There are eight War Memorials and Rolls of Honour ( ROH ) commemorating the young men of the district who fought in World War 1. Six of them list the names of those who gave their lives and two include the names of those who fought and survived. Details are given in the chart below. ( For details of the individual soldiers please see the appropriate chapters on World War 1 ).
The Netherthong War Memorial, R.O.H. , which has the names of 41 heroes from Netherthong and Thongsbridge, is located in the centre of the village opposite the Parish Church.
Thirty names, including two not on the village ROH, are on Plaque 5 on the large Memorial in the grounds of Holmfirth Hospital.
Seventeen names were on a plaque in the Working Men’s clubhouse, which was located in St. Annes Square at the top of Outlane. Unfortunately the whereabouts of this plaque is currently unknown.( January 2019)
Six names appeared on the plaque in St.Andrew’s Church in Thongsbridge and, when the church was closed, the plaque was saved and found a new home in Holmfirth Parish Church.
Five names appear on a ROH on a metal plate on the wall of what was the premises of R.L.Brook in Thongsbridge.
Six names appear on the ROH in Huddersfield Drill Hall. They were soldiers who served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
There are 27 names on the United Methodist Church ROH, which has been located on the left hand wall in the Parish Church since the Chapel closed in 1984-85 and became a private residence. This ROH contains the names of seven soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice with the remainder being soldiers who fought and survived.
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There are 114 names on a framed ROH in the Parish Church and it gives the rank, regiment and date joined for each of the soldiers. 23 of these names are on the main War Memorial, the remainder being soldiers who fought and survived. Unfortunately it was both difficult to photograph as well as being too large to get into one picture.
Wilshaw is a small hamlet located mid-way between Meltham and Netherthong/Holmfirth with its postcode being HD9. In the first Ordnance Survey map, issued in 1854, both Upper and Lower Greave were in the Parish of Netherthong and Wilshaw was a moor-fringed sweep of pasture but, by the time the next map came out in 1888, Joseph Hirst had put Wilshaw firmly on the map and built the Church of St.Mary the Virgin in 1863. The History of Wilshaw , issued 1961, was written by Alfred Taylor as a prelude to the commemoration of the centenary of the Parish Church, 1863-1963.
This year, 2018, is the centenary of the end of World War 1 and a National Project, called Lives of the First World War, has been set up by the Imperial War Museum to record the life histories of those servicemen and women who served in that war. It works by setting up Communities which are formed by collating servicemen into groups defined by a common connection – eg. regiment, workplace, location etc. A community has been set up locally, on behalf of the Project , to cover all the Holme Valley Servicemen. My contribution, via my History of Netherthong website, has been to supply information relating to Netherthong and District of its soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice as well as those who fought and survived. Wilshaw does not fall under the Holme Valley area but, because it always had close connections to Netherthong, I have decided to give it a chapter of its own and add it to my website so that its heroes can be more fully recognised and remembered.
There are two plaques, ROH ( Roll of Honour ) inside the Church. The first one , on timber/board, lists 15 names of soldiers , associated with Wilshaw, who fought and survived. They are : Edward Phipps ; Harold Beaumont ; Fisher Spencer ; Charles Helliwell ; George Sharples ; Lawrence Taylor ; John W. Dowell ; Herbert Lockwood ; Harry Stead : Harry Taylor ; Alfred Senior ; Vincent F.Kaye ; Harold Pearson : John Crampton : John Addy. However the Holmfirth Express edition on 23 October 1915 listed the following names from Wilshaw who had enlisted – they were Arthur Elliot, H.Turton, T. Thorpe, N.Thorpe and Edward Phipps. Of those names only Phipps appears on the list of survivors on the plaque. I have recently been informed that this ROH was only ” discovered ” 10-15 years ago when it was found up in the church tower. Very intriguing and it is unlikely that we will ever find out when, how and why it was put there.
The second one made of stone/marble has five names and is inscribed : ” In Honoured Memory of the Boys of the Parish who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Great War, 1914-1918. Edwin Spencer ; Edgar H.Beaumont ; Rufus Crompton ; Leonard Manchester : Harold Schofield . Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. “
J.Margaret Stansfield was the inspiration behind the book ” Huddersfield Roll of Honour 1914-1922 ” but unfortunately died before she could publish it. It was edited by the Rev. Paul Wilcock BEM and published by the Unniversity of Huddersfield Press in 2014 – ISBN 978-1-86218-126-7. Her book meticulously detailed the details of 3,439 soldiers from the Huddersfield area who had fought and died in the Great War. The five Wilshaw heroes on the plaque are listed in the book and I give their details below.
Edwin Spencer.Private 13445, Y Co., 8th. Battalion, Duke of Wellington Regiment. Born in Leeds, son of Thomas Fisher Spencer and Sarah Agnes of Wilshaw. Employed at Meltham Mills. Enlisted at the end of August 1914 and went to the Dardenelles as part of 32nd. Brigade, 11th. Division, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He died of wounds at sea, sustained in the Dardenelles fighting, on August 23, 1915 aged 22 years. There was no known grave and he was Commemorated at the Helles Memorial to the Missing. ROH ; Wilshaw Church ; St. Bartholemews, Meltham.
The following report was taken from a newspaper cutting around 1915. ” On Monday, Mrs. Thomas Fisher Spenser, of Wilshaw,received the sad news that her youngest son, Private Edwin Spencer, aged 22, had died on August 23rd. from wounds sustained in the Dardanelles fighting. Prior to the war, Edwin had worked at the bobbin mill at Messrs. Jonas Brook and Bros., Meltham Mills. At the latter end of August, he enlisted in the 8th. Battalion, West Riding Regiment and was in Y Company, the regiment being in the 32nd. Brigade of the 11th. Division in the Mediterranean Force. Edwin was the youngest of three sons in the army. His eldest brother is Private John Spencer of the 1/5th. who is in a London hospital, suffering from wounds sustained in Belgium. Private Thos. Fisher Spencer, the second son, is in France with the 2/5th. Edwin was unmarried and lived in St.Mary’s Court, Wilshaw, and was his mother’s only means of support. Her daughter is the wife of driver Spencer Allen Ward of the R.F.A. in France.
Rufus Crampton . Private 38589, 8th. Battalion, Yorkshire Lancaster Regiment. Born in Meltham and lived at 28 Mitre Street, Marsh. Killed in action on June 7, 1917. There was no known grave . Commemorated at the Menin Gate, Memorial to the Missing, ROH : Wilshaw Church : Marsh War Memorial : St. Bartholemews, Meltham.
Leonard Manchester. Private 32158, 2/5 Battalion, Duke of Wellington Regiment. Born in Meltham, son of James and Hannah and husband of Hilda. Employed for five years at Wallace’s grocery store in Slaithwaite. Enlisted 1917 and embarked to France early 1918. Killed in action on 23 March 1918, aged 28 years. No known grave and he was Commemorated at the Arras Memorial to the Missing. ROH ; Wilshaw Church ; St. Bartholemews, Meltham. Huddersfield Drill Hall.
Harold Schofield. Private301954. 2nd. Battalion, Royal Scots ( Lothian Regiment ). Born in Meltham, son of Firth and Martha Scholfield. He was killed in action at Polygon Wood on September 26,1917 aged 20 years.There was no known grave and he was Commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing. ROH : Wilshaw Church ; St.Bartholemews Church, Meltham.
Edgar H.Beaumont. An Edgar Hamby Beaumont is listed as Private 235241 of the 2nd. battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Joe Beaumont of Wilshaw and was employed by Messrs. Josiah France Ltd. of Honley. He enlisted on October 1915 and was killed in action on March 28 1918 aged 22 years. There was no known grave and he was commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the Missing. ROH ;Wilshaw Church : St.Bartholemews Church, Meltham.
Harry Beaumont’s name appears on the timber plaque as a survivor. In the January 16th. 1915 edition of the Holmfirth Express, there is a report of the Annual tea and entertainment given by the church choir and the organist, Mr.H.Pearson. The Rev.T. Lawthwaite congratulated the young men of the village who had joined up and, out of a population of under 150, five were under training. The Vicar proposed a vote of thanks which was seconded by Private H.Beaumont. However there is a Harry Beaumont in the Huddersfield ROH . He was Private 21726 in the 2/5 Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment and was born in Meltham and enlisted in Huddersfield. He was killed in action on July 20 1918 near Rheims. There was no known grave and he was commemorated on Soissons Memorial to the Missing. ROH. St Bartholemews Church. Same person ??
I have recently received a copy of a superb photograph of schoolchildren,along with two teachers, posing in their very best outside their school in Wilshaw. The date surely must be early 1900s and I wonder if any of the boys in the picture are in one of the ROHs in the Church.
One of the benefits of having put my version of the History of Netherthong on the web is that it is never static with new information coming from various sources. In August 2019, I was contacted by Paul Sims from the Ordinary Men Regimental Heritage Project which is focussed on the men of the local Territorials, the 5th.Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment in the Great War.
Paul has been able to add information and also correct anomalies in the details of some of the soldiers listed in my history. He has added that numerous listings in the ROH published by the Holmfirth Express were misinterpreted – I have included both sets of information.
One of the major chapters in this history is titled ‘Netherthong and its WW1 heroes’ and it gives details of those soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice. There were also many villagers who enlisted and served valiantly in the war and survived its horrors. In this centenary year (2018) of the end of that war, I am attempting to compile a list of their names and find out details about their lives before the war and their army service. ( Some of the information is also included in other chapters about WW1.)
The main source for compiling the initial list is the Holmfirth Express. In their issue of January 9th. 1915, they printed a R.O.H. ( Roll of Honour ) for the people from all the villages in the area serving in the Army , Territorials and Navy and there were 42 on that list from Netherthong, Deanhouse, Thongsbridge ( see note later on ) and Wilshaw. The information in these lists was supplied by local residents and the paper was always requesting their readers to write in to update the names. They printed another list in October 23rd. 1915 , which included some names not on the earlier list. They printed the list again the following week with some names omitted and a few new ones added. They also started on October 23 rd. to publish another column titled ‘This Weeks Additions ‘ and that week it had two names from Thongsbridge, John Booth and Joseph A. Barden plus three from Netherthong – E.Taylor, J.Webster and Arnold Wimpenny. ( Taylor and Webster did not survive the war and are on the ROH on the village memorial). The ‘Additions’ for November 6th. were H.Dufton, S.A.Wood and W.H.Eastwood ( S.A. ) all from the village. The Express also reported that there were 562 volunteers to date for the whole of the Holme Valley. There were two more ‘Additions’ lists for November and they included Richard Bottomley from the village, Arnold T.Lee and E.Smith, 19870, both from Thongsbridge and E.H.Beaumont from Wilshaw. They stopped publishing any more ‘Additions ‘ lists in 1916.
There are inconsistencies in exactly how many of the village lads enlisted, as reports differ in their numbers. At the meeting of the Patriotic Committee in January 1915, it was reported that 30 of the men, at present and formerly associated with the village, were serving their country and had received gifts of a camp knife and three khaki pocket handkerchiefs. But … the 3rd. annual report of the Netherthong Patriotic Society in 1917 said that, based on Netherthong and Oldfield, 140 villagers had enlisted, 19 were discharged, three were listed as POWs, 17 were killed leaving 101 still on active duty. But….. at the unveiling of the Working Men’s Club Memorial, Captain Floyd said that about 130 men had enlisted, 21 were killed, at least seven had been wounded and a further four had been wounded and taken prisoner. The variations in the numbers of villagers who enlisted was apparently a fairly common problem. The next exercise was to find their personal details such as date and place of birth, where they lived, went to school and worked etc. The third and by far the biggest difficulty has been to find details of their service record, as I have found out from the Forces War Records web site that 70% of the service records of soldiers from WW1 were destroyed from a direct hit on the Arnside ( London ) repository on the second day of the Blitz in WW2, and the damage was compounded during the extinguishing of the raging fires. The book of the Huddersfield ROH gives details of the 3,439 soldiers who died, 1,304 (38%) of whom served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. The figure I have for Netherthong for the same Regiment is 36%, so it’s a reasonable assumption that the same percentage would apply to those from the village who enlisted and survived. But .. the archives for the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Halifax do not have records of the soldiers who served in the Regiment.
Thongsbridge was included in the Parish of Netherthong and the names of their lads who made the supreme sacrifice are listed on the War Memorial in the Village and Plaque 5 at Holmfirth Hospital, which is titled Netherthong and Thongsbridge. However I’m not sure how far Netherthong’s responsibility in the Thongsbridge area extended during that period as the Express always listed soldiers from Muslin Hall as being part of Thongsbridge. Those who died from Muslin Hall are listed on other R.O.H.s. An example is Lieut. Arnold Lee, RGA, son of Mr.Job Lee of Muslin Hall, who was killed in action and his name is on the Wooldale R.O.H. I shall not include any that died but will add to my list below any who served and survived. Better to duplicate than omit.
In the Parish Church there is a framed coloured, pre-printed certificate that is titled- “For King, Country & Humanity, Roll of Honour for the Brave Men who have gone forth at the call of duty from …. ” it then left a space to write in the name of the organisation and underneath there were three columns for the Names, Service and any remarks. This one was for the United Methodist Church and contains 27 names of whom seven made the ultimate sacrifice. In my research into the Methodist Chapel ( see chapter for its history ) , I never came across any reference to this certificate. I can only assume that when the Chapel closed in 1984-85 and became a private residence, the certificate was moved to the Parish Church. I have spoken to the Rev.John Capstick, who was the vicar at that time, and, although he could not remember any specific details, he said that the relationship between the two churches was always very cordial and there would have been no problems of transferring the certificate when the Chapel closed.
Also in the Parish Church is another framed certificate/scroll simply titled ” Netherthong Roll of Honour “. It lists 114 names of soldiers from the Parish who served in the WW1 and gives their rank, regiment and date of enlistment. 23 of the names are listed in the main War Memorial in Town Square. I have referred to it as the Parish Church ROH. in this chapter. Where I have been able to find a date of birth from the pamphlet ” All Saints’ Church Netherthong – Index of baptisms 1830-1983 “. I have added it in the format ‘b. date’.
I have listed below in alphabetical order the names of all those soldiers who survived and am adding information as and when I have been to find any. As of 01/01/2019, I have found 162 names which I think is probably about it.
The first four names below are of soldiers from the village who were decorated for their bravery .
Signaller Charles Albert Hudson was decorated with the Military Medal which he won in August 1916 for carrying dispatches under heavy fire in Delville Wood. He was delivering messages continuously for three days and of the 16 runners only 4 survived. He had enrolled on October 17 1914 with the first batch of young fellows from the district and went to France on July 15 1915. In the 1901 Census he was eleven years old, his parents were William and Ellen Hobson and they lived in Outlane. He had been associated with Netherthong since birth , was involved with the Parish Church and Sunday School as well as being a member of the choir. He was one of the scouts who had the privilege of taking part in the Scouts Rally at the Coronation Festivities in London. He was employed at Deanhouse Mills. He had been on active service since he went to France and came through the war without a scratch.
Corporal Sam Schofield : Mrs.John Scholfield was notified in May 1918 that her son, Sam, had been awarded the Military Medal. Later that year in October, the Express reported that he had been wounded and was in hospital making a satisfactory recovery. In the 1901 Census he was 11 years old and his parents were John and Jane Scholfield of Outlane .His older brother, Abel, was killed whilst on active service in Gallipoli in 1915. As his brother enlisted with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment it is more than likely that Sam would have followed suit.
Corporal Norman Smith, 21 years old, was awarded the Military Medal and ribbon for gallantly rescuing a comrade on the battlefield under shell fire. Until he was 15, he had lived all his life in Netherthong before he moved to Longwood.. He joined the West Riding Regiment In December 1914 and went to France in June 1915. The Golcar District Heroes’ Fund recognized his meritorious conduct by presenting him with a solid gold ten- guinea English made watch.
Lance-Corporal Joseph Edward Hobson: He was the oldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Hobson of Netherthong and died in Ottowa in 1945 aged 67. He was well known in the village and , as a boy, was in the Parish Church choir. He enlisted on September 1, 1914. He had served for eight years in the Army Medical Corps and, on his discharge, he obtained an important post in Canada and moved there four years later , married a Canadian lady and had two sons. At the outbreak of war, he re-enlisted in the Canadian Force, came over and was attached to A Section 22nd.Field Ambulance 7th. Division of the British Expeditionary Force and served in France. He was awarded the DCM for gallantry and devotion on the field by carrying in the wounded under fire. On the expiry of his service he returned to Canada and his wife and family. The photograph below is printed courtesy of the Holmfirth Express of February 6 1915. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH .. During the 1914-18 war he served in the RAMC being recalled before his reserve time had expired. He was awarded the DCM for gallantry in carrying in wounded under fire. On expiry of his service, he returned to Canada where he had left his wife and family. He re-enlisted in the Canadian Force and came over to Europe and served in France. He died in Ottowa in `946.
Joseph A.Barden- Thongsbridge.Express October 30 1915- ‘Additions’ list. He was attested on 12/12/15 and put on the Army Reserve. He was put on Short Service on 12/9/16 and mobilised the same day as Private No.136188 in the Yorks. and Lancs. Regiment. He was married. He received the British War Medal and Victory Medal. In 5/4/17 he had his thumb amputated which classified him as 20% disabled and he was transferred to the RAMC.
Paul Sims has supplied the following information that differs to that given above. The Barden family, originally from the Kirkburton/Shelley area, had moved to The Heys, Thongsbridge, well before the war. Sam Barden was in business as a ‘glue, size and manure’ manufacturer, his son Joseph ( referred to as just Arnold on the 1911 Census and then aged 16 ) assisted in the family business, as did the eldest sister,Ethel, who kept the books. Joseph enlisted in the Terretorial Royal Field Artillery ; his regimental numbers 2706 and 785772 indicate he served with the 3rd. West Riding Brigade.
I shall keep both references.
Irvine Alsop. A joiner in civilian life, Irvin enrolled in the RNVR No.Y 1450 on March 1st. 1916 and served at the Royal naval Base at Devonport from March 29th. to July 8th. as ‘carpenters crew’, No. M/19617. An interesting letter from Irvin was published in the Express, July 1st. 1916, at which time he was in the Royal Naval Hospital. He thanked the Netherthong Patriotic Committee who had sent him a pocket knife, saying, ” the gift will come in very useful and be a happy reminder that we have not been forgotten.I have been in hospital for about nine weeks, I am doing as much as I can to help those who are in bed suffering from burns and wounds they got from the big shells of the Germans”. Irvin also mentioned he had been on kitchen duty but was hoping to be out soon as he believed he was “all about better”.The letter closed, ” Then I shall be able to do my share, instead of half of it for King and Country”. However he then appears to have been medically discharged. On July 1917 he married Harriet Brown in Netherthong and on the 1939 Register is a self- employed ‘ master joiner’ living at Dean Brook Farm with Harriet and nine children. His name is in the Parish Church ROH but no regiment or date is give.
A.Alsop – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH. He was a private in the Lincs. Later information from Paul Sims gives him as Albert Sanderson Alsop from Newlands View , Thongsbridge who was the older brother of Irvine Alsop above. He served overseas with the Labour Corps No. 200725 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in the Peace Gazette of 1919 for devoted service with the 756th. Area Employment Company. Aged 23 he had enlisted in Holmfirth under the Derby Scheme on February 22nd. 1916 and reported to Halifax in July. He was initially posted to the 11th. Reserve battalion, West Riding Regiment. Howeve,r it would appear that due to an eye condition, he was later transferred to the Labour Corps. and , although classified for ‘ Garrison Duty at Home’, he eventually proceeded overseas. In August 1918 he married Edith Emma Little, setting up home at Green Terrace, Thongbridge. He worked in the woollen mills as a scourer and fulling miller and, on the 1939 Register, he was a foreman in the mill residing at 13, Dean Brook with Edith and three childre
N.Armitage – Listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 2/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington regiment. He enlisted in May 1915.
Arnold Bailey – his name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the Northumberland Fusiliers and enlisted on April 24, 1916
E.Battye – listed as a Scout/ex- Scout – of the Netherthong Troop- serving in the front.
H.Battye ( Deanhouse ):His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. A Herbert Battye appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the Royal Defence Corps. who enlisted on November 19, 1916.
J.Battye – the name Battye features in many chapters throughout the history of Netherthong but is not shown in the 1901 Census. He was a member of the NT Scout troop., Joseph was the older brother of Alec Battye who survived .There was a report in the Holmfirth Express that a Joseph Battye, a private with the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellinton’s regiment went over the top at Bullecourt in May 1917, just 10 miles from where his brother was serving, and was never seen again.
Private Harpin Battye. In May 1918 the Express reported that relations of Pr. Harpin Battye, Machine Gun Corps, of Deanhouse, had received an intelligence card from him saying he was in enemy hands. He was taken prisoner at Bullencourt on March 21 and the card was dated March 27. He stated that he was quite well. His last letter from the front was dated the same day he had been taken prisoner.
Private Dennis.Barrowclough : He was born on 9/5/1896 , baptised on 6/10/1897 as Denis and was listed as four years old in the 1901 Census. His parents were John William and Christiana from Lower Hagg ( in Census ) but Oldfield on baptismal certificate.. One of his brothers, Irvin, is listed in the ROH in the village centre. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 6th.Durham Lt. Infantry who enlisted on August 5,1914
Private William Barrowclough: He was born on 16/12/1891 and baptised on 9/2/1992 and listed as 9 years old in the 1901 Census and was the eldest of the three brothers who enlisted. The Patriotic Committee received a letter from Willie thanking them for the gifts. He was in the 6th. Company, 3rd. Battalion, West Riding Regiment.He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2nd. Battalion Duke of Wellington regiment who enlisted on December 3,1914. There is a contradiction in which Regiment he served.
Arthur Beaumont – he is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 63rd.R.N.Distribution Supply Co.
H.Beaumont – Wilshaw. Listed in the ROH in the January 4, 1915 issue of the Holmfirth Express. The list of ‘Additions ‘ in the November 27th. edition of the Express included the name E.H.Beaumont.
Private Harry Beaumont – No.82910. His brother was Lewis Beaumont whose name appears on the village ROH. He was born in Upper Hagg in 1897 and his parents were Annie and Tom Battye Beaumont. He attended Brockholes School and was a member of St.Georges choir and started work at the age of 13 at Rock Mills, Brockholes. He enlisted in the Yorks and Lancs Regiment in 1916 and trained as a Machine Gunner. Whilst serving in France, because he had experience with farm horses, he was selected to deliver ammunition by horse and cart to the front line at night and during that tour of duty he became ill with rheumatic fever and was returned to England and was placed in Holly Park Auxiliary Hospital, Hornsey, North London. I have been fortunate to have received a lot of information about Harry’s activities and I have included them in a chapter titled Harry Beaumont.
John Booth Thongsbridge – Express October 30 1915- ‘Additions’ list. I’ve just realised that his name is on the War Memorial as one of the fallen heroes.
Richard Bottomley – Express November 20 1915 – ‘Additions’ list.
J.Bowman – Miry Lane Thongsbridge :In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had recently enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery.
John Bray : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 2/7 Royal Scots who enlisted on October 29, 1914
Arthur Bray is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. He served with the R.Labour Co.
Private Tom Bretton : In the 1901 Census he was 12 years old , was born in Thongsbridge and lived in Miry Lane Bottom. His parents were Reuben and Alice. A report in the local paper said that he lived in Giles Street and had been wounded. There is a John Bretton listed in the Methodist Church ROH. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on October 9,1916
Fitter Hubert Brook. Muslin Hall, Thongsbridge. His father, Mr.S.Brook, received a field card from France in August stating that his son, Hubert, was in a base hospital and wounded. The following month he was transferred to a hospital in Warrington where he had been visited by his parents. The Express added that his brother, Irvin, had died in hospital in England after having been interned in Germany for several months.
J.Brook : In the 1901 Census, he was born in the village and lived in Lower Hagg. He was 25 years old, married and working as a grocers assistant.
T.L.M. Buchanan ( Netherthong ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. ( but not in Oct.23 list ). In the Parish Church ROH the compiler listed the name Buchanan twice with no christian names or any other additional information. I’m assuming T.L.M. could very well have been one of them.
J.R.M. Buchanan ( Netherthong ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. ( but not in Oct.23 list). In the Parish Church ROH the compiler listed the name Buchanan twice with no christian names or any additional information. I’m assuming JRM could very well have been one of them.
Arthur Buckley – on Methodist Church ROH. He served with the North Staffs. regiment.
Pr. Arthur Cartwright. Mr. & Mrs. Cartwright of Fearnought Gardens, Thongsbridge, received a letter from their son in July 1918. He had been reported missing on May 28. In his letter, dated May 3 but which was not delivered until July 24, he said that he had been wounded and was in hospital and being treated very well. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Private with the 5th. South Staffs.
Corporal Sam Charlesworth : He had been in the army for 11 years and came to the front with the Indian Expeditionary force and transferred to the 1st. Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Regiment . He was shot in the left thigh and hand and , after recovering , was made a prisoner in No. F Block at Doeberity and spent more than two and a half years as a prisoner of war in Germany. The Express in January 1916 reported that Sam had written to Mr.W.Dyson to acknowledge the receipt of a Christmas parcel sent to him on behalf of the Netherthong people. In May the Express added that Sam had been ‘adopted’ by the Misses Rosetti, two ladies of Regent Street,London, and they sent him a parcel every fortnight. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH with his enlistment date being August 5,1914
Arthur Charlesworth is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. He served with the Kings Own Yorkshire L.I.
Tom Charlesworth. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH and he was a Private in the Kings Own Yorkshire L.I. and enlisted in September 1916.
N.Coldwell : He was a scout in the NT troop. There is a Woodhouse Coldwell in the Parish Church ROH. He was a Private in the 2/7 Royal Scots and enlisted on October 3,1916
E.Crookes: He was a scout in the NT troop. and was listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
Alfred Day is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. No additional information.
Frank Dickenson : He was born in Netherthong on 29/4/1882 , baptised on 04/06/1882 and his parents were William and Mary Ann. Although he moved away, he always retained fond memories of the village. He was a well known basso profundo and in July 1919 he visited his birthplace after he was demobilised from D.L.I. He had been in the army for three and a half years, seven months of which was spent in the Ypres section before being drafted into a concert party which visited many camps in France and Belgium. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Lance Corporal in the Northern Fusiliers with an enlistment date of March 4,1916. He died at his home, Manor House , in January 1958 aged 75. He was a leading bass singer and was, at one time, in great demand throughout the country and had also appeared in music halls. He was formerly a grocers assistant at Netherthong Co-op and later a traveller for Harrogate Co-op. He then moved to Deanhouse Mills and was well known in the district as an antique dealer. He was a vice-president of the Male Voice Choir and a member of Holmfirth British Legion and Holmfirth Conservative Club.
Wilfred Downs is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Private in Motor Transport.
Private H.Dufton. There was a H.Dufton in the 1901 Census aged 21 years employed as a fuller. His parents were William and Ruth Dufton. If it is the same person he would have been about 36 years old when he enlisted. He was listed in the Express ‘Additions’ for November 7 1915. Harry Dufton is listed on the Parish Church ROH. He was a private in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment and joined up on August 5,1914.
Private Lewis Dyson : He was a Netherthong lad who was wounded in the war and sent to a base hospital in France. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the 5th.West Yorkshire Regiment who enlisted on November 22, 1916.
William Dyson,b.25/4/1890. is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a driver in the Motor Regiment who joined up on February 28,1916.
Joe Dytch is listed in the Methodist Church ROH. In the 1901 Census he was 14 years old and employed as a piercer.
