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Holy Trinity Visit Reveals New Information

October 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Items discussed at the September meeting included a newly published South Craven Court Book by David Gulliver of Cononley, an invite to a Heritage day in Keighley, website changes and a forthcoming visit to Queen Street Mill textile museum.

However the focus was our imminent visit to Holy Trinity Church, Cowling. Last year we had a very fruitful visit to Cowling Hill (Head) Baptists and our Holy Trinity visit was continuing our local history look at parish places of worship.

The visit took place on Wednesday 16th. We were made very welcome by members, with refreshments and a guided tour of the church. The highlight was the guided tour of the tower. At the top the day was clear and bright and all agreed that the view would be difficult to beat.

The church clock was made by JB Joyce & Co, of Whitchurch, Shropshire as indicated boldly on the workings. Wikipedia states that: “J. B. Joyce & Co, clockmakers, was founded in Shropshire in England. The company claim to be the oldest clock manufacturer in the world, originally established in 1690.” (Another clockmaker also claims to be the oldest.)

Holy Trinity Church clock workings.

Holy Trinity Church clock workings.

“In 1849 the company copied the Big Ben escapement designed by Lord Grimthorpe. The firm made large clocks for many public buildings, both at home and overseas, and for some of the principal railway companies“.  Holy Trinity’s clock, made in 1925, is one of the Big Ben copies mentioned above!

Also noted on the visit were:

  • The sites of two previous lean to buildings. One, on the south side had been to house a previous organ fan, when the organ was situated on the other side of the church. The second was on the west side and had been to enter down to a previous coal fired boiler house.
  • A previous internal balcony at the tower end, destroyed when a storm blew corner pinnacles off the tower corners.
  • A list of vicars

    Vicars of Cowling Holy Trinity Church

    Vicars of Cowling Holy Trinity Church

  • The funding for the 1926 clock installation
  • A plaque and window to the King family of Carr Head
  • A plaque to the longest serving vicar George Bayldon (40 years)
  • Evidence of previous coke and gas heating.
  • A previous alter table with a plaque engraved: Rev GW Kendall 1889 Easter. As there is no mention of this name in the list of vicars we can only presume that the table was originally in another church.

Vicars of Cowling Holy Trinity Church

 

Our thanks go to the church members for this very enjoyable visit.

Categories: Religion

Cowling Hill Baptists – Origins

November 27th, 2014 Comments off

Information received from members of Cowling Hill Baptists referred to in September  2015 News item.

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My information came from a book ” The Baptists of Yorkshire 1912 ” being the Centenary Memorial Volume of the Yorkshire Baptist Association.

Chapter 2 deals with the Churches originating from the Rossendale Church, which was the outcome of the evangelistic labours of two Yorkshire men, William Mitchel and David Crossley. Mitchel and Crossley were cousins by nature, brothers by grace and fellow labourers in the Lord’s vineyard. They were born at Heptonstall near Hebden Bridge in 1662 and 1669 respectfully.

1687 or 1688 was the date the two men began their joint labours of evangelisation and by 1691 Mitchel can speak of having ” above twenty licensed places ” and of having continued his ministry ” in a matter of forty miles compass to the good and conversion of many. ” According to the Rev. F. Overend of Bacup, Cowling Hill was one of those licensed houses.

In 1692 the first building for worship was erected in Bacup  primarily ” for the use and behalf of Mitchel and Crossley, for and during their natural lives “-Mitchel died in 1705 prematurely old and worn out ” fitly termed our patron Saint “.  Crossley lived until 1744 but was something of a controversial figure albeit one of the most popular Calvanistic preachers in the country.

The first entry for Cowling Hill starts at the foot of page 95.  ” Here also Crossley and Mitchel labured. ”  When in about 1724 when Bacup became a separate church, Cowling Hill was attached thereto and it was supplied for many years by preachers from Bacup and by John Nuttall of Lumb whose visits meant a journey of thirty miles and whose labours were remunerated at a rate of half a crown a Sunday. In  1756 Cowling Hill became a separate church.

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The remainder of the article covers the history that we already have. However it does say that ” The Association Letter of 1842 says that the Keighley, Earby and Hellifield Churches had their origin in part from Cowling Hill. ” Also that Cowling Hill was an important village on an ancient route from Lancaster to York.

New Baptist Information and Old House Sites Discovered.

September 22nd, 2014 Comments off

In August our meeting was cancelled due to members being unavailable and therefore there was no August report.

