Proposed New Church – Church Tea At Denaby Main.

February 1886

Mexborough & Swinton Times, February 19, 1886

Church Tea At Denaby Main.
Proposed New Church.

The annual tea in connection with St. John’s church, Denaby Main, was held on Tuesday evening. Contributions of flour, butter, and other requisites were freely made by the villagers in response to the call of the Rev. T. Horsfall, curate-in-charge of Denaby, and a very substantial tea was the result. Over a hundred persons sat down to tea in the new schoolroom.

The ladies who presided were Mesdames Barker, Braithwaite, Slater, Sylvester, Brown, Hughes, Meggitt, Hoyland, and Taylor. The following ladies also assisted at the tea: – Mesdames Senior, Wall, B. Wall, Steed, Williams, Wressell, Elliott, Hoyland, and Misses Emerton, Bennett, Ellen, Senior and Rose Ferridy. Mr. Wall, Mr. Hall, Mr. Hughes, Dr. Smith, and others, also took part in the proceedings. Among the company at the after meeting were the Revds. T. Horsfall, the Rev. H. Ellershaw, vicar of Mexboro’, the Rev. A. D. Sylvester, late of the cathedral church, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Mr. Chambers, manager of Denaby Main colliery, and Mr. G. E. Swithinbank, LL.D.

Rev. T. Horsfall

The Rev. T. Horsfall expressed the pleasure he experienced in seeing so large an audience present. Such gatherings did a great amount of good, as they promoted a great deal of good fellowship, which would otherwise be hidden. He referred to the the hearty response which he had met with in the village to his appeal, saying that the ladies of Denaby always seemed willing to help in any good work. The church at Denaby was very dear to him. He had the privilege of ministering to their spiritual wants, and he trusted that he would always be ready to help them in time of necessity.

He could assure them that he was deeply interested in both their temporal and spiritual welfare. Their church had gone through a very great trial during the past few months. At one time there was a very fair congregation, but alas! He could not boast at the present of large congregations. He would like two hundred of the brave men who toiled underneath the ground to come forward and work with him in the Church’s interest. (Hear, hear.) He longed with all his heart for those men to take their places in the Church. His work was at Denaby, and unless he could get hold of the men and women he felt that he was not doing the work which he ought to do. It was a very difficult work which he ought to do. It was a very difficult work indeed to persuade such men as those who lived at Denaby to come to the church. They were good-hearted men, he knew, men as those who lived at Denaby to come to the church. They were good-hearted men, he knew, men who wished to do what was right, but he found the greatest difficulty in getting them inside the church. Religion purified the heart and would make better men, better women, and better citizen of England. He longed to get hold of the men and women of Denaby, and if he once got them into the church he would have the pleasure of knowing that he possessed some little influence over them for their spiritual good. He hoped the time would soon arrive when the worshippers at their little church would be so numerous that the building would soon become too small for them and a larger edifice would be erected for the miners and their wives.

The Church throughout the world was doing a great work, and he longed to take his part in that work and to do a little for Christ amongst the miners. (Hear, hear.) He wished they would look on him as their friend, as one who would help them by every means within his power, as one who sympathised with them in their sorrows, and was ready to help them as far as he could. There were doubtless some among his audience who had not been regular in their attendance at the church. He hoped in the future that they would try to do their duty, for it was a duty and a privilege to worship in the Church of Christ. Many of his little flock would say that he was always asking for something, but he always found that they did their part very heartily.

He hoped the time would come soon when they would have a little organ, or at any rate a better instrument for the use of the church. They required surplices for the choir, so that the service could be rendered in a more beautiful manner. His greatest want, however, was the members to fill the church regularly. Many of them allowed him to teach their children. They sent the children to the Sunday school and to the church, and he was delighted to teach them and to do all he could for them.

He hoped to be able to do more for the men and women of Denaby, to show that he took an interest in their spiritual welfare.

If he could get together, a congregation such as was present that evening it would not be long before a new church was erected. It would doubtless be a very hard struggle. They could not ask Mr. Fullerton to build them a new church during the present depression, although he believed it was that gentleman’s intention at one time to erect a new church for the people of Denaby. There were gentlemen in the neighbourhood who would he was sure gladly help if they found a church was necessity, and he was sure that all the miners who worked at Denaby would do their utmost to forward the erection of such a building. Some would give their time and labour, and in that way they might very soon get a new church. Referring to Mr. Swithinbank, he said if it had not been for his kindness he would not have been able to do what he had done for the poor at Denaby Main. (Applause.)

Rev. H. Ellershaw

The Rev. H. Ellershaw said he had been referred to by Mr. Horsfall as ‘old Mr. Ellershaw.’ (Laughter.) He did not intend to be old just yet, and he was as young in feeling as anyone there present. (Hear, hear.) When a man had been parson of a place for 26 years, it did begin to look suspicious. It was a long time to look back to.

