (according to Watson); Luddenden, Coley, Illingworth, Sowerby Bridge, Lightcliffe, Southowram ad Sowerby. With regard to Illingworth, at tradition mentioned by Crabtree (of which he was informed by Mr Moss, the curate of Illingworth) to the effect that a murder was committed at an ancient farmhouse in Ovenden, called the Fold, prior to the building of Illingworth chapel. Whilst part of the family were attending the parish church at Halifax.

It is said that the village of Illingworth gave the name to an old family, of which

There remains no pedigree; some of the descendants reside on the spot, and are in a humble situation of life; and there are some remains of the old family hall now converted into cottages

A John de Illingworth occurs in 1396, and others in very old deeds without dates. The family is represented by William and Henry, amongst the first trustees of the chapel. Amongst the testamentary burials at Halifax (from Torr's MS) are 1541, John Illingworth, of Illingworth, 1543, William Illingworth. Amongst the list of those beheaded at Halifax is the name of one Isaac Illingworth. The entry is as follows:

Isaac Illingworth, Ovenden, decollatus, October 7, 1641

The office of sexton and clerk at Illingworth was held in a family of the Illingworths for 157 years in succession. In the church yard is a grave stone to the memory of John Illingworth, the sexton, who was better know as "John o'Briggs," he being the son of Briggs Illingworth, the previous sexton. The stone informs the reader that the former was

clerk at this chapel 36 years, which office has been successively held in the family of the Illingworth 157 years. He died April 19th 1842 aged 76, universally esteemed and respected

The first sexton of the family referred to was Isaac Illingworth, who commended the duties of this office in 1684.

He was clerk of this chapel 33 years and died 24th May 1717, aged 68

Isaac was succeeded by John Illingworth, who died May 11th 1766, aged 74.

He was clerk of this chapel 49 years

John was followed by Brigg Illingworth,

who was clerk of this chapel 22 years, and died February 12th 1788, aged 57

Then came Isaac Illingworth, grandson of the first Isaac named, who was sexton for 17 years and died October 10th 1805 aged 66.

The "John o'Briggs" already referred to completed the list. The quotations are from the tombstones.

The first curate of Illingworth mentioned by Watson is John Beste, who was buried at the Parish Church at Halifax, February 22nd, 1578. It will be seen from the following, taken from a deed, that John Beste and others left certain lands and rents as an endowment of the chapel. This indenture, which was made the 31st day of March 1711, in the tenth year of the reign of Queen Anne, states that Samuel Tasker and John Bairstow, both of Ovenden, Yeomen, the surviving feoffees or trustees for the management, taking care of and disposing of the lands and rents, left to the use of the preacher of God's Word at Illingworth Chapel, did by the deed convey to John Wilkinson, Matthew Wilkinson, Francis Ramsbottom, John Stott, Henry Casson, Richard Wilkinson, John Bairstow, Henry Haigh, Timothy Wadsworth, Mitchell Helliwell, Elkanah Farrar, and Samuel Dean, yeomen, all of Ovenden, and their heirs and assignees:

All that one close of land, long ago taken, enclosed from the waste of Ovenden aforesaid, on the site whereof one chappell, called Illingworth Chappell, one house, commonly called Chappell House, a barn thereunto belonging, is erected, built, which said close of land Henry Savile, Esq, Lord of Ovenden, did by deed, indented under his hand, seal with livery, seizing thereupon, executed, dated the 26th day of January, in the year of the reign of King Henry the Third*, give grant, and confirm unto James Balmforth, William Doughty, William Illingworth, the younger, and others:

And also one other close of land, late taken from the waste of Ovenden aforesaid, which John Beste, late of Illingworth aforesaid, clerk, deceased, purchased of the late Right Honourables George late Earle of Shrewsbury, and others, both which said closes of land are now in the tenure or occupation of Henry Brigg or his assignees;

And also one yearly rent of seven shillings yearly issuing and going out of three closes and a half of land, with their appurtenances in Ovenden aforesaid, sometime in the tenure or occupation of Richard Nicholls and late of Daniel Hemingways, and now in the occupation of Martin Fawcett, formerly the inheritance of John Wilkinson, late Thomas Blakey's and now the inheritance of John Hollings, gentleman;

And also one yearly rent of five shillings yearly, issuing and going forth of three closes of land, with their appurtenances, in Ovenden aforesaid, lying at the west end of Bradshaw lane, heretofore in the holding of John Best, now in the occupation of Joseph Atkinson, late the inheritance of John Ellis, now the inheritance of his daughter and heiress;

And also one yearly rent of six shillings yearly, issuing and going out of certain lands and tenements, in Ovenden aforesaid, sometime the inheritance of Thomas Sagar, deceased, and which were, therefore, in the occupation of Edward Hayley;

And also one other yearly rent of four shillings a year, issuing and going out of a rood of land with the appurtenances in Ovenden aforesaid, late also in the holding of Edward Hayley;

And also one yearly rent of ten shillings yearly issuing and going out of one close of land, with the appurtenances in Ovenden aforesaid, formerly in the tenure or occupation of Richard Barritte, late in the tenure or occupation of James Ingham, being late the inheritance of Joseph Fourness, gentleman, now the inheritance and also in the occupation of Joseph Wilson (being formerly two shillings rent per annum, but made ten shilling per annum by Mr Fournis's will);

And also one yearly rent of fifteen shillings yearly issuing and going out of one house or tenement, with the buildings thereupon erected and built and three roods of land, meadow and pasture by estimation, with the appurtenances in Ovenden aforesaid, heretofore in the occupation of James Wilkinson late in the occupation of Samuel Ekroids, and now in the occupation of Abraham Hodgson, being now the inheritance of Samuel Lister, of Little Horton, gentleman.

The deed proceeds to state that the above two closes of land and the above rents are to be devoted to the use and behoofs and for

the maintenance of the preacher of God's Word in Illingworth chappell, in Ovenden aforesaid, and of such other person or persons after him as shall preach the Word of God at the said chappell, as shall officiate the cure there successively from time to time to succeeding generations forever. And for want of such preacher at the said chappell, then for an during such time of vacancy of a preacher only. To the use and behoofs of the poor people inhabiting in Ovenden aforesaid, or for the surveyors of the highways in Ovenden aforesaid, for repairing and amending the same highway there, at the discretion of the said John Wilkinson, Matthew Wilkinson, Francis Ramsbottom, and the rest of the said feoffees or trustees, and their heirs and assigns, to be holden of the chief lord or lords of the fee or fees thereof, by the rents, suits, and services therefore first due, and of right accustomed.

The family of Wilkinson figures largely in the annals of Ovenden The seventh vicar of Halifax was Thomas Wilkynson born (says Crabtree), as tradition informs us, at Brackenbed, in Ovenden, and instituted May 16th, 1438; died January 25 1480. In 1665 Edward Wilkinson became curate of Illingworth, and continued up to his death January 4th 1704. Over his grave in the churchyard is a tombstone with the following inscription:

Here lieth the body of the Rev Edward Wilkinson, of Illingworth, who departed this life 3rd day of January, anno domini 1704. He died in the 64th year of his age, after that he had faithfully served in the ministry of the chapel 39 years.

The Ramsbottoms for a long time resided at Birks Hall, the present mansion having been rebuilt on the site of an older one.

The Wadsworths have resided for a long time at Holdsworth House, a fine old family mansion near the tunnel for the new railway. On a stone over the south porch are the initials A B 1633, which stands for Abraham Brigg, who sold the estate to Henry Wadsworth in 1657.

Elkanah Farrar was probably a descendant of the Farrars of Ewood, Watson says- "Rydeing, in Ovenden wood, is mentioned by Mr Wright, page 136, where he says (but we mention it solely on his authority) a family of the Rydeings enjoyed that estate above 500 years by various successions of Henry and Edward Rydeings, the first born of the family being always called after one of these names. But about the year 1617, Henry, Edward's oldest son, died in his minority, and the estate descended to Elkanah, his brother, who also died a minor, after which they fell to Mary, their sister, who married John Farrar, a branch of the Farrars at Ewood." The son of Mary and John Farrar was called Elkanah.

Scausby Hall has been the residence of the family of the name of Dean for some time.

The "Chappell House" mentioned in the above documents is what is now converted into the Talbot Inn, kept by Mr Rothery, who also farms the land taken therewith. Even to this day the house goes by its old name amongst elderly people.

Ekroide and Ekroyd no doubt are ancient ways of spelling the honoured name of Akroyd, for it was in this district that the ancestors of Edward Akroyd, Esq., late M. P. for Halifax, carried on business as manufacturers.

The Fourness family formerly resided at Ovenden Hall, now occupied by Mr Wm. Foster, solicitor, of Halifax.

From the death of John Best, in 1578, to the date given by Watson (1650), when the appointment of the next curate, Richard Clarkson, took place, was a very "troublous time," both with regard to the Church and the civil powers, and here a large gap occurs in the history of this, as in many of our churches.

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 2

As to who had charge of the cure of souls in the chapelry of Ovenden, between 1578 (when John Beste died) and 1650 (when Richard Clarkson was appointed), local historians are silent. During that time there were eight vicars of Halifax, who had the presentation of the living, and yet no one seems to have been appointed. Perhaps parsons were scarce, or the living was too poor.

The progress of the district round Halifax, from 1550 to 1600, must have been remarkable, for the wastes which existed all round began to be broken up, and become used for agricultural or manufacturing purposes; the mountain sheep that had almost run wild over the heather of the moorland and hill sides did not yield sufficient wool for the enterprising manufacturers, and wool from other counties came into the district along the old pack-horse roads to the Halifax market. As the pack horses started off on their journeys, the troops of children sang, as they heard the jingling of the horses' bells;-

Bell horses, bell horses, what time o' day?
One o'clock, two o'clock, three, and away

To Halifax also came the small county manufacturers to buy wool and sell their pieces, some coming from Denholme, Thornton, Cullingworth, and Keighley, by way of Illingworth, to Halifax. It was at this time that Camden visited the district and he says the number of inhabitants of the parish was about 12,000. De Foe, who is said to have written a portion of his work "Robinson Crusoe," at the Rose and Crown Inn (now the Sportsman), speaking of Halifax, says

That Queen Elizabeth, being petitioned by the inhabitants of Halifax to grant them some privileges, they set forth as an instance of their loyalty that no less than 12,000 young men went out armed from this one parish, and at her Majesty's call joined her troops to fight the Popish army then in rebellion under the Earl of Westmorland

Subsequently I hope to show that the district of Illingworth was quite as loyal and patriotic as the rest of the parish of Halifax, and probably she contributed her full quota to the Protestant 12,000, who were ready to defend the liberties of the people.

Proceeding according to the order of events, I find an entry made in one of the old registers at Illingworth which says that Anthony Bentley, of Ovenden, gentleman, paid in 1630, £10 composition for not receiving the order of knighthood on the coronation of King Charles the First.

In 1631, Ovenden suffered severely from an epidemic, known as the plague. From the register at Halifax it appears "there died in the township of Ovenden, of the pestilence, and were buried near heir own dwellings, 60 persons."

In 1650, the year after Charles the First was beheaded, Richard Clarkson became curate of Illingworth, In the following year there was an inquiry at Halifax, for the finding out of several gifts given to pious uses by divers persons deceased. Quoting from the writings of Mr John Brearcliffe, an apothecary in Halifax, Watson says that in the MS called "Halifax Inquires," dated December 22nd 1651, are also these words:

Item. We find by divers other deeds bearing date in the times of Henry the Eighth made over, the said Henry Savile, Lord of Ovenden, he gave divers parcels of lands in Ovenden to certain feoffees and their heirs, and in the said deeds mentioned no use; but after, we find by a deed made by the said several feoffees in the third year of Queen Elizabeth, with a schedule thereunto annexed, that he gave out of the said lands certain small rents to the chapel of Illingworth; but the townsmen do think that the whole lands were given to the said use, and not the rents only.

In an inquisition taken at Halifax February 16th, 1651, the report states, at the close,

Also we find that one house body in Ovenden, called Scausby was leased by Mr John Bairstow, and other feoffees for the chapel of Illingworth, October 11th, 1647, to Isaac Walton for 21 years, for 1s. 6d. yearly, to be paid towards the minister of the said chapel.

These rents mentioned in the quotations given last week from the indenture, bearing the date 1711. The rents are collected at the present time for the vicar of Illingworth, though they do not amount to a considerable sum. Had the lands been given (as the townsmen thought they were) and not a certain sum of rent, the living of Illingworth would have been considerably enhanced, and become one of the richest in the parish. In 1661 some lands called "Paul's Parks" were handed over by Sir George Savile, of Thornhill, Lord of the Manor, to certain trustees for the curate of Illingworth. Pauls Parks are now farmed by Mr James Smith of Threap Croft. They are situate on the Halifax and Keighley Turnpike road, between the Sportsman Inn and the Pavement, leading down to Bradshaw.