As we had not had an inside meeting since June there was much local history news to catch up on at the September meeting. The most interesting of this was a communication from a member of Cowling Hill Baptists. A preacher had given them significant information from “The Baptists of Yorkshire 1912” book. This gave far more detail than was previously known about the background  to and setting up of Cowling Hill Baptists in 1724. It also stated that “Keighley, Earby and Hellifield churches had their origin in part from Cowling Hill. The full communication will be displayed on this website soon entitled ‘Cowling Hill Baptists – Origins’

Another communication reported was from a member of the Atkinson family of Laneshaw House (now demolished), in response to our earlier request for information. This gave new detail about the family and about other houses that previously existed in the Green Syke area of the parish.

A request for information about the late David Hoyle, as an artist, was discussed following one of his paintings being purchased in Suffolk. There was a viewing of photos taken at Cowling Hill in July, to commence our recording of historic sites in the parish. Also
discussed were a WW1 commemoration update, boundary changes and listed buildings and  a wind turbine request
support request.

Cowling Past and Present. By Alfred Teal

January 20th, 2010 Comments off
Reprinted from the “WEST YORKSHIRE PIONEER “, November 1902.
Supplied By: Mrs Anne Akeroyd

 

I am not going to take my readers back, even in imagination, to the time when Cowling was one vast forest, or the time when our sturdy forefathers first took the axe in hand and began to cultivate the soil. As Englishmen, or to become more homely, as Yorkshire men, we believe there is no place like home. Still, the familiarity with its hills and dales, its rocky heights, and woody ravines, appears to most of us commonplace. Why? Because we never try to find any thing new in them. We are surrounded in summer with an almost illimitable variety of flowers, herbs, and ferns whose names are almost unknown to us hundreds of varieties of insects, birds, and animal life of whose names and habits we know little, yet whose study would be worthy of our spare moments. The watercourses abound in fossils, such as the Lepidodendron, Ligillaria, Calamite, etc, which reveal to us the fact this neighbourhood was once a tropical clime. Also the rocks, shell fossils, encrinites, foraminifera, etc, teach us that it was once an ocean bed. The ” HITCHING STONE” and Crags remind us that glaciers once did their silent work in this locality. But leaving geology, let me first take my reader upon the breezy moor, by way of ” Dean Moss “over ” Andrew Hill ” to what we term as the “New Hut “a good substantial stone building which was opened this last summer. It has been built by public subscriptions, and fitted with stoves and cooking utensils, and through the season it has been a public health resort for the people of Cowling. We are far away from the madding crowd ; nothing breaks the stillness except the call of grouse, a passing moortit, the bleating sheep, or the distant wail of a peewit. In days gone by we should have been standing on the shores of a lake, or reservoir, known as the ” Old-Dam “and standing on the heather covered bank, one longs to see the opening where it burst through, made up again, and a few boats on the spot for sailing, which would make the ” New Hut ” almost as popular a pleasuring place as the sea side, as well as a rendezvous for skaters during the frosty season.
Behind us we have a peculiar range of hills, known as ” Timothy Scaurs ” and as we wander about amongst the hillocks we wonder how they came there.This was once a busy centre of industry, along with another place just across the moor known as Round Holes, or in broad Yorkshire ” Ra’and Hoils “. These were both lime works fifty years ago, and the lime was exported across the moors to Ponden Scartop. and other villages bordering on the moor on the other side. If we crossed the moor we should find remains of a causeway which was once extended over the moor ; over this causeway the lime was conveyed.
Perhaps twenty or thirty ponies were used for this purpose ( or gals as they were known in those days ). The gals carried the lime in bags across their saddles, the leading gal having bells fastened to it, and the others following single file ; and those who are to young to remember them are left to imagine the procession as they crossed the moor daily to the musical tinkle of the bells, and the crack of the drivers whip.

Near to the Round Holes at this period the Laneshaw coal pits were in operation. Though the coal was far from our ideal class of coal, yet it supplied the village with its apology for coal. Before we leave the moors let us visit that monster stone, ” Hitching Stone ” standing in solitude on the bleak moor as a boundary mark, and one which cannot be easily moved. Here used to be celebrated the Hitching Stone Feast on the 12th of august when the grouse shooting commenced. Racing and various sports took place, but uneven ground made racing difficult, though it helped to put action into the competitors.

Now let us visit Gill Bottom. As we stand on the bridge, and look up at the ruined mill and the ivy covered houses, all is silent except the murmur of the brook and the rush of the spring from the closed mine . Once it watered the farm houses scattered along the hillside, but the mines drew it away, and left the cottages with a meagre supply.
Last summer they had all their water to fetch from a distance for months, but this year the supply has been greater than the demand. Standing on the bridge, we ask yourself the question Has this quiet valley ever been disturbed by the humdrum of life? Yes and I will try to take you back in imagination to the time when this was one of Cowling’s busy centres.