When he first came to Mexboro’ there were just two cottages beyond the railway gates at Denaby and one house, which was part of the Reresby Arms, and just at the end, where the new portion of the Reresby Arms was built, there was part of an orchard. There was an orchard on both sides of the road.

He remembered when there was no road – before the railway was made and before the turnpike was made. He used to come when a lad to Denaby to see the piles driven for the old bridge before it was burned down, so they would see he was getting to be an ‘old stager.’ (Laughter.)

It was a pleasant hot day, one Saturday in July, and he with some friends made up their minds to see the piles driven at the bridge. They were very thirsty and tried the river water, but it would not do; it was rather too dirty. They thought they would go to a farmhouse, and made their way thither. They were just turning off the road, when he saw a carriage coming along with a horse in it which he knew the colour of. He heard a voice calling ‘Boys!’ and they stopped. The gentleman in the carriage, on learning their errand, said they must not drink cold water, and gave them some sherry and water. The gentleman was old Colonel Fullerton, the grandfather of the present squire. They thought he was the ‘jolliest old brick’ they had seen, wished him good luck, and hoped they would always meet him and that he would always have his bottle in his carriage. Colonel Fullerton was always fond of boys, and was one of the jolly old sort, a ‘fine old English gentleman.’ (Hear, hear.) He was a kind-hearted liberal man, and he (Mr. Ellershaw) believed his son and his grandson had not degenerated from the stock. That was a long time ago, and now they came down after all these years and saw that great collection of houses. They were not very beautiful – (a laugh)

Nevertheless he believed that these who built them and those who had the charge of them desired in every possible way to benefit those who were employed at that great undertaking, the Denaby Main colliery.(Hear, hear.) Everything was in a queer way, everything was being turned upside down, and he did not know whether they would be righted any more. Mr. Horsfall said the people of Denaby were very patient. If they would only go on quietly things would work round a bit, and then good times would perhaps return once more. He was very gratified to see the way in which they stuck to Mr. Horsfall. (Applause.)

He could assure them Denaby had been a great anxiety to himself for a long time, and at last he thought it would be best, after consultation with Mr. Horsfall, to make him clerical steward, as it were, of the place, and to give all things over into his hands so far as he could.

His expectations had all been answered. It was useless for Mr. Horsfall to work, however, unless they backed him up, and if they backed him up, perhaps he would be inclined to stop. Mr. Horsfall could have a better place if he chose: he (the vicar) heard a little remark that he had had the offer of a much grander place than anything about that locality. If they wanted to keep Mr. Horfsall – (a Voice: ‘We do’) – and between themselves he thought they would find a difficulty in getting anyone who would treat them better – (applause and a Woman’s Voice: ‘We don’t want to part wi’ him’) – they should back him up in his endeavours for the good of the place. He did not want the audience to think that he had been teeming melted butter over Mr. Horsfall all the time. (A Voice: ‘We’re not tired of him yet, sir.’) Mr. Horsfall was not like a man of whom he once heard the remark. ‘Don’t you say much about that young chap there; he can’t carry corn. There’s too much beans in him.’ (Laughter.) What he (the vicar) wanted was to back Mr. Horsfall up in Denaby, and to get the people of that village, which was a vastly difficult place to manage in consequence of the constant changes that were taking place at times, to encourage him in his efforts for good, so that instead of running away he would make up his mind to spend his life there, or to stay there until some very very good call came to him to go elsewhere. He was sure that Mr. Horsfall would do his his best for the Church, in the cause of the great Master, and for their temporal and spiritual welfare. (Applause.)

Mr. G. E. Swithinbank, LL.D.,

Mr. G. E. Swithinbank, LL.D., said two or three weeks ago he met a working man in whom he was interested, and asked him how to get at the hearts of the working classes. The man replied, ‘Give them a ham tea.’ (Laughter.) There was a great deal of truth in that, but he thought they could get at the hearts of the people of Denaby Main by personal kindness through one of the best of men, their curate, the Rev. Thos. Horsfall. (Applause.) He had known Mr. Horsfall ever since he came into that neighbourhood, and had had the pleasure of his personal and intimate acquaintance. The more he saw of him, the more he was satisfied, he was the very man for Denaby. (Hear, hear.) It was a very difficult thing for him to work among a population such as that existing in the village, and it had been exceptionally difficult during the last two or three years. That population had been, as they knew, somewhat migratory.

When Mr. Horsfall had succeeded in getting a few attached friends around him they had stayed at the place perhaps a few months, or a year, and then left him. He (Mr. Swithinbank) had something to say which might annoy them. They did not do their duty to their clergy, their intimate friends; they never did their duty to Mr. Fullerton, and he would tell them in what way.

