All Saints’ Church- from the beginning to 1918

All Saints’ Churh 

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 interior of All Saint’s dated 1910

 

Rear view of the church with the manor House visible through the trees on the right.

 

A closer view of the rear of the church showing a few gravestones.

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.

Parish of Netherthong notice dated 1886
Parish of Netherthong notice dated 1886
List of Church Dues - date not known.
List of Church Dues – date not known.

The following photograph shows the front cover of the Church monthly dated July 1895.

Cover of the Church Monthly for July 1895
Cover of the Church Monthly for July 1895

The next photograph is the front cover for the hymns to be sung at the Sunday School Festival in June 18 1899.

Cover dated June 18 1899 for the Sunday School Festival
Cover dated June 18 1899 for the Sunday School Festival

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.

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 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.

 

Modern photo , 2010, of the old vicarage.

 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

 

All Saints’ Church notice. January 20 1876.

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. Prowde dated 1900s.

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.

A ‘peithynfaen’

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.

Rev Thomas James grave #2

  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 :

Public Notice

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.

 

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