Just opposite the row of cottages to our right (which are now unoccupied) stood a mill or “weaving shop “as they were called in those days. This place was filled with handlooms and bobbin engines, and business was transacted after the quaint methods of the day. The rules of a weaving shop were different to rules in our factories to day. Each weaver had to pay rent for his stand for a loom, which was called “shop rent ” and if a weaver was off work for a week he had to weave the next week sufficient to pay his rent before he could start for himself. He also had to find his own candles when “lighting up time” came. I might just add here that since power looms were introduced into the neighbourhood weavers had to buy their own candles, weft forks, brushes etc. It was quite common to see a weaver at two looms, with black warps in, and an “eights” candle swung over him was the only light he had. This reminds me of a notice given out from the pulpit of one of chapels ” A preaching service will be held at Moss – Bar, on a certain night, and it is requested that the congregation bring their weaving candles with them.” Even since gas was introduced into our neighbourhood the weaver had to pay half the gas bill.

But to return to Gill Bottom. Opposite the bridge we notice the heaps of shale and gravel which have been excavated from the bowels of the earth. Once upon a time an enterprising party, after prospecting, came to the conclusion that this quiet valley was not without its wealth. So miners were engaged and machinery got to the place and with pick and shovel the miners in process of time struck the lead ore, and the miniature Klondike did its daily round and common task. Just above the bridge stands in ruins another mill, which was burnt down a little over 30 years ago. This place once employed many hands and did a prosperous business. But let us go twenty yards further up the valley, and we shall see the ruins of a rope walk. The crumbling walls are covered with brambles and other creepers. It is situated in one of the most picturesque places in Cowling. In early spring the hill side is literally covered with primroses. This place furnished our village with ropes and twine of various kinds. Not only from this village but from many a village and town, orders were sent into this sequestered valley. No doubt the visitor will have noticed the waterfall just below here. There used to be a water wheel, which, by means of a long rope ran the works of this “Band Mill “. I think I have said sufficient to show that this quiet valley with no human habitation today, was once a busy part of Cowling.
We will now leave Gill Bottom and following the road it leads us to Cowling Hill another almost deserted place but once the village proper, situated on the old road to Colne. It possessed its village green (which is now en closed ). Here in bygone days were held the sports and pastimes. It was the centre of sport. Often men from the country around have assembled here to indulge in the popular winter “bone hunt”. They kindled a fire upon the village green and got a large bone and placed it in the fire.

When sufficiently burnt they took it out and tied a string to it, and trailed it over the snow around the whole countryside, and finally buried it in the snow. The competing dogs were then let loose, and followed the scent of the burnt bone and the dog which discovered it first won the prize ! Let us now come back again to Freegate and Ickornshaw, where decay and ruin meet the eye at every turn. Freegate has its tumbled down mill and similar cottages, yet it has had its day. Here Cowling used to celebrate its feasts. It was the centre of attraction at a feast time when everybody was full of life and mirth. Long rows of stalls attracted the juvenile portion where they spent often their only pence during the year on small novelties which had to last them until another festive occasion. Here was seen the ” toppler ” displaying his antics and the box organ grinding out its popular airs. The races which were always run on the main road were one of the principal features. When these events came off a man stood in a prominent place and rang a big bell for a considerable time until the people all flocked around him, and then he gave out in lound tones the rhyme which had been handed down to him from his ancestors : –
“Three, an’ a’ race Fra Hoggit loin top An’ this place.”
The race run twice off and on, between Freegate and the place named.

Now let us look at Ickornshaw Mill and our minds go back to the time when it was in the possession of that good and noble man Abram Binns, who was the founder of Methodism in Cowling. Not only did he found it but he supported it at his own expense for 17 years until the day of his death. Ickornshaw Mill was carried on by Abram Binns as a cotton spinning factory and as we view it today we wonder what its future will be and wish we could bring back to it its once popular trade of cotton spinning. Spinning was also carried on at Royd Mills. Middleton in the days of hand looms, possessed two weaving shops and Winkholme Providence Place and Flood Root each had similar establishments whose history would furnish us with many an interesting incident. To finish our ramble let us take a stroll down the ” Bottoms ” . We come past the old stables now in ruins where once the fine bred hunters were kept, and the dog kennels by old Carr Head now a relic of the past and as we gaze at the Carr Head with its towering trees and lovely surroundings we can almost imagine the old hall again full of activity and hear the crack of a gun as the pheasants rise above the trees, or see the bright coloured riders as they clear the fences in wild pursuit of their quarry. But now a stillness reigns over the place and as we pass the old stables on a night we think of the ghosts and goblins, and start at the screech of an owl.