S.Earnshaw – A Samuel. Earnshaw was listed in the Express for December 1915 as a Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad. He came from Dunford Road, Holmfirth, L/25473 R.F.A. and joined the Holmfirth Battery of the 168 Huddersfield RFA in April/May 1915 and was killed on November 11, 1917
Charles William Eastwood,b.23/11/1881, is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Squadron Leader in the 2nd.S.A.Rifles.
J.E.Eastwood. In the 1901 Census Ben and Ellen Eastwood ( Brush manufacturer from Netherthong ) are recorded as having two sons, James aged 12 years and John aged 17 years. However in the baptismal records for the Parish Church the youngest son, born on 23/4/1888 and baptised 27/5/1888, was christened James Edmund. His older brother was christened John Broadhurst. He was listed in 9 January 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. James Edmund appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the 1/5 Duke if Wellington Regiment. He enlisted on August 5,1914.
F.Eastwood , b.12/9/1877, – listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. There is a Frank Eastwood in the Parish Church ROH. He is shown as a Quarter master Sergeant in the Queens Westminster Regiment who joined up on February 21,1915.
Arthur Elliot – Wilshaw – listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
Frank Addy Falles – Thongbridge -. The Express in November 1914, reported that Corporal Fallas, a native of Thongsbridge, was fighting with his Regiment, the Kings Own , Yorkshire Light Infantry, at Le Cateau. He wrote to his mother -” I was wounded at Le Cateau and am in hospital there. I was shot through the leg but am now a bit better. I was taken prisoner by the Germans on the day I was wounded. You are allowed to write back and I have written the address on the other side – do not mention the war or I shall not receive your letter. If you could send me a little tobacco, I shall be very grateful.” He was also listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
John Fawcett is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. As John Richard his name appears on the Parish Church ROH. He served as a Gunner in the R.F.A. and joined up on September 22,1916.
Joe Fawcett is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. He was in the Military Police.
Thomas. W. Fieldsend – Albert Place Thongbridge .In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had recently enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery. He was also listed in the October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH
2nd. Lieutenant C.S.Floyd : Charles Sykes Floyd was born on 9/9/1885 and baptised on 17/10/1886. His parents were John Peel Floyd Esq. J.P. and Ellen Gaskell of Roseleigh . He was in the 1/5 West Riding Regiment and was wounded for the second time on August 4 by a shell splinter above the knee. Although the wound was not serious he was at No.24 Casualty Clearing Station. In November 1915 the Express reported that he had attended the 15th. Red Cross Tea that month. The Parish Church ROH records that he was a 2nd. Lieut. in the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on October 12,1914.
Eric Gaskell Floyd : He was born on 13/9/86 and baptised on 17/10/86. He was the younger brother of Charles Sykes Floyd. The Express reported in December 1917 that Quarter Master and Hon. Lieut. E.G.Floyd had been promoted to the rank of Hon. Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Lieut. in the P.M. R.A.M.C. 2/3 Welsh Field Ambulance and that he enlisted on November 3, 1914.
T.Foster ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army.
Charles William Gill, b.11/1/76 ,is listed on the Parish Church ROH. as a private in the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment. He joined up on March 31,1916
Private L.Green. MGC. He was the son of Mr.& Mrs. A.Green, Muslin Hall, Thongsbridge. He was wounded in Mesopotamia. Prior to enlisting two years earlier, he had been the organist at Wooldale Wesleyan Chapel.
George William Haigh, b.16/9/1886, is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner in the R.G.A. who joined up on November 15,1914.
Herbert Haigh appears on the Parish Church ROH . He is recorded as being a Seaman on HMS to PAY.
Driver N. Haigh ; The only reference I could find in the 1901 Census was of a N. Haigh, a 14 year old piercer, who was born in Wooldale and was the grandson of Mary Seddon from Cawthorne. A Norman Haigh ( Netherthong ) appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as Norman a Driver for the Royal Field Artillery. He joined on September 10,1914.
William Haigh : Played football for the village team. There are 75 Haighs in the All Saint’s Index of Baptisms and just one Willie, born 09/11/1883, baptised 06/07/1884 whose parents were Walter and Laura from Honley Moor
Charles Thomas Joshua Hart is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Private in the Suffolk Regiment who joined up on August 1914. On the Baptism Records he is shown as the father of Thomas Charles Hart born on 4/10/1920,
H.Hebblewaite – He was a scout in the NT
Charles Hellawell is listed on the Parish Church ROH. He was a Private in the New Zealand Mounted rifles and enlisted on September 21,1914.
Gunner Robert Hinchliffe R.F.A. He was the son of Councillor W.Hinchliffe, Wells Green Netherthong, and the Express reported in October 1917 that he had been wounded in the legs and arm. His name appears on the Parish Church ROD.
Albert Hirst ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army.
Norman Hirst appears on the Parish Church ROH and is shown as a Gunner in the 168th. Royal Field artillery.
Private Charles Albert Hobson : In the 1901 Census he was 11 years old and the son of William and Ellen Hobson from Outlane. He was a scout in the NT troop and involved in the United Methodist Church.. As a Private hejoined the 2/5 Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment in March 31, 1916, and in July the Express reported that he was training in the South of England and had sent a letter to the Patriotic Society thanking them for the gift of a camp knife which reminded him of the village and all the friends he had left behind. He went to France in 1917 and was reported missing on May 3 1917 but later wrote that he was a POW and was in hospital suffering from slight wounds in his head and back. He was in hospital for four months and left to work in an iron foundry in Hamelin before he was released. He had to walk 100 miles to Holland. He was one of the leaders of the Peace Celebrations march through the village. He returned home in January 1919 and said that the date of May 3 1917 would live long in his memory for it was a day that the 2/5 West Riding Regiment lost many of its soldiers. He added that he had been badly wounded and removed to a dug-out , which was shelled later on . He thought his pack had saved his life because , as it was full of tins , the shrapnel did not play havoc with him. He suffered a severe wound to his back and lost consciousness and when he awoke he was in German hands. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. He also appears on the Parish Church ROH.
J.Hobson :In the 1901 Census there is a J.Hobson, aged 20 years employed as a finisher, born in Honley and the son of William and Sarah from the village. In the same Census there is another J.Hobson, a 15 year old wool feeder born in Holmfirth but living in Outlane. Parents were William and Ellen Hobson. A J.E.Hobson appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army.
A.Hollingsworth ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. An Allen Hollingworth appears on the Parish Church ROH but without any other details.
Lewis Hollingworth is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Sergeant in the R.G.A.
Harry Horncastle. The Express reported in July 1916 that the Patriotic Society had received a letter from Harry thanking them for the gift of a camp knife.There was a Harry born on 16 April 1888 and baptised in the Parish Church on 3 June 1888. His parents were James Henry and Ann from the village and his father was a joiner. The Parish Church ROH simply lists the name Horncastle with no other information.
Private Charles Albert Hudson : He was born on 10/11/1894and was baptised on 06/01/1895 and his parents were John Henry and Ann who lived in the village .He was a scout in the NT troop.His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. In the Parish Church ROH he is listed as a Private in the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment who enlisted on October 17,1914. See separate chapter for Charles Hudson.
Signaller Charles Albert Hudson : It is highly possible that Albert , also called Charles, is the same person as Private Charles Albert Hobson above . The difference in army ranks could be due to a promotion.
H.Horner :He was a scout in the NT troop. The Express for December 1915 referred to him as R.Horner.
Booth Hoyle is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on December 21,1914
G.Hoyle – Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad.
Ronald Hoyle is listed on the Methodist Church ROH but there are no further details.
Herbert Kenyon, b.12/7/85, is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment. He joined up on March 31,1916.
Private George Kirwin – Thongsbridge. The Express reported in November 1914 that George , the wounded Thongsbridge postman, continues to improve and expects to go to a convalescent home. He was also listed in the October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry who enlisted on August 4,1914.
Corporal Harry Lawrence: He was born on 1/9/1895 and baptised on 13/10/1895. His parents were Richard and Hannah Elizabeth who lived at Bridge Mill and his father was a Coach-Man. Harry was a scout in the NT troop, attended Holmfirth Technical School and was employed at Huddersfield GPO. He enlisted in November 1915, was the first of the British Troops to go to Italy and spent most of his military life there. In July 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the course of heavy bombardment of British lines. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH and it adds that he was a Bombadier with the R.G.A.
A.Lawton – Fern GrangeThongsbridge – In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had recently enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery. He was also listed in October 28 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner with the 149th.R.F.A.
Ernest Leach – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private who enlisted on January 30,1917 but it does not give his Regiment.
R.Lee. Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad.
Arnold T.Lee – Thongsbridge – His name appeared in the Express ‘Additions’ list in November 20th. 1915.
Dennis Littlewood is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. The 1901 Census gives his age as one year.
William Littlewood is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. The 1901 Census gives his age as six years. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH but with his christian name written as Wilfred. He was a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who enlisted on February 28,1916
A.Lockwood – Scout/ ex-scout in Netherthong Troop serving abroad. There is a photograph of a Seaman Arthur Lockwood in the Holmfirth Express of March 3 1917 and I have included it below.
Harry McHugh ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. There is an article in the Express for May 22 1915 that reported he was back home on a short leave and had described to the paper some of his experiences after being wounded. He had enlisted in the 2nd. West Ridings Regiment on August 6, 1914, and, after four months training, he was fit for the front. He was wounded in his left thigh and although his wound was much better the bullet/shrapnel was still embedded. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the 8th.Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on October 17,1914.
Wm.Hy.McHugh ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Possibly brother to Harry. The Parish Church ROH lists him as William Henry. He was a private in the West Riding Regiment.
V. McNish : A F.McNish ( Netherthong ) appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Maybe same person !! The Express, in February 1915, published a letter from Private McNish. ( no christian name ). The Parish Church ROH gives his christian names as Thomas Vincent but I’m assuming it is the same person. He was a lance Corporal in the 2nd. Home Services Garrison Battery and he enlisted on September 9,1914.
Corporal A. Harry McQue : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He was born in 1886 and was 25 years old in the 1911 Census. He enlisted in 29/9/15 as Private 14238 in the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment and ended up as acting-sergeant. He first served in the Balkans.
Private James Henry Marsden : He was born on 19/4/1895 and baptised on 2/6/1895 and in the 1901 census was listed as 5 years old, the son of George Henry and Rhoda Mary Marsden living in the village ( in the Census ) but Oldfield on the baptismal certificate. His father was a cloth finisher. He was a scout in the Netherthong troop. For five years he attended Holmfirth Secondary School before proceeding to Sheffield University in 1912. On the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the Sheffield University Battalion of the York & Lancashire Regiment and saw service in Egypt and France and received a promotion to Corporal during the war. He was listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. In July 1916, the Express reported that he had been wounded in the recent offensive and had been admitted to hospital in Birmingham suffering from a bullet wound in his right arm and shrapnel wounds in his left leg. In September they added that he was making steady progress and had been transferred from Birmingham to Royds Hall and had been able to visit Netherthong to see his friends. He was discharged from the army at the end of July 1917 and returned to University and obtained his B.A. with Honours in Modern Languages. He marched in the Peace Celebrations in the village. The Parish Church lists him as a Corporal in the 12th. Yorks & Lancs regiment who enlisted on September 14,1914.
Lieut. Harold Matthews was born in Holmfirth but joined the Netherthong Scout Troop in March 1910. He was the first scout in the Huddersfield area to obtain a commission and the first to make the supreme sacrifice. There was a report in the April 3 1915 edition of the Holmfirth Express that the Netherthong Scouts had congratulated their old brother scout, Harold, on being the first scout in the Huddersfield area to obtain a commission.
Rifleman Ben Moorhouse : He was baptised on 30/5/1892 to John and Mary from Oldfield ( Dean Brook ) and his father was a weaver. Ben was in the King’s Royal Rifles and was wounded twice. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH and gives his date of enlistment as November 21,1915.
Fred Moorhouse,b.6/3/88, his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who joined up on May 13,1916.
Vincent Mosley : He was a scout in the NT troop. Listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. A James Vincent Morley is listed on the Parish Church ROH and is probably the same person. He was a private in the 2/8 battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment and enlisted on September 19,1914.
John Mosley – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the North Staffs. who joined up on May 30,1916.
Private Tom Newall :He was on the staff at the Deanhouse Institute and, after he had enlisted, he sent a letter to the Patriotic Society to say that he was on the headquarters staff at the 4th. Cavalry Brigade. The Minutes of the Deanhouse Institution Committee for February 1916 showed that Newell ( sp?) would be returning to his duties at the Institution as his term of service in the Army was about to expire. The Parish Church ROH lists him as a private in the 3rd. Dragoon Guards who joined up on August 5,1914
Sergeant Herbert Noble, RFA : He was the son of Mr. Noble the Thongs Bridge station master.The Express for August 1915 reported that Gunner Noble had been promoted to NCO and had recently been the victim of German gas, although only slightly. In April 1917 his parents received a letter in which was enclosed a certificate of merit which read : To Sergeant Fitter H.Noble, 246th.W & R Brigade, RFA. Your Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander have informed me that you distinguished yourself in the field on the 14th. April 1917. I have read their report with much pleasure. It was signed Major General R.M. Percival.
Corporal Norman North. In the December 15 1916 issue of the Express there was a report that a long list of awards to officers, NCOs and men for service had been published in the London Gazette. One of the names was Corporal Norman North ( 21 years ), the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur North, Longwood, and formerly of Netherthong.
E.Phipps – Wilshaw – listed in October 23 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name is also on the 1914-1919 Timber Board ROH in the Church of St.Mary the Virgin in Wilshaw.
Private Arthur Preston of Deanhouse., b.28/12/1870. The Express reported in June 1918 that Pt. Preston was in a hospital in Lancashire suffering from severe wounds. He went to the colours in March 10,1916. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. as well as the Patriotic Church ROH , which lists him as a private in the 2/5 Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment
B.Radcliffe ( No. 2017) ( Thongsbridge ) :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Later information gives his name as Bertie from Cinder Hills.
A.Rhodes ( No. 2429)( Thongsbridge ) :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. Later information gives his name as Albert from Thurstonland who died in the war.
Corporal Charlie Ricketts : In In the Index of baptisms for All Saints’Church, a Charlie Ricketts was baptised on 25/12/1870 and his parents, Godfrey and Jane, were from Deanhouse with his father being a Clothier. However in the 1901 census, there was a Charlie Ricketts, listed as 25 years old and married, who lit the bonfire at Wolfstone Heights at the end of the Peace Celebrations. An anomaly somewhere? His name is on the Methodist Church ROH. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private with the West Yorks. who enlisted on August 18,1914. The Express reported that Charles Ricketts, who served in the South African War and WW1, died in 1939 aged 69 years.
Harry Robert. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a 1st.Air Mechanic in the Royal Flying Corps who enlisted on May 1,1916.
Albert Roberts. The Holmfirth Express in its May 1915 reported on the very sad death of Albert Roberts of Norridge Bottom. He had been found hanging in the police cells where he had been taken on the charge of being absent from his regiment. After a lengthy inquest, the jury returned a verdict that the deceased had committed suicide by hanging and it was agreed that there was no blame attached to the police. He had been a private in 2/5 (Territorial ) Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. He was 37 years old and had enlisted in 1914. Prior to that he had been a mason’s labourer and a good worker. He was married with four children.
Herbert Roberts, b.15/10/1884. – his name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the West.Yorks. who joined up on April 8,1916.
H.Robinson – Could he be the H. Rollinson below ??
Harry Rollinson – Thongsbridge – Listed in 23 October 1915 Express ROH.
Joe A Rollinson : Thongsbridge. in the 1901 Census, he was four years old and the son of George and Lucy Rollinson from Mount Pleasant. In June 1915, the Express listed his name in a ROH for local lads from around the Holme Valley who had enlisted in the Huddersfield Battery. He was also listed in the October 23 1915 Express ROH. ( in this list there is a J.A.Rolinson and a J.A.Rollinson – typo error ? ). He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner in the R.F.A.
Captain J. Rogers :The only reference I could find was for a J.Rogers who was born in 1866 at Torphichen. He was married to Isabella for 20 years , was residing in Netherthong in 1911 and was the manager of a woolen spinning company. Although he would have been in his late forties when war started , it might explain why he was a captain. The first time his name appears is in the Express in November 7 1914 when it gave a list of the persons from the Netherthong Parish who were serving. His name appears again in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. In the October 23 1915 Express ROH, he is listed as Major and from Thongbridge. His name did not appear again until April 1919 when the Express reported that there was a contest for a single seat in the District Council Elections. Major Roberts ( spelling? ), who had been heavily engaged with the army whilst he was a member of the Council, was the retiring representative and seeking re-election. ( His opponent was Mr.Ogden who was described as a Co-operative candidate and who won the seat with 111 votes). The Parish Church lists a Major J.Rodgers from the West Riding regiment.
Private Lewis Russell. The Express in August 1916 reported that Lewis, a motor driver in the Army Service Corps, had sent an interesting letter to the Patriotic Society all about his journeys. In October the Working Men’s Club reported that they had appointed Mr.J.T.Jackson as their representative on the Patriotic Society in place of Lewis Russell who was serving abroad.His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who enlisted on July 20,1916.
Joe Russell. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a driver with the Royal Engineers who enlisted on April 15,1916.
Ben Russell. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the M.T.A.S.C. who joined up on November 14,1916.
Private Herman Sanderson. He was 8 years old in the 1901 census and his parents were Arthur and Jane who lived at Lower Hagg. He was wounded in the war and sent to a base hospital in France. He had three older brothers, Herbert 22, Brook 19, who died in the war and is on the village ROH, and Harold 13. His name is on the Methodist Church ROH. He also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington regiment who enlisted on march 14,1916
Harold Sanderson is listed on the Methodist Church ROH.
G eorge Albert.Scholfield ( Schofield) (No. 2001) ( Thongsbridge ): His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9, 1915 serving in the Army. His parents were George and Jane from Deanhouse. Later information gave him as living in Upperthong.
Sam Schofield , b.12/10/1889. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 4th. Battalion Duke of Wellington Regiment and he enlisted on November 16,1916
Harold.Seddon , b.7/1/1889. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a Seaman in the Royal Naval Barracks.
H.Senior ( Thongsbridge )( No. 2178): His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. There is a Harry Lindley Senior in the baptismal records of the Parish Church, who was born on 4/5/1889 and baptised on 7/7/1889. His parents were George and Jane from Deanhouse and his father was a Dyer.
Gunner Senior. The Express reported in July 1916 that a Gunner Senior of 135th. Siege battery had written to the Patriotic Society thanking them for the gift of a camp knife , saying that it was doing its duty and had opened lots of tins. I am not sure how he relates to the name above.
Private Arthur Sewell : He was a former Deanhouse resident and was reported wounded and missing. He was the son of Mrs. A. Sewell, formerly of the Cricketer’s Arms Public House in Deanhouse.
Private Wm.Sewell of the West Riding Regiment was the brother of Arthur Sewell . The Express reported in August 1917 that he had been wounded twice and, after treatment, had again gone back to France.
J.Shaw.In the 1901 Census there was a Joe Shaw, aged 15, working as a piercer. He was born in Meltham to John and Lydia Shaw who lived in Netherthong.
Arthur James Shaw is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Lance Corporal in the 3rd.Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment. He joined on October 17,1914.
George E.Shaw is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. In the 1901 Census he was six years old.
Private John Shore . The Express in April 1918 started a new column titled ” Echoes of the Battlefield ” . In April 20 it reported that a Private John Shore from the village had been wounded and was in a hospital abroad. It added that he had only been at the front for a few weeks.
W.Shore ( Thongsbridge ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH, issued January 9 1915, serving in the Army. Also in the 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. His name appears in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2nd.Battalion MGC.
Wm. Shore – Thongsbridge- Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH.
Private Norman Smith : Another one of the soldiers who sent a letter from the front to the village. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on December 19,1914. It also records that he was a military medallist.
E.Spenser ( Wilshaw) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. There is an Edwin Spenser on the stone/marble 1914-1918 ROH in the church of St.Mary the Virgin in Wilshaw.
Private Walter Stacey. A letter was received in August 1918 from Walter, son of Mr.Walter Stacey of Muslin Hall, who had been reported missing between May 27-30. He said that he was a P.O.W. and was quite well.
Harry Stott appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 1/7 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who enlisted on August 3,1916.
Wright Stott is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/4 Royal Scottish Fusiliers who joined up in May 1915.
Pt. Harry Swallow. No.77684,C Co., 10th.Platoon,1/7 Durham Light Infantry. In June 1918, Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Swallow of Deanhouse received an official message that their son,Harry aged 19, had been reported missing on May 27. The last letter from him that they had received was at the beginning of May. His brother, Frank, was killed in action on August 14, 1917 and his name is on the village ROH. He returned home in January 1919.
Arthur Ronald Sykes : In the 1901 Census he was 7 years old and his parents were Arthur and Martha of Netherthong. The Express reported in October 1918 that he had been wounded and was in hospital in England. He appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 11th.Kings Liverpool Regiment who enlisted on October 23,1914. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH with the same Regiment.
Private Ronald Sykes. There is a Ronald Sykes who was born on 27/6/96 and baptised on 15/8/97 at All Saints and his parents are listed as William Isaac and Ada Ann from Lindley, with his father being a Book-keeper. He sent a letter from ‘somewhere’ in Belgium to the village about his experiences. His age differs from the Arthur Ronald above.??
Bernal Sykes. The Parish Church ROH lists him as a Captain in the K.O.Y. Light Infantry who joined in 1912.
Gunner Eddie T. Sykes: Gunner Eddie Sykes from Deanhouse was gassed and lost his eyesight in August 1917 although the Express did add that it might be temporary. He was a scout in the NT troop and an apprentice with Lawton & Hogley, painters and decorators, Holmfirth . He joined the 168th. Holme Valley Battery and was later transferred to the 175th. Battery. A Edward Timothy Sykes appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Signaller in the R.F.A. who joined in May 1915.
Herbert Oswald Sykes is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. In the 1901 Census his age is given as 22 years. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Northumberland Fusiliers who joined up on June 14,1916. His name also appears on the Methodist Church ROH.
Lieutenant Keith Sykes. There was a Lieutenant and Adjutant K.Sykes 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment of the Holmfirth Company of West Riding . The Parish Church ROH lists him as a Captain with the M.C. who signed up in 1912.
John Arthur Sykes (No.1855 ) ( Netherthong ) : His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9, 1915 serving in the Army. Could have been from Upperthong.
Lewis Sykes. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 2/5 King’s Own Scottish Borderers who enlisted in March 4,1916.
Tom Sykes, b.10/5/1887.. His name is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Lincolnshire Regiment who joined on July 17,1916.The Express reported his death on May 1936
Private Harry Swallow. In August 1918, Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Swallow of Deanhouse received a message from their son Harry of the DLI that he was a POW. He started his letter – I am just dropping a line or two to let you know I am alive and well but am still in bed ( an indication that he had been wounded ).
E.Thacken (No.2489 ) Wilshaw : Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information records a Ernest Thackra from Denby Dale who died in the war.
Private Chas. Rockley Tinsdeall. The Express printed the following report in January 1919 about Private Rockley. ” He was the son of Mrs. Alfred Tinsdeall of Deanhouse, and had been reported missing from the ranks of the West Yorkshire Regiment during the latter part of April 1918. He returned home from Germany on January 18, 1919, aged 20. Before he joined up he was one of the youths serving behind the counter at Messr. Wallace’s shop in Victoria Street. Apparently he was wounded at the time of his capture but appeared to have fared better than his relatives expected, although it was evident that he had suffered through lack of food.
T.Thorpe ( 1086 ) – Wilshaw– Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information gives a Turner Thorpe from Hinchliffe Mill, who died in the war.
N.Thorpe ( 2583 ) Wilshaw : Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information gives a Ned Thorpe from Underbank who died in the war.
Pt. Chas Buckley Tinsdall. The Express reported in June 1918 that Mrs. Alfred Tinsdall of Deanhouse had received a communication card from her son saying that her son had been wounded and was a P.O.W. He was first reported missing on April 25.
Private Brook Turner : The Express reported that Mr. & Mrs. A.E.Turner of Deanhouse had received a postcard through the Red Cross Society that their son Brook, of the D.L.I., who had been reported missing on May 27, was now well and a P.O.W. in Germany. In his last letter home he related that he had just had a narrow escape from drowning whilst bathing and being ” fished out ” when going down for the third time. He returned home in January 1919.
H.Turton – Wilshaw – Listed in 23 October 1915 Holmfirth Express ROH. Later information gives his name as Harry from Cinder Hills.
It is very interesting that four soldiers, Ned Thorpe, Turner Thorpe, Ernest Thacken and Harry Turton were listed in the Holmfirth Express ROH as all being from Wilshaw, which is now contradicted by this later information.
J.Wadworth – He was a scout in the NT troop.
Private Harry Walker (27878) ,: He was the son of the late Mr.& Mrs. Young Walker and, before joining up he was a teamer for Joseph Woodhead & Co., grocers of Giles Street. He enlisted in August 1916 at the age of 20 and was attached to the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment and had come over to France in January 1917.He had been reported ‘ missing’ since May 3 1917, but had written a field card to his sister on April 30 saying he was alright. His friend Signaller C.A.Hudson said he had seen him in the trenches shortly before coming home on leave. On May 19 1917 he sent another field card saying that he was a P.O.W. in Germany. He returned home in January 1919. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 3rd. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment with his enlistment date being August 14,1916.
A.Walton (No.2427) ( Thongsbridge ) :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9, 1915 serving in the Army. Later information gives an Arthur Walton from Thurstonland.
Driver E.A.Ward : He wrote a letter from the front which was read out at a patriotic Society meeting. Spenser Allen ward is listed in the Parish Church ROH as a driver with the R.F.A. who joined up on January 2,1915
Willie Webster :His name appears in the list of soldiers in the Holmfirth Express ROH issued January 9 1915 serving in the Army. He is listed in the Parish Church ROH as William, a private in the 9th. Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who joined up on October 17,1914. (There is a John Webster on the War Memorial in the Town Square who was his brother.)
Joseph Whitehead appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the Prince of Wales Own who enlistedon July 15, 1916
Gunner Harry Wilkinson. The Express in August 1916 reported that the Patriotic Society had received a letter from him thanking them for the gift of a camp knife. His brother, David, was fatally wounded at Gallipoli 12 months earlier. He is listed on the Methodist Church ROH. His name also appears on the Parish Church ROH as a Gunner in the R.F.A. who enlisted on July 14,1916
In March 1930 the Express reported on the death of Henry Wilkinson of Deanhouse – will the confusion over Christian names of soldiers during the war, I’m assuming that Henry was the Harry Wilkinson above. He was out walking on the outskirts of Honley with a young woman, became ill and died before medical assistance could be secured. His sister, Miss Lily Morley, said that about 10 years ago her brother had had an accident at work when he fell off a ladder. He had served in the war and had not had any serious illnesses. On the Tuesday he worked to 5.30 pm and, after having tea, went out. Miss Evelyn Hoyle of Deanhouse said they went out for a walk about seven o’clock in the evening. As they walked along he complained about feeling unwell and, as they were going up Bradshaw Road, he suddenly fell forward to the ground. She could get no response so she went for assistance. Dr. Smailes said he saw the departed and, in his opinion, death was due to atheroma. The Coroner recorded a verdict that death was due to natural causes viz. atheroma. Harry had worked at T.Dyson & Sons Deanhouse Mills and was very well known in the area as a football player and sportsman and was involved with the WMC and the Gardeners’ Society.