It was not till 1695 that the Archbishop of York granted a license to Illingworth for burials and baptisms; yet in a very old book preserved amongst other documents relating to the church, are entries of burials prior to that date. This book (about the size of an ordinary pocket book), has the following written inside the cover, near the top:

1650 October ye 27th, Judith [daughter of] James Clayton, of Ovenden
1657 March ye 21st, Timothy [son of] Abraham Hemingway of Ovenden
1658 October ye 17th, Richard [son of] John Longbottom of Ovenden
1658 May ye 16th, Joseph [son of] John Brigge, of Northowram
1659 December ye 25th, John [son of] James Clayton of Ovenden

The words in brackets do not appear in the original. It is evident these entries were not made at the time of interment as the name of Joseph Brigge, who was buried May 16th, 1658, is put after that of Richard Longbottom, who was interred in October of the same year. Upwards of 23 years ago, the present sexton of Illingworth, Mr George Greenwood, obtained the oldest gravestone that exists in the churchyard. He found it down in the cellar outside the church, where the heating apparatus is kept. On being cleaned, it showed the following inscription:

Here lieth the body of Master Samuel Mitchell, of the Scout in Northowram. He died in the 48th year of his age, and in the year of our Lord God 1645.

The words are yet legible, and the stone has been fixed against the wall of the churchyard, on the north side. Probably special permission was obtained for these.

From 1652 to 1655 the curate of Illingworth was Nathaniel Heywood, brother of the noted Oliver Heywood, who was the minister at Coley, to whom Nonconformity in Halifax is deeply indebted. For some time Oliver came to reside at Illingworth with his brother Nathaniel. Mr Bradshaw became curate in 1656. From 1658 to 1664 was the term of Paul Greenwood's ministry at Illingworth. Edward Wilkinson was inducted to the living in October, 1668, which he held till his death on the 4th of January, 1704. During Mr Wilkinson's ministry 1669,

Isaac Boocock, by will, bequeathed to the townships of Halifax and Ovenden, his lands in Ossett that the rents might yearly be bestowed by his seven feoffees, "for preferring and putting forth five poor men's sons to trade, yearly, as are not to be put forth town apprentices for the relief of such as are in necessity (not through wasteful expense, or such as have relief from the parish), or for setting up in trade or stocking hopeful young persons, to make good use of it, at the discretion of the said trustees, and that £6 shall yearly be give to Ovenden."

The income of the curate form lands at this time was only £12 16/- a year.

The Archbishop of York, by a document bearing date May 11th, 1695, granted a license for burials and christenings at Illingworth Church. The old memorandum book previously mentioned, contains a register of burials, baptisms and marriages. The first baptism mention is as follows:

1695 Baptiz at Illingworth
June 14th Jonas [son] of Jonas Riley, of Ovenden
Under the date of January 19th, the baptism of one Martha, daughter "of
Jonathan Akeroid, of Ovenden," is entered

The first entry of a burial at Illingworth, in 1695, after the license was obtained is the following:

Sepult at Illingworth
Abraham Breare, of Ovenden

At the end of the book this entry appears:

A true Register
Mr Wilkinson, Vic[ar] of Halifax, dyed December 28th, in the afternoon, 1711.

Buried ult, die December, 1711

The first marriage recorded in this book, under the head of "Nupt", is

"June 24th, Midsummer, 1724, between Robert Dawson and Jane Atkinson, of Wortley."

The top half of the first fly leaf of this old book has been torn off, and on the other half, which is pasted on the back of the book, the following is written:

Hic Liber
In Usum
Saceli de Illingworth
Daniele Bentley,
Minro Ibid
Jaspero Picard, Sacelli
In Aprillis Mense, die 13to Anno dom. 1723

Translated, it reads

This book was bought for the use of the chapel of Illingworth. Daniel Bentley, minister of the same, and Jasper Pickard, keeper or sexton of the chapel. April 13th 1723". Probably this was written in the book in 1723, when it had been in use as a register of burials and christenings for 28 years. The character of the writing of the earlier entries is quite different from those of a later date, showing that they had not been copied from a still older book, which had been lost. The character of Bentley's writing is more modern than that of some of the earlier entries, which are curious specimens of caligraphy. Amongst the monumental records of Mr Wilkinson's time, are the following:

Here lieth the body of Hannah, daughter of John Walton, of Threap Croft, who was buried here 1696." The inscription on another is, "Here lieth the body of John Firth, of Ovenden, who departed this life the 12th day of October, 1696." Another stone records the death of "Wm. Spencer, of Ovenden, who died 5th February, 1698"

No age given. The landlord of the Talbot Inn (the old Chapel House) was making some alterations in his barn, when he found this stone, and he handed it over to Mr Geo, Greenwood. Many of these stones are curiously carved, some of the inscriptions being fantastically framed in a border worked near the edge of the stone. Often at the foot are the initials of the person of whom the whole is a memorial, in large ornamental letters, with the emblem of the heart in the centre. Many of the names just recorded are quite unknown to fame, yet.

Their name, heir years, spelt by th'unlettered muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply

The seventh curate of Illingworth was David Hartley, whose duties commenced in October, 1706.

By an indenture made the 30th day of March, 1711, Samuel Tasker and John Bairstow conveyed to John Wilkinson and others the lands and rents belonging to Illingworth chapel, for the term of one year, when the contract was to be completed, yielding and paying therefore the yearly rent of one pepper corne at the Feast of St Michael the Archangel only, if the same be lawfully demanded, to the intent and purpose that by virtue of these presents and of the statute for transferring uses into possession, they (the said trustees) may be in actual possession.

This is an instance of the old pepper corn rents. At an earlier date, a pound of pepper was the payment, or a bushel of roses, but it was reduced to one rose or one pepper corn.

Daniel Bentley became curate of Illingworth in 1717, holding the living to 1749. In 1721, the living was augmented by the aid of the governors of queen Anne's bounty, when Ainley Fields were purchased. In 1738, the old chapel was enlarged in breadth by an addition on the north side, which as afterwards called the north chapel. This was done at the expense of the parishioner. When completed, there were 24 pews in the north chapel, which realised in seat rents £14 16/- a year (supposing all were let), and 65 pews in the body of the old chapel, realising £29.12s 6d. per annum. The seat rents were devoted to the support of the minister. This arrangement first took place in Mr Wilkinson's time, in consideration of the addition of an afternoon sermon.

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 3

During the time that Daniel Bentley was curate of Illingworth, De Foe visited Halifax (1727). He says

Having passed the Calder at Sorby Bridge, I now come to the town of Halifax, the most populous parish, or vicarage, in England, for it is but one, though twelve miles in diameter; but it has twelve or thirteen chapels of ease, besides meeting houses, which they also call chapels, being conformable in fashion to them

Speaking of the prosperity of the district, he says

their trade is so visibly inlarged by the great demand for kerseys for cloathing for the armies abroad – some maintain that it has increased a fourth, at least, within these fifty years, from their having entered upon the manufacture of shalloons, which were never made in these parts before, at least not in any quantities and it is computed that 100,000 pieces are worked up in this parish annually

Of this prosperity, the district of Ovenden would partake, and of the increase of inhabitants, Ovenden would naturally share. This is shown by Watson, who, writing about fifty years afterwards, mentions a number of fulling and other mills, then in existence in various parts of Ovenden, particularly in Mixenden and Wheatley. No wonder then that with this increase of the wealth of the district, the Church should receive a greater share of attention than it had done for some time. The stipend of the minister, for so large a district, was only small, and an effort was made to increase it. The Governors of Queen Anne's bounty, on being appealed to, promised their assistance, on condition that a certain sum was raised by the parishioners. This was done, and as stated last week, Ainley fields were purchased as a further endowment of the living. The indenture was made in 1721, between John Wilkinson, Luke Hoyle, Henry Wadsworth, Francis Ramsbottom, Nathan Wilkinson, John and Richard Wilkinson, all of Ovenden, in the county of York yeomen, on the first part; the Governors of the Bounty of Queen Anne, for the augmentation of the maintenance of the poor clergy, of the second part; and Daniel Bentley, clerk curate of the chapel of Illingworth, of the third part.

The next step taken was to enlarge the church. The old building only contained 65 seats or pews, and yet this was the only place of worship in this extensive chapelry (except a Nonconformist chapel in Mixenden.) The church as enlarged in width, 45 more seats being added and this was done at the expense of the parishioners, in 1738. A bell (the one now in use), was hung in the belfry about this time. It bears the inscription –

In Altissimus Deo, 1737.
Daniel Mitchell, Chapel Warden

So that for 141 years has this "church going bell" summoned young and old, rich and poor, on the Day of Rest, to leave

The shelter'd cot, the cultivated farm,
The never failing brook, the busy mill

in the winding dales of Mixenden and Wheatley, the mansions and scattered homesteads of Illingworth and Holdsworth, and come and worship in

The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill

This Daniel Mitchell, whose name appears on the bell, lived at New House, a large and handsome family mansion, which was situate in the grounds on which the residence of Mr James Booth, of Ovenden, is erected, called The Grange. A stone in the churchyard has the following record:

Daniel Mitchell, of New House, who departed this life 8th day December, 1774 aged 77 years.

The New House was afterwards occupied by John Mitchell, probably Daniel's son. A family difference afterwards arose, and the consequence was that the house was pulled down on a Sunday, in 1808.

In the Illingworth registers are not many instances of marvellous longevity, yet there are many cases where the three score years and ten have been increased by ten, fifteen, and twenty years. The following is one, evidently thought remarkable by the precise manner in which the age is gravely recorded on the tombstone.

Here resteth the body of Thomas Manknolls, Shaw Lane, who departed this life on the 9th day December, 1719, aged 97 years and 2 weeks

On a narrow grave stone, broken in the centre, almost overgrown with grass, is the following inscription:

Here, in expectation of a joyful resurrection, lieth the body of Susanna, wife of Elias Woodhead, of Ovenden, who departed this life the 26th day April 1719, and in the 28th year of her age, Also Dinah, his wife. She died July 9th, 1726, in the 22nd year of her age.

On the margin of the stone, down one side, are the words

These two wives died of smallpox

How many other wives he had the record sayeth not, nor how they came by their end; but as long as the words cut in stone remain, posterity will be assured that Elias Woodhead did not cause the death of these two wives by his ill usage, for they "died of smallpox."

Near the steps leading from the Churchyard to the Chapelhouse (now the back way to the Talbot) is an old chest-like tomb, bearing the date of 1717, and the name of Richard Hodgson, of Ovenden. At a later date, a number of thieves infested the district, and committed great depredations. Ultimately a portion of the gang were brought to justice, and some of the stolen property was found in this tomb. All the thieves had to do was to lift off the thin slab covering the side stones, in order to hide their property over the dust of the departed. The prison (now used as a Co operative store) was only a stone's throw up the road, and so great was their audacity that they climbed on to the roof of the prison itself from the higher ground behind, and whilst prisoners were in durance vile, they loosened some of the slates and placed their ill gotten goods on the false flooring of the prison. Probably they thought, like Peace, the nearer the prison the greater the safety. As already stated some of the gang were captured and transportation followed.

Side by side at the west end of the churchyard are four large chest like tombs, occupied by members of the Ramsden family, of Jumples. One bearing the date of 1731, is over the grave of John Ramsden, of Jumples, who departed this life the 19th day of August, 1731, in the 63rd year of his age. At the two corners at the foot, are cross bones and scythe, and other emblems of death whilst at the corners at the head are carvings representing angels. There is a fashion in these memorial structures, as in other things, although the fashion does not change so quickly as in other matter. In early time in the history of mankind there were the heap of stones, as mentioned in Scripture; then the tumulus or mound of earth which sometimes enclosed a rude stone vault afterwards the dolmen, or two unhewn stones set upright in the earth, with a stone resting upon them horizontally. The transition from the dolmens to the chest like tombstones in not very great, only requiring a stone to be placed on either side. It is said that in the stone age the body was buried in a sitting or contracted posture; in the bronze age it was burned; and in the iron age it was laid extended. Not long ago evidence was afforded in the neighbourhood of Illingworth of a body that had been burned, and the ashes placed in an urn which was covered with a flag, and buried in the time of the Roman occupation, the whole having been discovered by some workmen who were digging near Mixenden. The urn is preserved at the museum.

At the beginning of 1749, the Rev J Grimshaw became curate of Illingworth, which office he held till his death in 1774. By a deed executed March 7th, 1767, a lease is made between the Rev J. Grimshaw and Mr John Sutcliffe and Mr J S Priestley, in respect to a farm at Scausby, in Ovenden.

In the latter part of Mr Grimshaw's ministry the Church begun to show unmistakable signs of decay, but Mr Grimshaw and the parishioners laboured with zeal in order to obtain funds to rebuild the church. The walls, which had begun to give way, were supported with props, in order that service might continue to be held, and subscriptions were obtained, which ultimately amounted to over £600. This sum was put out to interest, and a petition was presented to the Archbishop of York for leave to rebuild the church, which was effected in 1777. The following is a copy of the license:

William by Divine Providence Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England, and Metropolitan, to our well beloved in Christ, the Rev John Grimshaw, Clerk, Curate of Illingworth, in the township of Ovenden, and parish of Halifax, in the county and our diocese of York; James Priestley, churchwarden, chapelwarden of the chapelry of Illingworth aforesaid; and to John Sutcliffe, Samuel Dean and John Akroyd, inhabitants of and within the said chapelry, greeting.

Whereas we lately received a petition from you and others, inhabitants of the chapelry of Illingworth aforesaid, setting forth that there is in Illingworth, in the township of Ovenden aforesaid an ancient chapel of ease, which has long been supported with several Props, and is now by length of time become so ruinous in every part that it must necessarily be entirely taken down and rebuilt; that they some years since applied and obtained a brief for rebuilding the said chapel, for which they collected Three Hundred Pounds and upwards, which sum with the interest of it for about thirteen years and voluntary contributions judiciously laid out they hope will be sufficient for the purpose aforesaid, they therefore humbly prayed our leave, licence, and authority to take down, rebuild, reduce a little in length, and enlarge in breadth the said chapel, as may be convenient and sufficient for the inhabitants of the said chapelry and also to rebuild seats, lofts, or galleries, a vestry, font, reading desk, pulpit, clock, &c, to be placed in proper and convenient parts of the said chapel, when now erected, our approbation of these their intentions, or such orders and directions in the premises as we shall judge proper and convenient, and vouchsafe to give them, will be gratefully received, carefully executed, and punctually obeyed by them.