Many things in Cowling which helped to make it picturesque have disappeared the waving cornfields which once added beauty to our hills desire no longer to be seen the three windmills which helped to break the monotony of the landscape as they lazily turned on a summers day are gone and long smoky chimneys are the most prominent monuments of today.

In those by-gone days one might hear the click click of the hand loom, and the buzz of the spinning wheel, in almost every home, singing to the music of the loom, as they picked the shuttle to and fro and we can picture the weaver as he rests a little from his toil, smoking his pipe in peace outside his cottage door, enjoying a freedom which is almost unknown in these days of push and hurry. The business of today is the “get up” of a thing the shoddy passed off as good substantial cloth prints you can scarce detect from the real woven colours, mercerised for silk and a thousand articles all show which are scarcely worth anything when it comes to service.

But only the real thing stands the test of time; the quality of handloom cotton woven by our forefathers stands in the estimation of the people of today as “the best”. I have now shown as best I could, what Cowling was like fifty or sixty years ago.

Let me now call your attention to the difference between our forefathers and us. Enter one of our village homes today, and you find the carpeted floor the fancy sideboard, easy chairs and luxuriant furniture, a living room and a room for special occasions, a sewing machine papered walls, and ( no homestead is thought complete without it ) a piano. But contrast this with the homes of our grand fathers. A handloom in place of a sewing machine sanded floors in place of carpets a stool instead of an easy chair. The special room was the one filled with peats, the walls were all white washed both living place and bedrooms without any under drawing and in many cases a man sitting by his fireside could see the blue sky above him through holes in the chamber floor and the roof. On many a winter’s morning the people had to be very careful when getting out of bed lest they should step into one of the snowdrifts in the bedroom made during the night. Some of the homesteads possessed four or five handlooms the principal furniture.
The warp sizing was often done on a Saturday night, and put on the stretch to dry and at some of the houses combing was done by hand. We have had a glimpse at the homes now let us contrast the fashions of today with those of the past. Walking along our streets when everybody is dressed in their Sunday best a stranger would find it hard to distinguish an employee from his employer or a schoolmistress from a mill operative. How different to the days when starch and linen did not trouble anybody, when a cloth suit classed a man as a gentleman; when a brown velvet jacket and vest fustian trousers, and a white hat were too good for everyday wear and were only worn on a Sunday with a pair of iron sided clogs. And this kind of suit for Sunday had to used with great care. Big leather aprons, known as “leather jumps” were used to protect them from becoming shabby.

An every day suit was of fustiangreasy and patched, through long years of wear. Among the lads new suits were almost unknown. They were often made from their big brothers or their fathers “cast offs”, and sometimes they were so patched that it was hard to tell which was the patch and which the suit. During two or three months in summer time the children never used to wear either stockings or clogs. ( They must have had better summers in those days ! ) The girls used to wear ” cheka brats ” to go to Sunday school in, with a handkerchief tied over their head. When they got these on they were considered smart. and some of the young women used to wear their “checka brats” even after they were married. When the weather became so cold that stockings for the children were a necessity, reducing became necessary, and the stockings of up grown persons were made to fit their children. The stockings were cut up the middle and sewn to make the size required.

The abject poverty of our neighbourhood in those days made it impossible for anyone to indulge in luxuries. The main reason of their being so poor was that they were not compelled to work, for a man was his own master, and many of them used to idle away the beginning of the week and never start work in good earnest until just before the pay day. Then at the last “push” they would sometimes work all night. If a man had been compelled to work ten hours a day as we are he could undoubtedly have lived in comfort.

Had our forefathers been living today they would have believed in the saying of a middle tonight “that they wod’nt mind gooin’ ta’t mill if they hedn’t ta get up i’th neet ta gooa”. There was however, one qualification of our forefathers which we do not possess – the Cowlingites are not the sturdy, healthy, vigorous set of people they once were when plain simple diet was the only diet when indigestion and biliousness were unknown; when one doctor was not as hard worked as are half a dozen today for the same area. In those days dry bread was above an ordinary meal; with treacle or dripping up on it, it was considered a luxury and often “haver bread”, with a thin slice of white bread upon it was eaten as we eat cheese an”haver bread”. Butter was scarcely ever tasted, and old milk or skim milk was used precisely as we use new milk. The luxury they could best afford to indulge in was eggs which were 36 for the shilling. As we muse upon the strong healthy men of the past many of whom never knew what a day’s sickness was until they broke down from sheer old age we envy them. Many of them walked to Draughton, Beamsley and Addingham and back again on a Sabbath day in order to tell the old old story. All honour to such men. In this respect our village today lacks the grit of our ancestors.