Private Tom Wilkinson : Haigh Lane, Deanhouse. Before enlisting he was employed at Deanhouse Mills and was associated with the Wesleyan Chapel and the WMC, He served with the Duke of Wellington Regiment was wounded in the thigh and was in base hospital in France. The Express reported in July 1916, that he had sent a letter to the Patriotic Society saying the the gift of a camp knife ‘was just the thing he needed.’ The Express reported in September 1918 that he had been wounded again, this time in the back and foot. and was in Dewsbury Hospital. His name appears on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the 1/5 Battalion of the Duke of Wellington Regiment who joined up on March 28,1915
Arnold Wimpenny – Express October 30 1915- Addition list. He was born on July 27 1992 and baptised in the Parish Church on August 28 1992. His parents were Albert and Ann from Upper Bridge. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Bombadier in the R.F.A. who joined up on June 4,1915.
Evelyn Wood. He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a private in the R.A.M.C. He enlisted on October 14,1916. He was not baptised in the Parish Church but is shown as the father to Stanley Wood, b.27/11/1927, and twins Nancy and Tony on 24/12/1931.
Private J.B.Wood – He was the son of Mr.J.W.Wood, Vickermans Buildings ThongsBridge and, before enlisting, had worked at Rock Mills, Brockholes. The Express in June 1917 reported that he was listed as missing and the following month added that his family had received a letter from him saying that he was a prisoner of war but was in the best of health and unwounded.
Corporal Tom Wood, b.24/3/1875. In the 1901 Census he was listed as 26 years old, working as a wool drier. The Holmfirth Express reported in April 1915 that Sergeant Tom Wood, after a brief spell at home, had returned to military duty. In a letter to J.T.Jackson he said that he was helping to guard the railways and had caught a Germanspy. At the Peace Celebrations the Holme Valley Band was conducted by Corporal Wood.He is listed on the Parish Church ROH as a Corporal in the Royal Def.Corps.
The following details of baptisms and funerals for the three churches that formed the religious life of the inhabitants of Netherthong for so many years are available In the Archive Section of Huddersfield Library . The entries are in alphabetical order and were compiled by the Huddersfield & District Family History Society.
Wesleyan Chapel : Baptisms – 1784 – 1956.
Wesleyan Chapel : Index of Burials : 1862 – 1940.
Zion Chapel : Baptisms – 1875 – 1981.
All Saints’ Parish Church : Index of Burials – 1830-1939
All Saints’ Church : Index of Baptisms – 1830-1983
This chapter, September 2017, lists all the graves in the churchyard of All Saints Church with the surname, christian name, age, burial date, section location and where applicable the letters WH or EV for each one.
WH refers to an inmate of the Deanhouse Workhouse.
EV refers to evacuee.
My thanks to Yvonne Hutson and the Church Council for supplying the information.
There are 2466 graves in the churchyard and I have listed the numbers occurring for each letter of the alphabet along with the most common names where appropriate.
A : 40
B : 343 – Beaumont 31 : Bray 23 : Brook 26.
C : 150 – Charlesworth 20
D : 120 -Dyson 39
E : 43 – Eastwood 16
F : 67
G : 114 – Greenwood 15
H : 322 – Haigh 34 : Hinchliffe 21 : Hirst 48 : Hobson 57
I : 7
J : 43
K : 67 – Kaye 21
L : 82
M : 171 – Mallinson 37 : Mellor 26 : Moorhouse 19
N : 33
O : 11
P : 76 – Platt 17
Q : 3
R : 128 – Roebuck 24
S : 264 -Sykes 52 : Shaw 19 : Scholfield 20 : Sanderson 23
T : 83 -Taylor 25
U : 1
V : 2
W : 276 – Wilson 17 : Wimpenny 37 : Wood 40 : Woodhead 41
I have attached the Graveyard section plan below, It is upside down but it makes more sense if you are standing in front of the church with New Road on your left.
The first report in the Examiner for 1921 was in February, when a concert was given in the school on behalf of the Young Leaguers’ Union of the National Childrens Home and Orphanage. It was very well attended and £10 10s was raised. They organised a similar social for the same charity two years later in February 1923, and called it a ‘hospital social’ with songs, music and recitations which raised £10.
Sadly,during the month, the death occurred of Joseph Armitage, aged 77 years. He had been closely associated with the Wesleyan Methodists and had been one of the first Sunday School teachers. He was interested in the Working Men’s Club and was formerly its caretaker. For over 50 years he was a member of the Gardener’s Friendly Society and in 1897 was one of the founders of the juvenile branch. His trade was as an oat-bread baker
At the end of the month, a concert was held in the school by the Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Prize Choir under the leadership of Joe Bottomley with Miss F. Green as accompanist.
A social gathering was held in the Chapel in March 1923 to raise funds for the renovation of the chapel and improvements to the organ. There was a supper and games were played and £3 was raised.
After having been closed for some time for renovation, the Chapel, which had been re-decorated at a total cost of £120, was re-opened in July when a devotional service was conducted by the circuit ministers, Rev. E. Harland and Rev .J. Crawford, with music on the organ by Mr. Cousens. The organ had been overhauled and two new stops added. A large number of people partook of tea. The following month was time for the annual outing for the choir ; they went to Wharfedale and Airedale and travelled in Mr.Middleton’s well-known charabanc ” Holme Valley “. For their outing in 1924 they once again travelled in the ” Holme Valley ” and visited the Dukeries.
The Chapel members had all agreed to the adoption of the electric lighting scheme and, in January 1925, held a tea and concert which realised £8 6s 6d for the fund.
April of that year was the occasion when the men associated with the Chapel promoted a tea and concert in the schoolroom. A goodly number sat down to a capital tea which was provided by the men who not only presided and served at tables but also did the washing-up. An excellent concert concluded with the burlesque ” Ventriloquism or how not to do it ” which was given by J.Green, N.Haigh and T.Littlewood. £7 10s was raised for the electric lighting fund.
In September the Chapel extended a hearty welcome to the Rev. Wm. Salisbury and the Rev.Joseph Birbeck, newly appointed ministers of the Holmfirth circuit of Wesleyan Methodism. The financial statements of the Sunday School were submitted and approved and members were told that electric lighting was shortly to be installed with the supplier being Honley Council. December saw the much awaited Electric Light Installation Ceremony, when the switching on , performed by one of the oldest scholars, Mr.J.Woodhead, JP., was greeted with hearty applause. A public tea followed by a concert was provided.
In January 1926 the death occurred of Mr. John Albert Armitage of Chapel House , Deanhouse. He was well known and highly respected and a close adherent to the Wesleyan Cause. For 20 years he had been chapel-keeper, a trustee, a steward and an active worker for the chapel renovation and for several years he generously provided an annual treat for the primary department children. He had his 59th. birthday on Christmas Day . He worked as a dyer’s labourer for J.Davies & Co. Ribbleden Dyeworks at Holmfirth and had died immediately on reaching the dye-house on his return to work after the holiday. Another workman said the deceased had reached the dye-house about 6.45 and had just put his dinner on a bench, when he fell to the ground. The post-mortem showed evidence of chronic bronchitis and Bright’s disease and the coroner ruled the death was due to natural causes.
The same month Mr. Edward Finch, the well-known Huddersfield elocutionist, paid a visit to the chapel and delivered recitals to the well – attended afternoon and evening services.
In June through the kindness of Mr.& Mrs.Walter Wagstaff and friends, the young children of the primary and other junior departments of the school spent an enjoyable time at Rob Roy. The Foreign Missionary anniversary, in conjunction with the Chapel , was held in November with morning and afternoon services on the Sunday. A public tea was given on the Tuesday and Mrs.Death of Meltham presided over a meeting which was addressed by Mrs.W.Rhodes on British Guiana.
The first event in 1927 was in January when a concert , promoted by the organist J.W.Green, was held in aid of funds for painting the exterior of the Chapel. The same month the Young Leaguers organised the annual effort by the Sunday School on behalf of the National Children’s Home and Orphanage. It was presided over by J.Green.
The New Year’s gathering and price distribution took place in the Sunday school. W.Wagstaff presided and Mrs. Salisbury presented the prizes as well as giving a bible to Arthur Shaw in honour of his connection to the Sunday school up to 20 years of age.
Thomas Dyson gave one of his popular lantern lectures in the schoolroom. This one was all about Yorkshire seaside resorts and the1 lanternists1 were C.Dutton and W. Boothroyd.
In February the Rev. Joseph West, a former missionary, who had laboured in India, gave a lecture on missionary life and experiences in Ceylon which he illuminated with slides. One of the last visits of the year was a visit by Friends from Hall Sunday School to the Wesleyan school and they gave a concert. The chair was occupied by Mr.Thomas Littlewood.
The annual choir outing, for the Sunday School for 1928, visited Cawthorne and 60 scholars, teachers and friends travelled in three conveyances. The members of the Choir had their annual outing in September when they visited York. In January 1929 the Young Leaguers Union gave a concert in the school room and presented two children’s operettas.
In the late twenties, gramophone recitals were becoming very popular and attracted good attendances and Mr.Harold Hirst of Holmfirth presented a number of excellent records in the school in February 1929. Later that year in September the quarterly meeting in connection with the Holmfirth Circuit of Wesleyan Methodism was held in the Chapel. Rev. J. Hisbrown, the circuit minister, presided and a unique feature was the presence of representatives from the United Methodist and Primitive Methodist Circuits. The final event of the year was a visit in December by a number of married ladies associated with the Wesleyans at Underbank. They gave a concert full of miscellaneous items in aid of Chapel funds. The young people from the Honley Wesleyan Sunday school paid a visit in January 1930 to the Wesleyan school in connection with the Netherthong branch of the Young Leaguers Union and presented a pleasing programme of glees, songs , dances and sketches. The next event was an Orange Grove Fair at the school in April which was opened by Arthur Fieldhouse , well known in Wesleyan circles. After all the thanks had been made, the fair opened with many stalls. The ladies provided the tea and the entertainment in the evening. £140 was raised before expenses.
A party from Leeds South Circuit United Methodist Church visited at the end of November 1930 to give a concert. There was a good attendance, presided over by T.Dyson, and W.Wagstaff gave the vote of thanks.
A lantern service was held in the schoolroom on a Sunday afternoon in January 1931. “Timothy Crab ” was the subject of a temperance ballad illustrated by views which had been made from life models by Bamforths of Holmfirth and the slides were presented by T.Dyson assisted by’ lanternists’, T.Dufton and B.Coldwell. Mr.W.Wagstaff presided with Miss Ruth Dufton on piano. The Rev. Harry Buckley was the speaker at the special services in the evening. The choir’s annual outing that year was in July when members and friends visited Grassington and Burnsall. The Rev. Walter T.Rose, the newly-appointed circuit minister, was the preacher at the Chapel anniversary in September 1931. The same month J .Hadfield of Huddersfield gave a lantern lecture at the school titled ‘Pictures of North Wales’. There were two events in November, the first was the Annual missionary meeting when the Rev. C.Chapman of Halifax, who had served 15 years in Burma, delivered a powerful appeal. He said that the Chapel had raised £13 during the year. The second event later in the month was a successful tea and concert promoted by the men of the congregation. It was presided over by H.Wagstaff. The first reported event in 1932 was in January when the Rev.J.Bisbrown, the superintendent minister of the Holmfirth Circuit of Wesleyan Methodism, visited the chapel and gave a lantern lecture on ‘Glimpses of the Continent’. In March the Ladies of the Chapel gave their ‘first’ effort consisting of a tea and entertainment. It was a big success and raised £13 1s. At the annual missionary meeting at the Chapel in November 1933, the Rev. H. Bishop, principal of the Training College, Porto Novo, Dahomey who had 30 years missionary experience in South Africa, Portuguese East Africa, Portugal and French West Africa gave the main address. A presentation was made in November 1935 to Mr.& Mrs. Thomas Dyson of Croft House on the occasion of their wedding. Mr. Walter Wagstaff presented them with a barometer from their friends at the Chapel and an alarm clock from the Sunday School children and teachers. At the Sunday school anniversary meeting in May 1936 presentations were made for long and faithful service. Miss Brigg and Miss Cousen were each presented with a cake district ( no idea ) and Mr. J. Green , who had been the voluntary organist for 25 years, was presented with a grandmother clock. Mrs. W. Wagstaff presided. The following August, 60 teachers, scholars and friends of the Sunday school went on their annual outing, on this occasion to Knaresborough. The same month the Chapel hosted the quarterly meeting of Methodists from all parts of the Holmfirth circuit and all newly appointed ministers were given a very warm welcome.
In March 1938, the Chapel held its re-opening services as it had been closed for the purpose of decorating both the chapel and the school and installing a new heating apparatus. Special services were held. A few months later in May the bi-centenary of John Wesley’s conversion was celebrated throughout Methodism and the Netherthong chapel played an honoured part for it was twice visited by John Wesley and was the 6th. Methodist Chapel to be built in the whole of England. The first chapel was at Bristol followed by Birstall, Newcastle, Hipperholme and Haworth. On his first visit on July 6 1772, he wrote in his diary for that day … ” I went to Halifax. Preached in the Cow Market to a huge multitude. Our house was filled at 5 in the morning. At 10, I preached in the New House at Thong and at 2 in the afternoon in the Market Place in Huddersfield. Such another we had at Dewsbury in the evening and my strength was my duty.” He preached in the village again in 1788 and records in his diary that he visited Honley at 11am on April 30 1788.
The following letter from Mr. J. H. Hoyle was received by the Chapel in February 1939 and dealt with some of his memories of the chapel and school as a lad from three years of age to twenty years. He said he had the two-fold privilege of attending service in the chapel as it stood when Wesley preached in it, and was also one of the ten scholars present at the opening of the Sunday School. As a young lad I was taken to chapel regularly to the services. How many thousands of Methodist worshippers have descended the almost precipitous slope of the hill from the village, down the gentler slope beneath the trees, across the large stone flags that spanned the brook, and then by an arduous climb up the long flight of “catsteps” to reach the body of the chapel ( now the Sunday School ) and up yet another flight of stone steps to the former gallery ( now the chapel ). What fun and valuable exercise for lung and limb those steps gave to us boys! The older people did not seem to regard them with half our friendliness ; but what could they expect ? They never ran races down them, or even up!
New Year’s Day was the annual meeting , which began with a tea, beautifully served in true West Riding style. This was followed by a meeting, enlivened by speeches from teachers and others, of whom some at least were not born orators, but the breakdown of a speaker did not damp, but rather intensified the enjoyment of the audience. Whit Monday was the day of the schoolfeast. Led by a brass band, teachers and scholars walked in procession round the neighbourhood, stopping at various points to sing their special hymns, and occasionally they received an orange or some sweets. Tea and buns were served in the schoolroom, and each scholar was presented with a specially large and rich bun – the ” School Feast cake ” – to take home. Then , when the room was being cleared and re-arranged, there was a short interval for games, but little room to play. After this a meeting was held with speeches and selections by the brass band that easily filled the comparatively small room chock full of music. Later in the summer, the anniversary was almost like a second Whit Sunday. The music was carefully rehearsed for weeks beforehand and often included new tunes by local musicians. Some of Methodism’s finest men visited at times. Thomas Champness was no stranger and to hear him at his best speaking from the text ” The people had a mind to work ” was a privilege. A service of a kind rarely witnessed in a Methodist chapel was held one Sunday morning. The announcement was made, ” The Sacrament of Baptism will now be administered “. Everyone was expecting to see a baby but instead one of the leaders, closely followed by his wife, came down the aisle. He had searched the records but no record of his baptism could be found and he wanted to remedy the omission. Although it is more than seventy years since the writer witnessed it, he has never seen a similar ceremony. It was his own father he saw baptised.
The scholars, teachers and friends all enjoyed an outing in June to Buxton and Matlock.
The 1939 annual outing in May for the Chapel consisted of 60 teachers and scholars who travelled in two of Messrs. Castle’s motors. They visited Brimham Rocks and Knaresborough.. May was also the occasion of the Sunday School Anniversary when all involved partook in songs, recitations and hymns.
In February 1940, the annual ladies tea and entertainment took place in the Chapel. March 16th. was observed as ladies’ day and Miss Mabel Wagstaff of Gateshead was the preacher. The annual outing for the Sunday School saw 60 teachers, scholars and friends go to Knaresborough again as they had done the previous year.
The next newspaper report was February 1941 when Mr. Norman Powell’s party of the Boy Scouts of Honley and District visited the Sunday School and gave a mixed entertainment which included lessons on first-aid. Mr. T. Dyson visited the Chapel in November to give one of his illustrated lantern lectures and presented views of Yorkshire scenery , there was a good attendance and a collection was taken for overseas mission. The same month it was the turn of the ladies to give their annual entertainment of songs and sketches and the Chapel was crowded with an appreciative audience.
The Sunbeams Concert Party gave a very successful variety show in the Sunday School in February 1942. To start off the show, all the girls sang ” Save a little Sunshine ” which was followed by an amusing duet by Maurice Froggatt and Colin Gledhill. Mary Bowden sang ” Land of Hope and Glory”, Colin Gledhill entertained with his song, ” Nobody loves a fairy when she’s forty”. Eileen Roebuck sang ” Danny Boy “, Relton Bradley performed a monologue. Susie McLean, Mary Bowden and Eileen Roebuck starred in ‘Mr.Brown of London Town’ and Edith Walker gave a dance. Philip Roebuck and Relton Bradley appeared in many of the sketches and the pianists were Marion Bowden and Maurice Froggatt. The sketches were written by Mr.N.Powell who also acted as compere and ran the show. The proceeds came to £5 15s.
An important name change occurred at the start of the 1949s when it stopped being called Deanhouse Wesleyan Methodist Church and became Netherthong Wesley’s Methodist Church.
In December, the overseas missionary anniversary services were held in the Chapel. Rev. Thorpe spoke about missionary work in Ceylon and the Rev. Roberts gave an illustrated lecture on his work in West Africa. Also in December, the combined choirs of the Parish Church, Zion Methodist and Wesley Methodist gave carol services in the Parish Church.
At the end of 1942 there was a Christmas wedding at the Church on Boxing Day between Bombardier Albert Cartwright of Denegarth, Deanhouse and Miss Phyllis Wagstaff of Rob Roy, Netherthong. The bride was a Sunday school teacher, a member of the choir at the Chapel and a lieutenant in the Netherthong Girl Guide Company.
February 1943 was the occasion of ladies’ Day at the Chapel and Miss H. Battye was the preacher at the services. In December, the combined choirs of the Parish Church, Zion Methodist and Wesley Methodist gave carol services in the Parish Church.
The Rev. J.Almond, newly appointed minister in the Holmfirth Methodist circuit, gave the sermon at the anniversary services in September 1944.
The 1947 annual outing of the scholars and friends involved a group of 70 travelling to Knotts End and Fleetwood. A presentation was made in September to Herbert Fisher who had resigned his post of choirmaster after 40 years. He was a well known vocalist, had been conductor of the Netherthong Music Festival and was a member of the Holme Valley Male Voice Choir. In January 1948, the Chapel had a distinguished visitor, Rev. J.H.Garland the Methodist minister at Mallon, Cumberland. He was the secretary and organiser of the International Centenary Commemoration of the Rev. Henry Francis Lyte, author of Abide with Me, and he lectured on the famous hymn and its author.
Memorial Services were held in the Chapel in May 1949 for Walter Wagstaff, a former worker for the chapel, who died in Rhyl on April 26th. He had been president of The Male Voice Choir. On the 22nd. of the same month, Mr.& Mrs. John Edward Smith, who had been caretakers for over 23 years, attained their golden anniversary. Mr.Smith ,who was 78 years, came to Netherthong in 1917 and worked in the local mills before being appointed chapel – keeper. He was an Hon. member of The Male Voice Choir. Before her marriage, Mrs.Smith was Miss Edna Roebuck, one of a family of eight sons and four daughters. She was 71 years.
September was the occasion of the Annual Services and the preacher was Rev.A. Vincent Woodhill who was one of the newly appointed ministers on the circuit. Mrs. R.Singleton was the organist. The Holme Valley Guides, Scouts and Cubs paid their 20th. Annual visit to the Chapel in October when Rover leader, W.Allen, presided. The address was given by Scoutmaster, Pat Hellawell and the children’s address by Cubmistress, D.Whitehead. The lesson was read by Scout Lawrence Liles and Cub Mark Lancaster contributed a poem.
The annual outing in May 1950 was to Bridlington when 58 adults and children left in two coaches. The same month, the Sunday School Anniversary services were held with the Rev.Woodhall of Meltham as preacher. He was also the preacher in November when Temperance Film strips were shown at the chapel. The Rev. J. Christian of Holmfirth was the preacher at the Church anniversary services in August.
1951 started off with the Annual distribution of prizes in January for the Sunday School scholars. Miss S.J.Brigg presided and Mrs.R.Singleton was the organist.The scholars plus friends of the Sunday School held their annual outing in June. They were conveyed in two of Messr. Bradley Bros. coaches to Southport.
The Rev. James Sollitt, newly appointed superintendent minister of the Holmfirth Methodist circuit, was the preacher at the anniversary services in September 1951. They celebrated the Harvest Festival in October with a parade by the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Scoutmaster Stuart Bedford presided and the lessons were read by cub Geoffrey Burley and scout Pat Beardsell.
There was a full chapel to celebrate the Harvest Festival in 1954. The local scouts and guides paraded for the festival and Mr.T.Brooks, scoutmaster, stated that it was the 25th. annual visit by the Guides and Scouts. The Sunday School Anniversary services took place in May 1956 and the organist at both services was Mrs.R.Singleton. The Rev.J.Crawford of Honley was the preacher.
The Rev. F.Garnett of Meltham , one of the newly appointed ministers of the Holmfirth Methodist Circuit, was the preacher at the chapel anniversary services in September 1956. The following month they celebrated the Harvest Festival with the annual parade of the boy scouts and girl guides and the Scout leader, Mr.Sanderson of Meltham, presided. Lessons were read by Scouts Derek Marsh and Gerald Buck and the young peoples address was given by Cub leader Maureen Sykes of Honley. The speaker was Scoutmaster L. Farrar of Halifax.
Owing to the damage sustained at Wesley’ Chapel in June all their services were held in the Zion Church. A united campaign for both the churches was organised by a band of local preachers in the Holmfirth Circuit who had previously held campaigns in Wooldale, Scholes and Crowedge. The opening phase had been an intensive visiting of the whole area, house by house, armed with leaflets. In July the Trustees discussed the question of the condition of the roof and the cost of repairs and decided to make a decision at the quarterly meeting. The main ceiling collapsed in September and the congregation formally joined the Zion Methodist Church. The following year the Chapel was officially closed and later was converted into a house. The following information has been supplied ( July 2018 ) by a ‘family member’.
The Wesleyan Chapel was bought by my Grandfather George England with a view to converting it into living accommodation but the project was never begun. We were visiting the family soon after he had acquired it and he took us to see it. I can tell you, that inside the chapel, there was a mahogany chair with arms and a plaque fixed to the back, which said something to the effect that ” John Wesley used this chair when he preached in this chapel in 1772? My grandfather’s intention was to give the chair to a local Chapel and, so far as I know, that is what he did. It could possibly have been Gatehead.
With the closing of the Chapel, the Express in July gave a detailed account of the early history of the Chapel. Much of it is similar to the information I have given in this chapter but the paper had access to the original minute book of the records of the Sunday School. They make for very interesting reading and I have listed them below.
The very first meeting was held on April 29 1861 and it was resolved to purchase two dozen Bibles, two dozen Testaments and spelling books. On May 14 arrangements were made for the school feast and it was resolved that two stones of flour would be used for plain bread and one and a half stones for currant bread. At a committee meeting on December 16, Messrs. J.Woodhead and J.Rogers were appointed to attend on Saturday evenings in the school to give instructions on writing etc.
On July 15 1862 eight rules for the teachers were adopted and they were as follows. 1. The school shall be opened with singing and prayer and this rule also gave the various attendance times. 2. They shall take such a position in their class as will enable them to observe every child. They shall restrain the children from improper conduct. 3. In case of unavoidable absence they shall provide a proper substitute. 4. They shall be persons of good moral character, approved by the teacher’s meeting. 5. No teacher shall mention the faults of a brother teacher. 6. Every teacher leaving the school is requested to give a month’s notice. 7. A committee shall be chosen annually to manage the affairs of the school. 8. A meeting shall be held quarterly.
There were also eight rules to be enforced by the scholars. 1. They shall be present at the opening of the school and shall be clean in person and dress. 2. If any scholar be absent from school for four successive Sundays without a sufficient excuse he shall be dismissed. 3. No scholar shall attend when affected by any infectious disease. 4. The scholars at the time of singing or prayer shall not gaze about, read or play. 5. No scholar may leave his class without the consent of the teacher. 6 No scholar shall bring anything to play with or eat during school hours. 7 They shall abstain from lying, swearing, sabbath breaking and every other manifest immorality and be submissive, obedient and respectful to their teachers. 8 Scholars not attending to the above rules shall be punished.
At a meeting on October 4 1864, it was decided to join the Sunday School Union, about to be formed in the Holmfirth Circuit, and on December 5 of the same year it was resolved ” that one dozen of Wesleyan Scripture Lessons be purchased monthly at the expense of the School Funds.” It was resolved on August 13 1869 that the teachers and scholars have a trip to Harden Moss ( it unfortunately didn’t record how this would be achieved ).
And finally a minute of April 1893 regarding the school feast states ” that we walk with the Reformers as usual if they are willing “. The following year ” it was decide not to walk with the Reformers“.
The following pamphlet was published for the Dedication of the Organ, Pulpit and Choir Stalls on May 30th. and 31st. 1959.
This is the second section of All Saints Church and covers the period from 1918 to date.
In February 1918, the Choir held their annual whist drive and dance in the church school. It was organized by the choirmaster, C.Wood, and there was a large gathering with 20 tables and £4 was sent to the Holmfirth Auxiliary hospital. For their annual outing that year the choir visited Wakefield and Leeds. They left Thongbridge station for Dewhurst and took the train to Wakefield and after dinner travelled by car to Leeds and returned by train in the evening.
The annual vestry meeting in April , with the Rev. Hind presiding , was attended by only two parishioners, Mr. Turner and Mr. Mellor. Mr.Turner who had been the vicar’s warden for many years resigned his office. The Rev. Hind said he would have to call another meeting and hopefully get a better attendance.
A meeting of the Mothers’ Union, presided over by Mrs. Floyd, was held in September in the Church school. The Rev. Hind gave a short service followed by a powerful address on the troubled times given by Miss Norton. The meeting was followed by tea in aid of funds for the Red Cross Society. The accounts were presented and three guineas were sent to the Prisoners of War Fund.
In January 1919 the Annual parochial tea and entertainment which, owing to the war, had been in abeyance for 2 years was held in the school with a large attendance. A superb tea was presided over by Mrs. Jackson, Mrs.Wilson, Mrs. Batley, Mrs. Hirst ,Mrs. Wimpenny and Mrs. Woodhead. Entertainment was provided by the choir and was followed by a speech by the Rev. Cavey, vicar of Huddersfield. The finale was an excellent performance of the humourous sketch, ” Ferrill’s Fix “.
The annual vestry meeting was held in April with only a dozen parishioners present. The vicar, Rev. Hind, re-appointed Mr. H.Wilson as his warden and Mr.J.Woodhead was re-appointed people’s warden. T.Turner, C.S.Floyd, W.Batley, J.Harker, J.Mallinson, E.Butterworth, H.Roberts and A.Dixon were elected as sidesmen.
The following photograph was taken outside the church gates – circa 1920 and shows a group of young children watching a “pretend” wedding. The groom was Reginald Hirstel and alice and Mary Charlesworth are among the watchers.