We, having taken the premises into our consideration, did issue our commission of View and Enquiry, and having been certified under the hands of five of our commissioners appointed to take a view of the premises, and to inquire into the truth of the facts set forth in the above recited petition, that upon the Twenty-Seventy day of March last past, they took a view of the premises, made an inquiry into the truth of the facts set forth in the said petition, and did find them to be truly represented to us.

We, therefore, having duly considered the contents of the said petition, as well as the return of our said commissioners do by these presents give and grant to you the said John Grimshaw, James Priestly, John Sutcliffe, Samuel Dean and John Akroyd and to the curate and chapel warden of Illingworth aforesaid, for the time being, our leave, license, and authority, to take down, rebuild, reduce a little in length and enlarge in breadth, but still within the old chapel yard and consecrated ground, the said chapel of Illingworth, and also to build seats, lofts, or galleries, a vestry, font, reading desk, pulpit, clock, and other requisites, to be placed in proper or convenient parts of the said chapel when now erected; and you are to certify us or our Vicar-General of York of your acting herein, and of your having executed all thing pursuant to our faculty or license as soon as conveniently may be, together with these presents.

Given at York, under the seal of our Consistory Court there this Eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Seven.

By Order of Court
FRA. WRIGHT. Deputy Register.
Wm. Campbell, Proctor

The following are taken from an old subscription book; Subscribers of Ten Pounds and upwards towards rebuilding Illingworth Chapel, 1777:

Names of SubscribersSum Subscribed No. of Sittings
Lord of the Manor1000 
John Watkinson50012
John Mitchell50012
Samuel Dean30015
John Ramsden (Jumples)3006
Rev John Wadsworth25012
John Sutcliffe25020
John Bairstow25012
James Charnock25010
John Wadsworth20012
James Priestley1506
John Oddy1506
Jonathan Nicholls12125
James Priestley Jun101010
Jno Kitchen10106
Joseph Lassey10106
Robert Fletcher10105
Richard Emmet10106

David Priestley, Jonathan Ackroyd, George Bolland, Henry Casson, Jonas Spencer, William Blagbro, Thomas Dibbs, and Roger Swire each contributed £10, making for 26 subscriptions £555 2/- Amongst other contributors were

And the following subscribed £1 1/- each: Wm Hodgson, Thomas Garforth, Brigg Illingworth, Jonathan Shaw, John Midgley, James Bates, Daniel Firth, Anne Armytage, John Wadsworth, Abraham Tetley, Henry Hooson, James Taylor, Eli Wrigglesworth, Richard Smith, Barnaby Blagbro, John Taylor, Thomas Riley, John Moorish, William Ellis, Richard Garforth, John Jagger, William Leyland, Joseph Murgatroyd, Isaac Smith, Samuel Sheard, Jonathan Priestley, Samuel Garforth, James Garforth, Elkanah Garforth, James Hartington, Richard Hodgson, Nathan Hoyle, Robert Ramsbottom, Richard Hallowday, John Smith and James Riley.

The amount subscribed by these persons amounted to £614 19/-

It will be seen that many of the names mentioned are still represented in the district, though one or two have died out.

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 4

The previous section of these "Historical Notes" concluded with the names of the principal subscribers to the fund for the erection of the present church at Illingworth. After the Lord of the Manor, who gave £100, is the name of John Watkinson, who contributed £50. He was one of the Watkinsons of Watkinson Hall, a family of considerable wealth and importance.

The other subscriber of £50 was John Mitchell, of New House, which was generally known in Ovenden as Mitchell Hall. This mansion occupied the site on which The Grange has since been erected. New House was a very imposing edifice, considerably larger than the present building erected on this site, and all its appointments were in prefect keeping with the requirement and embellishments of the seat of a county squire. Tradition says that the Mitchells were one of the most influential of the county families resident in this district, and they kept a pack of hounds at a kennel at the top of Ringby, at Ringby Castle, which was owned by the family at a time when the Mitchells and the Watkinsons owned considerable estate in Ovenden, and joined in the sports of the chase. Nearly the whole of Booth Town was owned by Mr Mitchell, but in consequence of litigation, the Booth Town estate was heavily mortgaged to the late Sir Robert Peel. Who was an intimate friend of Mr John Mitchell. This explains the connection that Sir Robert Peel had with Booth Town, some of the property passing into his hands. A family dispute arose in consequence of Mr Mitchell having left the estate to his daughter Sarah, ignoring the claims of his son, who had built New House (though with his father's assistance). The son's wife was extremely indignant at this, and she determined that whatever became of the extensive park like grounds the large family mansion should not pass into the hands of her sister-in-law. Evidently, she was a lady of great spirit and determination, and she gave orders that New House should be pulled down. In 1808, as previously intimated, a large number of workmen commenced the work of demolition early on a Sunday morning. They were freely supplied with beer and other refreshments, so that there was no necessity to leave the work till the building was completely rased to the ground. These proceedings were watched by hundreds of people and caused no slight commotion in Ovenden and the district round about. Afterwards, Mrs Mitchell, who always exhibited a very dignified bearing, became known by a name associating her with the pulling down of the above hall. The sons were afterwards compelled to adopt commercial or professional pursuits. One became a merchant in Bradford, and the other – Mr Herbert Mitchell, a well known and respected solicitor in Halifax. A daughter of John Mitchell, of New House, married Mr Geo. Pollard, who afterwards became the first colonel of the Second West York Yeomanry Cavalry, which was established in Halifax in 1843.

A stone in the churchyard at Illingworth is in memory of

Sally, wife of the above George Pollard, who died in 1783, aged 29

Colonel Pollard married a second wife.

The Deans or Deynes, of Scausby Hall, and the Ramsdens, of Jumples, have before been alluded to. Samuel Dean and John Ramsden each gave £30.

The Rev John Wadsworth, who gave the liberal sum of £25 towards rebuilding Illingworth Church, was curate of Coley, and he resided at Holdsworth House. Crabtree says that this fine old family mansion had long been the residence of the Wadsworth's. Over the western gateway are JWD 1680 (John and Dorothy Wadsworth). The Rev John Wadsworth was a laborious and faithful preacher. To fulfil his duties at Coley Church he always took a pony he kept and travelled along an old bridle path, then in existence. His sister, Miss Wadsworth, who was never married, left a handsome sum towards building a new Church at Bradshaw, and also erected six almshouses and a school for the poor of Holdsworth. Miss Wadsworth left her estate to Matthew Ayrton, a very distant relative, and he had to take the name of Wadsworth.

Mr John Sutcliffe, a subscriber of £25, resided at Ovenden Hall. This house belonged to the family for a long time. Mr Gamaliel Sutcliffe, of Heptonstall, is a direct descendant.

Mr James Priestley, who contributed £15, and Mr James Priestley, jun, who gave £10 10/-, have their family still represented in Ovenden by Mr Priestley, of Goose Gate Farm.

Joseph Lassey, also a subscriber of £10 10/-, resided at Bradshaw Farm, and was a colliery owner. At that time a considerable quantity of coal (the Halifax hard and soft beds) was worked at Bradshaw, from the coal measures of Soil Hill. At a much later time, not only householders but mill owners in Mixenden, Coldedge, and Illingworth obtained their supply of coal, chiefly from Bradshaw. Some persons of the name of Lassey still reside in Bradshaw.

Jonathan Akroyd was a subscriber of £10. He resided at Lane Head, Ovenden, and in early life was a partner with his younger brother, James Akroyd, of Brookhouse, as yeomen manufacturers. Mr Baines, in "Yorkshire Past and Present," says they were

Manufacturers of narrow eighteen inch lastings, calimancoes, and low wildbores, called "Little Joans," very similar to the modern bunting used for signal flags; as also of figured "Amens" – a name derived from Amiens, in France, whence the article originally came – woven with the aid of a draw boy. In order to produce these Amens or damasks, the "draw-boy" stood at the end of the loom, and drew the leashes necessary to form the figure once every four picks woven by the weaver, the design being thus continued to the end of the piece. The introduction of the Jacquard loom did away with this primitive process

The authority just quoted says:

James Akroyd, of Brookhouse, had two sons, Jonathan and James, who in due time were admitted into partnership under the firm of James Akroyd and Sons, and who raised the prosperity of the firm, whilst they did much towards the development of the worsted manufacture of the district. During their youth and early manhood, both sons remained at Brookhouse, associated with their father in their business and by their enterprise and perseverance, a spinning mill was erected at Brookhouse in 1805. A supply of water for turning the water wheel was obtained from the brook by a side goit of about a half a mile in length, carried in some places in tunnel, and in others upon aqueduct. It was a clever engineering work for that period, and remains to this day a striking proof of the skill and boldness of these hardy pioneers of manufacturing industry. In the year 1808 Mr Jonathan Akroyd was married, and about the same time his brother, both entering upon their married life in houses yet remaining, situate near each other between Lane Head and Brookhouse

In 1811, Mr James Akroyd started an independent manufacturing concern at Old lane, Halifax. In 1822, he introduced power looms and erected a large fire proof factory for weaving, which was opened in 1827, when he also introduced the Jacquard engine for weaving damasks and other figured goods. Mr Jonathan Akroyd and his father continued at Brookhouse Mill until 1818, when Mr Jonathan removed to Halifax, having purchased the mill at Bowling-dyke. In June, 1839, he received his two sons Henry and Edward into partnership, and under their joint management the business was conducted until the death of Mr Jonathan Akroyd, in 1847. Thus this large manufacturing concern was born at the little mill at Brookhouse, and the family have given employment to a large number of combers, weavers an others scattered over the whole district. The Akroyds have worshipped at Illingworth Church for generations, and here they were baptized as the registers show. No wonder then that stained glass windows, the beautiful font, and other evidences of their generosity bespeak the fond recollection of earlier days and their youthful associations with the sacred edifice.

Samuel Garforth, another contributor to the church building fund, was grandfather to Mr John Garforth, late income tax collector, Peat Pits, Ovenden.

Having thus glanced at the names of some of the principal subscribers to the church in 1777, it may now be stated that the new church was set further back into the hill-side than the old building, and the excavated material was tipped along the front to the churchyard, the present burr wall being erected to support the loose material. Whether any of the old graves and grave stones were buried by this proceeding I cannot say, though it is the opinion of some that they were.

The Rev Anthony Moss became curate of Illingworth in 1779, two years after the church had been erected, and the very same year that the Halifax Piece Hall was built. Mr Moss was 30 years of age when he was appointed to the living, which he held for over half a century. It is also a remarkable fact that the sexton of that time occupied his office even for a longer period. His name was John Cockroft and he was appointed in 1775

He died May 17th, 1832, aged 85 years. He was pew opener of this chapel 57 years

In 1781, Mr John Oddy (one of the contributors to the church building fund) was churchwarden, and in his time the second book of registers was obtained. The records of baptisms, marriages, and burials were entered in a more systematic manner than they had been before. The following is written at the commencement of the book:

NB – This register book was bought by Mr John Oddy, churchwarden

The register of baptisms begins at the month of April, 1781. The last entry of a baptism in this book is on the 27th December, 1812: Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac and Susannah Fearnley, of Ovenden.

A footnote gives the following reason for concluding the register of baptisms before the book was filled: For baptisms subsequent to the 31st of this month see the new register books provided for every parish in England, in consequence of Act of Parliament 52 George III.

A terrier of the houses, lands, and benefactions belonging to the chapel of Illingworth, in the year 1786, mentions the following: The Chapel House, at present the Talbot Inn, with lands, rent £9 9s; Upper or Little Scausby, with lands, £10; Lower or Great Scausby, with lands, £28; Paul's Parks, consisting of a number of fields, £5; Ainsworth (two cottages), £5; Lower Well-lane cottage, Holdsworth, 19s; "Given by the will of Mr Nathaniel Waterhouse, bearing date 1st July 1642, four pounds per annum to the curate of Illingworth, for preaching a sermon in the Parish Church in Halifax, on the first Wednesday in October, annually. This same benefaction as augmented from £4 to £6 per annum by an Act of Parliament passed in the year 1777, entitled an Act for uniting and better regulating the Charities of Nathaniel Waterhouse, within the town and parish of Halifax, £6". Quit rents – Harewood House, Illingworth Moor, 10s; Broad Tree, house and lands, 15s; house and lands in Bradshaw, 7s; Ash Tree estate, Bradshaw Lane Ends, 5s; Bradshaw Upper Row estate, benefaction by Mr Fourness, 10s. The above messuages and lands have an extensive common right in Ovenden and Illingworth Moors. This document concludes as follows:

In the steeple is one bell, and in the middle of the chapel hangs one new brass chandelier. The utensils belonging to the Communion Table, weighing about 17 pounds and a half, are pewter. The chapel is repaired at the common expense of the inhabitants within the chapelry. The clerk's wages are partly customary dues and partly freewill offerings, the same person being both clerk and sexton.

Signed the 19th day of June 1786.