The people of Cowling are now an educated people compared with those of the past. The broad dialect of the village is fast dying out. I will give an example of one of the former schools of learning. It was kept in Ickornshaw by a woman, who had the misfortune to lose her right arm and in consequence had commenced a school. Her name was Betty French and she used to set copies in pencil in a large hand to be traced over in ink by her pupils. She moved about amongst her scholars with her pet cat always perched upon her shoulder drilling them in the art of writing and learning them to spell. I have heard it said that she did not know anything about figures. Imperfect as the places of learning were in those days, it was not everybody who got the opportunity of attending these rudimentary schools. Many of the boys started work at five, six and seven years of age, and so were robbed of any education at all, and as a natural consequence many of the people were ignorant and had no knowledge of things which transpired beyond the bounds of their horizon. In times of war a man would think nothing of walking to Colne for a newspaper and then securing the services of one of the few villagers who could read they would make their way to a certain house and thereto an audience of perhaps a dozen men the news of the war was read.

As showing the ignorance of some of the villagers a story is told of the parson calling to see one of his parishioners, and being surprised at the ignorance she displayed on biblical matters. ” But surely, my good woman, ” said the pastor, “you know the ten commandments? ” ” Nay ” she said”aw’ nobbut knaw fower, and they’re north, south east and west “. But today with our Board school which has done such a noble work for nearly thirty years, we are better educated and more comfortable in every way. Cowling however still remains an isolated village outside the network of railways, and likely to remain so until a generation of agitators springs up in our midst. In this respect we lack the grit and energy of our forefathers, who were men who had to think and plan for them selves while we sit down and expect providence to send a railway. During the past few years the village has been anything but prosperous, and I believe nothing can bring it back to its once flourishing condition but a railway. What is required in the neighbourhood is new trades. There were far more in the old days than now – spinning, lime burning, band making bobbin turning, coal and lead mining, all these are industries we have lost completely. I imagine some people saying ” What’s the good of talking about the past ? ” or to quote from a beautiful poem “The mill will never turn with the water that is past.” ‘Tis true, we cannot live upon the past, but has not the past made us what we are ? If our forefathers were unlearned and uncultivated, they have paved the way for us, and many of them have left us a bright example to follow, for ” A tree is known by its fruit, and a village by the grit of its inhabitants “.

News of a new church in Cowling – Holy Trinity.

January 20th, 2010 Comments off

AN ADDRESS

TO THE 

INHABITANTS

OF THE

TOWNSHIP OF COWLING

ON THE

BUILDING OF THEIR NEW CHURCH, 1844

BY THE

VICAR OF KILDWICK.

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LEEDS:

PRINTED BY T.W. GREEN

COMMERCIAL STREET.

——

1844

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AN  ADDRESS

ETC

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My Friends,

 

                  By the good providence of God I am at length enabled to announce an event of great importance to you, and to your children, and to the generations which may come after you in this place.  It is my pleasing duty to tell you that a Church for the accommodation of the inhabitants of Cowling is about to be immediately built: nor is this all; I have grounds for hoping that the erection of a school will follow; and further still, that by the residence of a Clergyman among you, the full benefit of these blessings will be secured to you.  For eighteen years have a few pious and benevolent friends of yours laboured for this purpose, some of whom after many hindrances and difficulties are spared to see their endeavours crowned with success:  to some indeed this boon has been denied:  your late respected Vicar would have rejoiced to see this day, which brings with it the fulfilment of an anxious wish of his heart.  But God has been pleased to order it otherwise; and if he has by his removal from earth been deprived of this gratification, you have the comfort of believing that better things are provided for him, even the recompense of those who on earth followed peace with all men, who dealt their bread to the hungry, and covered the naked with a garment; and if it has been my privilege to enter on his work, a labour at the eleventh hour, I am chastened by the reflection that I at the same time succeed to much of the care and responsibility which its accomplishment will entail, and from which he has been set free.  In the few remarks I am about to make, it is my wish to point out to your notice the duties which will be required of you in return for the great privileges thus vouchsafed, and I hope they will be received in the same spirit in which I have written them – the spirit of Christian friendship.