The year 1920 saw many activities, the first of which was in April when the Church Sunday School presented a Grand Comic Operetta titled Cupid and the Ogre. There were two performances and the admission was 2/- and 1/6. In June the Church held its Annual Festival when the procession, headed by Holme Brass Band ,followed the still beautiful banner that had been in service for 25 years. They went up Town Gate, past the Church and down Outlane to the Deanhouse Institution where they sang hymns. Tea for the children and the villagers was supplied in the school yard by a large band of helpers and the day finished with dancing and games.
The first annual meeting of qualified electors of the Parochial Church Council was held in April in the National school with the Rev. H.Hind presiding. In addition to the vicar and the churchwardens, who were ex-officio members, the following were elected members of the Council for the ensuing year Mr.S.Butterworth ( lay representative ), Mrs. J.Hirst, Mrs.A.Dixon ( secretary ) and Messrs. B.Gill, C.S.Floyd, W.Horncastle, T.Turner, J.Hirst and C.Wood.
In November a Movement was set up by the Rev. Hind and the church wardens, J.Woodhead JP and H.Wilson, to raise funds by various activities for the purpose of cleaning, painting and decoration of the Church both inside and outside and also to improve the state of the churchyard. The first event was a Christmas Party held in the schoolroom. It was an entertainment given by the children of the infant classes of the day school under the charge of Miss Fanny Wilson and was very successful.
The first event in April 1923 was three performances of ” The Black Swan ” , a comic opera, which was held in the Church Sunday School to large audiences. The Express report enthused on the whole performance and listed the entire cast with Mr. T.Wood as the Black Squire. The other performers were Mr.C.Wood, Mr.H.Horncastle, Mr.W.Horncastle, Mr.Evelyn Barron, Mr.G.A.Wood, Mr.D.Hughes, Mr.B.Lockwood, Mr.E.Rusby, Mr.G.Charlesworth, Miss A. Mallinson, Miss E. Beaumont, MIss R.Dickinson and Miss M.Woodhead. They were supported by a tuneful chorus representing schoolgirls, schoolboys,sailors,smugglers etc. all gaily dressed. The orchestra comprised Messrs. P.Dixon, L.Ramsden, J.Hobblethwaite, T.Carter and F.Walker and Misses Beatrice Buckley and S.A.Brook.
The second event was the vestry meeting with the Rev.H.Hind presiding. Mr.J.Woodhead was elected as people’s warden & H.Wilson as the vicar’s warden. The elected sidesmen were W.Batley, C.S.Floyd, A.Dixon, S.Butterworth, J.Mallinson, G.Charlesworth, J.Goddard, H.Wimpenny, A.W.Wimpenny and G.Bailey, August was the time for the annual outing of the church choir who visited Beverley, conveyed in two charabancs supplied by Kilner & Brook.
The 44th. annual outing of the Church choir was in August 1924 and members visited Nottingham travelling in a 32 and 11 seater charabanc. For all of November the Sunday services had not been held owing to the church being closed due to cleaning, painting and redecoration of the sacred fabric and the overhauling and improvement of the organ by the addition of two new stops. During the closure the divine service had been conducted by the vicar in the Mission Room. It was re-opened early in December.
Mr.Arthur Pearson, Mus.Bac.( Oxon ) F.R.C.O., the Huddersfield Borough organist ,gave an organ recital in the Church in March 1925 to a large attendance. The following month the Sunday School teachers organised a concert in the National School with music by many well-known artistes.
I’ve given below details of the changes, repairs and improvements in the church from 1924 right through to 2003 in one complete section rather than to spread them out through this chapter by date.
In 1924, electric lights replaced the gas mantles on the standards and extensive alterations were made to the organ. In 1967 the church was designated as a building of special architectural and historic interest. The dry rot at the west end and in the gallery floor was eradicated in November 1970, and a side effect of the treatment was the creation of more light in the Baptistry alcove. The church was re-wired in March 1973. While the interior was being re-plastered in October 1974, they shared the Zion Chapel. After the re-decoration in January 1975, the Bishop of Pontefract held a service of Thanksgiving and Re-dedication in March. The original organ suffered from severe water damage and was replaced by a new free-standing organ designed by Mr.P.Wood . The pulpit was moved to the opposite side to preserve the symmetry of the interior. In December 1977 the choir pews were replaced by those from Castleford. In 1987 the original Georgian Font , which was installed with the building and replaced in the 1920’s , was found buried in the church yard : it was dug up and kept safe.
In March 2000, due to the demise of the choir and to create more space and light, the choir pews were removed and the chancel left as free space. The pulpit was also disposed off. The original Georgian font was brought back into use at Christening Services and the 1920’s font put into the church grounds. A freestanding Nave Altar and Credence Table were purchased at a cost of £5,500 in October 2000.
In January 2003 the church’s clock winding mechanism was electrified by the clock’s maker, “ Smiths of Derby“. On 7th. April 2003, a contract was signed to completely refurbish the West End by removing the west gallery and provide meeting rooms, storerooms, toilets and disabled facilities for the community. The cost of the alteration was in excess of £100,000. The church was re-dedicated on Sunday 27th. July 2003 by the Bishop of Wakefield, the Right Rev. Stephen Platten.
The 1928 parochial tea and entertainment took place in the National school and after tea the entertainment took the form of the ‘latest craze’ – a gramophone recital arranged and directed by Rushworth’s Ltd., Huddersfield. You will find reports of recitals and gramophone contests in a number of the chapters.
The following year the annual parochial tea and entertainment for the Church and day school was held on February and those attending were treated to a capital ham tea served by the ladies of the congregation. The evening’s entertainment was given by the scholars of both the day and Sunday schools.
In common with the other two churches in the village, the switch over to electricity in the church was a major event,To inaugurate the installation of electric light in the Parish Church School, an ” at home ” was held in the classroom in September 1929 with Mr.& Mrs. Gledhill as hosts. The opening ceremony of switching on the lights was performed by Mrs. J.P.Floyd of Roseleigh. Games, songs, a concert and supper were followed by dancing to the strains of the latest dance hall successes played by the Revellers Dance Band.
At the annual vestry meeting in 1926 there was no change of wardens. Rev. Hind re-appointed H.Wilson as his warden and J.Woodhead was re-elected as the people’s warden – the two of them had held these positions since 1919 and would still be carrying out the jobs in 1931.
In July 1927 the Church Choir held their annual outing and visited Cleethorpes in a charabanc and taxi provided by William Haigh. Quoting directly from the Express ‘ Netherthong was reached at 11.45 and lo and behold the friends who saw them off ‘were there to see them back’
The annual vestry meeting and parochial church council was held in 1928 with the Rev. Hind presiding. He re-appointed Mr.H.Wilson as his warden and the vestry re-appointed Mr.J.Woodhead J.P. as the people’ warden. The following sidesmen were appointed – Messrs. C.Floyd, W.Bailey, S.Butterworth, J.Mallinson, G.Charlesworths , H.Wimpenny, G.Bailey,J.Wilde, J.Woodhead and A.Moorhouse. The three ladies on the Church Council were Mrs.J.Hirst, Mrs.J.Jackson and Miss F.Wilson. In October, Mr.Harold Deaton was appointed verger in succession to Mr.T.Wood who was seriously ill. The Annual Sunday School party was held on New Year’s Eve when teachers, scholars and friends spent a pleasant time.
The Church Sunday School and in particular Miss Hallas were very busy in February/March 1930. First of all they organised a whist drive, supper and dance which attracted a large attendance. All the latest “hits ” were played by a band under the leadership of Miss Hallas. The next event was a carnival dance and , note the wording in the newspaper report, ” an efficient orchestra under the conductorship of Miss Hallas provided the music .”
The All Saint’s Centenary was celebrated in November with a very special gathering to mark the event. A public tea was provided which was followed by lots of entertainment, the highlight being a concert given by the Church School Amateur Operatic Society and the Netherthong Male Voice Choir. Services continued over several days when the Lord Bishop of Wakefield, Dr.Seaton, was the preacher in the morning with the Rev.A.Sephton, the vicar of Holmfirth, doing the honours in the evening. Subscriptions and donations totalled £371.
The Centenary Fund was swelled by profits from a series of events in December 1930. They were organised by Mrs.J.P.Floyd and Miss H.Floyd of Roseleigh along with members of the Mothers’ Union and included a Bridge party and afternoon tea, and a whist drive with supper and dancing.
The Parish Church Operatic Society organised a whist drive, supper and dance in January 1931 in aid of funds and the following month promoted their annual dance in the school with music by Miss Hallas, piano, and Mr.Knapton, violin. At the annual vestry meeting in April , the Rev.Hind appointed H.H.Wilson as warden and the vestry appointed Mr.J. Woodhead as parishioners’ warden. The following sidesmen were appointed. C.S.Floyd, W.Batley, S.Butterworth, G.Charlesworth, H.Wimpenny, G.Bailey, J.Wilde, J.Woodhead, A.Moorhouse, L.Mallinson, W.Denton and R.Ricketts. The same year the annual choir outing was to Blackpool.
The photo below ,dated 1932, shows a tableau of the Sunday school children.
The Annual Parochial tea and entertainment was revived in March 1935 after a lapse of eight years. An excellent meat tea wasprovided and the evening’sentertainment consisted of songs and one-act plays.
A photograph of the Parish Church Choir posing in front of their bus before their trip to Southport on July 26 1937. Some of the members were Doris Wood, Margaret Sykes, Marion Montgomery, Mary Dyson, Wilkie Horncastle and Harold Sykes
Church choir trip to Southport June 1937
In October 1938 a presentation was made to Albert Wimpenny who had been a member of the Church Choir for 50 years having first joined when he was 20. The Spring Fair was held in April 1939 and the opening ceremony, presided over by Mrs.Bradley, was performed by Mrs.Vernon Gledhill. The concert involved the Netherthong Male Voice Choir, conducted by Mr.A.Sanderson, dancing by the pupils of Mrs.Hirst and harmonica duets by Inspector Cooper and Mr.Hughes.
The annual Parochial Meeting was held in March 1940 with the Rev.S.Black in the chair. H.Wilson was re-elected as the Vicar’s Warden and Mr.C.Floyd was elected as people’s Warden. The following sidemen were elected. W.Batley,H.Wimpenny, G.Bailey, L.Mallinson, H.Wilson, H.McQue, F.Lockwood, J.Woodhead, B.Batley, H.Hoyle, R.Ricketts, J.Black, J.Scott and J.Rothery. Mr.Floyd was re-elected secretary of the Parochial Church Choir and J.Rothery confirmed as auditor. The elected members of the Church Council were W.Batley, H.Wimpenny, W.Horncastle, A.Wimpenny, B.Batley, H.Denton, H.McQue, G.Bailey, J.Wilde, A.Sanderson, J.Mallinson, W.Gledhill plus Mrs.Black, Mrs.Lockwood, Mrs. McQue, Mrs. Floyd, Mrs. Fallas and Misses S.Brook, S.Beaumont, H.Floyd, F.Wilson, M.Wimpenny and E.Dickinson.
The photograph below is of the Church choir outing to Buxton and Castleton on July 19 1941.
Church choir outing to Buxton on July 1941
Dated sometime in the 1940s the photograph of the Church choir with everybody in their ” Sunday best ” has the Rev. Black in the centre and the conductor, Arthur Sanderson, tucked away in the top right hand corner.
Church choir with the Rev. Black . 1940s ?
The Annual Vestry and Parochial Church meeting was held in April 1947. Winston Wood and Brook Batley were elected churchwardens, Mr. C.S.Floyd , secretary, and B.Batley, treasurer, were re-elected.The following were elected to serve on the committee. Messrs. W.Batley,B.Batley,G.Bailey,A.Dyson,C.S.Floyd,W.Gledhill, W.Horncastle, B.Lockwood,J.Rothery, J.Wilde, A.Wimpenny, H.Wilson, J.Woodhead, Eric Wood and Winston Wood. Mrs.Black,Miss Brook, Miss Dickinson,Mrs. Floyd, Mrs. Fallas, Mrs. W.Gledhill, Mrs. Horncastle, Miss R.Lockwood, Mrs.F.Lockwood,Mrs. Torr, Miss M. Wimpenny, Miss Wilson and Mrs. Winston Wood.
At the end of the year a Winter Fayre was held in the church in aid of the re-decoration fund. A snowstorm was raging as the Fayre opened. The photo below shows the heavy snowfall outside the church.
The Parochial tea and concert in February 1948 was of outstanding merit and among the artistes was the C.V.H. Quartet winners of the Blackpool Music Festival 1946-7.
In January 1949, the Festival of nine lessons and carols was held in the Church with the carols being sung by scholars of the Sunday school and Fred Lockwood as organist. The lessons were read by Rev.S.Black, Mr.J.Wilde, Masters William Wood and R.Brown and Misses M.Brierley, J.Walker and M.Hanwell. The collection in aid of St.Dunstan’s Hostel for the Blind raised £6.
A service was held in April for the declaration of the new Mothers’ Union banner with the service being taken by Rev.S.Black. He said that the Netherthong branch of the Mothers’ Union was founded on July 6 1912 by the late Mrs. J.Peel Floyd. 40 members were enrolled at the first meeting and six were still living – Mrs.Hoyle, Mrs.Taylor, Mrs.Albert Wimpenny, Mrs.Arthur Wimpenny, Mrs. Knutton and Mrs. Tom Wood. The first of the four ladies were still attached to the branch.
At the Annual party and prizegiving held in January 1950, there were three Sunday School teachers whose joint association with the school amounted to over 150 years – they were Mrs. Alice Fallas, Miss Mildred Wimpenny and Miss S.Brook. Miss Brook presented prizes for regular attendance and good conduct to Jean Walker, Ann Watson, Pamela Watson, Netta Watson, Margaret Hanwell, Margaret Brierley, Judith Stephenson, Frank Hanwell and Stanley Hanwell. Infant prizes were given to Leslie Bailey, Joyce Bailey and Susan Jones. The Parish Church Social Committee promoted the Children’s Fancy Dress dance in the day School later in the same month with music by The Music Makers Orchestra. The prizewinners were Margaret Hanwell, Anne Watson, Eileen James, Tony Littlewood, Peter Watson and Peter Mallinson. In November Mr. & Mrs. Vernon Gledhill organised a Whist drive, supper and dance in aid of church funds with music by Harry Beaver and his band. A fancy dress party in December took place in the Day School and the winners were Netta Watson, Joyce Bailey, Jean Shaw, Tony Littlewood, Alan Jones and Peter Preston. Incidentally 1950 was the first white Christmas for twelve years.
Master Robert Clough was appointed organist at the Church and began his duties on April 1st.in April 1951. Although he was only 14 years of age, he had been deputy organist at St.David’s Church in Holmbridge for the past year.
A Fancy-dress Party, connected with the Church, was held in the Day School and a large number of children attended in fancy dress. Prizes for best costumes were given in various age categories. Girls under 8 – Pat Kelly,Betty Power and Therese Napthine. Boys under 8 – Glynne Hoyle, Tony Rose and Christopher Wood. Girls over 8 – Jaqueline Hobson, Margot Swain, Pauline Littlewood and Mavis Addy. Boys over 8 – Bruce Dyson,Alan Jones and Tony Littlewood.
The last event of 1952 was a service of 9 lessons and carols held on December 28 and given by the Sunday School scholars. The lessons were read by Misses Joyce Addy, Mary Brierley, Anne Watson, Judith Stephenson and Masters Peter Brown and Thomas Scholfield.
The Annual Parochial tea in February 1953 attracted a large attendance and ” The Netherthongsters” presented an entirely new show.There was another large audience in July when the Male Voice Choir and Arthur Sanderson gave a concert. A Fancy Dress Party for the Sunday School was held in December and prizes for the under-8s were won by George Preece, Avril Kaye, Christopher Wood, Joyce Bailey and David Eggleton. The winners in the over-8 group were Pamela Watson, Carol Pell and Leslie Bailey. Other prizes were presented to Richard Storey, Susan Hinchliffe and Michael Taylor.
60 parishioners sat down for tea in the Day School in March 1954 to celebrate the Annual Parochial tea.In the evening the Sunday School Drama Group presented 3 one-act plays – ” Money makes a Difference “, ” I made you possible ” and ” A flat and a sharp “.They were presented by Mrs.C.Brown and the performers were Margaret Brierley, Maureen Ellis, Barbara Mallinson, Pat Preston, Judith Stephenson, Marie Turner, Anne Watson, Peter Brown, Peter Mallinson, Peter preston, Barry Lee, Thomas Scholfield and Peter Stangroom.
A few months later the church held its special Sunday School festival. Rev.S.Black was the preacher in the morning service and the Rev.P.Frost of New Mill preached at evensong. The organist for both services was Mr.R.Clough.
In July, before the start of the meeting of the Parochial Church Choir, a presentation was made to Mrs.H.Horncastle on behalf of the Church Council and parishioners. Rev.S.Black referred to the long service rendered to the church by Mrs. Horncastle as a member of the choir for over 44 years and he presented her with an inscribed onyx clock. The same month the choir went on their annual outing and visited Blackpool.
The Male Voice Choir paid their annual visit in November and rendered a much appreciated programme under the conductorship of Arthur Sanderson. The choir sang unaccompanied , with part songs and solos by Ronald Daniels ( tenor ) and Erin Garner ( bass ) accompanied on the organ by Mrs.E.Mortimer.
In February 1955, for the first time since before the war, it was possible for the church to provide a knife and fork tea for the parochial gathering and the attendance was much larger than had been expected. There was a full house for the concert in the evening – songs were provided by the Male Voice Choir under Arthur Sanderson and Mrs. J.Howarth and Mrs.F.Mellor contributed songs and duets. Mr.Stanley Wood gave trombone solos.
November 1955 was the occasion of the 125th. Anniversary of Consecration and the event was attended by a large number of former parishioners. The preacher at the morning service was the lay reader of the parish, Mr.H.Middlemist , and the Bishop of Pontefract preached at the evening service. Fred Lockwood was the organist. On the second day, the Lord Bishop of Wakefield was the preacher and the Rev.S.Black conducted the evening service with Mr.H.Robinson as organist.
In connection with the anniversary a bazaar was held in the Day School and gross takings amounted to £447. Rev.S.Black took the chair at the opening ceremony and he said that part of any proceeds would go to meet the heavy charges for dilapidation. The stalls were run by the men ( general goods ), Mothers’ Union ( plain and fancy needlework ), the Choir ( bottles ), Sunday School (cakes ), Oakland ( sweets and stationery ), Miss Parkman ( lucky stall ) and Mr.Preece ( bran tub ). Tea was provided by Miss A.Wilde and Mrs.J.Wilde.
At a meeting of the Parish Church Mother’s Union In June 1956 the enrolling member, Miss H.T.Floyd, was presented with a standard lamp and fire screen to mark the occasion of her marriage to the vicar, Rev.S.Black. The ceremony was held in Ripon Cathedral.
The Sunday School anniversary services were held in the same month. A large congregation was present for the Daisy Day service and the children took a leading role. Songs were sung by Netta Watson, Joyce Bailey, Brenda Roebuck, Ruth Wibberley, Pamela Watson, Anne Watson, Barbara Mallinson, George Preece, Robert Haigh, Glyn Haigh, Stuart Haigh and Stuart Lawson. Poems were recited by Susan Hinchliffe, Stephanie Hoyle, Joan Robinson, Anne Clarke, Janet Watson, Patsy Robinson, Ian Hoyle and Derek Longley.
In December there was a service of nine lessons and carols given by the Sunday School scholars and the choir. The lessons were read by the Rev.S.Black, Mr.R.Middlemist ( lay preacher ), Messrs. S.Horncastle and C.Dulling, Misses Barbara Mallinson, Patsy Robinson, Pamela Watson and Ann Watson interspersed with carols. A duet was sung by Brenda Roebuck and Ruth Wibberley and a trio by Stanley Haigh, Lynn Hoyle and Stephanie Hoyle. The organist was Mrs.W.Wood.
At the Annual Parochial Church meeting in April 1957, the retiring churchwardens, Mr.Winston Wood and Mr.Brook Batley, were re-elected. All the members of the church council were also re-elected en bloc. Mr.B.Batley and W.Gledhill were re-elected as treasurer and secretary respectively. The vicar in his report praised everybody for the loyal service and said ” I have never been more hopeful for the life of the church here than I have recently felt.”
The 1958 annual vestry and parochial church meeting was held in April. Winston W.Wood was appointed vicar’s warden and Mr.Brook Batley as people’s warden.The Church Council was re-elected with the substitution of Mrs. A.Fallas for Mrs. Watson. Mr.V.Gledhill resigned as secretary due to ill health. Rev.S.Black gave his report on the year.
In August 1958 the Rev. Sydney Black announced that he was to retire on October 31st. He had been ordained in 1929, serving his title at St.Mary’s, Rushden, Northants, and was instituted Vicar on January 23 1937. He was also Chaplain to St.Mary’s Hospital and acted in a similar capacity at Oaklands Home for the Blind. In his retirement he would continue to live in the parish and move to Mrs.Black’s former home at Roseleigh, Sands.
The Harvest & Thanksgiving services were held in October and the produce was distributed to the sick and aged patients at St.Mary’s Hospital and Oaklands Home for the Blind. December was the annual occasion of the nine lessons and carols service. There was a large congregation and the lessons were read by Miss Ann Swallow, Miss Pat Robinson, Mr.J.Preece, Mr.F.Ahl, Mr.M.Taylor, Mr.C.Dulling, Mr.W.Jones, Mr.W.Wood and Mr.H.Middlemist with Fred Lockwood as organist.
The Express reported in January 1959 that the Benefice of Netherthong which was made vacant by the resignation of the Rev.S.Black was to be filled by the Rev.Eric Lees Asquith, Curate of Hanging Heaton, Batley. He was 34 years old and married with a 16 month old daughter. He presided over the Annual vestry and parochial church meetings in April and he nominated W.Wood as his warden and Brook Bailey was re-elected people’s warden. A few days later a welcome was given to him and his wife in the Day School. Mr.W.Wood presided and introduced him to those attending. Other speakers were R.Middlemist, the lay reader, and W.Horncastle, senior member of the choir. During the evening the Male Voice Choir gave a selection of songs and refreshments were served by the ladies of the church.
The Rev.L.Asquith presided at the annual parochial meeting in February 1960 . Mr.V.Lawton was nominated the vicar’s warden and Mr.B.Batley continued as the people’s warden. The following sidesmen were elected – Messrs. G.Bailey, A.Stangroom,P.Stangroom,A Taylor, M.Taylor, K.Lockwood, E.Lockwood, W.Gledhill and W.Lax.
The parochial tea in October was followed by a concert given by members of the Bible Class and Sunday School. The performers were : Joyce Bailey, Susan Hinchliffe, Judith Swallow, Stephanie Hoyle, Jennifer Charlesworth, Anne Clarke, Eileen Charlesworth, Lynn Mallinson, Sharon Simmons, Maria Buck, Lilian Buck, Angela Sykes, Dorcas Tinker, Carolyn Jepson, George Preece, Harold Preece, Michael Parker, Richard Parker, Michael Tinker, James Dulling, Peter Dulling and John Jenson. The compere was Mrs.A. Fallas and the pianist was Mrs.B. Dakin.
In 1962 there was a split between the vicar and his parishioners, which had originated in his refusal to join with the Zion Church in the Annual United Schools Festival held in June, and which by September had shown no sign of being healed. Because Mr.Fred Lockwood, the voluntary organist, had not agreed to the vicar’s request to have nothing to do with the school festival he was suspended by the vicar who also suspended Mr.William Horncastle, a member of the choir for 50 years. Some time later Mr.Lockwood had been asked by the family of the late Mr. W. Batley to play the organ at the funeral of Mr.Batley, a life-long friend with whom he had served for many years on the Holmfirth UDC. The vicar refused to allow him to play.
In the Parish Magazine for September, the vicar gave notice of the Harvest Festival to be held in October and said that gifts of fruit and vegetables but not flowers would be most welcome. He had imposed the same ban in 1961 but some parishioners had ignored it and had sent flowers to decorate the church. This year he was determined to enforce the ban and this would mean that there would be no flowers to distribute to the sick and aged of the Parish, a custom that had been carried out for over a century. Reports of these problems had appeared in the national newspapers. Instead of the usual large congregation at the Harvest Thanksgiving service, there was just a handful of people present and no music was played. No one sent flowers and only a few sent fruit and vegetables. When the vicar left the church after the Eucharist he locked the church door and, at the gate, passed a number of parishioners waiting to board the bus to Wilshaw to attend their church festival. Mr.Lockwood had also driven past taking parishioners to Wilshaw. Perhaps not suprisingly the Zion Harvest festival attracted a much larger than normal congregation and their church was decorated with an abundance of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Since Mr.Lockwood had been suspended in June there had been no music at any of the services and few parishioners had attended. On one occasion there was only one other person than the vicar present. The Express gave no further reports on the church that year.
In the February 1963 issue of the Parish magazine, the Reverend Eric Asquith wrote ” I have some very serious words to say this month. I know fully well that there are people in this parish whose dearest wish is that I should cease to be its vicar. There is a real possibility that their wish will be granted and that I shall be unable to administer the parish for very much longer because of lack of support …… if I should be compelled to move, the parish will not be given another priest in my place. It is only being kept in existence by my continued presence and by the support of a faithful few ….. if I leave Netherthong it will be to find a more rewarding sphere in which to exercise my priesthood …. what can be done to save the life of this parish …. the first is increased attendance and the second is increased financial support …. now I have placed the challenge before you and I will only add that if you are going to respond you must do it quickly. ” For whatever reasons the Express did not report on any activities relating to the Church for the remainder of 1963.
It wasn’t until September 1964 that the first mention of the vicar’s name occured in the paper and it concerned a wedding in the Church of Miss Christine Parson, oldest daughter of Mr.& Mrs. Cecil Parsons of Leas Avenue. The Rev. Asquith officiated and Mr.Leo Grant was the organist. The only other report for the year was at the Service of Remembrance and Wreath Laying on November 8th. when he conducted the Memorial Service. As all the information from the Express for the whole of 1966 was not put onto microfilm, one has no way of knowing what developments relating to the Church occured during that year.
In July 1968 the Church was full to capacity for the institution and induction of the new vicar, Rev. Frank Lord. He was a married man with one son and had been vicar of Holy Rood, Swinton, for the previous 18 years. Mrs.Lord was unable to be present as she had fallen in the vicarage earlier that day and had dislocated her shoulder. The congregation included about 100 parishioners from Swinton, neighbouring clergy and representatives from various organisations and local bodies as well as parishioners from many adjoining areas. The institution was by the Bishop of Wakefield, Rt. Rev.Eric Treacy and the induction was by the Archbishop of Halifax, the Ven.John Field Lister. The organist was Mr.Jarvis. During the serving of refreshments, after his induction, the new Vicar entered the schoolroom with a bucket and said ” There is not a hole in my bucket but there is a hole in my gallery ” recounting that dry rot was affecting the gallery of the church and which would cost £350 to eradicate. His appeal realised £15. He officiated at his first wedding the following month when Miss Pamela Mary Hirst of Leas Avenue was married to Mr.Robinson of Paddock.
In May 1969 the Parish Youth Club invited all the pensioners of the parish to tea in the day room and 50 sat down to a beef and ham tea served by members of the Club. The evening entertainment was given by the Male Voice Choir,
The photograph below is from the 1970s and is of the opening of the Parish Church autumn fair. It shows from l to r : Bridget Taylor, Mrs. Marlene Capstick ( Vicar’s wife ), Mrs. Emily Sykes who opened the fair, Lucy Burns and Mr. John Wilson, warden.