JOHN ODDY, Church warden

In January, 1787, a memorandum of the charities belonging to the poor of the township of Ovenden, was signed by Mr Moss, as minister, and James Greenroyde, churchwarden, and it enumerates the following:

Mr Richard Summerscales gave by will about the year 1612, a house and land, situate in Ovenden, to certain trustees, to the intent that they should distribute the yearly produce on Christmas Day or the day following, to the poor of the said township of Ovenden, year after year, and for ever.

Mr Isaac Boocock gave by will, about the year 1669, to certain trustees, the produce of some lands for the use of poor persons in Ovenden, to be distributed in the manner above mentioned.

Mrs Phoebe Fourness gave, by deed, about the year 1701, to certain trustees, a house, called Harwood House, situate on Illingworth Moor (a quit rent of 10s per annum being reserved out of it and payable to the minister of Illingworth chapel), together with some land at a small distance from it, the produce to be distributed on St John Baptist and Christmas Days, in equal portions, ever year, to the most necessitous poor.

Ovenden's annual share and proportion of the surplus of monies arising from the advanced rents of Mr Nathaniel Waterhouse's charities, according to an act of parliament obtained in the year 1777.

NB A house and garden on Swill hill, in Ovenden, when or by whom given uncertain.

At the close of the 18th century there was no infirmary, dispensary, or hospital, for the benefit of poor people in Halifax and it was not till 1807 that a meeting was held in Halifax, for the purpose of establishing a General Dispensary, a building in Causeway being obtained for that purpose. Previous to that time patients in the neighbourhood of Halifax would avail themselves of the benefits of one in Leeds, for which collections were made in some of the churches. The following are memoranda from an old book:

Collected in Illingworth Chapel, 4th September, 1795 for the Leeds Infirmary, £6 17/2½.

NB paid to the treasurer of the said Infirmary £9

Mem. 1805, Collected in the town of Ovenden, for the use of the Leeds infirmary, and remitted to the treasurer, the sum of £5 18s 6d.

Yorkshire has long been noted as a county that has given birth to some of the ablest musicians of the country, and more especially have Yorkshire voices, tuned in song, received the highest praise for the ablest critics, and from all lovers of vocal music. No grand musical festival has ever taken place in the Great City, or the large provincial towns, which was considered complete without Yorkshire being represented. Whilst this is true of the county as a whole, it is especially true of Halifax and the neighbourhood. To mention the most noted vocalists would only make these notes too long. The parish that has produced a Mrs Sunderland, "The Yorkshire Queen of Song," may well feel proud, but the evidence of musical tastes is not displayed in solitary families alone, for as the traveller passes by the homes of the poor, on a summer's eve or winter's night, he hears the deep bass of the head of the family mingling with the lusty voices of his children, trilling out some well known song, or taking their respective parts in some grand old chorus. Even the factory hands, whilst at work in the weaving shed or mill, beguile the hours by joining in song. Ovenden has largely contributed the musical talent for which Halifax has deservedly been praised. Before a choral society existed in Halifax, the Ovenden Choral Society met at the Ovenden Cross Inn. At a later period of its existence, Mr John Garforth, of Peat Pits, an alto singer at Illingworth Church, was one of its members. In a written copy of the bass music of the Te Deum, 100 year old, furnished us by Mr Garforth, are articles of association, probably referring to the formation of the Ovenden Choral Society. Miss Ingham, of Rhodes street, Halifax, whose grandfather was schoolmaster at cock Pit school (to whom reference will afterwards be made) has also in her possession a copy of these articles of association, written by her grandfather, which are as follows:

As an uneasiness is risen amongst us singers at Illingworth Chapel, the majority thinks it most proper to meet at another place, as a Musical Club will be most proper.

We, the members of this club unanimously agree to the following articles:

  1. All those belonging to this club is deigned to meet betwixt the hours of six and seven o'clock at night, except something call them of which they cannot omit
  2. We also think it proper to fix upon something every club night, which shall be performed next club night
  3. Any one of the members that can give the best idea how it should be performed must have liberty to speak, whoever he or she be, and the rest of them members not to be offended
  4. We think it proper that the club chiefly consist of church music
  5. That we give over our singing about the o'clock, and then to make a collection
  6. That none of the society divulge any thing out of this club, which will cause uneasiness when we meet together
  7. The women singers that please to join us must be freely welcome, without any expense
  8. Any music lent to any member of the club, he must bring it in the next club night
  9. Aggravating persons will not be countenanced in this club
  10. That we express our words according to the English Grammar
  11. We are not to exceed sixpence in expenses before we make a collection
  12. Any person is at his own option to leave the company when sixpence each is spent
  13. If any thing be given to the members of this club, it is to be laid out in music, except it be given in liquors

The names of the members

NB We shall be glad to meet peaceably among the rest of the singers at Illingworth Chapel.

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 5


During the latter part of the last century, there was living in Ovenden a poor man who was employed as a woolcomber, but who had a passion for music, and as he sent the teeth of the combs through the fibres of the wool he gave vent to his vocal powers by singing some old psalm tune, or humming over some of the parts of a favourite anthem. His name was Accepted Widdop, though in his latter days he was better known as "Cep" Widdop. He became a well known singer; but his name has been handed down to posterity, not so much as a singer, as the composer of sacred music. It was while "Cep" was at work with his "combs" that he was inspired with the spirit of music, for often would he rest from his work to transfer to a piece of paper the melodious strains that pleased his ear. As already stated, he was only a poor man, and could not afford the great expense of bringing his compositions before the public through the music publisher; but, fortunately, some of his productions have been preserved in Holdsworth's Cheetham's Psalmody, the second tune in the book being the one bearing the name of its composer. At first it was known as "Widdop's Hundred", in contradistinction to the "Old Hundred," and was much admired by that celebrated singer, Tom Parker, of Haworth, the "Yorkshire Tenor," who predicted that Widdop's Hundred would live even longer than the Old Hundred; and Widdop is popular today at chapels in England, and probably is sung in America. A clergyman told the writer the other day that he had heard the tune sung in four churches in England, each 100 miles apart. The following are the manes of the tunes composed by Widdop, appearing in the Psalmody just mentioned:

A Jubilate (No 32) 
and an anthem called CREATION

Mr John Greenwood, a Halifax musician, of still greater repute, in his psalmody published in 1838, has also preserved two others:


But the liberties which Mr Greenwood took both with melodies and harmonies of several tunes leave it not certain that they are exactly as Widdop wrote them.

Accepted Widdop also composed the music for the following, not very poetical, but loyal and patriotic toast, to be sung as a glee:

May contentment abound in every station;
And drink the good health of the props of the nation,
May our foes be convinced that Georgie doth reign,
Then we will shout out huzz, again and again

Widdop died in 1801, and was buried in Illingworth Churchyard. Over his grave has been placed a stone having the following inscription: Sacred to the memory of Accepted Widdop, of Ovenden, who departed this life the 9th day of March A.D. 1801, in the 52nd year of his age. He was a celebrated singer and the author of several volumes of anthems and many well known Psalm Tunes.

Music, the noblest science known to man,
Which angels honored long ere time began,
Was his delight.

His sweet seraphic lays
Will hand his memory down to future days,
And he, we hope, in sweeter strains above,
Now chants the praises of redeeming love

It is generally understood that Mr George Moss, son of the Rev Anthony Moss, the curate, promoted the performance of the oratorio Joseph, in order to provide the funds for the erection of this monument to one of whom Ovenden may well feel proud. "Music runs i'th family." Is an expression often heard in Yorkshire, and it is especially true of the Widdop family. Solomon Widdop, a relative of the composer, was born at Mixenden, on the 22nd of October, 1802. Though shuttle making became his trade, music was his profession, and he became one of the finest clarionet players of the district, and leader of the Old Talbot Band, at Halifax. This band originally met at a public house at the top of Bolton Brow, Sowerby Bridge; but on some of its members leaving, the rest removed to Halifax, and formed the band mentioned, of which Joseph Hiley Widdop, son of the clarionet player, afterwards became conductor. The abilities of this band is evidenced by the fact that they competed at the Manchester band contest with seven or eight Lancashire bands, and brought home first prizes. Joseph was also a noted violinist in Halifax, and will be remembered by many. He died suddenly on the 15th March, 1859, aged 34 years. On the Saturday previous he had been playing the violin at an entertainment in Halifax, and his brother William, the piano, and he died at noon on the Monday following. William [this should be younger brother George, as William is married with children] is still living, though in circumstances in which a little pecuniary help would be well bestowed, in memory of his musical ancestor – a local composer of good psalm tunes. By trade he is a painter, though at present an inmate of the Halifax Infirmary. His health has been broken down by several acciden's whilst at his work, and his employers (Messrs White and Stringer) have kept him at their books and at measuring up work, at which he was clever, till he could do it no longer. His mother, who is a cripple, and with whom he lives, has had to depend chiefly on him for her support for some time. Mr White, of Broad Street, Halifax, will be glad to answer any inquiries, and forward any help that music loving friends may be disposed to offer.


"We live in awful times" is the telling manner in which a chronicler of events at Illingworth makes an entry in the register book at the commencement of the present century. The price of a quartern loaf was then 1s. 10.1/4d. Mr Cudworth, author of "Round about Bradford", referring to these times, says that an old inhabitant of Thornton informed him that "very little meat was needed, many of the inhabitants being quite satisfied with bacon or 'meil stakes' three times a day. There was a time, however, when even 'stakes' could not be had – a time known as the 'barley war,' when meal was 5d. a pound, and a hard day's work would only raise two pounds of it. At that time farmer men were better off than weavers, their wages being 8d. a day and 'wittle,' the best of them getting 10d. and 1s." No wonder the "awful times," for the resources of the nation had been largely drawn upon for the series of wars in which England had been engaged, and the last decade of the 18th Century saw England endeavouring with the other continental powers to restrain the warlike ambition of France. The first coalition of European powers to put down Napoleon took place on the 26th June, 1792, and the war continued till near the close of 1801, when it was concluded by the peace of Amiens, October 1st 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte then being one of the three consuls by which France was governed. On the 24th December, Bonaparte was made consul for ten years, and on the 3d August, 1802, for life. On the 18th May, 1803, England felt compelled to recall her ambassador. The great Bonaparte threatened to invade this country, and declared war against, England on the 22nd May. This will explain the allusions made in the following entry amongst the records of transactions or occurrences within the township or neighbourhood:

We live in awful times, and we should be ready to despair were we not assured that the affairs of this world are under the direction of a just and righteous being who has infinite wisdom to direct, and infinite power to execute all things for the best. Not many months ago we were rejoicing that an end was put to a most expensive and bloody war, which had lasted ten years and which originated from the French revolution. We than flattered ourselves with the pleasing hope of enjoying for years to come the blessings of peace. Scarcely had that hope been formed, when it was suddenly blasted, and we found ourselves under the dire necessity of preparing again for war; a war originating solely from the perfidy, insolence, and ambition of Bonaparte, the blood stained chief of the French nation, who wanted England to perform all conditions of the peace, while he himself violated them as he pleased.

Our government, who saw the destructive designs that the enemy was secretly forming against this country, and found all remonstrance to be in vain, immediately recalled their ambassador from Pairs, and resolved no longer to submit to the insolence of the haughty Corsican. Upon this, the disappointed and frantic chief threatened us with immediate invasion, and for that purpose instantly began to make most formidable preparations.

Without fear or delay the sons of Briton flew to arms. And in the course of a few months three hundred and thirty five thousand three hundred and nine volunteers were ready to take the field, to which number, if we add the regular and militia forces in the Kingdom we may fairly reckon upon an army of 500,000 fighting men – a noble and patriotic band – sufficient, with the blessing of God on their side, to guard their native land from the hostile designs of the enemy, were he ten times more powerful in numbers that he is. Let us not then be afraid, for all the multitude that is with him; for there be more with us than with him, with him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us.

"While the soul has warmth,
And voice has energy, the brave arm strength,
England, though shalt not fall! The day shall come;
Yes, and now is, that thou shalt lift thyself;
And woe to him who sets upon they shores
His hostile foot! Proud victor though he be.
His bloody march shall never spoil a flow'r
That hangs its sweet head in the morning dew
Of they green village banks His muster'd host
Shall be rolled back in thousands, and the surge
Bury them! Then shall peace illumine once more
My own beloved country!"

May these lines, written by the Rev Mr Bowles, be as prophetic as they are poetical. Illingworth, 1803

The whole country was roused to action, in spite of the very hard times. Meetings were held all over the kingdom, and in this respect Ovenden evinced a patriotic spirit, as the following will show:

In consequence of a meeting this morning in the vestry of Illingworth chapel, it is requested that the subscribers to the general fund at Halifax, in aid of the volunteers, will attend at David Walton's in Illingworth, tomorrow morning, at eleven 0'clock, in order to appoint a committee to manage the business relating to the volunteers of Ovenden.