The Almighty in His holy Scriptures is pleased to represent Himself as dealing with men according to the improvement they make of the opportunities they may enjoy of knowing His will.  He tells us He will accept of men according to that which they have not; and again, that from those to whom much is given much will be required.  As, therefore, the means of grace in the ordinances of Christ’s holy religion will be brought nearer to you than they have ever been, even to your very doors, let me express my hope that they will be cherished as they deserved to be, with closer attention and more heedful reverence.  The obstacles which at present hinder your township as well as many others from duly profiting by Church administrations, while they must be viewed with concern by every sincere member of that pure branch of Christ’s Catholic Church which is established in this Country, have arisen in part from circumstances over which neither the ministry nor the people have had control, and against which I acknowledge it has been difficult, nay, even impossible to contend.  In your case, on the one hand, the long distance which separates you from your present Parish Church prevents you making that ready use of it which it was intended to afford; and on the other hand, the vast size of the parish , as at present constituted, effectually hinders that constant intercourse between the Clergyman and his flock which it is so much the interest of both should be carefully kept up.  If it should be asked how this state of things has arisen, I should answer, that since the arrangements for the spiritual supervision of this Parish were first made important changes have taken place: population drawn together by manufacturing influence, while it has changed villages into towns, has converted a few straggling houses into a large village, and the provision that was no doubt once made for the pastoral care of the population, and which was originally sufficient for the work, has, by the mere alteration of circumstances (even if none of it had been diverted from its proper use,) proved inadequate to the maintenance of a proportionate increase in the number of parochial Ministers.  It is not that arm of the Church of England has waxed shorter, but it is , that much has grown up, especially during the last century, beyond the reach of her existing machinery.  But by God’s help she will not be unequal to the rapidly increasing claims which are being made upon her.  If indeed, vital religion, obedience to the laws of our country, or even outward morality flourished where her light shined not, and where her voice was not heard, quite as well as where men submitted their spiritual interests to her guidance, it might be doubted whether we were justified in making any sacrifices to extend her influence; it might be a matter of indifference whether the rising generation of children might not be left to pick up any religion or none as it suited their own ideas, but the proofs are visible elsewhere as well as in your township that wherever the Church (from whatever cause) has not assumed her position as the teacher of the people, that ignorance of religious ordinances, disobedience to the laws, and profanation of the Sabbath day prevail to a fearful extent.*  I am not now alluding so much to the ordinances or ceremonies of the Established Church, such as Confirmation, or the Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, or the like, but I allude to the neglect of the two Sacraments, those distinguished features of Christianity, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which the gospel has declared, and the best and wisest men in all ages of Christianity have confessed, to be generally necessary to salvation.  With respect to the Sacrament of Baptism, the neglect of it among some of you, and the misconceptions of it among others, grieves me more than it surprises me; for having had the charge of a district among the Silk Manufacturers of Bethnal Green, in London, I have had the experience of the same sad results of a population having out-grown the provision made for its spiritual necessities, I pray to God that I may live to see in Cowling the increased means of acquiring religious knowledge embraced as hopefully as they have been in Bethnal Green*

  As this letter may perhaps be read by more than I shall have an opportunity of conversing with, let me notice a few objections to Baptism, which no doubt you are familiar with, and which I have been accustomed to hear from others who were similarly circumstanced with yourselves.  Some there are I am sorry to say who scruple not to despise the Sacrament of Baptism, thinking that it is incredible that a little water should have the good effects that are ascribed to it.  Naaman the Syrian treated as a mockery the Prophet Elijah’s word, which told him that his dreadful complaint the leprosy, for the cure of which all human skill had proved useless, could be healed by the waters of the river Jordan, but the Prophet was right, and if God chooses to give the most beneficial effects to the simplest matter, ought it not to demand our gratitude; shall we cavil like Naaman and complain that we have not been commanded to do some great thing? Remember that the Church calls the washing away of sin by the water, mystical or mysterious, which means that she does not pretend to explain how it is done, but after all I cannot see anything more in it to move my wonder than the Acorn transformed into the huge Oak tree with its mighty boughs, and thousands of leaves.  If the Almighty can and does give a small decaying seed a new body quite unlike itself, and to each different seed we are acquainted with, its own body, you need not disbelieve what the word of God tells you about the water in Baptism.  Again there are others who do not go so far, but who argue that Baptism is of little importance compared to a change of the heart; the fact seems to be that the two things must not be separated, the one is the outward visible sign of the other; I will grant that mere Baptism without a change of heart will not ensure salvation* but then on the other hand I cannot understand how anyone can be really converted who does not desire to fulfil all the terms of the Christian Covenants; this surely must be the case with those who either refuse to receive, or do not desire to receive, the Sacrament of Baptism which seems to stand first and foremost among them.  We are told this in so many words Acts xvi, 14—15.  Lydia’s heart was opened that she attended to Paul’s preaching; the first effect was led to Baptism;

1).* On the other hand , after the out-break in the Manufacturing districts in 1842, the result of a special enquiry that was set on foot went to prove that no one connected with the Church Schools, Parent, Teacher, or Scholar, as far as could be ascertained, took part with the disaffected.