Opening of the Parish Church autumn fair 1970s
At the church’s annual meeting in April 1972, the Rev. Capstick announced that the second stage of the church renovation was due to begin and that a £500 bequest from Miss M.Eastwood, a former inhabitant of the village, would be used to repair several windows. Mr.V.Lawton and Mr.K.Kettlewell were re-elected churchwardens. Mr. Kettlewell was also elected treasurer and Mr.J.Wilkinson secretary. Mrs. M.Ellis, Miss R.Lockwood and Mr.J.Wilson were re-elected to serve on the parochial church council and new members elected were Mrs. S.Gledhill, Mrs.S.Kettlewell and Mr.C.Bradbury. The vicar reported that there had been nine baptisms and 10 weddings at the church during 1971. The electoral roll was made up of 75 names.
The photograph below is dated 30 September 1972 and shows members of the re-formed choir wearing their new robes. This new choir was reformed in March 1971 after a period of several years when there had been no church choir in the village, and numbered 20 members although the choirmaster Mr.C.Bradbury was continually on the look-out for more male choristers. The junior members wore scarlet cassocks with white surplices, the women wore black with white jabots and the men black cassocks with white surplices. Their musical accompaniment was supplied by Mr.E.Mosley, Mr.L.Robinson, Mrs.W.Greeves, Mrs.J.Hiles and Mrs. R.Shaw.
At the end of the year past and present members of the choir joined together at the evensong service to celebrate the church’s patronal festival. They sang the church’s own hymn ” For all the Saints.”Two children , Paul Anthony Senior and Sally Elizabeth Hobson were baptised. At the annual meeting in 1971, Mr.V.Lawton and Mr. K.Kettlewell were re-elected Churchwardens. Mrs.E.Hinchliffe and Mrs.E.Lawton were re-elected to serve on the Parochial Church council along withMrs.M.Sykes, a new member. A key item from the Rev. J.Capsticks’s report was that dry rot had been eradicated from the gallery.
In January 1973 the Bishop of Wakefield, the Right Rev. Eric Treacy was the Celebrant and preacher at the Family Communion Service. Some 50 people heard him speak, and received communion. Sally Horne was baptised at the Baptism service. The August Garden Party at the Vicarage attracted a large crowd and teas were served on the lawn. The fancy dress awards were won by Peter Kettlewell and Ann Capstick and £57 was raised for funds.
An augmented choir, conducted by R.Daniel, gave a sensitive rendering of Steiner’s ‘Crucifixion’ in the Church in April 1974. The soloists were Mr.B.Daniel, Mr.J.Daniel and Mr.L.Armitage and the organist was Mr.K.Jarvis. The previous month, the church treasurer had a bright idea for raising money which was to buy an animal to replace one of the thousands that had died during the recent drought in North Africa. He discussed the idea with Mr.Derek Hudson, who was a reporter on the recent Christian Aid Relief Expedition to the Sahara region. The price of a camel was fixed at £20 and Christine Kettlewell drew the outline of a camel and pinned it up in the church. It was divided into 200 sections and people were invited to give 10p or more. For every 10p a section was shaded in until the camel was complete and the purchasing price was raised. The Express reported that thanks to the publicity and enthusiastic support round the village the money was raised in under a month.
The Annual Christmas Social for 1975 was held in the Day school. There was whist for the older members, disco for the young folk , dancing for everyone and a pea and pie supper. The winners for the whist were Mrs. German, Miss Wimpenny, Mrs. Sykes, Mrs. Fallas, Mrs. Robson, Mrs. Gledhill, Mrs. Laycock and Gary Searby.
The installation of a new organ was a great moment for the church and in January 1976 the Express published a detailed report and attached a photo of the Rev.J.Capstick with the new organ in place in the church. The old instrument was built by the Huddersfield firm of Peter Conacher and Co. in 1871 and for many years had been in bad repair. Right up to the end it was a pleasing organ to listen to but the cost of renovating its mechanism was too great. It was replaced by a small neo-classical organ, freestanding in the church’s nave. Although the whole of the electrical mechanisms were new, use was made of a variety of second-hand non-mechanical parts. The organ builder was a local man, Philip Wood and he scored high creating an organ of individuality.The new organ was actually played for the first time on December 27 1975. It was used in the evening service of nine lessons and carols and the service was recorded on tape for a hospital broadcast in the New Year. The soloists were Josephine Taylor, Andrew Gill, Mandy Wickham, Mandy Bower, Francis Wilson, Nigel Dearnley, Simon Anderson, Christopher Capstick and Peter Kettlewell. Miss Anne Wilson provided guitar accompaniment. The lessons were read by Andrew Gill, Mandy Wickham, Peter Kettlewell, Charles Bradbury ( choirmaster ), Mandy Tinker, Nigel Dearnley, Josephine Taylor, Christine Kettlewell and the vicar, the Rev. J.Capstick. The organist was Keith Jarvis.
A new youth group was formed in April 1976 and would be known as the Netherthong Parish Church Choir Youth Group. Mr.Charles Bradbury, choirmaster at the church, started the club and said that for the time being, until they get established, meetings would be held on the last Friday in every month.A young people’s committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mrs.M.Sykes and the members were – Miss J.Taylor ( treasurer ), Miss S.Whitaker ( secretary ), Miss S.Wilson, Master P.Kettlewell, Master N.Dearnley and Master A.Gail. At the first meeting they played badminton, table-tennis and other games.
The 1976 AGM was held on April 16. Mr.V.Lawton and Mr.K.Kettlewell were re-elected as church wardens. Mrs. J. Rothwell and Mr.H.Laycock were re-elected to the Church Council and Mr. T.Beaumont was nominated to fill the position vacated by Mr.K.Jarvis who had asked to stand down. The Deanery Synod representatives were Mrs.E.Lawton and Mr.K.Kettlewell.The treasurer reported on a reasonably successful financial year with a balance of £300 to carry over but this would be absorbed by the higher Diocesan Quota. The Rev. J.Capstick mentioned the development of the Mothers’ Union, a new Server’s Group and the Church Youth Fellowship.
The amusing story below appeared in the parish magazine in 1976 and the two young girls referred to, Nicola and Rebecca, were members of the Church.
1976 Rebecca Helliwell & Nicola item put in Parish Magazine
A musical evening was held in the Church in June, when a group of children sang a selection of songs. Peter Kettlewell sang a solo and Mr. Alf Boothroyd and his youthful ensemble of Helen Wood, Claire Charlesworth, Denise Edinbore and JonathanWhitaker played favourite hymn tunes. Nigel Dearnley and Nicola Stables played guitars, Helen Charlesworth and Sarah Whitaker played clarinet with Jean McRina on piano. The programme also included verse reading and Deborah Peebles, Susan Mullinger, Emma Blackburn and Denise Edinboro played recorders. Martin Hirst played on the new church organ and the programme was introduced by Mrs. Whitaker.
Later that year in November 1976, members and friends of Huddersfield Organists’ Association were entertained at the Church. Keith Jarvis, lecturer in organ at Huddersfield School of Music, had been a member of the church since he came to the Huddersfield area about ten years ago and was largely responsible for the ideas behind the new organ. The instrument built by Philip Wood was ably demonstrated by Mr. Jarvis who chose to play extracts from a variety of pieces – rather than whole works – in order to show off the striking variety of such a small instrument. Afterwards members were invited to try the organ for themselves. The church held its annual flower service in July 1977 when the Flower Queen, Michelle Hutson, was attended by Caroline Day and Donna Heppenstall. Lessons were read by Michelle and choir members, Alan Sykes, Richard Bywater and Josephine Taylor. Four months later the school hall was full for the Parish Bazaar which was opened by Mrs. Lax and raised £374 . The raffle prizes were won by Mr.Blackburn, Matthew Day and Mr. Thewks and among the helpers were Mrs. Minnie Taylo, Mrs. Agnes Campbell, Mrs. Alice Fallas, Mrs. Alice Wilkenson and Mrs. Irene Jones. And for something different a face lift was given to the church grounds in April 1978 thank to three workers from the Job Creation Scheme who cleared the approach to the church and tidied and cleaned the land to the side and back. A sunny day in June with clear blue skies helped to make the Vicarage garden party a great success. Many villagers turned out and the stalls and sideshows did a brisk trade. The entertainment was given by pupils of Brockholes Junior School who performed a gymnastic display.The winners of the Fancy Dress competition were Stephen Wilkinson, Sally Hobson, Mark Shuttleworth, Caroline Day, Richard Bywater and Anne Capstick with the raffle winners being Charlotte Mitchell and Mrs. J.Hellawell.
Singers from the church entertained members of the Holmfirth Branch of OAP Federation in September 1978. The group included Mrs. Kettlewell, Christine & Peter Kettlewell, Mrs. Wilson and Frances Wilson and they were accompanied by three other church members playing guitar.
The Vicarage Party held in July 1979 was enjoyed by a large crowd and around £40 was raised. As usual, fancy dress featured and the winners were Helen Wilkinson, Michelle Hutson and Andrew Hutson and the Netherthong Junior school brass ensemble played selections of songs. Later in November the Autumn Fayre was a great success and about £330 was raised for Church funds. One of the popular attractions was the cake stall as Mrs. Kathleen Woffenden’s cakes were much sought after. She is in the centre of the photograph below, on her left is Caroline Verity, of Almondbury, who opened the Fayre and on her right is Mrs. Edith Hincliffe.
The programme of the time-table of events for the 150th. Anniversary Celebrations is shown below.
The celebrations for the 150th. Anniversary were spread over September, October and November with many events planned. One feature was the production of souvenir plates – these plates were 8″ and gold-rimmed and depicted the church in the centre with the words” All Saints,Netherthong, 1830-1980 ” round the edge. The original order of 100 sold out very quickly and a second batch was ordered. The photo below shows Mrs. Sheila Gledhill displaying one of the plates.
Mrs.Sheila Gledhill also appears in the following photograph with Mrs.Joyce Rothwell admiring one of the flower arrangements by Meltham Flower Club which was used to decorate the Parish Church over the weekend for the beginning of the celebrations.
The photo below shows Helen and Stephen Wilkinson looking at the flower arrangements for the celebrations.
A choirboy made his own special contribution to the celebrations when he wrote to the Queen. Twelve-year old Richard Bywater wrote telling Her Majesty about the church’s 150 year old celebrations and received a reply from Balmoral. A copy of the reply was put on display in the church.
Past and present members of All Saints Church Choir got together for a reunion as part of the anniversary celebrations – see photo below. Thanks to Juliet Hendrick for supplying me with the following information in April 2016. Her grandparents, Vernon and Elsie Lawton , are in the centre of the photo either side of the lady with the black jacket. Their daughter, Cynthia, is the mother of Juliet.
At the Netherthong mothers’ union 70th. birthday party in October 1983, the special guest of honour was Mrs. Emily Sykes, 92, who had been a member for 50 years, Celebrations began with a thanksgiving by the Rev.J.Capstick and the organist was Mr.K.Jarvis. Afterwards a party was held in the Zion chapel when Mrs. Sykes was presented with a special cerificate and a pot plant by enrolling member Mrs. Joyce Rothwell. A birthday cake baked by Mrs.Kathleen Woffenden and iced by Hazel Hird was cut and distributed. The photo below shows Mrs.Sykes and other mothers’ union members.
The possible creation for a parish room had been first discussed in the late 1970s and in September 1982 members of the parochial church council met the diocesan surveyor Mr.Gerald Wood to discuss options. It was hoped to provide a meeting room with toilets and a kitchen as in the past the church had held functions in the village school. The vicar, the Rev. John Capstick said that they had used the day school for so long but expenses were going up all the time and it would be nice to have their own little room.
In March 1983 the Agbrigg Area Development sub- committee ruled that a house in the village could be turned into a church meeting room even though it was in a Conservation Area. The councillors did specify some restrictions, one of which was that it could only be used up to 10p.m. and people using it must not be too noisy. The house selected was No.2 Outlane which had been owned by Mr.& Mrs.Pell and it was bought for £6,000. The church council launched a £10,000 appeal fund. Two memorial gifts help boost the funds and numerous organisations ran events and many people gave furniture and equipment to the cottage. The two photographs show the new parish centre before the conversion and a group of helpers at a bric-a-brac and book sale in September which raised £100.
Work on the conversion was mainly carried out by voluntary labour and the photograph below shows Mr.& Mrs. Martin Woodhead with their two- month-old daughter, Susannah, the Rev. John Capstick and Mrs.D.Horncastle taking a break from work.
On October 1984 the conversion had been completed with the building consisting of a downstairs room suitable for small groups, a kitchen and a first floor room capable of seating at least 50. The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt.Rev. Colin James with the Rev. J.Capstick dedicated the parish centre. The three photographs show them standing outside the centre surrounded by parishioners. The centre was in immediate use with a local playgroup meeting four times a week and a mother and toddler group on one afternoon.The Senior Citizens Club, the Mother’s Union, the Sunday School were other regular users.
A successful year was reported at the annual meeting in April 1983.The Rev. J.Capstick said there had been a slight increase in congregations and baptisms and paid a special tribute to Kenneth Kettlewell who had died during the year. Last year the church had met all its financial obligations but this year expenses had increased dramatically. Elected were : V.Lawton and J.Wilson, wardens : J.Wilkinson, secretary :J.Taylor, treasurer : F.Ainley, D.Green and N.Taylor, sidesmen and S.Kettlewell,T.Beaumont, D.Green and D.Horncastle, PCC members.
Gillian Salter, senior choir girl, won the Bishop’s Chorister award in October 1985. She was 14, a pupil at Holmfirth High School and daughter of Mr. & Mrs. John Salter of Wells Green Gardens – see photo.
The Annual autumn fair, held in October 1986, was held in Holmfirth Methodist Church and was a great success. About £500 was raised. The photos below show bargain hunters and tea drinkers.
In November the Bishop of Pontefract, the Right Reverend Richard Hare, helped to celebrate the Parish Church patronal festival. He dedicated two new altar candlesticks in memory of a former churchwarden, Vernon Lawton.
In the same month a concert was held in the Church and over £70 was raised. In the photograph below were Sgt. Peter Tempest, Catherine Sykes, Catherine Ellis, Anne Alderston and the Rev.John Capstick.
And now for something completely different. In June 1987 six couples competed in a Mr.& Mrs. Contest at the Junior School. Each couple was presented with a Royal Wedding commemorative dish. The Rev.and Mrs.J.Capstick were the winners and they were presented with Royal Wedding goblets. Mrs. Sandra Gledhill won a bottle of sherry in the raffle. In the photograph pictured from the left were : scorer Mrs.Y.Hutson, hostess Mrs.R.Muff, quiz master Mr.David Hutson, Mr.& Mrs. Scholfield, Mr. & Mrs.Priestley, Mr.& Mrs. Lawton, Mr.& Mrs.Hird, the Rev. and Mrs. Capstick and Mr.& Mrs. Battye.
The photograph below shows the Rev.J.Capstick receiving a R.I.B.I. Community Service Award.
I have not got a date for the photograph below that shows members of the choir in the church. I’m guessing circa 1990s.
Another superb photograph from the 1990s? showing the Rev.John Capstick seated on the floor surrounded by some of his parishioners. Standing at the back from L to R. Bob Whitehead, Mr.Rostron, John Taylor, Jennifer Wilkinson, Margaret Rattigan. Seated from L to R. Anon, Sheila Gledhill, Mrs.Lawton, Joyce Rothwell, Yvonne Hutson, Margaret Sykes.
The Rev. John Capstick told me that the item he was holding was a “gift tray “. Surrounding him from L to R were Joyce Rothwell, anon, John Taylor, Bob Whitehead, Edith Lawton, anon, Christine Whitehead.
I’ve shown below the covers of three brochures issued by the Church. The first one is titled ” 150 years of History “. It has a green cover, the pages are typed and it was written by John Capstick, the Vicar in 1979. The second one, celebrating 175 years, has been professionaly printed with a high gloss cover featuring the main door to the Church. It uses much of the information in the earlier issue and was organised by Geoff Banks , Vicar. The final item is in the form of a triptych and is called ” A Vision for the Future 2011/2012 ” by the Rev. Nick Heaton, Vicar.
150 years of History of All Saints.
175 years of History
A Vision for the Future 2011/2012
Although church attendances continue to drop there will always be a number of committed churchgoers with strong attachment to the Parish Church. The following article appeared in 2016 in the free local community news and I quote it as printed : ” A group of Holme Valley residents are doing everything in their power to raise funds for their local church. The committee of All Saints Church has come together to provide a solution to paying for the church’s repairs. Committee member Roseanne Meakin said ‘ we’ve been trying to raise money for years, and had a special meeting earlier this year so we could think of ways to raise money, There’s lots of repairs that need doing, it was built in the 1830’s and it’s a really old church. There’s plaster that’s crumbling off the walls, the drains need doing, there’s so much.”
The group has decided on providing locals with an afternoon of cream teas, and is aiming to promote the place of worship, getting more people through the church doors. Roseanne said ” We are Christians and it would be nice if people felt that the church was the focal point of the village, people will make you welcome here. We even have a hall that’s available to hire for a very small fee.” The event will take place on Saturday , July 9 at 3pm., a raffle is on offer to guests with a chance to win an abundance of prizes from local businesses. Roseanne added ‘ We’re doing a raffle as well, and we’ve had some really nice prizes donated from businesses in Holmfirth . Bengal Spice has given us a gift voucher, people have really been generous, not one person has said no.” The keyword in the Church is Community with efforts directed in creating a multi purpose space in the village – see brochure .
The first activity was to organise a Community Fete on Saturday, September 7th. 2019 – see Invitation.
The Fete was very successful and raised £1,452 which was put towards the upkeep of the church. See report and photographs.
The photograph below is of the same building as those above but this time as a private dwelling 140 years after it was built as a Church. In January 2013 it was on the market for sale at £725,000.
The local newspapers used different names for the Church in their reports over the years and I have recorded them as printed. First was the Netherthong Wesleyan Reform Church, commonly called the Reformers, which became the United Methodists before ending as the Netherthong Zion Methodist Free Church. The Church was established in the 1850s by Wesleyan Reformers who seceded from the Deanhouse Wesleyan Methodist Church. They initially used a weaving shed in Giles Street for their worship and their scholars attended Sunday School in the school in Miry Lane on alternate Sundays with the Wesleyan Church scholars but this system did not work very well. The Reformers continued to hold their Sunday School in Miry Lane after the Wesleyan school left in 1861. In January 1868 they held their annual tea party when a large number sat down to an excellent tea. This was followed by a public meeting in the preaching room presided over by Mr.H. Dearnley. In July of the same year, the Anniversary of the Reformers was held in the open air at Brook’s Fold with the Rev.W.Affleck giving sermons in the afternoon and evening to a large congregation of over 200 on both occasions. The scholars sang their hymns beautifully and the conductor was John Sykes. There was also a band of musicians and several fiddlers in attendance.The collections came to £7. The Annual meeting the following year followed the same format when a ” goodly number ” sat down to an excellent tea, followed by a public meeting which was addressed by Rev. W.Affleck and Messrs. E.Booth, J.Wadsworth, W.McNish, H.Thorpe and others. Some of the teachers and scholars gave a dramatic piece called ‘The finding of Moses.’
The Huddersfield Weekly Examiner carried the following public notice in their issue for August 28 1869. A Bazaar of Fancy & Useful Articles in connection with the United Methodist Church is to be held in the Town School on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the 27,28,29 of September. Bazaar to be opened on Monday at 11am and 2pm on the Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission 1/- on Monday, Tuesday 6d and free on Wednesday. Tea will be provided in the school each day at 9d. Contributions will be thankfully received by Messrs. H.Sykes, H.Buckley, N.Hobson, H.Dearnsley and Miss Boothroyd. Proceeds will be devoted to the New Chapel Fund. The report in the paper said the Bazaar had been an unusual occurrence in the village as nothing of the kind had ever taken place there before. The school had been beautifully decorated and the following ladies had presided at the various stalls – Mrs. Sykes, the misses Boothroyd, the misses Buckley, Miss Hobson and Miss Carter, Miss Dearnley and Miss Shore, Miss Kippax, misses Sykes and Mr.Hobson. Tea was served by the misses Dytches and Mrs. Platt. Total receipts were £83.
The new Zion chapel was built at the bottom of Giles Street and was opened on August 15 1872 for divine worship. The total cost was £900 and a large proportion had already been received.The lower story of the building was to be used for a school, vestry and a residence for the chapel keeper. In the interior of the chapel were neat open pews with seats for the choir , a large pulpit at the top end and a harmonium for the choir.The chapel was large enough to accommodate nearly 400 persons. The opening ceremonies started with a service where the sermon was preached by the Rev.Marmaduke Miller of Huddersfield and afterwards a party was held for about 300 people and the collections came to £17 11s.
The friends, teachers and scholars met in the schoolroom on Whit Monday, June 1879, and accompanied by the Netherthong Philharmonic Band followed their usual processional route round the village before returning to the schoolroom for tea. Afterwards they adjourned to a field and spent about two and a half hours in innocent games. Two days later the annual teacher’s meeting was held and the secretary, Mr.C.E.Dearnley, read a very satisfactory report. All the officers were re-elected. The Annual tea and meeting for the Sunday School for 1882 was held in the November. After the tea the meeting was presided over by Mr.H.Dearnley and Messrs. N.Hobson, S.Sykes and Jonas Hobson gave addresses and, at intervals, the Philharmonic Band rendered selections of music. Mr. Sanderson performed a solo on the concertina and the speech byJonas Hobson was given in rhyme which convulsed the audience with laughter. The Shrove Tuesday public tea in 1883 was given and presided over by the young ladies and about 130 enjoyed a good repast. After tea everyone adjourned to the Chapel where the young ladies gave a series of songs. The highlight was ” Home Sweet Home ” sung by four very young children – Mary Sykes, Miriam Ricketts, Alice Newell and Ann Senior,
A public tea was held in the school in August 1877 when about 100 people attended and after the tea there was a meeting in the chapel presided over by Mr.William Sykes, who gave a statement of income and expenditure for the last four years.There was still a debt of £125 remaining on the chapel. A musical service was given in the church on September 26 1885, in connection with the organ opening . There was a large attendance and a capital programme. Mr.Pearson, the organist at Holmfirth Parish Church, presided at the organ . Services were held on the following day with Mr.Hardisty of Huddersfield on the organ and collections were taken in aid of the fund for clearing off the outstanding debt on the organ of £60-70 and a further £7 18s 7d. was raised.
The anniversary of the Church was celebrated in October 1887 when a public sandwich tea was provided for about 160 people. The musical service in the evening was given by the Brunswick Street Chapel Choir from Huddersfield.
In April 1888, the United Methodist Free Church ( UMFC ) singing class presented John Hobson the choirmaster with a handsome writing desk inscribed “ presented to Mr.John Hobson by the members of the singing class, UMFC, Netherthong April 1888 “
The British & Foreign Bible Society meeting was held in the school with Rev. Arthur Barlow in the chair.
On Boxing Day 1901 over 200 people sat down to the Annual tea party. The children’s concert filled the school room to its utmost capacity.
In November 1902 Mr.Lewis Mellor of Liverpool opened a 2-day sale of work in the schoolroom. The sales realized £61 3s 1d.
The men held their annual tea and entertainment in March 1904 with 100 people attending. Later in the same month, on a Monday night, a social was held in connection with the choir. Mr. Arthur Sykes presented Mr. J.Hobson ( see also above in 1888 ) with a handsome marble timepiece with two bronze ornaments in recognition of his services as choirmaster for a period of over 31 years. Mr.J.Charlesworth was appointed the new choirmaster.
The Church party consisting of 78 teachers, scholars and members of the congregation paid a visit to Wharncliffe Craggs and the trip was made in Mr.Walter Haigh’s four-in-hand and char-a-banc. They had a lovely picnic on arrival and wandered round for several hours before returning home.
The following photograph was taken outside the Zion Church and is marked ” Peace Celebration Netherthong July 1919″. The group of men and one woman contain many soldiers and one sailor.
The invitation card below was issued by the Church as part of the Peace Celebration.
Posters were displayed in February 1924 throughout the district with the following message.
“ Are you satisfied With the World, Society, Churches, Yourself.
True Satisfaction can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Do you agree? Then join the Crusade Services at Wesleyan Methodists and Free Churches throughout the Valley from February 16-29.”
The Zion Church held a Welcome Meeting on Saturday, Feb.16th. at 6.30pm, a Womens Meeting on Tuesday at 3pm. and Crusade Services every evening at 7.30pm.
The famous handbell ringers, Crosland Moor United Handbell Ringers, paid a visit to the Church in March and the hall was packed.
In this modern age when we are very blase about all the high tech equipment available to us, this report from June 1924 might be cause for a wry smile. That month, electric light was installed in the Church and they held a special day marking the switching on of the modern light by Walter Gledhill of Well House. The installation had been partly carried out by Frank Potter of Deanhouse. A public tea followed the service.
The next month was the occasion of the annual egg and flower services. Gifts of 318 eggs and a large number of flowers were presented to the Deanhouse Institution and the Holmfirth Memorial Hospital. In the same month about 30 members of the Church choir held their annual outing and travelled to Chester by charabanc.
In November they held their annual prize distribution in connection with the Sunday School and books were handed out to the successful scholars. Recitations were rendered by Frank Moorhouse, Carrie Buckley, Violet Tinker, Walter Hallas, Winnie Sykes, Marjorie Buckley, Arthur Sykes, Dorothy Ricketts, Irene Walker, Cecil Hoyle, Mabel Sanderson, John Walker and Cedric Bray. The year ended with a celery tea and the children’s annual concert.
The Sunday School anniversary in May 1925 attracted a large congregation with hearty singing and effective appeals from the Rev.W.Mold of Parkwood. There were three services during the day and all the children took part. In the same month the celebrated handbell ringers of Crosland Moor paid their 3rd. visit to the Church and rendered selections at both the afternoon and evening services. £32 was raised for the electric lighting scheme. The annual egg and flower service was held in July and resulted in 250 eggs and a fine display of flowers. Afterwards they were distributed to the sick of the district and patients at the Memorial Hospital.
In January 1926, Mr.Wilfred Whitely of Huddersfield delivered his popular lecture “ Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol “. W. Charlesworth was in the chair with Frank Porter on the organ. The following month the Rev.A.Sharman , thecircuit minister, gave a lantern lecture onhis 25 years as a missionary in China. April was the occasion of the Sunday School anniversary services and the services were conducted by Miss P.Hutton of Huddersfield Salvation Corps.
Three months later 30 members of the choir visited Southport for their annual outing and they travelled in one of Messrs. Kilney & Brooks charabancs. Among the highlights of their trip was listening to the famous Marsden Colliery Band and watching motor racing on the sands where over 100 cars competed. The following year 26 members of the choir had a day’s outing to Blackpool.
There was a large advert in the Express for a Grand Sale of Work on March 26 1927 to be opened at 3pm. by Coun. Herbert Brook. Admission by ticket or at the door 6d. Programmes now on sale at 2d. Ladies & Gents Stalls. Tea Room. Many attractions including concerts by star artistes. It ended as follows- ” Come in crowds and have a good time. Proceeds for the Renovation and Decoration Fund”. The event was very successful and £100 was raised.
The Chapel Anniversary in September was conducted by the circuit minister, Rev. A.H.Sharman. He mentioned Mrs.Always, a valued member of the church, who had recently passed away aged 71 years.
The Rev. Frank Chambers, O.B.E., formally a well-known Fartown football player and Northern Union referee, paid a visit in March 1928 and gave a lecture on ‘other people, other manners’. It was largely based on his experiences as an Army Chaplain during the European War. The audience were engrossed for the whole ninety minutes. The same month the young people associated with the school presented a children’s operetta ‘ Fairies of the Golden Dawn’ which was very successful and the performance was repeated at the Deanhouse Institution for the benefit of the inmates. For their annual trip in August 28 members of the choir travelled to Scarborough.The re-decoration of the Sunday School was completed in December 1928 and special services were held to mark the re-opening. The work had been carried out by J.Batley & Sons of Netherthong.