WOODHEAD, Constable
Ovenden, September 4th 1803

A meeting was accordingly held, and resolutions were passed to form a corps of volunteers, The names of the volunteers were the following: Daniel Ambler, Bradshaw; John Ambler, Moorside; Josh. Blagbrough, Illingworth; John Boyce, Stones; Jonathan Brear, Cockhill; Luke Chambers, Causey Foot; Wm. Clayton Chapman, Illingworth cross; David Clayton, Mixenden-lane; John Clayton, Ovenden; Joshua Craven, Stones; Simeon Firth Pinder House; Joel Fearnley, Holdsworth; Chas. Greenwood Barrack Tavern; Elijah Garlick, Ovenden; Robert Gledhill, Swill Hill end; Squire Harrison, Ovenden; Jno. Hoyle, Bradshaw lane; Jonas Hirst, Ovenden; Luke Halliday, Breck, Northowram; Henry Hartley, Hill End; James Hartley, Ovenden; Jonas Hayley, Bradshaw; Matthew Highley, Warley; Josh, Highley, Stones; Hy. Horsfall, Bankram; Charles Horsfield, Rake bank; John Ingham, Fold; John Kershaw, Ovenden; Josh. Lacy, Bradshaw row; Jonathan Lacy, Stones; David Mitchell, Pandler's House; James Priestly, Jumples; Job Priestly, Shaking House; James Radcliffe, Moor Top; Wm. Ramsden, Illingworth; John Reynolds, Bradshaw row, Jas Riley, Shaw lane; Jas. Scott, Holdsworth; John Sheard, Stones; John Spencer, Mason Green; Thomas Spencer, Mason Green; Jonathan Tidswell, Lane head; George Turner, Roper Green; Wm. Varley, Upper Popples; John Watkinson, junr. Moorside (Ensign); Nathan Whitley, Ovenden; James Wilson, Sodhouse green; Isaac Wilson, Illingworth; David Wilkinson, Stones; Wm. Wilkinson, Illingworth; Richard Wood, Jumples; Francis Wood, Jumples; Joseph Woodhead, Little Moor.

Seven other persons, whose names are given, desired to be enrolled, but there was a sufficient number without them. Amongst the contributors to the fund in aid of the formation of the corps were John Mitchell, John Wilkinson, Samuel Dean, Joseph Watkinson, who each gave £50; Robert Ramsbottom £30, Thomas Sutcliffe £20 and John Oddy, Jonathan Shaw, James Greenroyd, and Thomas Charnock, senr., £10 10/- each, which with smaller contributions raised the sum of £355 6/6d, a noble contribution for Ovenden.

(In mentioning last week that a daughter of John Mitchell, of New House, married Mr George Pollard, the statement was not correct that the latter afterwards became first colonel of the Second West York Yeomanry Cavalry, and I am glad to make the correction. I find from a communication from Mr J A Armitage, of Woodfield Edgerton, Huddersfield, that the daughter of the John Mitchell mentioned was the late Col. Pollard's mother. Col. Pollard was only once married, and his wife was the only child and heiress of the late Sir Thos. Horton, Bart., of Chadderton, Lancashire, and Hundhill, Yorkshire – Graptolite.) 

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 6

In 1807 it was decided to erect an organ in Illingworth Church. With the musical talent then existing in Ovenden, it was only natural that there should be a desire to have a good instrument to lead the congregation in the service of praise. The organ that was then bought though not a very large one, has proved a very useful instrument, having been used ever since, though improvements have been effected at different times and its case was thoroughly renewed, the pipes re decorated, when the church was restored. Where obtained and at what cost I have not been able to ascertain; but a memorial of the subscriptions placed in the church, gives the following sums subscribed; Elizabeth Wadsworth, £10 10/-; Samuel Dean, £20; John Watkinson, £20, Anthony Moss, minister, £10 10/-; John Midgley sen. £10; Wm. Wigglesworth, churchwarden, £5 5/-; Thomas Sutcliffe, £5 5/-; James Greenwood £5 5/-.; James Greenroyd £5 5/-; Wm. Bolland, Halifax, £5; Joseph Watkinson, £5; John Midgley sen. £3 3/-; Joseph Lassey, sen., £3 3/-; Thos. Charnock, £3 3/-; Elkanah Waddington, £3 3/-; James Gibson, £2; John Sunderland, Halifax; £2 2/-; John Wright, £2 2/-; Samuel Garfoth, jun., £2 2/-; Jonathan Shaw, £2 2/-; Wm. Irving, £2 2/-; Wm. Midgley, Booth Town, £2 2/-; Isaac Wilson, Bradford, £2 2/-; Joseph Ramsden, £2 2/-; Joseph Lassey, jun. £ 2 2/-; and subscribers of £1 1/-: John Blagbrough, John Fearnley, Joseph Rhodes, Abraham Hodgson, John Midgley, S Chapman, Jonathan Illingworth (Halifax), James Midgley, David Walton, Jonathan Akroyd, James Akroyd, David Hirst, sen., Samuel Garforth, sen., Joseph Riley, James Snowden, James Brear, John Denton, John Garforth, Joseph Chappell, John Rishworth, George Child, James Priestly, David Priestley, Jonathan Priestley, Thos Milne, (Cliffe Hill), Jonathan Nicholls, John Nicholls, David Wright, John Priestley, Thomas Driver, John Brear, John Kitchen, William Wood, James Bates, Sen., John Matthewman, John Lassey, James Wilcock, Thos. Charnock, jun., Jacob Town, Samuel Wood; also 17 subscribers of 10/6d each, including three of the name of John Illingworth, one of whom was parish clerk; 14 subscribers of 5/- and others of smaller sums, making a total of over £200.

Residents in Ovenden will recognise the families still living represented by most of the names just given.

Two years after the event just recorded, a rather remarkable circumstance took place, namely, the celebration of the British Jubilee. Since the day of William the Conqueror, only two monarchs in England have lived sufficiently long to complete the 50th year of their reign, one being Edward the Third and the other George the Third. It is not a matter for surprise that such an event should be duly honoured by a loyal people. Under the date of 1809 is the following entry, made in the registers at Illingworth:



It commenced on the 25th October, the day on which our good old king entered into the 50th year of his reign; on this auspicious day it was observed the sun shone brighter and warmer than usual at that season of the year. It was truly a day without clouds. All nature seemed to rejoice! Not only in this part, but through every part of the British Empire the day was spent with every mark of public festivity, and every expression of the most heartfelt satisfaction among all ranks of his subjects. In this township a subscription was opened, and upwards of £30 was raised and distributed to poor persons in Illingworth chapel after divine service in the morning part in handkerchiefs and the remainder in money.

No doubt it is the wish of all her Most Gracious Majesty's subjects that a similar even may be honoured on the 20th of June 1887.

Following the order of events, I am reminded not only of the loyalty and patriotism of Ovenden, but of her sympathy with the brave soldiers taking part in the Peninsular War, some of whom suffered severe hardships, and others fell into the hands of the French.

Mem. 1811 Collected in the township of Ovenden, for the relief of the British prisoners in France, the sum of £13 0s/3d, and remitted it to the committee at Lloyd's Coffee House, London.

British arms and British valour proved victorious on the continent, under the Duke of Wellington (then Lord Wellington), and Napoleon's power was gradually curbed by the forces of the Allied Armies, till at last he had to retire to the island of Elba, in 1814. The following show how the news of these successes were received at home:

On Thursday 27th January, 1814, at Illingworth, near Halifax, a public dinner was given by the gentlemen of that neighbourhood, to upwards of 400 poor persons, that they might rejoice together and join in the general feeling of gratitude which is so happily excited in the nation by the victories of Lord Wellington and the Allied Armies of the continent. The dinner was provided at two public houses, viz, the White lion, and the Machine Makers Arms, and the company as waited on by the gentlemen subscribers. On the following day, from the fragments that were left, upwards of 59 poor families in the neighbourhood were plentily relieved with broken meat, broth, bread, &c.

A numerous and select band of vocal and instrumental performers attended on the occasion, and the whole company united with heart and voice in celebrating the animating results of the late unparalleled victories. In short gratitude was visible in every countenance; Harmony prevailed throughout; and loyalty crowned the festive day.

The following address, than which nothing should be more suitable, was prepared upon the occasion by Mr Jonathan Blagbrough of Illingworth:

Gentlemen – We are assembled here this day to congratulate each other upon the happy change of affairs on the continent and in particular to celebrate the late signal victories gained by England and our allies over our inveterate enemy, the present despot of France, who for a long time past hath been the scourge of the different nations of Europe. It appears from recent accounts that a stop has been nearly put to his bloody career by the firm and powerful coalition of those nations who, deceived by the promises, and overcome by the treachery of this infernal monster, had submitted to the iron yoke. Having long drunk of the bitter cup of his admixturing, they have at last come forward with one consent to resent the common enemy of mankind. The result hath been glorious. It hath pleased Divine Providence to grant to the Allied Armies that success; they have gained victory after victory, and within the short space of a few weeks have produced such a change of affairs on the continent of Europe as is scarcely to be paralleled in history's eventful pages. We have seen the huge armies of France, which threatened ruin and destruction to all who opposed them nearly annihilated, and the tyrant so lately covered with infamy and disgrace, driven back into his den. May that Being who orders all things for the best be pleased to grant that peace and tranquillity may be restored to Europe, that discord, which has long distracted the nations, may for ever cease, and that plenty and prosperity may flourish in our own country, and old England still remain a favoured land.

The above rather forcible language shows in what light the first Napoleon was regarded, and may be taken as an indication of the general feeling of the country.

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 7

In 1795, Luke Shaw, schoolmaster, Brockholes, was interred in Illingworth Churchyard, at the age of 49 years. Luke Shaw took a prominent part in the introduction of Wesleyan Methodism into the district, or at any rate in the building of the first chapel. In 1772 Mr Atley was the preacher stationed at Halifax, and at that time a number of people round Illingworth had formed themselves into a society, and met regularly at the house of Mr James Riley. In the middle of the winter this society was visited by Mr Atley at Mr Riley's house for some days. He preached for three or four nights successively, and at the close of one of these services Mr Atley suggested that it would be a great advantage if a chapel could be built. Mr Walker, in his "History of Wesleyan Methodism in Halifax", says: "An individual in the company (Luke Shaw, a pious, exemplary, and judicious man) was desired to carry out the idea and he accordingly devoted his attention to the subject". The result was that Brockholes chapel (or Bradshaw chapel as it was sometimes called), was built on a piece of ground close to which Mount Zion chapel has since been erected. At a later period a disturbance took place and the Kilhamites took possession of the chapel, which now belongs to the New Connexion.

In 1812, on the 7th of January, a man who played no unimportant part in the history of Ovenden during the latter part of the last century and the commencement of the present was interred in Illingworth Churchyard. His name was John Ingham. He was a man of great attainments, a student of the book of nature, and schoolmaster of Cockpit school, residing at Brookhouse. In order to augment his income, and at the same time to follow his favourite pursuits, John Ingham purchased a plot of land, then part of the wastes of Ovenden, from the Lord of the Manor, and erected thereon a one storied building to be used by him as a school. As the visitor passes along the Mixenden road towards Mount Zion chapel, he will notice near the corner of the road leading down to Brookhouse, the small plot of land, with the one storied building, now used as dwelling house.

Where in his noisy mansion, skill'd to rule,
The village master taught his little school

It was here that the late Mr John Foster, of Queensbury, finished his education, having previously attended the Thornton Grammar School.

It was here that the late Jonathan Akroyd of Halifax, father of Mr Edward Akroyd, was educated: and it was here that many other noteworthy people in Ovenden received their early training, by the aid of which they qualified themselves for honourable positions in life.

It was here Mr John Foster made the acquaintance of Mr Jonathan Akroyd, which afterwards ripened into friendship; and it is said that it was through seeing the manufacturing carried on at Brookhouse Mill that Mr Foster was led to commence the manufacturing business, after he left school. Mr John Ingham was a lover of nature, and had he been living now he would have been a leader amongst naturalist societies, field clubs and scientific associations. Living in a rather out of the way place, as Brookhouse, he pursued his favourite studies chiefly by himself, though occasionally in the company of others who had similar tastes and sympathies as himself. When opportunity was not afforded to visit the woods or roam the moors and fields, he would take up his brush and his water colours, and paint the variegated violet, the beautiful forget-me-not, the auricula, and other flowers; or he would represent some of the choicest butterflies (of which he was a collector( in all the beauty of their colour and shading. Some of his productions have been preserved, and are now in the possession of his grandchildren. His books did not include many works of light reading. His library included such books as

Swammerdam's History of Insects, published in 1758;
Elements of Geometry; Guide to Mathematics, published in 1740
Elements of Algebra, published in 1764; "by Nathaniel Hammond, of the Bank"
Pope's Works
and many others of a similar character. In his leisure hours, John Ingham took up the work of manufacturing optical instruments, and amongst his papers are a number of diagrams of the various glasses used in the achromatic telescope. He wrote out a number of rules for polishing metal so as to give it a parabolical figure, and laid down a number or directions with regard to fixing the glasses of the telescope in the tube, in order to attain the greatest advantage. In an old memorandum book of John Ingham's are a number of entries relating to his "field" work and other matters, amongst which are the following:

The J Bolton, above mentioned, was a naturalist, living in Halifax, as the following letter will show:

Stannary yd, 20th Feb 1792.

Friend Jno Ingham – In the course of the spring I shall be in want of the birds in the list below and desire your assistance in procuring them. My boy brings some powder and shot, and I will very willingly make you a proper compensation for the time it may cost you. When both cock and hen cannot be got, the cock will always be preferable.

  1. The missel bird
  2. the throstle
  3. the black ouzle
  4. the ring ouzle about the skirts of our moors in May
  5. the skylark
  6. the titlark both kinds
  7. the moortiting or brown lark, or pippet lark
  8. the wood lark
  9. the lesser red pole, or chisaree
  10. the red pole, or twite
  11. the common linnet
  12. the green linnet
  13. the common bunting
  14. the reed sparrow
  15. the common flycatcher
  16. the common yellow wagtail, found about ploughed ground in the month of May
  17. the red start, or fire tail
  18. the robin redbreast
  19. the black cap a summer bird, concealed in woods the head of the cock black, of the hen brown, comes in April
  20. the straw smalls
  21. the green wren
  22. the hedge sparrow or dunnock
  23. the willow lark
  24. the white throat
  25. the wheat ear
If you can procure from any of the idle boys in your neighbourhood, in the course of building time, the nests with eggs unset of the following of the above numbers, the nest not to be much ruffled or torn. I will pay you 6d a piece for them, viz. No 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17,18, 19, 20, 21 24.