2) *  The Parish of Bethnal green contains 70,000 Inhabitants, chiefly Silk Weavers; till about three or four years ago there were only two Churches, ten more are being built, some of which are finished with Schools to each, the number of Scholars has increased since their erection from about 600 to nearly 2,000

3)  * The Church Catechism calls Baptism a state of Salvation, not salvation itself.

she seems to have partaken of the inward spiritual grace  before she received  the outward visible sign or seal;  but if you examine carefully the book  of the Acts wherein is recorded the establishment of the Apostolic Church, you will

 

see that such was not always the case, sometimes the reverse took place and the gift of the Holy Spirit came after Baptism, indeed it is so in three out of the five instances where the order of the two events seems to be distinctly stated.

 I now come to some objections which I confess are entitled to more consideration, namely, the objections of those who acknowledge on e Baptism for the remission of sins but who differ form the Church as to the manner in which, and the time when, it should be administered.  The subject is too difficult to be treated of in a brief address like the present, but I firmly believe that the doctrine of the Church on this point can be shown to be agreeable to Scripture.  I will merely make a few practical remarks, which may assist you, with the blessing of God, in coming to a right understanding of the matter: first, then, it will be useful to bear in mind when you argue this point that the words which are so generally made use of in the controversy, namely, ‘Dipping,’ ‘Plunging,’ and ‘Immersion on one side, and ‘Sprinkling’ on the other side, are not (as relates to this Sacrament) Gospel terms, the word that is made use of is Baptize, which is a Greek word in an English form, and means, as near as we can give a meaning to it, wetting or washing without specifying the peculiar mode in which the water is to be applied.  If there are instances of Baptism recorded in the New Testament from Which it might be inferred that the persons Baptized were wholly put under water, there are other I stances which render such a supposition very unlikely.It appears to me that if water be applied for the purpose of Baptism by a lawful Minister, in the name of the Father  and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the quantity of water used can make no more difference in the value of that Sacrament than the quantity of bread eaten, and wine drunk, by a Communicant can make in the value of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  But after all the Church does not pronounce either mode to be the only right one, but, as you may observe by reading the Rubric in the Baptismal service says, “the Child is to be dipt in the water discreetly and warily if the Officiating Minister is certified that it can endure it.”  As in this climate it is seldom safe, water being poured on it is declared sufficient; but all Church Fonts are or should be made large enough to hold the body of an Infant.  As for the other of this latter class of objections, the age at which Baptism should be administered, surely if by the decree of God Himself, Infants were to be admitted into Covenant with Him at eight days old in the time of the Patriarchs and under the law of Moses,*  there is nothing unreasonable in believing them fit to be dedicated to Him now at the same early age; it cannot have been intended that the Children of Believers should be worse off in this respect under the Gospel than they were under the law.  But some say there is no text in Scripture which enjoins Infant Baptism; no, but if Jesus Christ commanded all Nations to be Baptized  and if we do in the Acts of the Apostles read that they did actually Baptize whole households and families, we must, in the absence of any text against Infant Baptism, conclude that Infants were never meant to be Forbidden.  There is no text which directly enjoins the observance of the Lord’s Day instead of the Jewish Sabbath; as far as it appears it is an ordinance of the Church, and as such, has been generally agreed upon by Christians: finally, if, where a positive rule and direction on the subject is wanting, the testimony of Christian antiquity be of value, by far the greater weight is in favour of the mode of Baptism observed by the Church of England. It will be at least confessed that Children cannot be worse for being Baptized; then why not be on the safe side?

