Treasure of the week no. 13: Arctic explorer defends the Church in Bradford

JND 197/14 (Please quote this number if requesting this item)

SCORESBY, Rev. W.  The Position of the Church, and Duties of Churchmen to Unite for her Defence. An Address delivered at the formation of The Church Institution at Bradford, July 4th, 1843. Published at the request of the meeting. Reprinted for the Halifax Guardian by J. U. Walker of Halifax. 28 pages. 1843.

jnd 197 14a 001

In the early years of the reign of Queen Victoria, the established Church of England was under threat from the growing number of rival non-conformist churches such as the Methodists, Baptists and Quakers. This pamphlet records an address by the Vicar of Bradford, the Rev. William Scoresby, to the Bradford clergy, at the formation of The Church Institution which would focus on the defence of the Church. After the meeting the following invitation was issued:

‘To the Churchmen of the Parish of Bradford’:

We, the undersigned, Invite the Attendance of Members of the Church (Females as well as others) at a meeting to be held in the large room recently occupied by the Socialists, in Hall Ings, on Tuesday, July 4th, 1842, at Half-past Seven in the Evening.

William Scoresby, Vicar of Bradford
J. Fawcett, Incumbent of Wibsey
W. Sherwood, Incumbent of St. James
J. Cooper, Incumbent of St. Jude’s
G. A. Hamilton, Incumbent of Wilsden
T. Newbery, Incumbent of Shipley
J. Barber, Incumbent of Bierley Chapel
J. L. Frost, Incumbent of St. John’s, Bowling
P. Bronte, Incumbent of Haworth
J. Bourne, Incumbent of St. Paul’s, Wibsey
G. Thomas, Incumbent of Thornton
J. C. Boddington, Incumbent of Horton

It is interesting to see who were the ministers of the churches in Bradford at this time – the Anglican Churches.

The phrase ‘Females as well as others’ is a little odd. Who are the ‘others’? 1843 is a little early for ‘transgenders’!

The appearance of Patrick, father of the famous Brontë sisters, and ‘Socialists’ in the same 1842 document is also a surprise; it got me wondering when the phrase ‘socialist’ was first used.

The Rev. Dr. Scoresby was a renowned scientist and explorer before coming to Bradford. He was Vicar from 1839 to 1847. He did not have an easy time.


jnd197 14b 001William Scoresby 001

One thought on “Treasure of the week no. 13: Arctic explorer defends the Church in Bradford

  1. Thank you for publishing this.  It is fascinating to see just how difficult a job Rev Scoresby was facing as parish vicar.
    He delivered this address at a time when Bradford was reeling from his plans to restructure its parish and Church.  Although the parish desperately needed reorganisation to keep pace with its rapidly expanding population, he wanted to achieve this by effectively removing much of the power & profit from its factory owners and other church establishments within it.  This caused hostility towards him, not just externally from the Dissenters (the focus of his Address) but also internally from some of his own Anglican ministers.  It therefore made sense for him to want to hold together what remained of its crumbling fabric by forming this Institution.  Shortly after delivering his address however, he became seriously ill from the strain of his work and so was granted 6-months Leave of Absence to recover, which he spent in America.
    I am currently researching the life of one of Rev Scoresby’s contemporaries, Rev Charles James Pearson who ministered, between 1842 & 1844, the long-gone Bradford church of St John the Evangelist, which stood along Manchester Road.  Pearson stereotyped the internal divisions that Scoresby was experiencing in the Church.  He was so vehemently against Scoresby’s reforms that he blatantly ignored the parish vicar’s position as his superior, leading both parties to place charges of misconduct against each other.  Pearson quit Bradford at the end of 1842 and the patrons of St John’s church closed it down, not reopening it until Scoresby resigned his post as Vicar of Bradford, 5 years later.

    Liked by 1 person

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