You must know, John, that I have been so long tilted between roses and toadstools and back again from toadstools to roses, that I am wearied out with both for the present, and wish (by way of recreation only) to turn for a while to some other page in the great volume. I have not painted a bird this nine or ten years, and yet have so much of this ugly self sufficiency about me, that I think I can do it tolerably, after a few days practice. Birds for drawing should not be much ruffled, and the colour of their eyes should be noted while living, or as soon as dead.

I am, your humble servant

Under the date of October 26th, 1782, are a number of remarks on insects, in which the habits and peculiarities of moths and butterflies are given. Mr Ingham says, "Perhaps nothing in nature more deserves our consideration and attention than the various methods taken by the moth kind to hide and secure themselves from danger whilst in that helpless and inactive state (chrysalis). Some bury and change in the earth, about a finger deep, within a tender web; others form a strong case in the earth; some spin a strong case of silk." Minute descriptions of the Camberwell beauty, the Swallow tail, and the Painted Lady follow. So much for John Ingham, the entomologist; but he was also a botanist, and amongst his manuscripts are the Botanical Institutes, by E Middleton. The following quotations, written in some of his books show the proverbial philosophy of the schoolmaster:

There are several old persons still living who went to Cock Pit school in their youth; but very few can remember John Ingham, sen. The memorandum book mentioned states that on January 20th 1783, Thomas Bolland whose name occurs in the subscription lists connected with Illingworth Church, began his lessons at the above school. The Bolland family were relatives of the Akroyds. Amongst other scholars mentioned are John Sheard, David Hirst, Squire Womersley, Ann Earnshaw, John Ramsden (Jumples). Mary Hey, Jonathan Hey, Samuel Brierley, William Longbottom, Mary Rushworth, John Midgley, Reuben Smith, John Clay, Squire Womersley, John Lassey, John Jowett, W Woodhead, W Wilkinson, James Bancroft, Mary Priestley, Jonathan Priestley, &c. The Samuel Brierley mentioned died on the 3rd of March 1832 aged 74 years and he was interred at Illingworth Church. The writer has been informed that he was deputy constable or chief of the old constable force in Halifax. The young delinquents at Cock Pit school were treated in a somewhat original method. If a boy had been found guilty of uttering a falsehood, he was compelled to repeat some lines of original poetry (the composition of the master) on the wickedness of lying. For other offences, standing on one leg, or holding up a slate with one arm stretched out, whilst standing upon a form, was the punishment inflicted. At that day, educational works were not so cheap or plentiful as they are at the present, and "copies" had to be written on slips of paper by the master, and handed round to be copied into the copybooks. In the same way, questions and problems in mensuration were written out, and handed to the boys to work out. The following is a copy of one:

One evening I chanc'd with a tinker to sit,
Whose tongue ran a great deal too fast for his wit;
He talk'd of his art with abundance of mettle,
So I ask'd him to make me a flat bottom'd kettle.
Let the top and the bottom diameters be
In just such proportion as five is to three;
Twelve inches the depth I propos'd, and no more;
And to hold in ale, gallons. Seven less than a score.
He promis'd to do't and forthwith to work went;
But when he had done it he fount it too scant;
He alter'd it then; but too big he had made it
For though it held right, the diameters fail'd it,
Thus making it often too big and too little,
The tinker at last had quite spoilt his kettle;
But he swears that he'll bring his said promise to pass,
Or else that he'll spoil every ounce of his brass.
Now, to keep him from ruin, I pray find him out
The diameters' length, for he'll ne'er do it I doubt

As already stated, John Ingham died in 1812. He was succeeded in the school by his son, who was also named John Ingham. The latter did not keep the school long, for he became bookkeeper and cashier to Mr Jonathan Akroyd (of the firm of James Akroyd and Son)  who had then commenced business at Halifax.

Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 8

In 1792, the Rev Anthony Moss, perpetual curate of Illingworth, made an effort to increase the minister's stipend by way of benefaction. In this undertaking Mr Mitchell of Mitchell Hall, and Mr Watkinson of Watkinson Hall, both ardent supporters of the Church, promised their assistance, as is shown by the following letter. Addressed to the Rev John Wadsworth, Bradshaw (the minister at Coley Church), who was a great fiend of Mr John Ingham, the schoolmaster:

27th March, 1792

Dear Sir, – I am encouraged by some of my friends to try if I can raise the bounty to my chapel by benefactions, and I am inclined to listen to their advice and make the trial; though I do not expect that a proposal of his kind will meet with universal approbation among my parishioners. I flatter myself, however, that you will be one of those whose kind assistance will not be wanting upon the occasion; and I think it is practicable without any great burden upon any individual. Mr Mitchel and Mr Jon Watkinson, I believe, are favourable to the design. The latter has in a very friendly and generous manner offered to take an active part in the business I hope to see you soon, when we will talk further about it. In the meantime, I remain, with best respects to Mrs Wadsworth, Dear Sir,

Your Friend and Servant,

With what success these efforts were favoured, I have not been able to learn.

Turning again to that sacred spot, "Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap," an inscription on a grave stone – one of the short and simple annals of the poor – speaks of length of service, faithful and honest, rendered by Grace Clayton, as a domestic in the house of the Rev John Wadsworth, of Holdsworth. For 35 years she ne'er had changed nor wished to change her place. At her death in 1823, Mr Wadsworth paid a tribute of respect to her character, by placing the stone over the grave of one who "after completing 35 years of honest, faithful service in the family of the Rev John Wadsworth, Holdsworth, died December 24th 1823, in the 63rd year of her age. Respected in life; lamented in her death".

During the course of a ministry lasting 56 years, amongst the same people, it would be almost strange, at any rate fortunate, were there no question coming to the front, tending to divide, the people into parties and compelling the minister to side with either one or the other. During the first quarter of this century a few persons claimed seats in the church at Illingworth as their property, either by virtue of having subscribed £10 towards the building, or by paying certain sums at quit rent on their farm for the support of the minister. The courtesy, tact, discretion, and general character of Mr Moss subdued any ill-feeling in the matter, and calmed down the opposition which otherwise might have become serious. Nevertheless, in 1824, Mr John Watkinson, the churchwarden, deemed it expedient to address the parishioners on the subject. The following is a copy of the circular then issued:


With a view to prevent, as much as possible, any uneasiness or disputes that may at any future period threaten to disturb the peace and harmony that ought to subsist between the minister and his hearers, the following statement of facts, respecting the seats in Illingworth Chapel is here impartially recorded. This end perhaps would have been better answered if there had been a written document, or memorandum drawn up on the subject, at the time when the old Chapel was taken down and the new one built, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven. We, the undersigned, as far as it is in our power, will endeavour to supply the deficiency by the following


It appears from the "History of Halifax," that the Chapel of Illingworth was built as a Chapel of Ease under Halifax Church, for the use of the inhabitants of Ovenden, before the year 1525. The income arising from lands was not more than twelve pounds sixteen shillings a year, so late as the beginning of Queen Anne's reign.

It is the general opinion that the seats in the said Chapel were valued and let for the benefit and better support of the minister. In consideration of the addition of an afternoon sermon; and that this first took place in the Rev Edw. Wilkinson's time, who entered to the curacy in 1668, and died Jan 4, 1704, when the yearly income from the glebe as stated above was only £12 16/-

Though it cannot now be determined, with any degree of certainty, at what time the seats were first appropriated to the use of the minister, the fact itself is clear and undeniable, as will appear from what follows.

The old Chapel, in the year 1738, was enlarge in breadth by an addition on the north side, which was thence called the north chapel. It contained twenty four seats, pews, or stalls. The additional building was erected at the expense of the parishioners and the seats therein were numbered, valued, and let for the use of the curate, as those were in the body of the Chapel, in the manner following, viz.-

Number Valued at
 £ s
1 8
2 8
3 8
6 10
7 10
8 10
9 9
10 10
11 10
14 10
15 10
16 10
17 10
19 10
20 10
21 10
22 10
24 12

North Chapel Value £14 16s. per annum.

  £ s d
Thus the annual rent charge of 24 seats in the north chapel was 14 16 0
Ditto of 65 seats in the body of the old chapel was 29 12 6
And supposing all the seats let, they would make per annum to the minister 44 8 6

NB The above is taken from three old seat books for the years 1757, 1759 and 1775.

This statement is corroborated by a terrier delivered in at the visitation at Wakefield, in the year 1748, in which is contained the following entry;- "The seats in the Chapel which according to ancient custom are numbered and valued by trustees appointed for that purpose, are collected every half year. They generally make to the minister about £36.



Hence it evidently appears that the seats in the old Chapel had been let for the benefit of the minister to such persons as chose to attend divine service in the said chapel. The Rev John Grimshaw, late curate, in a written memorandum (now in the possession of the present curate) says

The rent of the seats has (during upwards of twenty eight years that I have resided here, and to the best of my knowledge from time immemorial) been set apart for the sole benefit of the minister, no one claiming any seat as his own, except one person, and it is doubtful whether that claim be a just one

The name of the person alluded to was John Bates, who had no property in the township except a small cottage upon Swillhill, in right of his wife.

It does not appear that there ever was a seat either sold or exchanged in the old Chapel, or any lock or brass plate with the occupier's name affixed to any seat.

The above, according to the best of our knowledge and belief, is a true and simple account of the nature of the seats in Illingworth old Chapel.

Witness our hands, in the year of our Lord

ANTH. MOSS, Minister

The nature of the tenure of the seats in the old Chapel being stated above, the next inquiry is whether the tenure was altered or intended to be altered in the present new Chapel, which was built by voluntary subscription, and not by a rate, in the year 1777

Now I, whose name is subscribed to this memorial, being the only surviving person who took an active part in building the new chapel, and in attending the meetings of the principal subscribers and of the acting committee, do hereby declare that no alteration was made or intended to be made with respect to the seats, saving that the acting committee on that business judged it necessary to make a little variation in the rent charge, and accordingly fixed it upon a lower scale in the new Chapel, namely, at one shilling a sitting per annum, And I do also declare that the question was fairly and openly discussed in the committee, consisting of the principal resident subscribers, and that it was unanimously agreed as follows, viz;-

  1. That the subscribers of the pounds and upwards were to have the first choice of seats, according to the amount of their subscriptions, the largest subscriber to chuse first, and so down to the subscriber of ten pounds, below which sum the privilege of choice was not to reach
  2. That this choice(ie in point of situation) was to be all the advantage that the subscribers of ten pounds and upwards were to have above the other inhabitants in the chapelry
  3. That the ancient and established custom of valuing and letting the seats for the benefit of the minister, was to be continued I the new as it had been in the old Chapel, without exception
  4. That the seats thus made choice of by the principal subscribers were not to be considered as appended or annexed to any particular mansion, messuage, or tenement, of which the subscriber or subscribers might then be in possession
  5. And lastly, I do hereby further declare that the inscription at the bottom of the large stone in the Chapel (containing the names of the subscribers) was cut a considerable time after the stone was put up, on account of the late Thomas Garforth, a subscriber of £1 1/- taking the liberty of affixing a brass plate to a seat in the gallery, No. 9, and that the said inscription has not the lest reference to a subscriber of ten pounds claiming a seat or a subscriber under then pounds chusing a seat, but solely and wholly to the latter assuming a right of affixing "his name thereon."
    Witness my hand, in the year of our Lord 1824

    NB The first resolution above was made with a view to increase the number of subscribers of then pounds or upwards; yet it was thought proper, after the ten pound subscribers and those above had made choice, not to interfere with the subscribers under ten pounds, who wished to have the same privilege of chusing their situation, but permit them to chuse in their turn

    It is respectfully submitted to the consideration of those who feel themselves interested, whether it might not be proper to call a meeting at some future day, in order that every one who thinks himself solely and unconditionally entitled to any seats or sittings in the Chapel may attend and make good his claim. And it is requested that if any person can bring forward any document or other evidence, to disprove any part of the above memorial, he will openly and candidly do so.

    The following reference to the subject is also made in the register books, probably by Mr Moss: " One John Bates, who occupied a small cottage upon Swill Hill claimed a seat in the old chapel, according to the late Mr Grimshaw, but he does not say either when or upon what occasion such claim was made. Indeed those persons in Ovenden, who pay small quit rents out of their farms to the minister, have always pleaded a right to a seat in the chapel on the strength of their paying such quit rent. These claims they good naturedly (even to this day) bring forward whenever I call upon them for the rent. I hear what they say; shake my head at them, and smile. They understand me, pay the rent, and we part as good friends as we met." The question was thus kept in abeyance till the death of Mr Moss, in 1836, when it was again opened. On the 20th of June, 1836, the Vicar of Halifax (the late Archdeacon Musgrave), wrote to the inhabitants of the chapelry of Illingworth, in respect to the dispute as to the ownership of the pews, suggesting that

    a meeting of the township should be called to consider the propriety of submitting the question to the arbitration of five or more influential gentlemen, not resident in the chapelry

    and further stating that he

    can confidently engage, on the part of the proposed incumbent, that he will cheerfully acquiesce in their decision

    The result was that the old custom was preserved, and the seats are still let for the "benefit and better support" of the minister.

    Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 9

    It does not appear that a Sunday school was established in connection with the church till the year 1825. Many years previous to that time children were taught at cock Pit school, on Sundays, by Mr Ingham, and the course of tuition included reading, writing and arithmetic, or "counting" as it is called by a few old persons living, who attended the school. In 1825, an appeal was made for aid, and the following letter issued:

    To the charitable and benevolent inhabitants of the township of Ovenden.

    It is generally observed that since the establishment of Sunday schools the morals of the common people have been, in some measure at least improved, and the profanation of the Sabbath less frequent. This surely affords no small encouragement to proceed in this good work of charity, of instilling into the minds of children a sacred regard for the Sabbath, which has ever been found closely connected with the interests of religion and morality. From this consideration, and with a view to provide a commodious place for the children of this place to assemble in at Illingworth the gentlemen in this neighbourhood propose to build a Sunday schoolroom, in the Row-lane, in Mr Thos. Dyson's Field, and to defray the expense of such room, that they here solicit a subscription in the neighbourhood.

    The total amount realised form subscriptions, "collections in chapel." &c. was £444 18/3d and of this amount, £30 10/- was received in subscriptions of 10/- each. Mr S Garforth, who was churchwarden at this time, obtained £62 19s. in subscription, before the 17th of May, 1825. Amongst the subscribers were Mr Wm. Mitchell, £20; Mr Thomas F Dyson, £10; Colonel Dearden, £10; Messrs James Brear. £5 5s.; Mitchell, Booth Town; £5 5s.;G B Browne, £5 5s.; Sharp and Brown, £5; Ven. Archdeacon Musgrave, £5; Miss Dyson Willow Field, £5; Mr Reves Heginbottom £5; Mr William Dean, £5; Mr James Greenwood, Wheatley, £5; the Rev A. Moss (three subscriptions)  £8; Messrs James Greenwood, £3; Peter Bould and family, £5; Messrs, James Akroyd, sen., James Akroyd, jun., Jonathan Akroyd, Thomas Akroyd, Mrs Mary Akroyd, the Revs E. Ramsden and Joseph Charnock, Messrs Thomas Greenwood, S Garforth, John Garforth, Robert Crossley, George Moss, William Bates, John Brear, John Jowett, Benjamin Blagborough, William Irvine, Rawdon Briggs, jun., John Lassey, William Chapman, James Midgley, John Midgley, Mrs Farrar, Messrs, Thomas Taylor, James Riley Mr and Mrs Dean, Messrs W Thomas, Shaw, Wigglesworth, Greenroyd, A. Jubb, the Rev B. Greenwood, Messrs W. Dewhirst, S Bairstow, with a large number of others, contributed various sums. Some of the above subscribed a second time. It appears that some gave assistance as well as money, as some of the entries in the subscription books show, – James Garforth wrought two days with horse and cart. Mrs Snowden gave 10s. and use of horse and cart for two days (12s.) Mr D Walton and Mr Luke Charnock each gave in work £1 4s. Mr David Walton mentioned formerly occupied the Talbot Inn, Illingworth, and when the clerk, John of Briggs, was indisposed, Walton took his place, and generally managed to draw a number of people to the church (who were unaccustomed to going to a place of worship) in order to hear his musical voice. John Scott, who contributed £1, was the old constable. Many of the inhabitants will remember the constable leaving the church at a certain time in the service, in order to look round the village, and just getting back again in time for the sermon. The school then erected was only half the present length of the Illingworth Sunday school. A stone over the door of the old portion has the following inscription

    Erected by subscription for the purpose of educating children in the principles of the Established Church, 1825

    The transfer of the land appears from the following entry in the register book:

    On the 8th of July, 1826, a piece of land belonging to Mr Thomas Dyson, of Willow Edge, in Skircoat, was purchased by the Rev Anthony Moss and others, on which to erect a National and Sunday school.

    The land was purchased at a cost of £10 8s/4d.

    The school was enlarged in 1860, at the east end, and by this means the teachers were enabled to teach the boys and girls separately. A stone over the door of the new part says

    This addition to the school was erected at the sole expense of the Misses Moss, of Illingworth, 1860

    Occasionally a few old men in Ovenden, once singers in some of the choirs in the neighbourhood assemble at the house of a mutual friend, and with tremulous notes join in singing some of the old tunes they used to sing "when they were boys together" whilst their old chum, whose fingers have not yet forgot their cunning, accompanies them on the old cottage piano. The younger members of the family also join in, first to please the old ones, second to please themselves, and next to make the harmony complete. Pleasant recollections are brought to mind, and after various expressions indicating the superiority of the old tunes over the new, the fragrant weed is brought out, and whilst the pipe of peace is smoked, or a glass of "something warm" is sipped, the conversation turns on days gone by, when Tom Parker, of Haworth, "the Yorkshire veteran tenor," used to walk every Sunday, wet or fine, from Haworth to Illingworth, to sing in the church; or when he took part in some oratorio in Halifax, or had to go up to London to join in some grand festival. Tom Parker was the Sims Reeves of his day, though perhaps not so extensively known, yet few enjoyed a greater local reputation. He once sung at the Shed schoolroom, Haley hill when Sims Reeves was also present. A musical critic of that day gave it as his opinion the Tom Parker had quite as fine a voice as Sims Reeves, though the former had a greater range of voice. Therefore, it was no mean boast that the "Yorkshire Braham" was a singer at Illingworth. This was brought about by the influence of Mr Samuel Garforth, who was churchwarden in 1825, and who, during his term of office induced Tom Parker to accept an engagement at the church. Mr Parker died in his eightieth year, in April, 1866 and was buried in the Wesleyan chapel, Haworth. Another singer at the Church about the same time, was James Hoyle, who was considered to have the finest bass voice in the parish of Halifax. James Hoyle lived in Bradshaw, and was a woolcomber for Col. Akroyd's father. He was a member of the choir for several years at Mount Zion chapel, but some little difference arose, when he and his brother John went to Illingworth Church. John took the counter part. James Hoyle was afterwards a singer at South parade chapel, and at the Halifax Parish Church. Mr John Foster of Queenshead (Queensbury), met with James Hoyle, at the house of Mr Priestley, Goose Gate Farm, and went with him to Halifax and other places to hear him sing. Ultimately Mr Foster persuaded him to go to Queensbury Church, which would be a little nearer his home than the Parish Church at Halifax. Becoming liable to frequent attacks of rheumatism, he was at last obliged to relinquish this engagement; but sing he must, somewhere, and he became a member of the choir at Bradshaw Church, which was the last place in which he took part in the service a one of the singers. Col. Akroyd's father once told a Mr Varley, of Bradshaw, that James Hoyle, if he lived, would surpass as a bass singer, even Accepted Widdop. Old Dan Sugden once attended a concert at Halifax, where Hoyle had been singing, and after the concert was concluded, the singers adjourned to Mr Sugden's house – the Talbot Hotel, Woolshops. During the evening Mr Sugden said

    We have not such a singer as Hoyle within fifty miles of Halifax

    James Hoyle said

    I hope you are not flattering me, Mr Sugden

    The later replied

    Oh no, I am a teacher of music myself. I know what music is

    During the height of his fame James Hoyle attended many of the great musical festivals in Yorkshire and elsewhere. He died about twenty years since. Before reference is made to another distinguished musician, connected with Illingworth Church, other events must be chronicled.

    On the 12th of April, 1829, the graveyard at Illingworth was enlarged.

    In 1836, the Rev Anthony Moss died at the advanced age of 86 years, after a laborious and faithful ministry at Illingworth Church, extending over half a century. His tombstone records the fact the he died on the 15th of January, 1836, in the 87th year of his age.

    "He was incumbent of this chapelry 56 years"

    The same year the living was presented by the late Ven. Archdeacon Musgrave to one of his curates at the Halifax Parish church, the Rev Wm. Gillmor. Steps were taken early in the year 1836, for the erection of a parsonage for the new incumbent, and a sum slightly exceeding £300 was subscribed by parishioners and friends. This was met by a grant of £200 from the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty as a loan, repayable with interest at 3.1/2 per cent, in thirty years. The ground chosen was where the present parsonage now stands, and the site command one of the most extensive views of any parsonage in the parish of Halifax.

    But I must now go back a short time to refer to another musical family connected with the Church. James and Sarah Hartley, two of the first members of the Halifax Choral Society at its institution in 1818, came over from Luddenden church, where they were singers, and took up their residence at Illingworth. Mr and Mrs Hartley were persuaded to come to Illingworth by Mr James Akroyd, of Old Lane, who thus was the means of securing their services in the choir at the church. They first took a house at Moorside, but afterwards removed to a house in Back lane, behind the offices of the Ovenden Local Board, where they lived for many years, and brought up a family of twelve children, who developed such musical powers that they could at any moment raise a chorus or a little band amongst themselves.

    The youngest of these children was named Joseph, and he lived to carry forward the musical reputation of his parents and to add another name to the list of able musicians this district has produced. As all the other children in early life displayed their fondness for music, it was the wish of the parents that Joseph should take up with something else, and follow some other occupation. But "not for Joe" were other occupations, for though forbidden to meddle with music, he occasionally managed to stop up rather late at night to play the spinnet, though he had to do it very quietly, so as not to disturb his parents. These nocturnal attempts of the young musician to master music by stealth were forbidden and the consequence was that Joseph got a penny whistle and strolled along the back lanes, playing to his hearts content, his audience being a group of village boys. Somehow or other he got possession of an old fiddle, with which he seemed so pleased that his mother said, "It's no use; we may as well let him have his own way." One night, whilst in bed, Joseph composed a chant, and one of his brothers said to the other "What must we call it?" Benjamin replied, "Bedstocks" because it was composed in bed. Thus the child became father of the man, and the composer of "Bedstocks" lived to write a psalmody and a large quantity of other music besides becoming an excellent violinist, a noted pianist, an able organist, and a successful teacher of music. In early life he was introduced into the choir of Illingworth Church, when Mr George Moss (son of the incumbent) was organist. Mr Moss recognised the ability of Mr Hartley, and introduced him to the organ. In 1835 he was appointed organist, a position he occupied for 35 years, during which time he trained many voices and raised the general standard of singing in the church. The first compositions of Mr Hartley brought before the public were the "Evergreen Waltzes" the "Laurel Waltzes" and the Nuptial Quadrilles," which were arranged and composed for the pianoforte, the latter piece, published in 1849, being dedicated to Mrs A Jubb, of Halifax, who had been a pupil of Mr Hartley. "The Emigrant's Farewell" and "The Betrothed" are the titles of two pieces of vocal music he issued. "Birthday Quadrilles," the "Streamlet Valse," and the "Seraph Waltz", are the names of other dance music Mr Hartley composed. In later years a new arrangement of the three well known Christmas hymns and a carol, with original symphonies and some new harmonies, came from the pen of the Illingworth organist. "Christians, Awake", was re-arranged in the old tune. The next venture was a series of six vocal quartets, the words being selected from the Book of Psalms, arranged with an accompaniment for the pianoforte, These were dedicated to the Ven. Archdeacon Musgrave, most of the above received favourable notices from the press. The unpublished music of Mr Joseph Hartley embraces a large collection of sacred music, especially suitable for church choirs. Before he died he completed a psalmody containing 16 long metre, 20 common, 12 short, and 3 peculiar metre tunes, besides 59 chants and 14 responses. He was also the author of a number of musical settings for various portions of the liturgy, and a fine collection of anthems. Space forbids the mentioning even of the names of the songs which he set to music, the dance music that was never published, and the glees and duets that never say the light; but one piece of poetry, which appeared nearly 30 years ago, for which Mr Hartley composed the music in four parts, may be given, as it was an especial favourite; it was called

    Death's dark shadows o'er me stealing,
    Gloom and sadness round me shed;
    None are watching, none are weeping,
    By this lonely dyeing bed.
    World of life and light, I leave thee,
    Fading slowly from mine eye;
    Yet one harmony bequeath thee,
    One last effort 'ere I die.
    Soft and slow shall be the measure,
    Breathing low of peace and love;
    Visions bright of heavenly pleasure,
    Whisperings of the joys above.
    Will some kindred hearts hereafter,
    Thrilling to each dulcet tone;
    Think with sadness on the author,
    Suffering, dyeing, and alone.
    No, Ah no! the sigh of sorrow
    Shall not echo to my strain;
    Gentle hearts shall from it borrow,
    Solace to their grief or pain.
    Earthly cares no longer grieve me,
    Earthly joys no more control;
    Heavenly harmonies sustain me,
    Heavenly visions fill my soul.
    Music – blessed Inspiration,
    Purest, sweetest, that can swell
    In the breast of mortal frailty-
    Breathe to earth my last farewell.

    The music for the above is solemn, slow, and evidently well adapted to the words. The Holmfield Juvenile Orchestral Band consisted of a number of youth immediately connected with Holmfield and Shay lane Mills, who were furnished with instruments, music, &c by Mr Ambler, of Ovenden Grange, and placed under the able tuition of Mr Hartley. The result was that this novel mill band, consisting of 23 lads, became so well trained as to be able to take part in the performances at concerts at Ovenden. Mr Hartley died nine years ago, in the 57th year of his age, and was interred in the Illingworth Churchyard. His brother William was a flute player, and his son is now a doctor of music at Jedburgh.

    Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth – Part 10

    In concluding these notes it is only necessary that the events of the last half century should be summarised.