Some time ago, on the strong representation of the deputies at the colliery and these interested in the miners, Mr. Fullerton established a library and reading room. The library was one of the best in that part of Yorkshire; there was not a book in connection with mining matters which was not in that library. The whole of the English classics were in that library, and those books which were suggested by the miners themselves he took great care to provide for their benefit. The library and reading room went on for some considerable time. The miners were asked to pay a halfpenny per week, for the benefit of the reading-room, but they left him with the bills for the newspapers to pay. The books were scarcely ever looked at, and the reading-room simply was deserted. In justice to Mr. Fullerton he removed the library to Upper Denaby, where it remained.

He would be delighted to learn that the miners of Denaby were anxiously awaiting its return to Lower Denaby. They would see that he had a little grievance against them. They had not done their duty to Mr. Fullerton, and he was sorry for it. At the same time that did not prevent him from being present that evening to say a few kindly words to them and to tell them how glad he was to make their personal acquaintance. Perhaps more than one half of the miners had never seen him before, as those whom he knew had gone elsewhere. Mr. Fullerton was anxious to do more than he had stated. He made special provision for the building of a church on behalf of Mr. Fullerton, who at that time was exceedingly anxious to see a church built there.

They were the more wishful because they saw that the miners, in case of death, were put to considerable expense in burying either at Mexboro’ or Rotherham. There was always an attachment between a mother who had lost her child and the grave where the child was buried, and he was anxious to tie the fathers and mothers of that village to Lower Denaby when God called their children hence, and they were lying quietly in the churchyard.

It was on that ground particularly that he was anxious that a church should be built. Mr. Fullerton was still anxious that a church should be erected, and he (Mr. Swithinbank) was sure that if the Denaby people themselves showed the anxiety which Mr. Fullerton, Mr. Horsfall, and their worthy vicar had manifested two years would not pass over before they saw a very beautiful church in that little place. (Hear. Hear.) Mr. Horsfall came amongst them daily, he visited them in their homes when they were sick, he ministered to their spiritual wants, and, when he could do so, to their temporal necessities. He would like to do much more, but they were very poor. Times were very hard, and all classes felt the depression, he (Mr. Swithinbank) amongst the rest. They did not ask the people of Denaby to come there because it was ‘the church,’ but as Christian men and women. The young men when summer time arrived and they were playing at cricket, could ask their clergyman to join them. The clergy were delighted when they could help the working men in all good physical exercises, such as cricket and football. They wanted the people of Denaby to show an interest in the work they were doing, so that they might look on each other as friend and not as enemies. (Hear, hear.) He appealed to the people of Denaby to help Mr. Horsfall. If they showed as earnestness and an anxiety to help on the good work which Mr. Horsfall had begun, he would tell them himself that Mr. Fullerton would have a nice little church in Denaby. (Hear, hear.) It had been a pain to him to leave Denaby and to build a church in another part of Mr. Fullerton’s estate.

Brinsworth had now got a very pretty little church, but Mr. Fullerton’s first duty was at Denaby. Denaby threw it in his face and said, ‘We won’t help you.’ The people would not give their sympathy. They wanted the sympathy of the people at the present time, and, if they showed it by helping Mr. Horsfall, Mr. Fullerton would do his duty, and he (Mr. Swithinbank) would do all he could to help in the good work. (Applause.)

Rev. A. D. Sylvester

The Rev. A. D. Sylvester also addressed the meeting, giving a number of interesting reminiscences of his work in Northern Africa, the United States, and Canada. Mr. Sylvester proposed a vote of thanks to the ladies who presided at the tea tables, which was seconded by Mr. Chambers, supported by the Rev. T. Horsfall, and carried with acclamation. The like compliment was paid the Rev. T. Horsfall for his services in the chair.

The following programme of music was gone through during the evening: – Pianoforie solo, ‘Zampa,’ Mr. Beardsley; glee, ‘The lass of Richmond Hill,’ the choir; song, ‘Four jolly smiths,’ Mr. Sylvester; song, ‘Laddie’ (encored), Miss Braithwaite; trio, ‘A farm well tilled; song, ‘Cherry ripe’ (encored), Miss Brooks; duet, ‘I knew a bank,’ the Rev. T. Horsfall and Miss Brooks; song, ‘When there’s love at home’, song, ‘Milly’s faith’ (encored), Miss Emmerton; song, ‘The ghost’ (encored), Mr Hughes; song, ‘Jonathan Joseph Jeremiah’ (encored), Mr. Sylvester; quartette, ‘Come where my love lies dreaming,’ the Rev. T. Horsfall, Mr. Sylvester, Miss Brooks, and Miss Emmerton; glee, ‘The village chorister,’ the choir; song (in character), ‘I don’t know which to choose’ (encored), Mr. Hughes; National Anthem.