February 1929 saw a Grand Concert held in the schoolroom by Mrs.C.Butlin’s Party & Church choir. Entry price was 1/- for adults and 6d for children.
The long service that Mr.J.W.Charlesworth had rendered to the Church , where he had just completed 25 years service as choirmaster, was recognised in March 1929 when he was presented with a gold hunter watch. A large company , presided over by Mr.Alfred Buckley , was present and many speeches were made.
39 members and friends of the Church choir enjoyed their annual trip when they visited Bridlington in August.
To persuade and inform the villagers about the versatilty of the new “electrics” a display of Electrical Appliances was given in the school room in September 1930. Among the special features was a display of up-to-date wash boilers and, to help convince those attending, a wash boiler was filled with 9 gallons of water and kept boiling for the period of the display. It only cost 1d per hour to run. The display was reported to have been very successful.
The following month the church organised a Cake and Apron sale which was opened by Mrs.Flitcroft of Huddersfield, a former scholar and teacher.
December proved to be a very busy month, which began when the Church observed a ” Ladies Day ” with services conducted by Sister Hilary Hammond from Queen St. Mission , Huddersfield. The ladies choir with Miss Phyllis Brook as leader sang a variety of popular hymns. Next was an operetta ” Magic Rose of May ” presented by the teachers and children with Mr. G.Ricketts , the president, in the chair. Those performing were Miss Mabel Sanderson, Miss Vinnie Sykes, Ellen Bray, Eva Greenwood, Violet Tinker, Frank Roebuck, Gordon Hobson, Cecil Hobson, Frank Moorhouse, Cedric Bray, Thomas Hart, Miss Lilian Ogden, Miss Mary Sykes, Maurice Daniel, James O’Brien. The duties of officials were carried out by Miss Rachel Porter and Miss Beatrice Buckley, the pianist was Miss Winifred Sanderson and the stage manager was Cedric Bray. The final event was the Annual carol service and prize distribution.
The photograph below of the Zion Church Choir trip to Richmond in 1931 shows many of the ladies enjoying an ice cream. five of the ladies in the front row :are Hilda Buckley, ? , Beattie Buckley, Winnie Sanderson, Rachel Porter, Edith Brook, ? .
Teachers and friends associated with the Sunday school visited Batley Park in July 1932 and the journey was made in one of Mr.Haigh’s motor coaches. The following month on the 27th. the Church celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with a series of special events. The Gay Girls Concert Party from Heckmondwike visited in March 1933 to give a concert which was preceded by a public tea. The Rev.A. Headley was in the chair. Later in the year the 1st. quarterly meeting of the Holmfirth & District Methodist Churches, succeeding the union of Methodists, was held in the chapel. The last reported event of the year was a Whist Drive, supper and lantern lecture in November when T.Dyson gave a show of views in England . The concert, given in March 1933, by the Gay Girls from Heckmondwike had been such a success that they returned by popular demand in February 1934 . The same month a lantern lecture was given by J.Hadfield of Huddersfield, clerk to the Holme Urban Council. The topic was not given but it was illustrated by 120 lantern views. The annual outing by the teachers, scholars and friends associated with the Sunday School in June was to Lister Park, Bradford.
A Faith Tea was held in March 1937 and it was followed by a concert presented by the scholars and their friends. Those involved were Ellen Robson, Sheila Sykes, Mary Sykes, Mary Bray, Phyllis Lee, Ivy Bontoft, Iris Boothroyd, Dorothy Sykes, Kenneth Sykes, James Horncastle, Brian Daniel and Derek Tinker.
A Temperance lantern lecture was given by the Rev. H.Lewis in February 1938. His subject was ” Untruths Unlimited “.In May special services were held to mark the introduction of the new Methodist hymn book.
The Snowgatehead Comedy Players visited the village in February 1939 and presented ” Jolly for Jennifer “, a comedy in three acts in the Sunday School which was enjoyed by a good attendance. In May the Male Voice Choir gave a musical service in the church. The Overseas Missionary anniversary was in December and Rev. Findlay spoke of his work in India and Fiji and the Rev. Roberts gave an illustrated lecture on his work in West Africa.
Also in December the combined choirs and friends of the Zion Methodists, Parish Church and Wesley Methodists gave a carol service in the Parish Church. The collection amounted to £5 9s 2d. Mr.Alfred Buckley, who had been the treasurer for 25 years, the Sunday School superintendent and a member of the choir, was presented with an easy chair in recognition of his service. The photograph shows members of the choir with the plaque they won in the 1940s.
A meeting was held in September 1940 for the parishioners to meet and extend a welcome to Rev.R.Collier of Meltham who succeeded Rev. W. Thynne.
The ” Thongsters” concert party visited the Sunday School in November 1940 and gave a variety show in aid of the war Comforts Fund. Mr.C.S.Floyd presided and receipts were £7 18s 6d.
In January 1942, the choir rendered the sacred cantata “The City of God ” to a moderate attendance. The choirmaster was Arthur Buckley and the principals were , Madame W.Brooke ( soprano ), Madame E. Hirst ( contralto ), Mr.J.Dixon ( tenor ) , Mr.E.Mortimer ( bass ) with Madame W.M.Sanderson as accompanist. The chairman was Luther Ramsden. At the end of the month the parishioners organised an Old Fashioned Social in the school and over 100 people took part. The entertainment included games, dancing, quartettes, songs and Yorkshire readings.
They celebrated their 70th. anniversary in September 1942 and an old scholars gathering was held and a large number sat down to an excellent faith tea presided over by Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Sandford of Deanhouse.
The next report wasn’t until October 1943 when Mrs.H.Wilson who had been the librarian for the last five years was presented with gifts on her retirement.
The West Riding Singers gave a high quality concert in December and in the same month the annual prize distributions were given to the Sunday School scholars. In the evening there were carols and recitations and the children presented a nativity play.
The annual outing of the scholars, teachers and friends in July 1947 was to Scarborough.
September 1947 saw the 70th. anniversary of the Zion Methodist Church in Netherthong. A weekend of events were held starting on Saturday with a tea which was followed by an “At Home “. The chairman was Rev.A.Burnside of Meltham and he welcomed all old members. Mr.G.Ricketts, the old members’ chairman, addressed those present and other old members who spoke were Harry Hobson, Norman Smith, Jim Shaw, Frank Porter and James Walker. They all enjoyed musical events in the evening. On the next day, Sunday, there were special services and just over £50 was raised.
In December the united choirs of Wesley’s Chapel and the Zion Church gave a carol service at Wesley’s Chapel.
The first report in 1949 was in April when special services were held to mark the re-opening of the church after renovation and re-decoration. The preacher for both services was Mr.H.Bintcliffe of Elland with Derek Lockwood as organist. In September members and friends paid a visit to the Netherton Methodist Church. An excellent tea was provided and the preacher was Rev. H.Dyson and an enjoyable day was completed by the combined choirs singing anthems. The Choir, conducted by Mrs.E.Mortimer, won 1st. prize in the Church and Chapel choirs class at the Holmfirth Musical Competition in October. In the same month 30 members of the choir went on an outing to Whitby.
This photograph shows the children of theSunday School in 1950 performing their Christmas nativity play.
In June 1950 the choir with the assistance of the choir of the Netherton Methodist Church gave a rendering of Gaul’s cantata ” The Holy City.”
Gift day services were held at the beginning of July and they attracted a large congregation. The preachers were Mr.J.Hogley of Holmfirth and Alderman J.Cartwright of Crosland Moor.
July was a very special month in the history of the Church. It was the occasion of the first wedding to be held in the Church since the building was erected in 1872. Miss Ellen Bray, who had been closely connected to the Zion Church as a scholar and worker, married Mr.C. Hobson of Brockholes. The Rev. A. Woodhill officiated and to mark the occasion the couple were presented with a bible.
To celebrate their winning of the 1st.prize in the Class for Church and Chapel choirs at the Holmfirth Music Festival held in October 1951. The Zion Church choir held a social gathering in November and 50 guests and members sat down for an excellent supper, after which they entertained their guests by singing the three test pieces from the Festival ,before games and dancing completed the evening. The choir had won the competition for three consecutive years and to mark this unique achievement the members presented an inscribed silver mounted baton to the choir mistress, Mrs.P.Mortimer
A concert given by the Sunday School children in March 1953 played to a full house. Recitations were given by the following children – Nancy Sparks, Joan Sparks, Michael Young, John Young, Rodney Hodgson, David Hobson, June Lee, Louis Carruthers, Carol Pell, Jaqueline Hobson, Beth McKenzie, Celia McHugh, Maureen Helawell, Pauline Littlewood, Tony Littlewood and Catherine Marsh. Later that year in July, 30 children and parents enjoyed a school trip to Saltburn which had been organised by Mrs. C.Hobson and Miss E.Brook.
At the Holmfirth Music Festival in October, the choir, conducted by Mrs.E.Mortimer, won 1st. prize in the competition for Church or Chapel choirs. The following photograph could very well be of this occasion.
In January 1954, the Netherton Townswomens Guild Choir, who were 2nd. prize winners at the Holmfirth Music Festival in 1953, gave a musical service at the chapel and an excellent tea was provided for them.The very successful Spring Fair in April was opened by Mrs.S.Porter of Honley. Gift day services were held in July and hymns sung to popular tunes were a special feature. In addition the new electric blower for the organ was used for the first time.
The Sunday School anniversary services were held in April 1955. The children presented a number of items and the choir, under the leadership of Mrs.E.Mortimer the choirmaster and organist, sang a selection of hymns. The following month a very successful Spring Fayre attracted a large number of present and former mmbers. Rev. K.Wade of Meltham gave the opening prayers. The chairlady, Mrs.P. Verity of Almondbury, said it was a headache keeping places of worship open but she hoped the proceeds from the Fayre would help them to carry on for a long time to come. Mrs.J.Buckley opened the Fayre and in the evening there was a whist drive and social.
The pupils of the Althea School of Dancing from Meltham presented their successful pantomime ” Babes in the Wood ” and cabaret in the school in March 1956 to a large and appreciative audience. Following this successful visit, they returned in January the following year and presented their pantomime ” Goldilocks and the three bears “.
In June 1957, owing to the damage sustained at Wesley’s Chapel, all their services were held in the Zion Chapel . A campaign was organised by a band of local preachers in the Holmfirth Wesleyan Circuit and the opening phase was an intensive canvassing of the whole area, house by house, armed with leaflets. The following month the question of the repair of the roof of the Wesleyan Chapel was discussed by their trustees and finally, in September, due to failing support, it was decided that services at the Chapel would be discontinued and the congregation would join the Zion Chapel.
The Harvest Festival in October began with a parade of the Scouts and Guides.The lessons were read by Scouts D.Marsh and M.Littlewood. The prizes at the Sunday School in December were distributed by Mrs. F.Garnett. The scholars and teachers presented a Nativity Play called ” The Stained Glass Window”.
Reported activities for 1958 started with a concert in March given by Snowgatehead ladies to a large audience with Mrs.E.Mortimer presiding. . Further entertainment followed on April when Mr.J.Craven’s concert party visited – the proceeds went to the organ fund. Mr. Haigh of Honley gave a gramophone recital in September which raised £4 9s towards the organ fund. The Harvest festival in October was the occasion of the 29th. annual visit and parade by the Scouts and Guides and lessons were read by scouts Edward Charlesworth and Trevor Lodge. The Christmas Fayre in December went a long way towards raising the balance of £200 required for the installation of the organ from Wesley’s Chapel into the Zion Church . The chair was taken by Thomas Dyson. Mrs.Hirst said that when they had got the organ fixed and all ” done and dusted ” she hoped that the congregation of Wesley’s chapel would join them in worship. The Moorland Singers gave a concert in the evening. The total profit was £214. In the same month for the Sunday School prize distributions , Miss B.Buckley presented awards to 48 scholars.
The Snowgatehead Methodist Church members paid a return visit in April 1960 and presented their concert ” Variety on Parade ” to a large audience, In the same month the Male Voice Choir under A.Sanderson gave a musical service. The soloists were Miss Dorothy Shaw ( soprano ) and Mrs.Joyce Kellett ( contralto ) with Mrs.E.Mortimer as organist.
After having been closed to allow for alterations to the interior, the Zion Church was re-opened on May 30 1959.The organ, pulpit and choir stalls from the disused Wesley Chapel had been presented to Zion and installed, and the interior had been fully redecorated but the electric organ blower, belonging to Zion, had been retained. Mr.Arthur Charlesworth had been responsible for most of the work and the total cost of redecoration had been about £250. A special dedication service was held by the Rev. Garnett of Meltham and Mr. J.Green of Fleetwood, who for many years had been the organist, returned specifically to play the organ. Tea was served and another special service was held the following day. A brass plate reading ” The Organ,Pulpit and Choir Stalls were presented to this Church by the Trustees of Netherthong Wesley’s Chapel which was closed on Thursday , June 20 1957 ” was affixed to the organ.They held their annual Harvest Festival in October and the local Scouts and Guides made their annual parade
.In March 1966 they held the Sunday School Annual Services. The morning service was conducted by Mrs. J. O. Hogley of Holmfirth and solos were sung by children trained by Mrs. C. Hobson, Miss Glynis Bailey and Miss Kathryn Brocklebank. The afternoon and evening services were conducted by the Rev.Ralph Holmes from the Bingley Circuit. The organist at all three services was Mrs.R.Shaw. The last few months of the year were a busy period for the Church. First off in October they held their harvest festival with the scouts, cubs, guides and brownies and Mr.Harry Sykes of Dunford Bridge was the preacher. There was a social evening in December when Mr.J.Pell presented a handbag to Mrs.E.Mortimer on behalf of the trustees and congregation in appreciation of her services as choirmaster and organist for over 20 years. The final event, also in December, was a special afternoon service when the Sunday School children, trained by the teachers, sang a number of carols with solos from Christine Daykin and Margaret Wood as well as Mrs.D.Nicholas. Mrs.A.Shaw was the organist. Mr.J.Pell presented prizes to the scholars.
In January 1967 the scholars performed a Nativity play entitled ” The Stained Glass Window “. Taking part were Christine Daykin, Janet Haigh, Caroline Wickham, Anita Daykin, Heather Carter, Margaret Wood, Diane Earnshaw, Jane Horncastle, Julie Greaves, Glynis Wood, Barbara Beever, Sheenah Mallinson, Kathryn Brocklebank and Lindsay Appleyard. The children had been trained by Mrs. C.Hobson with Miss Edith Brook on piano and lighting effects by Mr.W.Carter.
Three months later the Church held a very successful Spring Fayre which raised £110. Mrs. A.Sanderson was in the chair and the Fayre was opened by Miss. H.M. Buckley. The same month they held the Sunday School anniversary services with Mr.D. Radcliffe of Meltham and the Rev. K.Holman as preachers. The scholars gave quotations and sang hymns and Christine Daykin and Margaret Wood gave a duet.
A successful coffee evening was organised by members of the Zion Ladies Fellowship in September 1968. Entertainment was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Ball, Elizabeth and Judith. Mrs. Ball accompanied many of the items on the zither and piano. The following month the Scouts, Guides and Brownies, accompanied by the Scout Band, paraded in October 1968 at the service of the Harvest Festival at the Church. The morning service was conducted by Rev.Scott of Meltham with Rev. Burton conducting the afternoon and evening services. Collections raised £22 and 71 gift parcels were distributed to the sick and elderly people of the village.
The ” Netherthongsters ” gave three excellent performances of their pantomime ‘Snow White and Seven Dwarfs ‘ in the Sunday school hall to appreciative audiences. The script was written by Mrs. Constance Sykes and the play produced by Mr. Edward Lockwood. Most of the uniforms were made by Mrs.M.Maddison. Mrs.R.Shaw was the accompanist, Mr.W.Carter and Mr.M.Edinboro made the scenery and Mr.Philip Horn provided plenty of ‘magic’ to complete the programme.
A re-union of old scholars, members and friends was held in September 1972 to mark the centenary year of the church. The celebrations began with a tea. The Methodist Minister, the Rev. C.Scott, gave an account of the events that led to the formation of the Church and Mr.F.Porter, a former Sunday School scholar, recalled some of the ministers, lay preachers and teachers he had met. Mrs.C.Hobson spoke of the first wedding held in the church and Mr.Pell related the role the choir had played in the history.
For whatever reasons, from 1972 the Holmfirth Express carried very few reports on events connected to the church. In June 1976, in its report of the Netherthong Feast, it mentioned that the Rev. John Beach, the Methodist minister, shared the duties with the Parish priest. The following year in December 1977 which was the Jubilee Year, all the uniformed organisations in the village arranged a jubilee sing in the Zion Chapel.
In October 1984, there was a question mark hanging over the future of the village playgroup that was using the Chapel rooms for four meetings a week. The lack of toilet facilities had forced the playgroup to use a chemical toilet but social services said this could only be a temporary measure.The Rev. Charles Hill had admitted earlier the previous month that the Chapel’s repair bill would be around the £10,000 mark and that a meeting would be held on October 28th. to discuss its future. The church officials decided the closure was necessary because the church was in such a poor condition and riddled with rot. Attendance had dropped to only 18 regulars. Once the chapel had closed they planned to send the worshippers to the new Methodist church in Holmfirth. The Superintendent Methodist minister said that the closure decision had not been taken lightly. The following month, Dr.Paul Fursdon hit out at proposals to close the church. He was a general practitioner and former secretary of the church council and was reported by the Express that he might open his own church in protest against a decision by the trustees to close the church. He and his wife had bought the former Deanhouse Wesleyan Chapel eleven years ago and was intending to restore and re-open the chapel which was one of the oldest non-conformist chapels in England and which had closed 27 years ago. No further reports were in the Express but it was fairly obvious that his plans did not come to fruition. In December, mothers, babies and toddlers got together for a Christmas party. About 30 children enjoyed the fun at a party held in the Chapel rooms.
However four months later in February 1985 the playgroup was still using the Chapel and the Express carried a report and photograph of a big flood in the Zion Chapel which left 67 toddlers of the play group without a permanent home. The Group was due to lose the premises anyway in the Spring when the chapel was due to be sold, but the flood cut short its stay. Water was discovered when the mothers arrived at the chapel and saw it pouring in through the roof, the floor was covered and all the toys were ruined. Mrs. Barbara Ziamba, committee member, Mrs. Linda Beardsell, the president, and Mrs. Jennifer Wilkinson, supervisor, tried to mop up. In April the group were still looking for premises.
On October 2, the Express carried a report and photo of Mrs.Miriam Roper with an antique chair, which was just one of the items under the hammer at the sale of contents from the Chapel. The event was held at the Methodist Church in Meltham. ( unfortunately there were no further details.)
The Express reported on March 1986 that the Parish Councillors were pressing for the church, which was no longer in use by the congregation, to get a new lease of life as a community centre for the area. Holme Valley Parish planning committee were considering an application for planning permission from the trustees of the church for a change of use to residential. The church is both a listed building and is within the Netherthong conservation area. The concern was expressed that it the plan was stopped, the church might become derelict.
Playgroup Christmas Party 1986.
The Zion Chapel eventually closed in 1984-85 and became private accommodation.Their Graveyard was located in New Road where it remains to this day.
On the left hand wall in All Saints Parish Church there is a large framed certificate. It is printed with the words – For King , Country & Humanity. Roll of Honour for the Brave Men who have gone forth at the call of duty from ….. It was a standard format certificate and the name in the blank space is United Methodist Church, Netherthong. There are three columns , Name, Service and Remarks. It has 27 names , seven of whom made the supreme sacrifice and are listed on the War Memorial in Towngate, ,and full details of these men are in the chapter ” Netherthong and itsheroes.” The remaining 20 names are of soldiers who fought and survived, and further details are in the chapter,” Netherthong – details of soldiers who fought and survived.” There is a high probability that many of the soldiers in the photograph – Peace Celebrations July 1919, earlier in this chapter, are among those 20 names.W hat is puzzling is that I have found no reference to the memorial being commemorated and installed in the Chapel. It would have been compiled in the early to mid 1920s and must have been displayed in the Chapel. Likewise, when the Chapel closed in 1984/85, there is no reference of it being transferred to its current position in the Parish Church. I spoke to the Rev. John Capstick, who was the vicar at the time, and he said he could not recollect the transfer but added that there had always been a good relationship between the two churches and installing it in the Church would not have been a problem.
All Saints’ Church in Netherthong occupies a prominent position in the centre of the village where the three approach roads meet. In the 186 years since it was built it has played a key role in the life and development of the village.
All Saints’ was referred to as a “ Million Act “ church. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars , there was a movement in England for the building of new churches to commemorate the War victories. There was particular concern of the shortage of places for worshippers in the growing towns of the West Riding of Yorkshire, so on 6th. February 1818 in the Freemason’s Hall in London, a meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury formed the Church Building Society ( CBS ).
Parliament passed the Church Building Act in 1818 and voted £1,000,000 to the building of new churches and the Act became popularly known as the “ Million Act”. In 1824 Austria repaid off a £2,000,000 war loan and the Government put another £500,000 into the coffers. Voluntary funds helped to give a total of over £3,000,000 and resulted in the building of 612 new churches, 106 of which were in Yorkshire, mostly in the West Riding. These churches became known as “Commissioner Churches“, “Waterloo Churches” or “Million Act Churches“.
The first foundation stone of the Church was laid on Wednesday, January 1829 by Mr. Benjamin Wilson, cloth manufacturer, in the presence of most of the villagers.
The second foundation stone was laid on the 13th. March 1829 , by the Rev. Lewis Jones, Vicar of Almondbury. The inscription on the plate is as follows.
“ This Foundation Stone of a Church to be called All Saints’ Netherthong, in the Parish of Almondbury, built under the direction of the Honorable, the Board of His Majesty’s Commissioners for building new Churches, has been laid by the Rev. Lewis Jones, Vicar, this 13th. day of March A.D. 1829, being the 10th. year of the reign of His Majesty King George the Fourth”.
R.D.Chantrell – Architect
John Woodhead – Churchwarden ( Donor of site )
Geo.& Wm. Heywood – Builders
It appears that this plaque was lost when the chancel was thrust out.
The building was completed in 1830 and the total cost was £2,869 12s 2d.
The Church was consecrated by the Archbishop of York , the Right Rev. Edward Harcourt, on Thursday, 2nd. September , 1830. In 1847 plans were made for the heating of the church. A report in October 1852 from the Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner makes for interesting reading. 22 years after the church was completed, the ‘ customary annual sermons for the repairs of the Church were preached in the morning by Rev.W.Tatlock of Huddersfield and in the evening by Rev.C.Wardroper, incumbent at Farnley Tyas. A full and efficient choir was in attendance and the collections amounted to £8.
The Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner for October 1854 ran the following article about the church bell and I repeat it verbatim. “The villagers experienced a serious drawback on their rejoicing for the victory of the Alma. In common with other practices, the good people have manifested their joy by ringing their only bell which was unmercifully clattered about for hours together. Not content with the noise it made by pulling the rope, a number ascended the belfry and belaboured the bell with stones and hammers to such a degree that in ‘ stoning the bells’ they cracked it. The bell was taken down for repair by a neighbouring smith at a cost of £2 and was replaced in the belfry. However it made a most distressing sound, harsh and disagreeable to the ear that the inhabitants cannot bear to hear it and public feeling favoured the purchase of a new bell.” The same month two sermons were preached in the church by the Rev. G. J. Mallinson of West Haughton of Lancashire, formerly of the village. Attendance was excellent and collections were made at the door at the close of each sermon.
The addition to the church, grounds on the South East side were probably purchased on the sale of the Woodhead Estate in 1857. At the Parish Church Sunday School in the September of that year, two sermons were preached to large audiences by the Rev. James Mallinson of Manchester. A new harmonium , provided for the use of the church, was also inaugurated that day. Master Albert Lister Price presided and members of the Holmfirth Church choir were present and sang several pieces of music. The collections amounted to £9 13s 2d.
On Whit Monday in May 1861 the scholars, teachers and friends of the Church and Wesleyan Sunday Schools met at All Saints and marched in procession, led by the parochial constables and the Holmfirth Rifle Corps Band, and visited Sands House, residence of Mrs.Floyd : Helm Wood – Thomas Dyson : Thongsbridge – Mr.George Greenwood and Hagg – G.Nelson. At the above places they were treated liberally with ‘the good things of this life’. They returned to Town gate and sang several hymns. The scholars of the two schools separated to have tea in their own classrooms which the rest of the people assembled in a field and partook of a first rate tea. A meeting was held in the church with the Rev.james presiding and a variety of entertainment was presented by the scholars. Various addresses were made including by the churchwaedens, T.Dyson and G.Greenwood. After the usual votes of thanks the assembly dispersed.
The following month the Sunday School teachers and scholars visited the Model Farm of C.H.Jones, Harden Moss, They were accompanied by the Holmfirth Rifle Corps Band and many farmers in the neighbourhood had lent them conveyances to carry everybody to the premises. They all enjoyed themselves in one of the large pasture fields by playing in a variety of games. They stopped for a picnic tea and continued with games until they were well – tired and, after thanking Mr.Jones for his kindness, they returned home.
By 1865 the Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner had changed its title to the Huddersfield Examiner &West Riding Reporter. In the January 14 issue it reported that the Annual tea meeting of the Church School had been held in the Old School. There was a large attendance and the Rev.J.James presided. Addresses were given by Rev. N.Lloyd of Miln – bridge, Rev. G.Lloyd, Messrs. R.Mellor, G.Nelson, G.Hinchliffe and G.Greenwood. A party of glee singers added greatly to the pleasure of the evening. In March an entertainment titled ‘ Chairman in a Fix’ was put on at the school under the auspices of the Band of Hope. The attendance was large and the 17 performers did very well.
The following is copied verbatim from an account written 142 years ago – “ The turret, having been damaged by lightning on April 29th., 1867, was rebuilt in its present form “.
Extensive alterations took place in 1877, when the galleries and three-decker pulpit were removed, the Chancel built and the Conacher organ installed. The church was re-opened on 3rd. December by the Bishop of Ripon.
The following Notice issued by the Rev. T.James of the Parish of Netherthong dated September 1st. 1866 makes interesting reading. The key paragraph is ” To all whom it may concern, that henceforth no Marriage between parties resident in the aforsaid parish of Netherthong can be legally solemnized at the Parish Church of Almondbury, or at any other Church than that of All Saints, Netherthong. ” The final paragraph details the boundaries.
The following photograph shows the front cover of the Church monthly dated July 1895.
The next photograph is the front cover for the hymns to be sung at the Sunday School Festival in June 18 1899.
The first record I have been able to find about the Annual treat for the children associated with the school was in the June 1852 issue of the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner. It reported that on Whit Monday about 250 children were involved. A procession was formed and, headed by Holmfirth Old Brass Band, they first went to Sands House, the residence of C.S.Floyd, where they received refreshments. They returned via Thongs Bridge, Hagg and Deanhouse to a field belonging to Mr.Wilson where a meal of tea and buns was provided. Afterwards they were presented with a large cake and dismissed. About 200 teachers and friends enjoyed repast in the school room.The Rev.James took the chair and gave an excellent speech and Mr.Wilson spoke about the prosperous state of the school. The meeting was also addressed by Mr.Heap, the superintendent of Oldfield school, Mr.G.Woodhead, Mr.Nelson, Mr.Allen and Mr.Robinson.
In June 1854 the teachers and children associated with the Church school assembled in the school room when the the reward books to the more diligent during the past year were distributed . A procession was then formed and headed by Beaumont’s celebrated sax-horn band it proceeded to Holmfirth calling at the residencies of several gentlemen on the way. They were afterwards regaled with tea and buns and, after the children were dismissed, the teachers and friends took tea in the school room which was decorated for the occasion.