    The late vicar, the Rev W. Gillmor, was formerly incumbent of Earlsheaton, from which place he removed to Yaxham in Norfolk. On the recommendation of the Bishop of Chester, the late Venerable Archdeacon Musgrave appointed Mr Gillmor curate at the Halifax Parish Church, and shortly afterwards (1836) to the perpetual curacy of Illingworth. At this time there was no parsonage, and the living was only worth about £165 a year. For some time Mr Gillmor continued to reside at Halifax, but never failed attending the services at Illingworth, wet or fine. Steps were taken soon after Mr Gillmor's appointment, by some of the leading parishioners, to erect a suitable residence for the new minister. The aid of Queen Anne's Bounty was obtained for this purpose, and the result was the present parsonage, to which I have previously referred.

    At the time of Mr Gillmor's appointment, the district under his charge was very extensive, the churches at Bradshaw, Pellon, and Lee Mount having been erected since. The population, somewhat scattered, was comparatively poor, for though the district gave rise to important manufacturing industries, Halifax ultimately reaped the greatest share of the benefits, notably in the case of the Akroyds. Before the introduction of steam power in spinning and weaving, a large number of the people in the district were employed at the distaff and the old handlooms at their own homes, work being given out at Brookhouse and elsewhere. Then, as the visitor passed by the cottages, the thud and click of the old handloom could be heard, as

    A weaver sat by the side of his loom,
    A-flinging the shuttle fast.

    But the introduction of steam power, with improved machinery, transferred the weaver from his chamber to the factory, and led to other changes. The removal to Halifax of the Akroyd firms did not increase the commercial prosperity of Ovenden, though work was found for as many of the old hands as possible. The progress of the district since that time has not been so marked as some other localities round Halifax. At the census in 1841, the number of occupied Houses in the township of Ovenden was 2,203, unoccupied houses 179, and housed building 20. The population was 11,797, there being 5,865 males and 5,932 females. In 1831, the number of occupied houses was 1,733, unoccupied houses 88, housed building 20, and population 8,871 or 4,468 males and 4,403 females. Nevertheless, the church at Illingworth has never lacked supporters, for devoted churchmen, who had removed from the district, have always been ready to afford their generous aid in time of need.

    In 1838, Mr Henry Ambler, of Watkinson Hall, was churchwarden.

    1841 seems to have been an unfortunate year, for it was in the winter of that year a fire broke out in the church and a burglary took place at the vicarage. During the night of Monday, the 11th of October, a large quantity of property was stolen from the latter place, some of which was discovered on the following Saturday and Sunday in a haymow at Thornton. Some other robberies were committed in the neighbourhood about the same time.

    On Saturday evening, December 4th 1841, the church was discovered to be on fire, and considerable damage was done. Mr Teale, the principal overlooker at Mr Isles' mill, and a local preacher amongst the Primitive Methodists, mounted his master's horse, unsaddled, and galloped of the Halifax for the fire engines. The great difficulty was to obtain a supply of water, the church being seated on so high an eminence, water was scarce in the immediate vicinity. However, a number of people some of them just returning from the market at Halifax, took their stations at the pumps. Mr John Garforth, of Slackfield Farm, was one who worked hard in this way, at a pump which had only recently been put down near the church steps by the late Mr Nathan Greenwood, of Illingworth, and the latter assisted in removing everything available from the church to his own hose, whilst others carried the water in tubs, buckets, and cans to the church. At the time the winds blew a perfect hurricane of extraordinary violence. In about an hour the fires was subdued, just as the Leeds and Royal Exchange fire engines arrived from Halifax. The fire originated from the overheating of the flues, mainly caused by the high wind, which blew directly on the furnace. The folding doors, which open to the middle aisle and connect the antichurch with the nave, was supposed to have first taken fire, and communicated the flames to the west gallery and the organ, which was then in the west gallery. The organ, built by Gerrard, was considerably damaged. The west gallery (the front of which was of dark oak), the partition between the body of the building, and the antichurch, and may of the pews at the west end, were more or less destroyed, and the church otherwise damaged. In consequence of the fire, the church had to be closed for some time. During the attempt to put out the fires, a man fell from the gallery into the body of the church.

    On Sunday, the 27th of August, 1843, the new organ was re-opened. The old instrument was so much damaged by fire, and so many parts had to be renewed, that it might be called a new one. The preachers at the Sunday service were the Rev W Gillmor and the Rev J R Oldham, incumbent of St Paul's Huddersfield. On the Monday evening following, a full cathedral service was celebrated, Dr Gauntlett, of London presiding at the organ, the preacher being the Rev Dr Hook, vicar of Leeds. On this occasion the choristers were Mrs Sunderland, Mrs Bocock, Messrs Dawtrey Firth, Townend, Joseph Hartley, James Hoyle, Longbottom, Thomas Priestley, John Garforth, Joseph Robinson, Mrs Robinson and Hannah Hoyle.

    At this time the clerk and sexton was the last of the name of Illingworth, though he was generally know as "John o'Briggs." In 1842, he was succeeded by Fredk. Midgley, who held the office for 13 years. At the foot of his gravestone is the following Latin inscription:

    Beati sunt mortui qui in Domino moriuntur; sic Spritus ait; nam ab laboribus quiescent.

    On the 19th of January, 1843, a well known character in Ovenden, named Timothy Mitchell, but who obtained the name of "Bloody Tim", died at the advanced age of 92 years, and was buried in the churchyard. He was a man who travelled up and down the county visiting the fairs and dealing in a class of horses whose breeding could not be considered high.

    In 1847 48 49 services were held in a barn (Broadley lathe) in Ovenden Wood, which was conducted by the vicar and his curate. Thus the nucleus of a congregation was formed, which ultimately rendered it necessary that a more suitable place of worship should be obtained and this was accomplished by the erection of Pellon Church, in the promotion of which the Rev W. Gillmor took an active part. Pellon Church was erected in 1853

    Afterward services were commenced in a cottage at Sodhouse green, which had become a centre of a large population. The ultimate result of this effort was the erection of the school chapel in Nursery lane, in which services were held, and a school conducted for many years. This work was due to the praiseworthy labours of the vicar who not only devoted his talents, but his money to the object in view. Ultimately the school chapel was superseded by the erection of St George's Church.

    On the 6th of June, 1853, the Rev Edward Ramsden, Minster of St Jame's Church, Lower Darwen, and first incumbent of St John's Church Bradshaw (which was opened in 1838) died at Jumples House, Ovenden, at the aged of 62. He was interred in Illingworth Churchyard.

    In January, 1863, Grace Dickinson, "the Workhouse Poet," was interred at Illingworth Church. She was a widow of consistent Christian character, and possessed of intelligence beyond what might have been expected in one of her station. She died in the Halifax Union workhouse on the 24th day of January, 1853, in the 38th year of her age. She composed a collection of verses of much merit, which were published under the title of "Songs in the Night." Before becoming an inmate of the Workhouse, she resided in Wheatley.

    The following are entries taken from a record of the several gifts (over and above pecuniary donations) presented to Illingworth Church since November, 1865:

    October 1865. - During this month the church was thoroughly cleaned and painted, and several improvements made in the way of ornament and decoration. The requisite funds for these objects were raised by a voluntary subscription, collected by the churchwardens, Messrs Thomas Priestley, Wilson Midgley, and Richard Ayrton Woodhead, from the parishioners and some extra parochial friends. - At the same time the magnificent stained glass east window, from the works of Messrs Ward and Hughes, of London, representing the nativity Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord, was generously presented by the Messrs Holdsworth, of Shaw Mills, near Halifax, and formed a precedent for various donations and offerings to the church.

    March 1866 – Two appropriate altar chairs were given by George Holdsworth, Esq. J P of Elm Wood, near Halifax – In the spring of 1866, a subscription was raised chiefly through the exertions of Messrs, John Ingham and John Emmet, both of Illingworth, to replace the old worn-out clock in the steeple of the church by a new one containing the modern improvements. In due course the present clock, manufactured by the Messrs, Marshall, of Haley Hill, was the result of their praiseworthy labours.

    June 1866 – Considerable improvements were made in the organ; the requisite funds having been raised in the previous year as the result of a most successful soirée in the National school, got up under the superintendence of Mrs Thos. Priestley, Mrs Wilson Midgley, Mrs Richard Ayreton Woodhead, and other friends.

    July 1866, and subsequently. - The vestry was removed from the north-west end of the antechurch to its present (and original) position, and a baptistery formed on the site which it temporarily occupied. An appropriate font of Caen stone, the floors of both baptistery and vestry inlaid with tile pavements, a stained glass window in the former, by Messrs, Heaton, Butler and Bayne, of London, representing the Baptism of our Lord, and another, by Messrs, Ward and Hughes, on the south side of the church, in which Christ blessing little children" is depicted, and all the expenses incurred in these alterations, were the liberal offerings of Lieut. Colonel Akroyd. MP for Halifax, to the sacred edifice within whose hallowed walls he had received the sacrament of baptism – The new vestry was furnished by the following parties; – The chairs by Lieut. Colonel Akroyd, MP.; the table and wash hand stand, made and presented by Mr William Chapman, formerly a pupil in Illingworth day and Sunday school; the clock by Mr Paul Greenwood of Halifax, formerly a teacher in Illingworth Sunday school; the looking glass by Mr John Chapman, formerly a pupil in the day, and subsequently a teacher in the Sunday school; the coal box by Mr William Sutcliffe a Sunday school teacher, and one of the choir at Ovenden school chapel; the inkstand by Mr Edwin Smith, a Sunday school teacher, and one of the choir at Ovenden school chapel. Mr Smith has subsequently been appointed master of the National school. The umbrella stand by Mr Henry Peel, an amateur member of Illingworth choir; the lamp by Mr William Rothery, landlord of the Talbot Inn, Illingworth; the hearth rug by Mr James Pickles, formerly a pupil in the day and Sunday schools, and subsequently a teacher in the latter; the alms box, near the principal entrance to the sacred building, was the gift of Mr George Greenwood, formerly a pupil in the Sunday and day schools and now sexton of the church; the table of kindred and affinity suspended in the baptistery, is the gift of Mr William Eastwood, formerly a pupil, and now a teacher in Illingworth Sunday school.

    August 1867 – Two memorial windows, both executed by Messrs Ward and Hughes, one representing the resignation of Job, and the other Christ walking on the sea, erected on the south side, were presented to the "Dear Old Church," by the Rev William Gillmor, M. A., perpetual curate.

    November 1867 – The upper step around the altar was inlaid with encaustic tiles from the works of Messrs Maw and Co., as a thank offering from a communicant parishioner.

    December 1867 – A complete set of appropriate flags and banners, and scrolls, with Scripture texts, for Christmas decoration, were presented by Mr George Greenwood, sexton.

    March 1868 – An appropriately bound Book of the Offices was presented by Mr Charles Eastwood, formerly a pupil in the Sunday school.

    November 1868 – A memorial window, by Messrs, Ward and Hughes, having for its subject the Raising of Lazarus, the gift of the Ramsden family, of Jumples House, was placed on the south side of the church.

    December 1868 – A polished brass altar desk was presented by Miss Milne, of Rochdale, and placed on the Holy Table upon Christmas Day – Also, on the same day, two handsome Prayer Books, for the use of the clergymen during the Ante Communion Service, were presented by Mr James Kershaw, a teacher in the Sunday school connected with Ovenden school chapel.

    February 1869 – A worked cushion was presented by a "Friend" to be placed under the brass altar desk.

    September 1869 – A richly coloured geometrical window, by Messrs Ward and Hughes, was placed in the vestry, bearing the following inscription: "To the glory of God, and in evidence of their love to the church, this window has been erected by subscription among the working classes of Illingworth."

    May 1870 – Two new and appropriate entrance doors, and all the expenses connected with fixing and painting, were presented by Miss Moss, of Field head.

    There are few churches exhibiting so large a display of stained glass as Illingworth Church, all the bottom lights being filled in. In addition to those just enumerated there are – "The Last Supper," the gift of the wife of Colonel Akroyd; "The Good Samaritan, a window erected "in memory of James and Sarah Akroyd, also of John Walker, James and George Frederick all of Old lane, Halifax" by their three surviving children, William, Thomas and Sarah Jane, wife of Thomas Hartley of Brooklands, Taunton; "Abraham offering up his son Isaac," a memorial window, the gift of Mr T Holdsworth, Spring Hall; "The Woman of Samaria at the Well", erected by Mrs Lister, of the Grove, Ovenden; "Paul preaching at Athens," the gift of Mr Gamaliel Sutcliffe of Heptonstall; "Raising the Widow's Son" and the Agony in the Garden", two windows erected, one by Lieut.-Col Holdsworth and the other by Mrs Holdsworth.

    About seven years ago, the church was thoroughly restored, when the old pews were taken out and the church re seated, the work being done in an excellent manner by Mr Plant, of Halifax. The pulpit, a handsome one of Caen stone, was presented by Miss Moss; and the prayer desk, of carved oak, was presented by the architect, the late Mr J H Wadsworth, of Holdsworth house. A new heating apparatus was put in and pipes laid down for gas as well as many other important improvements effected. The organ was rebuilt by Messrs Ratcliffe and Sager, of Leeds, Mr Ratcliffe was the son of Mr Jesse Ratcliffe, the beadle at the Halifax Parish Church. The expenditure incurred in this work amounted to about £800. A subscription list was opened, which Miss Moss headed with £100.0

    © Malcolm Bull 2021
    Revised 15:24 / 24th May 2021 / 152582

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