I have dwelt at greater length upon Baptism because I feel very strongly about the subject, I will not say so much about the Holy Communion, for I hope that the Preparation for Baptism made by those of riper years will lead them to consult their Minister more particularly about it.  My opinion is, that any person that can understand the nature of the obligations entered into at Baptism, and strives to live up to them, will be enabled, by God’s grace, to become a worth partaker of the Lord’s Table.  It is recorded of the Israelites that after they had for many years been hindered in the Wilderness from duly observing the outward ordinances of their religion, when arrived in the land of Canaan, They lost no time in formally dedicating themselves to their Creator,  Let me hope that in like manner all those among you who have not been admitted into Covenant with God by Baptism, should take the earliest opportunity after the Church is consecrated (if even they so long defer it ) of having this reproach rolled away from off them.*

1)  Acts  ii,    41                Acts  xvi,    33

2)  *  Genesis  xvii,   12        Leviticus  xii,  3

3)  *  Joshua v,   9       

     I have been asked by some among you who fear that considerable additional expense will be thrown on the Township of Cowling, how the Clergyman appointed to do the duty at the New Church will be paid.  I take this opportunity of letting it be known that there was an Act of Parliament passed in the last Session, by which a large sum of money, arising partly from the suppression of certain appointments in the Church, was devoted to the payment of Clergymen who would undertake the spiritual care of Districts or New Parishes, such as it is proposed to make in Cowling.  Small indeed will the stipend be, when the expense of a Clergyman’s education is taken into consideration, and the frequent calls that are made upon his purse; but still I hope that there will be found good and zealous men who will devote themselves to the work.  I have also heard fears expressed concerning the future repairs of the Church. You must know, then, that there has already been put by a sum of money equal to 10 per cent. upon the cost of erection as a repair fund: unless anything unforeseen occurs, this will do all that a new and substantial Building will be likely to require for some time.  I am in hopes that eventually your connection with the Parish Church of Kildwick will cease, and you will then only  have your own to take care of.  I beg your especial attention to the fact that the whole of the Sittings in the Church will be free and unappropriated for ever; there will be no reserved seats, except so far as they will be allotted by the Churchwardens to the Parishioners on demand.  And if the instructions and superintendence of a Minister of God devoted entirely to you, and a Church provided freely for you, be valued as they ought to be, you will not let the Service of  the Sanctuary be performed in an unworthy manner.  I will add a few words on the conduct which I recommend to you as the best way of showing your gratitude for the privileges you are about to enjoy.  You will soon behold rising up amongst you a fair Temple for the worship of your Maker, according to the forms and doctrine of that branch of the Catholic and Apostolic Church which is established in England.  A large sum of money required to be raised before it could be prudently commenced has been obtained, but from whom?  My friends, the greater part has been contributed by entire strangers to you:  persons who never heard the name of Cowling until they heard it connected with its spiritual necessities, have shewn their piety towards God, and their good-will towards you, by assisting you in a matter which concerns your highest interests.  Do not let it be said that the boon is offered to unwilling or insensible hearts; shew your gratitude to God and to the agents of his bounty by yourselves supplying what may be deficient in the building fund.  I believe that no direct appeal to the Working Classes in Cowling has yet been made: one reason of which omission has been, that Trade has been for some time so depressed that it was thought you were not in condition to respond to it; but thank God that work is again plentiful, and I do now solemnly appeal to you, whether it be fitting that you should allow your own Church to be built, as it were, against your inclinations; I cannot believe that you will: most sincerely do I trust that you will shew symptoms of that good old Church feeling which is taking place through the land.  I am aware that there are some of you who must be excepted from this invitation, some who differ as a matter of conscience so far from the Established Church that they cannot join in any of her forms of public worship, or avail themselves of  any of her services; where this is the sincere conviction of the mind founded upon the best information a person had been able to obtain, I for one, although I may lament, am bound to respect their scruples, and to allow that the same conscience which is binding on all who enjoy the laws and institutions of England to support their Parish Church, that every thing may be done decently and in order, does not call upon them to subscribe towards a new one.  But to all others, even those who differing in minor points agree in thinking the Church Prayer Book to be in conformity with the Gospel: to those who have knelt or intend to kneel before the Alter of God, either to receive the Holy Communion or to be united by His Minister to partners who will lessen life’s sorrows and increase its joys: to those who one day may stand around the Font to present themselves or others to receive the outward visible sign of the death to sin and the new birth to righteousness; to those who have listened to the words of eternal life within the Church, look for the time when they shall lie down in the dust beneath its consecrated walls.  To all, even the poorest among you, who will hear in the new sound of the Sabbath bells a new call to prepare to meet their God, I say Do not let this Church be finished without adding your mite towards its completion.  When you look on it in days to come let each of you be able to say “I helped to build it.”

The rich have given of their abundance, even Majesty graces the list of contributors, but I hope that list will not be finally closed till it has many such additions as the following :-

……….. A Working Man…………..one day’s labour.

Commending the Church, its future Minister, and all that belong to it, to your Christian love and care,

I am,

Your Friend and Minister,

                       John T.C. Fawcett,    Vicar of Kildwick