Two months later in August saw the re-opening of the church which had been closed for a few weeks during which it underwent a thorough renovation on the interior in painting, whitewashing, decorating etc. At the opening the sermons were preached by Rev. Joseph Hughes of Meltham in the morning, and in the evening by the Rev. D.James, incumbent of Marsden. A full cathedral service was performed and the choir was conducted by Matthew Rollinson of Kirkburton. The collections totalled £8 15.
The Annual tea party for the benefit of the Sunday school was held in the new school in February 1871. The trays were supplied by Mrs.Chas. Mellor ( Newlands ), Miss Dyson ( Elmwood ), Judith Mellor ( Hagg ), Miss Dyson ( Hawroyd ) and Miss Dickenson and Miss Chappell and a concert was held after the meal. The previous month on Wednesday 11, a grand concert was held in the school room with the proceeds in aid of the Sunday school. The programme consisted of a selection of songs, duets and glees performed by Miss Twig, Miss Renshaw, Messrs. J.Mellor, J.Dyson, J.B. Mellor,D.Caldwell,R.Hirst, B.eastwood and C.Hobson with Mr.Sandford at the pianoforte.
June 1872 was the occasion of the Sunday School anniversary feast. About noon, the scholars formed in procession and proceeded by their large banner marched to the strains of the Netherthong Brass Band to the residence of Mr.Josiah Mellor, where Miss Emmaline Mellor, assisted by the Rev. A.Jones, the curate, and the Rev.G.Hay, curate of Holmfirth, presented each of the young folk with a new penny for 1872. The scholars then called at the residences of Mrs.G.Mellor and Mr.Fenton Walker of the Royal Oak. They returned to the school where coffee and cakes were available to the children and a knife and fork tea was provided for the teachers and friends. A few hours were spent in an adjoining field and the day finished off in the school with singing and recitals. The Annual Festival for 1873 was celebrated in June and proved to be one of the most successful school feasts that had been held for years. 150 teachers and scholars formed a procession headed by the Netherthong Brass Band in their splendid uniforms, and walked through the village and proceeded to the residence of Mrs. G.Mellor when oranges were distributed to the scholars. They continued to Sands where Mr.C. Stephenson,J.P., presented them with a small bun and a one penny coin. On their return they were served with their usual fare and the teachers and friends partook of a knife & fork tea. The evening was spent in a field playing games with music provided by the Brass Band. The Annual festival for 1874 followed an almost identical patter and a highlight, when everyone went to the field for fun and games, was the sending of balloons up at intervals. The paper reported it was one of the most successful festivals ever held in the village.
In August of that year Mrs.James, the wife of the Rev.T.James, the vicar, died suddenly in the vicarage. She had appeared to have been in perfect health up to an hour before her death. Mr.C.J.Trotter was called in and gave his opinion that the cause of death arose from an epileptic fit and no inquest was deemed necessary. August 1879 was the very sad occasion of the funeral of Rev. Thomas James, 31, who had died earlier in the month on August 3 .For 33 years he had been the incumbent and vicar of the church and new parish of Netherthong but, during the latter part, he had been laid aside from active duty in the church and parish by paralytic affections and the shock received by the sudden death of his wife. They had only been married just over a year. The following month on September 6, the Rev.J.Prowde of St.Johns College, Cambridge ,who had been curate at the church, was publicly inducted to the vicarage of All Saints by the Rev. Canon Hulbert, vicar of Almondbury. The church was handed to the Canon by the churchwardens, Messrs. Cookson Stevenson and Turner and he , in turn, gave it to the Rev. Prowde.
The choir together with the teachers and scholars of the Sunday School, totalling about 200, were entertained to a substantial tea in the large room belonging to the day school provided by Miss Dyson. She was the only daughter of the late Thomas Dyson, Elmwood, and had organised it to commemorate her marriage with Lieutenant Buchanan of Gloucester. The tables for the scholars were presided over by Miss Dickinson and Mrs. John Williams. In November 1873 a concert was given in the Church school room on behalf of the school. Vocalists were Miss Rowbottom, Mr.D.Caldwell and Mr.R.Eastwood who were accompanied by Mr. William Sandford on the pianoforte. The Holmfirth Temperance Hand-Bell Ringers also provided entertainment and tendered several of their prime selections.
The anniversary services for the Sunday School were held later that year in June 1874 when the Rev.W.Flower, vicar of Upperthong, and the Rev.G.Madden, vicar of Armitage Bridge, both preached and the collections amounted to £7 7s. On the following day the annual school feast was held when the scholars and teachers met at the school and, after a service in the Church by the Rev.J.Prowse, a procession was formed which paraded round the district headed by the Netherthong Brass Band. C.Stephenson presented each child with a new penny. On returning to the school, coffee and buns were served and afterwards all adjoined to a field where amusements were kept. The number of scholars on the books was about 130. There were no reports of the feast for 1875,1876,1877 and 1878 although there was no reason to suspect that they weren’t held as normal.
For the Annual Festival of the Sunday Schools in late June1879, the children and teachers assembled at the school and walked to the church for a short children’s service held by Rev.J.Prowse. Afterwards, headed by the Netherthong Brass band, they proceeded to Deanhouse Workhouse and from there to Oldfield, Deanhouse, Hagg, Thongsbridge and Crodingly before returning to the village where they were regaled with milk, buns, nuts etc. The band played several selections of music. A public tea was held in the large room when over 200 persons sat down to an excellent knife and fork tea. Everyone adjourned to a field and spent the remainder of the evening dancing and playing games. At intervals several balloons were sent up and fireworks set off. In late July special services were held morning, afternoon and evening to celebrate the completion of the reredos. The Reredos was from a design by Mr.Barber of Halifax and the work was carried out by Messrs. Con & Co, London. It was of richly-carved oak with croquets, terminals and illuminated panels with emblems representing the four Evangelists, the Agnus Dei and cross occupying the central position, the whole being further enriched by the frequent use of fleur de lys. The dade was richly illuminated on zinc. The cost was about £130 which was defrayed by subscriptions and collections.
On Sunday June 20 1880, sermons were preached on behalf of funds for the Sunday and day schools and there were large congregations for both the morning and evening sermons and the collections totalled £8. Monday was the annual school feast and the procedure was similar to previous years but on this occasion the procession was led by the Honley Brass Band. 200 people partook of the public tea. The Superintendents were Rev.T.Prowse , C.Stephenson and the secretary, Mr.T.Woodhead. The schools had 86 male and 65 female scholars with 18 male teachers and 12 female teachers. The average attendance was 120 and the report added that there were 140 books in the library. Later in the year in September was the annual picnic of the Church choir and 29 members, accompanied by the vicar and several friends, travelled in three wagonettes to Wortley and Wharncliffe Rocks. The same month members of the choir took part in a choir festival at New Mill with other choirs from the district. The annual service on Whit Sunday, June 1881, for the Church Sunday school in aid of funds was held with large congregations attending both the morning and evening sermons. The annual school feast was held on the Monday and the procession, headed by Holmfirth Voluntary Band ( was this the Netherthong Brass band in disguise ? ), were pursued by heavy bouts of rain forcing everyone to keep seeking shelter. Fortunately the weather improved so that fun and games could be held in the evening. The number of scholars were 93 male and 62 female. There were 13 male teachers and 12 female and the number of books were 205.The superintendents were C.Stephenson, Rev.J.Prowde and Mr.A.Mellor, Thos. Woodhead was the secretary and B.Eastwood and E.Dyson the librarians.
Members of the congregation met in August 1881 to present Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Dickenson with a black marble timepiece and ornaments, a dozen silver teaspoons and a dozen ivory handled and electro-plated forks as a token of the esteem they were held in. The Rev.J.Prowde made the presentation referring to the service provided by both of them to the church and schools. C.Stephenson , the vicar’s warden, also spoke about them in high terms. The annual services were held on Sunday June 18 1882 in the morning and evening in aid of the church schools. Special hymns were sung by the choir and the Sunday scholars and £8 was raised. The annual school feast took place the following Monday and the procession was headed by the Netherthong Brass Band. The format was as in previous years with a public tea followed by an evening of Yorkshire Games. There was no report for 1883 but in 1884 there was a detailed report of the Feast in its standard format. Before breaking up in the evening after games each scholar was presented with a large bun, a new penny and an orange. Total money raised for the school fund was £33. There were 80 boys and 70 girls on the books with 14 female teachers and 14 male teachers. The number of books in the library were 220. On Sunday 20 June, special services were held in the morning and afternoon in aid of the Sunday and day schools. The scholars sang a special selection of hymns and the choir, under the leadership of Mr. Jonathan Hirst, also contributed. On the Monday all the teachers, scholars and friends, formed a procession and headed by the Netherthong Brass Band proceeded round the village. When they returned the children sat down to a tea and a public tea was also held at which 200 partook. As was the custom everyone spent the evening playing games and listening to the Band. The proceeds amounted to £30 which was divided between the two schools. The Harvest Festival was held in October and the morning session was conducted by yje vicar and in the evening by the vicar of Newsome. The offerteries of £4 17s 11d were in aid of the Ripon Diocesan Church Building Society. The flowers and fruit were distributed to the poor and sick and the tomatoes were donated to the hospital at Deanhouse Workhouse.
In 1924, electric lights replaced the gas mantles on the standards and extensive alterations were made to the organ. In 1967 the church was designated as a building of special architectural and historic interest.
The Vicars of All Saints
The first incumbent was the Rev.J.M.Evans. He resigned in 1834 and was followed by the Rev.J.N.Green- Armytage who left in December 1835. The Rev. G.D.Grundy, M.A., who built the Vicarage , was there from 1836 to 1839 until he moved to Hey, near Oldham and remained there for 63 years. When he died he was the oldest clergyman in England.The vicarage was located up a drive in Miry Lane and faced the Deanhouse Workshop and remained in use until Wakefield Diocese sold it in December 1996. Below is a recent ( 2010 ) photo that I took during my wanderings.
The Rev.D.Meridith was in charge for only a few months before being succeeded by the Rev. D.Hughes who stayed from 1839 to 1842. The Rev. J.Tidemore remained until 1846 and the Rev.P.J.Manning and Rev. J.Rogers were only there for very short periods before the Rev.Thomas James, M.A.,L.L.D., F.S.A. took up the post. He served from 1846 to 1879 and was a noted Welsh scholar and one of the founders of theYorkshire Archeological Society. He was assisted by the Rev.E.A.Jones, B.F.Crouch and John Prowde, M.A. The Rev.James’s grave , which has celtic lettering, is by the church door. ( for more details about him see the report at the end of this paragraph).
I have included below a notice that was issued and signed by the Rev. James
John Prowde succeeded him as vicar and on his death in 1907 he was interred adjacent to Rev. James. The accompanying photograph must have been taken at the turn of the 19th. century and by looking at him you wouldn’t realise he was the vicar because his long white beard obscured his collar.
The Rev. Hind , M.A., was appointed vicar in 1907 and had a long ministry of 29 years, leaving the village in 1936.
He was succeeded by the Rev. S.S.Black who served for 21 years from 1937 to 1958. After being widowed he married Helen who was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs.J.Floyd. He is also buried in the church grounds. He was succeeded by the Rev.E.Asquith, who stayed until 1966. The Rev. F.Lord’s ministry was tragically short from 1968 to 1970.
Rev.J.N.Capstick was the final sole incumbent of All Saints Vicarage from 1970. He had been vicar of St.James Church, Codnor, from 1961-1963. At the formation of the Upper Holme Valley Team in 1992, he also took on responsibility for St. Andrew’s Thongsbridge until his retirement in 1997. He issued a superb booklet on the history of All Saint’s and I have included much of that information in this History.
Rev. G.A.Banks M.A. joined the Upper ValleyTeam in 1998 and was the vicar for a period. At the time of writing this article ( 2013 ) the Rev. Nick Heaton is the current vicar.
The following article gives a very detailed history of the life of the Rev. Thomas James. It was titled The Druid Curate of Netherthong and was written by the Huddersfield historian, Alan Brook, for publication in the Huddersfield Examiner.
The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, originally the Huddersfield Archaeological and Topographical Association (HATA), began life at a meeting held in the parsonage at Netherthong on 1 April 1863. The host of the meeting, the Rev Thomas James, was well qualified to promote such a venture. He was steeped in the history and folklore of his native Wales, prominent in the Cambrian Archaeological Association and an editor of the Cambrian Journal, a pioneering archaeological periodical.
The Rev. James, born in 1817 at Manordeifi in Pembrokeshire, became ‘perpetual curate’ of All Saints Church at Netherthong in 1846. He was one of a group of Welsh clergymen in the area, which included his brother David, the curate of Marsden, the Rev. Lewis Jones, vicar of Almondbury, and Joseph Hughes, curate of Meltham. In 1852 they began meeting as the ‘Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of the County of York’ to discuss matters relating to the church in Wales.
But the Rev James’ interests were not limited to the Welsh church. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the Bardic movement which sought to encourage a revival of Welsh language and culture by holding Eisteddfodau, competitive festivals, where prizes were offered for music, song, poetry and historical essays. The highpoint of the festivals was the Gorsedd of the Bards, a procession supposed to be founded on ancient Druidic ritual. The Rev James adopted the Bardic name Llallawg, an alias of the Bardic-Druidic figure Myrddin, (better known as Merlin of Arthurian legend), and served as an adjudicator at Eisteddfodau as well as donating prize money.
In 1858 he became embroiled in a dispute which scandalised the Eisteddfod and set him at odds with fellow bard and cleric, the Rev Joseph Hughes, curate and historian of Meltham. The Rev Hughes, from Newport in Pembrokeshire, used the bardic name Carn Ingli, after the hill fort outside his native town. In 1858 he was one of the organisers of the Llangollen Eisteddfod at which Llallawg was asked to judge the history prize. Although the topic was the discovery of America by the twelfth century Welsh price Madoc, the best essay by far argued that this was merely a legend and had never happened. Carn Ingli disqualified it as irrelevant to the theme, Llallawg resigned as judge in protest – and there was uproar at the Eisteddfod.
As his role in establishing HATA shows, the Rev James also loved the heritage of his adopted home. He wrote a paper on ‘The early Antiquities of the District’ and was for a time editor of the ‘Transactions of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal’, which became the still surviving ‘Yorkshire Archaeological Journal’. He also helped the publication of the Rev Hughes ‘History of Meltham’ left unfinished by the author’s death in 1862.
In 1870 Thomas married Jane Hammet of Plymouth but she died two years later of a seizure said to have been brought on by a thunderstorm. Thomas himself became increasingly infirm and was described by the Rev Hulbert in his Annals of Almondbury as ‘a recluse’. However he was still involved in the Eisteddfod movement.
In 1873, as the ‘archdruid of Gwynedd’, the Rev James offered the prize for the best ‘peithynfaen’, wooden books with verse written in bardic characters known as ‘Coelbren y Beirdd’. It was not then known that this alphabet, which was supposed to have been devised by the druids over 2,000 years ago, was less than a century old. It was fabricated in the 1790s by poet and folklorist Edward Williams, known as Iolo Morganwg, who was one of the driving forces behind the revival of the Eisteddfodau.
The Rev James died in 1879 and his enthusiasm for the Bardic past, imaginary or not, is celebrated on his grave cover. The cross shaped grave lies just by the church door at Netherthong. The inscription is in the Bardic Alphabet. This has been kindly deciphered and translated by Mr Owain Rhys of the Museum of Wales. One side records the birth and death of Thomas himself and the fact he had been curate for 33 years, the other the death of Jane. The carved symbolism also speaks volumes about the man. There is a leek representing Wales, a harp reflecting his Bardic personality and, perhaps strangest of all in a Christian graveyard, the druidic symbols of oak leaves and mistletoe. Equally strange is the fact that the Yorkshire Archaeological Society may owe its origins to the druid curate of Netherthong.
The history of the church, its role in the village its parishioners and their activities is detailed below.
The clock in the church was given by public subscription in 1887 to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The Jubilee celebration was fully consummated by the starting of the turret clock which had been placed in the spire by Mr.Pitts of Leeds. The clock cost £75 and was described as a “ pin-wheel striking clock 2’9” in diameter. It struck the hours on the bell and was reputed to be heard in BerryBanks, Wooldale and Oldfield. It was a boon for the villagers as up to then the only way they had of getting an idea of the correct time was to stand at the top of New Road and watch for the starting of the train from Holmfirth Station.
The church choir was an important part of the church’s activities and one of its highlights was its annual outing. A number of these were reported in the local paper and, considering the condition of the roads in the early years, the journeys in themselves must have been exciting events.
1891 – trip to Baslow and Chatsworth houses.
1894 – outing to Castleton in the Peak District
1908 – excursion to West Kirby via Liverpool and Birkenhead. Whilst they were crossing the river they saw the Lusitania.
1909- they visited Worksop. They met outside the church and walked to Brockholes station to catch the train. Among the party was Mr. C.Wood , the choir master, with 24 years voluntary service, Miss Dickenson, the organist, with 30 years and Tom Wood with 21 years.
1910 – outing to Chester via Liverpool and Birkenhead,
1912 – the annual outing in May took them to London. They left Huddersfield at 11.30 pm on the Sunday night and arrived at 5.20 am in London. The report detailed what they did and what they saw. It is not unreasonable to assume that for many of them it was their first trip to the ” Big Smoke “.
1913 – the excursion in July was their 34th and they went to Llandudno and Liverpool. They left Huddersfield in a splendidly appointed L & NW saloon carriage at 6.30am
1915 – 25 members were conveyed by Mr. Beaumont’s motor char-a-banc to Harrogate and Ripon.
1916 – trip to Knutsford. They travelled in 3 motor charabancs supplied by Messrs. Kilney & Brook ( Honley ).
1918 – the choir left Thongsbridge station for Dewsbury and took the train to Wakefield. After dinner they went by car to Leeds and returned home by train at 8pm.
The 39th. annual excursion for the choir was taken in August 1919 when they travelled to Selby and York in the commodious and comfortable motor char-a-banc from Kilner & Brooks of Honley. Their Annual Outing in 1920 took them to Congleton.
1921 – in July 60 members and friends took part in the 41st. annual outing and the 6th. by charabanc. They visited Doncaster and Worksop and made a visit to the renowned ” Magic Oak “. They met a choir party from Halifax who were also on an outing and, as people tend to do, they had a competition to see who could get the most individuals inside the mammoth trunk. Netherthong ladies managed to squeeze in 18 which was 4 more than Halifax.
1922 – they filled two 28- seater charabancs and travelled via Leeds, Headingly, Harewood and Harrogate to their first stop at Ripley. Their objective was Grassington.
1951 saw them travelling to Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-sea.
1953 – they visited Skegness stopping off first at Lincoln Cathedral.
In the January 1st 1887 issue of the Holmfirth Express, it carried a large advert :
Holmfirth Parish Church
New Year’s Tea Party
Concert & Meeting at 7p.m.
Members of the Netherthong Tea Party will entertain.
The report said the party had been held in the large classroom and 150 sat down to an excellent tea. The chair was taken by the vicar and the choir , under the leadership of Mr. Jonathan Hirst, rendered a choice selection of music.
In June of the same year the Parish Church Sunday and day Schools held special services in the church in aid of the schools. A procession was formed and headed by the school banner and the Netherthong brass band marched to Deanhouse and the Workhouse continuing onto Oldfield where they had refreshments. They went to Hagg ( Capt. Beardsell’s residence ) and then back to the village.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield, Dr.Eden, paid his first official visit to the church in February 1904. He preached to a large congregation in the morning and , in the afternoon, conducted a confirmation service which was believed to be the first of its kind in the Netherthong parish. During his visit he was the guest of the vicar’s warden, Mr.J.Watkinson of Sands. Later in the month there was a Parochial Tea and Entertainment with the tea provided by the married ladies of the congregation. The newspaper reported that it was a very good tea consisting of ham sandwiches and various “ tantatlins “. Over 200 people enjoyed the varied concert which had 39 items. The evening finished off with a social and a feature was the rendering by the children of some of the local singing games eg. “ What is Mary weeping for? “ and “ On yonder fair mountain “
In April the Sunday School gave their operetta “ The wreck of the Argosy “ to a large audience in theNationalSchool
Each year in April, All Saints held its annual vestry meeting at which elections were held for various church positions. In 1904, James Dyson was re-elected as the people’s warden. J.Watkinson was re-appointed as the vicar’s warden and T.Turner was re-elected as his sidesman. C.Floyd was appointed sidesman to the vicar’s warden and J.Mallinson and H.Wilson were elected sidesmen for the people’s warden.
In March 1905, the Church resuscitated the annual tea party and entertainment which had not taken place for several years and it was held in the large room of the National school. There was a good gathering and after the tea, the 1st. part of the performance was by the choir and the 2nd. part was a dialogue titled “ Wanted a wife “.
In May the churchwardens wrote to the District Council saying they would be glad if the Council would defray the cost of winding and the upkeep of the clock. They said it was of benefit to the district and they considered it be kept up by the rates for the advantage of the district. They wanted 20/- pa and Mr. H.Gill would have charge of it. The Council said that as it was a public clock and had been bought by public subscription they would approve it.
In 1907 there was no change in the positions at the annual vestry meeting. In the same month Wm.Sykes & Son held a sale of furnishings in the Vicarage and got some excellent prices. A Sheraton armchair sold for £34 10s.
The annual vestry meeting for 1908 was held in April with the Rev. Hind presiding. Mr.Turner was nominated as vicar’s warden, Mr.W.Batley as vicar’s sidesman and Mr.Dyson as people’s warden. C.Floyd, J.Mallinson , J.Russell and H.Wilson were elected as sidemen.
The Sunday school held a social evening in February 1911 . It was combined with the junior sewing class to raise funds to buy teaspoons for use at public teas etc.
In 1912 the report for 1911 was issued on the Annual return of subscriptions to the Wakefield Diocesan Fund for maintenance and work of the Church Restoration Society, Spiritual Aid Society and Diocesan Education Society. All Saints contributed £7 11s 3d.
The 1913 Annual Parochial tea was held in February. There was a splendid tea and entertainment by the choir. The following month saw the Annual vestry meeting. Mr. Turner was once again re-appointed as the vicar’s warden. Mr. J. Woodhead was re-elected as the people’s warden with C.Floyd, W.Batley, J. Mallinson, J.Russell, B.Butterworth, H.Wilson and J.Harper as sidesmen.
The Church had formed a Mother’s Union. In August 1913 about 45 ladies had a meeting which started with a service in the church ( Rev.N.Hind ) , followed by a tea in the school at the invitation of Mrs. Floyd, their president.. In the evening they adjoined to Fairfield. The following week a party of 86 went to Langsett by waggonette.
In February 1916, the Church Sunday school organized a public tea and entertainment. The room was packed to witness the performance of an operetta “ Zurika the Gypsy Maid “ which was of a very high order. Miss Battley gave a short account of how the money raised was to purchase a valuable piano for use by the school.
Special services in connection with the National Mission of Repentance and Hope were held in the church in October. Rev. Hind said the matins and evensong and the choir, under the leadership of Mr. C. Wood with Mrs. Jackson on organ, performed the musical part.
Also in October Mr.& Mrs. Buchanan celebrated their golden wedding day. They were married in All Saints on October 24 1866 by the Rev.J.James.
Miss Judith Ellen Mellor of Hagg Cottage died in November 1916 at the age of 80 years and was laid to rest in the family vault at All Saints. She was one of the oldest native born citizens and was heavily involved in fund raising for the Church school in the 1860s and in 1888 to enlarge it. She was a loyal churchwoman.
The Methodist Church is the fourth largest Christian Church in Britain, after the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches and the Church of Scotland. It has more than six thousand churches and a total membership of approximately 330, 000 people. There are Methodist Churches in nearly every country in the world and global membership numbers some 70 million people. It is traditionally known as non-conformist because it does not conform to the rules and authority of the established Church of England.
A group of tutors and students meeting at Oxford University in the late 1720s became known as the Oxford Methodists and the group included John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. In 1735 these three men became evangelical missionaries in America. After three years with the English settlers in Georgia, John Wesley and George Whitefield returned to England and in 1739 built their first Methodist Chapel in Bristol. Wesley and Whitefield also gave sermons in the open-air and travelled the country where they mainly visited poor neighbourhoods. Wesley, who had emerged as the leader of the Methodists, told the people who attended his meetings that if they loved God in return, they would “be saved from sin and made holy”. Wesley also had a lot to say about personal morality and in his sermons he encouraged people to work hard and to save for the future. He also warned against the dangers of gambling and drinking.
By the time John Wesley died in 1791, the Methodist movement had over 76,000 members and, after his death, the Methodists formally separated from the Anglican Church. Membership continued to grow and by 1801 reached 87,000 but the movement was weakened in 1808 when followers of Hugh Bourne were expelled. His followers became known as Primitive Methodists whereas those who remained were called Wesleyan Methodists.
At its heart, the theology of John Wesley stressed the life of Christian holiness: to love God with all one’s heart, mind, soul and strength and to love one’s neighbour as oneself. Wesley’s teaching also stressed experiential religion and moral responsibility.
Methodist Preachers in the Birstal Methodist Circuit visited Huddersfield and the surrounding villages and began holding services in the Netherthong area as early as 1750. They were held in the open air or in any available cottage and the house owned by John Hardy waslicensed for worship in 1766.
The chapel was built in Haigh Lane at Deanhouse in 1769 on a piece of waste land belonging to the Earl of Dartmouth and a small nominal charge was made for the rent by way of acknowledgement. It was approached in front by 40 steps which remain to this day. In the old records it is styled a Methodist Meeting House or Preaching House and the word chapel occurred for the first time in 1772. It originally had four rows of pews in the gallery which provided for 81 sittings, and men and women occupied separate sides as was the custom among the Society of Friends.
The Methodists shared the use of the chapel with the Independents for a period in the early 1770s with each party preaching on alternate Sundays but this arrangement proved unsatisfactory and the Independents moved out and held their services in a cottage until they built Holmfirth Lane Independent Church in 1778.
The first time John Wesley visited the chapel was on July 6 1772 and he wrote in his diary “…at 10, I preached in the new house at Thong “. At this time there was no highway between Huddersfield and Holmfirth and the main road led from Honley Bridge by way of the old Turnpike, Banks and Hagg. At Hagg , he dismounted from his carriage and walked to Deanhouse. After the service , Mrs.Dinah Bates and most of the congregation accompanied him back to Hagg and at Hagg Wood they all gathered round John Wesley and sang –
Ye hills and ye dales
In praises abound
Ye mountains and vales
Continue the sound
Break forth into singing
Ye trees of the wood
For Jesus is bringing
Lost sinners to God.
There are some references that he visited again in 1773 and one rumour is that he had stayed overnight at the farm at Holmroyd Nook and had given two signed bibles to the farmer as thanks. One of the bibles is in the Tolsom museum in Huddersfield but the location of a second bible has never been established. The current owner of the house at Holmroyd has been to the Wesleyan museum in London and has a letter from them stating that there is no evidence that Wesley stayed at the farm.
Some of the old books belonging to Wesley’s chapel gave an insight into the early days of Methodism in the district and one of those books is inscribed “ Register Book left at Black Swan Smithyes Door” and from this it would appear that the first baptism at the Chapel took place on May 29th. 1784 when “ Titus Dinsdale of Honley in the parish of Almondbury was Baptiz’d “ In those days only a small proportion of people could read and write and it is not suprising that the local dialect had its influence on the spelling. Throughout the book the word daughter is spelled “ doughter “, Dean Brook was spelled “ Deign Brook “ and Deanhouse was “ Deignhouse “. Mary was often spelled “ Marey “ and other peculiarities were “ Ellin “ and “ Harriot “. Biblical names such as Ishmael, Phineas, Job, Elijah, Luke, Paul, Eli, Joshua, Abraham, Abel, Cornelius, Dan, Matthew, Hannah and Ruth were common.. Easter was a popular name for girls. The influence of John Wesley was apparent, for one of the earliest entries is of a boy christened “ Wesley “.
The chapel attracted adherents from a wide area and there were entries from Hillhouse ( in Huddersfield), Sudehill , “ Thirstyland “ and “ Foolstone “ in the parish of Kirkburton.
Account books of the Chapel were very revealing and in the earliest register of baptisms there is the following entry ; “ 1787 Decr. 4 – Pd. To Mr. Brook of Huddfd. Duty for corps burying & 6 baptisms at 3d. pr. Piece “
At a meeting held on October 31st. 1821, it was agreed that “ for the future the Charges for Grave Making should be as following ; all persons under 10 years of age 1s. 6d., for ages from 10 years to 20 years 2s.0d.. For all other persons above 20 years 2s. 6d. These charges appear to have continued for sixteen years, for the next entry states : “ It is Agreed at the Seats Day October 25th. 1837, that an advance of 6d. pr. Grave be allowed for Digging on the above statement.”
In 1814-1815 , 222 sittings yielded £27 13s. per year and the prices of sittings varied, some being 2s.0d. per year, some 2s.6d. and others 3s.0d.
Other snippets of information from the account books are : Consumption of candles for lighting the Chapel were regular entries and during the winter months of 1836 there appeared to be about 2lb. of candles , costing 1s.0d., every couple of weeks.
In April 1837, Godfry Woodhead was paid “ 1s.8d for strings “, and later that year in May he was paid a further 6s.3d. for bass mending and strings.
In June 1839, the price of candles increased to 1s.1d. for two pounds. One of the more interesting entries in 1839 was : “ To Thos.Gledel, 4 ½ Quarts of ale at 1s. 8d. ; 2 quarts of ale Wm.and J. Gill 8d. Also in December of the same year James Sykes was paid 1s.3d. for taking down and putting up the clock. In 1840, Jonas Eastwood was paid 3s.6d. for bass mending and later 2s.0d. was paid to Abm. Fitton for clock mending.
In June 1852 the Treat of the children connected with the School was held and the teachers and children ‘walked out’ to the residence of Mr.Beardsall and sang hymns. The Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner in June 1854 reported that the Sabbath school celebrated their annual festival with the children marching in procession through the village and were later regaled with tea and buns.
Unfortunately the account book was confined to pew rents and the last amount recorded was £3. 1s. 3d. for pew rents on October 25th. 1854.
A new book for pew rents was started in 1855, when £2 13s. 0d. was received together with £1 12s. 3d. in arrears. From 1861 the same book was used for accounts and contained no more individual pew rents after 1860. The Chapel was altered to form 2 stories in 1860-1861 and the Sunday School used the lower floor from 1861.
Some additional form of lighting was introduced in 1861 as there is an entry on September 10th. 1861 for Candles, Naptha etc 2s. 7 ½ d. and on October, Naptha 3s. 0d. and candles 7 ½ d. In the same year the anniversary collection was £4 10d. and the proceeds of tea £3 2s. Gas lighting appears to have been introduced in the latter part of 1861, for on December 31st. there is an entry “ Gas Bill 5s 1d.” In April , 1862, there was an entry “ Property Tax 2s. 10d. “
The Chapel, which had been closed for several weeks in 1861 for the purpose of making certain necessary improvements and alterations, re-opened on Good Friday with two sermons preached to a crowded congregation. Mr.J.Woodcock of Didsbury College preached in the afternoon and Rev.M.Johnson of Holmfirth in the evening. In the interval between the services a tea meeting was held and nearly 200 persons sat down. Collections were made in aid of funds and the old debt on the chapel of £310 was completely paid off with several persons in the Holmfirth area having subscribed liberally.
Entries in 1864 included “ Candles for Preaching 2d. “ : 4s. 6d. was paid to John Fox for stones for bridge. In December 1865, 3s. 6d. was paid to “Workhouse Men for road repairing.” After repairs to the gable end in 1866, the collection at the chapel re-opening amounted to £12 8s. 0d. Meeting rooms were added to the Chapel during 1873-75.
After having served as a bass player for several years, Mr.John Scholfield died in 1867 and it was suggested that an organ be purchased to accommodate the singing. An organ committee was appointed on January 4 1869 and a second – hand organ was obtained and installed and the opening services were held on February 14 1869. The cost of the organ was £17 plus £2 15s. for setting up . The money was raised by public collections. Geo. Hinchliffe was paid 13 s. 0d. per quarter as the organist until September 30 th. 1872 when he stopped playing. In March 1874 an entertainment was given in the Sunday school by a couple of amateurs from Holmfirth in the form of a magic lantern show. The views included the travels of Dr. Livingstone in Africa, scenes from the Tichborne Trial , views from the neighbourhood and concluded with a number of comic slides. The organ recently purchased for the Chapel was ” inaugurated ” in mid-February 1869 and on the Sunday two excellent services were preached by the Rev. W.Sugden of Holmfirth. The sermon on the following Wednesday was preached by Rev. T. Champness and a tea meeting was held afterwards. The collection in aid of the organ fund raised £17.
The committee and teachers associated with the Sunday School held a tea meeting in May 1870 in connection with the departure of Mr.George Harber Woodhead to Australia. After the tea, Mr.John Woodhead of Deanhouse presided and presented a neatly-bound copy of the Holy Bible and a hymn book to G.H.Woodhead as a token of esteem and appreciation for his very valuable services as teacher and secretary.
The Annual Meeting of the branch for 1871 was held in September in the Chapel. The following ministers and gentlemen took part. Rev.J.Bate, A.Level, recently appointed the circuit minister, Messrs. H.Butterworth, J.Woodcock, James Jagger, James Hobson, John Haigh and W.Wilson. Charles Woodhead was in the chair. A party and lecture was given in the Wesleyan school in April 1873 in connection with the ladies sewing machine for the purposes of raising funds for re-building the chapel-keepers house and making other necessary alterations to the chapel premises. About 170 ladies enjoyed the tea after which the company adjourned to the chapel when the Rev.George Kenyon of Linthwaite gave his popular lecture on Yorkshire and Yorkshireman. At the end of the lecture a collection was made after which the proceedings were terminated by the singing of the doxology and prayer. The Annual feast was held in June and the procession was headed by the village Brass Band. The school statistics was that there were 151 scholars, 77 boys and 74 girls, with an average attendance of 94 and these were helped by 15 male and 14 female teachers. There were 55 books in the library and the Superintendent was Mr. John Woodhouse.
At the beginning of 1875 the Wesleyans made an effort to clear off the debts incurred in altering and enlarging their premises by exhibiting a Christmas tree and fancy articles in the schoolroom. The sale was opened by Mr. David Woodhead and when the receipts were added up over £60 had been taken. A museum of curiosities was very attractive and well supported. May of that year was very important as the Chapel, which had been closed for the past few months for making alterations and additions, was opened for Divine Worship. Three sermons were preached to good congregations- in the morning by Mr. Moore Sykes of Huddersfield and in the afternoon and evening by the Rev. J. Jagger of Cardiff who had left the village several years ago to enter the Wesleyan Ministry. Over £21 was raised .The annual missionary meeting was held in September 1876 with John Woodhead presiding. The Rev.V.Tyas read part of the report of the society and addresses followed by the chairman, the Rev.C.Foster and Messrs. Dinsdale, Jagger, Woodhead, H.Butterworth and W.Wilson.A collection on behalf of the society was made at the end of the evening. The teachers and friends of the Sunday School held their annual tea on New Years Day 1877. A large number partook of the food and James Jagger occupied the chair. Addresses were given by the Rev.John Jagger ( Bolton ), C.Foster and VTyas , both of Holmfirth, Messrs. Dinsdale Roberts ( Hinchliffe Mill ), Harpin ( Thurstonland ) , Butterworth and J.Brown. Two months later a tea party was held with a good number partaking of the repast. The meal was followed by a lecture given by T.Dinsdale of Holmfirth ; Mr.A.Boothroyd presided. £5 was raised for funds.
In May of the same year, to coincide with the Whitsuntide Festivities, the Huddersfield Examiner and West Riding Reporter devoted a whole page to give details of all the local ‘independent’ churches which included the names of the Superintendents and the number of scholars and teachers and a report on their processions. For Netherthong Wesleyan SS, the Superintendents were John Woodhead and Robert Cousen and there were 69 scholars, 30 male and 39 female. The teachers totalled 23 with 9 males and 14 females. There were 113 books in the library. The teachers and scholars met at the schoolroom and preceded to the Deanhouse Workhouse headed by the Netherthong Brass band. They carried on to Thongsbridge, Hagg and Deanhouse before returning to the school for tea after which they went to the Deanhouse cricket field for games.
April 1879 was a very special occasion as it was the month of the annual tea and prize giving for the Sunday school. 240 people sat down for the tea and afterwards a crowded meeting was held in the chapel presided over by E.Jacobs of Garston, Liverpool. B.Oldfield, the secretary, gave his report and said that the school had 29 teachers and 244 scholars. The great event of the evening was the distribution of prizes of new books and were based on attendance. 31 scholars who had attended 90 times were awarded 3rd. prizes. 2nd. prizes went to those with an attendance of 100 times. The 19 scholars who had attended punctually twice every Sunday during the whole year received 1st. prizes. In addition there were special prizes for those who had attended for not less than five years. Ada Broadhead, M.Roberts, Mary Roberts, Sarah Seymour and Richard Seymour achieved five years. J.Broadhead, J.S.Dyson, F.W.Dyson and Ada Smith attained six years. Giles Parkin, S.Smith and Marian Taylor excelled with seven years each. But they were all eclipsed by the remarkable record achieved by Lydia Taylor who, during the previous eight years, had never been absent , morning or afternoon, and had only been late once but that was only for a few seconds. A few months later on Whit Monday teachers and scholars met at school and marched round the district accompanied by the Netherthong Brass Band. On returning they were provided with refreshments before adjoining to a field for games with the band playing at intervals. The superintendents were Messrs. John Woodhead and Robert Cousen and there were 29 male and 29 female scholars and 8 male and 14 female teachers. The average attendance was 37 and there were 120 books in the library.( the figures for the number of scholars and teachers are considerably at variance from those given in the previous paragraph ?? ). In a break from tradition the annual festival for 1883 was held on Whit Saturday instead of Whit Monday and, for the first as far as I can find out, the procession was led by the Wooldale Brass Band. The format was as previous. The Superintendents were Charles Woodhead and Robert Cousen. There were 53 scholars, 19 male and 34 female and 19 teachers, 7 male and 12 female. The average attendance was 32 and the number of books in the library was 176.
Miss Martha Woodhead became voluntary organist and, on her death in December 1885, it was suggested that it would be a graceful act to erect an organ in the chapel to her memory. As signs of dry rot had appeared in some of the pews, it was decided to have the interior entirely reconstructed and modernized and the new organ was erected in the north-west corner. It cost £165 3s. 6d. and the overall cost for all the work came to £432 7s. 9d..
At Whitsun 1869, teachers, scholars and friends assembled and met with the teachers and scholars of the Wesleyan Free Church and walked in procession to the Workhouse where they sang songs and hymns for the inmates. As the weather was wet, the march round the village was cancelled and the schools separated and went to their own schoolrooms for tea, buns and oranges. The Shelley Brass Band were engaged and gave a few selections of music in each school.
The first record of a choir trip is on August 31st.1886 when the following entry was made “ Chapel Choir ( Picnic ) £3 0s.0d.. The next year they went to Wentworth for £2 7s. 0d . By 1906 the choir trip expenses had increased to £5 but in the following year their trip to Chester cost only £2 8s. 0d. On November 4th. 1890 was the entry ” John Hinchliffe organist £5 5s 0d “. Coke was apparently very cheap in 1892 for an entry on February 4th. that year states ” 5 Load Cinders & leading for Oct. to Dec. 3s 9d “.
The account book ended on January 23rd. 1915 with the entry “ At this date Mr.B.J.Littlewood resigned after discharging the duties of treasurer to the Trustees for a period of sixty years. The trustees gratefully acknowledge his services and the balance of £14 0s. 5d. was handed over by Mr. Littlewood to the new treasurer . Signed, WalterWagstaff. “
The very first edition of the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner was issued as a weekly on Saturday, September 6 1851 , price four and a half pence. In the September 27 issue it reported that a Missionary meeting had been held with the chair occupied by James Jaggar. The meeting was addressed by Revs. T.Garbutt and B.Firth and Messrs. J.Woodcock, G.Woodhead and J.Taylor with the collection was in aid of the Mission Society. The same month there was a meeting in the Chapel of stewards, local preachers and leaders in connection with the Reform Wesleyans. Joseph Cuttell was voted into the chair and the financial statement was very good with a balance of £6. During the meeting a very important resolution was passed, not without considerable opposition, that local preachers should administer baptism and the Lord’s supper. The meeting was adjoined for tea provided by friends of the cause and afterwards was opened to the public. January 1852 was their Tea Party with 80 of the teachers present. John Woodhead was in the chair and Messrs. Sykes, Dearnally, Cuttell, C.Hobson and J.Jaggar addressed the meeting, The next reported annual meeting of the Missionary Society was in September1857 under the presidency of James Jagger. Addresses showing the progress of missionary labours in foreign lands were given by Rev. H.Davison and A.Learoyd as well as Messrs. Woodcock, Taylor, Wilson and other friends.
In 1891 several Temperance meetings were held in the Wesleyan school and the lecturer was Fred Sykes.The following year in February Mr. Ottwell Binns “ Joyful News “ an evangelist who was stationed at Netherthong Wesleyan Chapel gave the first of a series of services for men. The subject was “ some problems of today – nature, life and the future “. A second service was “ Does an unprincipled man succeed ?”
In April 1902 there was a 2 day sale of work in the Chapel. There was a large attendance and £150 was raised.
In April 1905 the older scholars from the Sunday school provided a Drawing Room concert. Mr. & Mrs. Singleton were host and hostesses. There was a full programme and, during the interval, Mr. Walter Shore gave a recital of gramophone selections and Mr. Charles Briggs was in charge of the galvanic battery. There was a good attendance and £5 was raised.
January 1907 saw the Sunday school annual tea and meeting at which Mr.T.Mosley, the school secretary, presented the annual report. There were 80 students on the books plus 19 teachers and officers. The following month there was a drawing-room concert in the schoolroom which had become an annual event. The Rev. Clement Reader and Mrs. Reader were the hosts. The choir provided all the entertainment and gave a large varied programme.
In June the school feasts of the Wesleyans and the Methodist Free Church were combined. The scholars met at 2 pm and headed by the Holme Prize Band walked in procession. The route taken went first to the Workhouse where they sang for the inmates and Mr. Heastie , the Master, thanked them and said it was now 23 years since they had first started visiting. The procession continued onto Deanhouse, Hagg , Thongsbridge and back to Netherthong. They had a good tea and each scholar was presented with a cake and an orange and the rest of the evening was spent playing games in a field at Deanhouse, kindly lent by Roger Shaw.
The Sunday school anniversary services were held in August 1908. F.Mellor was on the organ and the conductor was Mr. H.Fisher. On the Bank Holiday Monday the choir had their annual trip and went to Southport and enjoyed themselves on the sands, the fun fair and the Botanical Gardens.
The Annual joint festival with the United Methodists was once again held in May 1910 and the procession was led by the Hepworth Silver Prize Band. 60-70 members went on the annual choir outing to Lincoln in July.
Earlier in this chapter I said that the land for the Chapel had been rented from the Earl of Dartmouth in 1769 for a nominal sum and the receipt below dated 16 December 1912 is for four shillings from the Wesleyan Chapel Trustees Netherthong for one years rent due to The Earl of Dartmouth at 1st. November 1912.
In January 1913, the annual New Year’s Party for the Wesleyan school was held and there was a good tea and lots of speakers. In March the married men connected with the Chapel embarked on a new venture by providing a public tea and a variety concert with Mr.J.Woodhead presiding. It was a great success and a profit of £18 10s was made. May saw the Annual School Festival of the combined Wesleyan and United Methodist Sunday Schools. The procession headed by Honley Prize band visited the Workhouse, Deanhouse village, Hagg, Thongbridge and returned back to Netherthong. The workers and scholars were entertained at their own schools before all going to a gala held in the old cricket field at Deanhouse. In August all the teachers and pupils had an enjoyable trip to Gunthwaite Hall. They travelled in 4 waggonettes supplied by Herbert Booth of New Mill.
A large company of teachers and congregation assembled to mark the impending marriage of Luke Roebuck and Miss A.Hellawell.
The Wesleyan Choir outing by train to Bridlington took place in August 1914. The Foreign missionary anniversary connected to the Chapel took place in November with a meeting on the Sunday and Tuesday giving a detailed report on the missionary activities in China.
The New Years School Gathering was held in January 1915 and Wm.Froggatt presided and delivered an admirable address. Cllr. Thomas Brook and Mr. W.Wagstaff also made speeches and Miss Couson presented prizes to the children. The following month Mr.B.Littlewood relinquished his post as chapel steward on reaching 85 years after holding the office for 65 years. In May the children of the Primary Department of the Sunday School presented a gift of 36 eggs, a cake and 1s 7d in cash plus a card to Holmfirth Military Cottage Hospital. The Foreign missionary anniversary was held in November with the Rev.Taylor, who had spent 8 years in North Ceylon, giving a talk on his time with the Tamil people. Rev.Doughty, as the secretary of the foreign mission, presented the annual report and said that in spite of the war , the year had been one of great blessing in the foreign field. The total proceeds of the evening were £20 1s 5d.
In May the children of the primary department of the Sunday school made gifts to present to the Holmfirth Military Hospital. They consisted of 36 eggs, a cake and 1s 7d in cash with a card inscribed ” A gift of love to our brave soldiers. from little primary children, some of whose fathers are soldiers too.”
January 1916 saw the Wesleyan New Year Gathering in conjunction with the Sunday school. The foreign missionary anniversary in November had a talk on missionary work in India.
A tea and concert was held in March 1917 at the Sunday school in aid of the school renovation fund. There was a large attendance and £7 5s 1d was raised. May was the anniversary of the Chapel and the afternoon service was conducted by Rev.W.Doughty and by Rev.J.Keddie in the evening. Mr.J.Green was the organist for the singing.
The New Year’s gathering in 1917 of the Wesleyan Sunday School was a great success. After the tea and speeches, the scholars gave a pleasing programme with recitations by some of the adults and at the grand finale prizes were presented to the successful scholars.
August 1917 saw the annual services for the Sunday School with the Rev. E. Johnson of Holmfirth delivering two powerful sermons. The choir, with Mr. J.Green at the organ, were a great success and they achieved a record collection of £10 7s.
In September in conjunction with the Wesleyan Chapel a garden party took place in a field in New Road kindly lent by Mr. Woodhead. The attractions included a cricket match between the ladies and gents. After the game and the tea, everyone played games including running races, obstacle races, egg and spoon, threading the needle and slow racing. The profits were £3 15s which went to the organ improvements fund.
In January 1918 the Chapel organized a social and an American Fair and Café were some of its features. The receipts of £5 were given to the Patriotic Society.
March saw the anniversary of the Chapel and there were sermons in the afternoon and evening by Dr. Brown of Dewsbury. Music was provided by the choir and the collection raised £ 16s.
The next report about the Chapel in the Express for 1918 was about the Harvest festival in October. There was a good attendance and £5 6s 8d was raised in aid of the trust fund. In November a memorial service was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in memory of Private Harold Brackenbury who had died on October 1st. from wounds received in action in France
The start of 1919 saw the New Year annual gathering. It was very enjoyable and after tea the prizes were presented to the successful scholars. In recognition of having been connected with the school for 20 years, bibles were presented to Florence Shore and Private Henry Swallow who had just returned from being a POW.
In March there was a concert at the Sunday School under the presidency of Mr. Wagstaff which realized £5 for trust funds The following month there was a special musical service with selections of music rendered by the Holmfirth Wesleyan Choir.
In May the young people associated with the Wesleyan and United Methodist Sunday schools once again took part in their annual festival. A procession, headed by the Honley Brass Band, went first to the Deanhouse Institution and then Upper and Lower Oldfield, Deanhouse and Netherthong stopping at various points to sing hymns. Tea was provided in the respective schools followed by a gala held in beautiful weather. Several of the returned soldiers took part.
The Annual church choir outing was held in July and 18 members visited Liverpool and New Brighton. The Sunday School anniversary took place in August and there was a very large congregation at all three services which were conducted by J.Roberts J.P. with Mr. J. Green on the organ. £12 was collected for funds
September saw the mission anniversary in conjunction with the Chapel. On the Sunday morning there was a temperance sermon and in the afternoon a report on missionary work in West Africa. On the Tuesday the missionary spoke of his experiences in Mysore, India. The proceeds of £20 went to missionary relief.
1920 started with the Sunday School holding its New Years Gathering. Mr. W.Wagstaff presided at the meeting and Mr. Joe Settle presented the annual report. A public tea was provided, after which there were songs and the presentation of prizes to the children At the end of the month the Young Leaders Union connected with the Sunday School promoted an enjoyable social gathering in the schoolroom with Miss Cousen presiding.
In June the Annual Sunday School Festival in connection with the United Methodists was held to the normal format but after the procession and teas the gala had to be cancelled due to bad weather.
July was an important month as the Sunday School opened after renovation, the expenses amounted to £70. A large group had tea with the trays presided over by old scholars with young ladies acting as waitresses. Mr. James Hoyle, a former teacher at the day school, told stories of the early days of the Chapel and the school. He was one of the original 10 scholars who attended when the present school was opened in May 5 1861 and he said the number of scholars had increased over the years to its present level of 140.
As I have just mentioned Mr. James Hoyle in the above paragraph, it’s appropriate here to include an article, reprinted from the Holmfirth Express of February 25 1939, received by them from Mr.J.H.Hoyle dealing with some of his memories of the chapel and school as a lad from three years of age to being twenty years old. He said he had had the privilege of attending service in the chapel as it stood when Wesley preached in it , and was also one of the ten scholars present at the opening of the Sunday School. I have copied it exactly as printed and some of the punctuation might seem rather archaic.
In his own words “ It was one of Wesley’s chapels, and as a young lad I was taken there regularly to the services. At that time the building remained structurally the same as it was when Wesley preached in it soon after it was built. There it has stood for close on a century, a striking and not uncomely structure of grey gritstone sturdily perched on the steep edge of a narrow glen and looking across towards the village crowning the nearby hill, the foreground of the view being formed by the trees of a little plantation, at the bottom of which murmured the clear waters of the brook, as, fresh from their labours on a neighbouring waterwheel, they sought rest and quiet in the pond just below. How many thousands of Methodist worshippers belonging to the ” Old Body ” have descended the almost precipitous slope of that hill from the village, down the gentler slope beneath the trees, across the large stone flags that spanned the brook, and then ,by an arduous climb up the long flight of ” catseps “, have reached the body of the chapel ( now the Sunday School ). What fun and valuable exercise for lung and limb those steps gave us boys! The older people did not seem to regard them with half our friendliness : but what could they expect? They never ran races down them, or even up !
Once inside the chapel, however, and we were on our best behaviour : and even this came at no very great hardship during some parts of the service, as for example, when the old ” Bass player ” who could make his cello talk, was leading the choir, and even after he had left us, to join the orchestra of heaven, when the new organ was on its best behaviour ,too. Some of those hymns and anthems echo and re-echo even yet. Anniversaries and other special occasions usually went with a swing, but it might be somewhat different at times. Ordinary services were not always as attractive. In those days it was customary for the preacher to read out the whole of the first verse of the hymn to be sung , and when the opening hymn began ” Come on my partners in distress ” and the world was repeatedly referred to as ” This vale of tears ” or “This waste howling wilderness “, little roomwas left for enthusiasm. In the course of the year there were three special occasions connected with the Sunday School.
On New Year’s Day was held the annual meeting, which began with a tea, bountifully served in true West Riding style. This was followed by a meeting, enlivened by speeches from teachers and others, of whom some at best were not born orators, but the breakdown of a speaker did not damp, but rather intensified the enjoyment of the audience. Whitsuntide was certainly the crown of the year for the scholars. To watch them assemble for morning school on Whit Sunday was a fine opportunity for studying the effect of dress on an individual, and possibly on the adult mind. The girls, in all the glory of new summer finery, their faces beaming with pride and satisfaction, tripped gaily to their places, giving no evidence of any desire to avoid observation. The boys, on the other hand, just sneaked in , looking half -ashamed and wholly uncomfortable. In the evening, instead of a sermon, the scholars gave recitations, in which they had recieved careful training. These were fully appreciated by admiring parents and friends, and were not to be despised as an introduction to poetry and correct expression.
Whit Monday was the day of the schoolfeast. Led by a brass band, teachers and scholars walked in procession round the neighbourhood, stopping at various points to sing their special hymns, and occasionally they received an orange or some sweets. Tea and buns were served in the schoolroom, and each scholar was presented with a specially large and rich bun – the ” School Feast Cake ” – to take home. Then, whilst the room was being cleared and re-arranged, there was a short interval for games, but little room in which to play. After this a meeting was held with speeches and selections by the brass band that easily filled the comparitively small room chock full of music, the whole ending loyally with ” God save the Queen “. Later in the summer the anniversary, almost a second Whit Sunday as far as the dresses of the girls were concerned was held. The music was carefully rehearsed for weeks beforehand, and not unfrequently included new tunes by local musicians, and it would be difficult to say which aroused most interest, the music or the amount of the collection, but some of these new tunes could have been heard years after the last penny of the collection had been spent.
Some of Methodism’s finest men visited us at times. Thomas Champness was no stranger and to hear him at his best speaking from the text, ” The people had a mind to work “, was a privilege long to be treasured. Frequently the pulpit was occupied by a young man, then in his teens,who afterwards became President of the Conference, and few, if any , finer sermons were ever heard in the chapel than one of his on the text, ” He shall save His peoplefrom their sins “. A service of a kind rarely witnessed in a Methodist chapel was held one Sunday morning. After the usual hymns, prayers and lessons the announcement was made, ” The Sacrament of Baptism will now be administered.” The good superintendent minister, the Rev. Joseph Entwistle, began to descend the pulpit steps,but nowhere could be seen any sign of a beautifully embroidered christening robe, nor could we hear the faintest squeak of protest from some little mite that had not been duly consulted. How could there be a christening without a baby? But we were not left long to solve that problem. The answer was at hand. Slowly down one of the aisles and across to the communion rail came one of the leaders of that little society, closely followed by his wife. who took her place at his side as she had done on many trying occasions before. He was a man to whom all the rights and privileges of Christian worship and Christian fellowship were precious, and it had troubled him much that after diligent searches no record of his baptism could be found, and he had resolved that this omission should be remedied. So the strong man became as a little child, and was baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost in the presence of that congregation, among whom were some of his own children. And though it is now more than seventy years since I witnessed this event I have never seen a similar ceremony. Not that it could be expected as it was my own father who I saw baptised “.
Mr. James Henry Hoyle is the son of the late Mr.Amos Hoyle of Thong Bridge and is best remembered as a day school teacher at Holmfirth Wesleyan School.
The receipt below , dated December 16th. 1912, was to the Wesleyan Chapel Trustees Netherthong for the sum of Four Shillings. This was the rent for one year due to the Earl of Dartmouth and signed by J.Wilson for Thynne & Thynne- Land Agents of Westminster.