South Ossett Christ Church



FB_IMG_1654041013361Photo: Kevin Stephenson courtesy of Ossett Through The Ages (OTTA)


This Record is the enlargement of certain notes and memoranda which I have kept from the time of my appointment to the Benefice. It is meant to serve the purpose of an Official Record of such matters of business – as is important – that succeeding Vicars of a Parish should know: and also of an unofficial “log-book” giving account of various events and circumstances on the history of the Parish which might be merely of interest, though they might also serve as a guide and help at some future time, by relating the experiences of the past. As regards the latter purpose the Record is liable to all the faults of contemporary history and in part it may be that matters of trivial importance in the long run will have an undue prominence given to them by mention here. But the object in view is to record faithfully whatever may really be of permanent importance or of interest to my successors and I trust that, all faults notwithstanding, I may not wholly fail in securing that object. Leaving the Parish, however, the summon to do so may come I shall bequeath the Record to the Vicars of South Ossett, with this only request, that they would endeavour faithfully to continue it; and I pray that it may be a Record of an ever growing work and sure progress, material and spiritual (but especially the latter) which shall be noted to the Glory of God in ‘the Books’ that will be opened at the Last Day.

Signed: John H. Ward, Vicar of South Ossett [from1884 – 1892]


Written by Mr Ward soon after he became Vicar in 1884 – some of the information was given to Mr Ward by C.E. Priestley, who was living at Highfield Cottage (my former home) at the time. The Document was found in the Boxes deposited at the WYAS Ref. WDP 189]

The parish of South Ossett is an Ecclesiastical District originally taken out of the Parish of Dewsbury. It comprises the southern portion of the township now under the jurisdiction of the Ossett Local Board, the boundary between South Ossett and Ossett cum Gawthorpe running as follows – from the river by Healey Old Mill up Runtlings Lane and along West Wells Rd., to the end of Bank Street, down Queen St., as far as Prospect Rd., along Prospect Rd., by Little Town End and Great Field Lane, across the railway and down the little lane towards Teall-town, the beck that flows from Spring Mill to Spring End being the East boundary, dividing South Ossett from the Parishes of Alverthorpe and St Michael’s.

The history of the formation of this Parish is as follows: – The parish of Ossett cum Gawthorpe which is represented now by the Ossett cum Gawthorpe Local Board Dist, though not as large as many parishes were 50 yrs ago (notable for instance the neighbouring parish of Thornhill), was yet too large a district to be supervised spiritually by one Vicar and his curate (if he had one). There were a few houses on “The Common”, in the quarter now known as Teall-Town, a few in “Happy Land”, a few by the side of Horbury Lane and various others at this south end of the parish. In these scattered dwellings were not less than 600 – 700 souls. The spiritual provision for this part of the Parish of Ossett was almost entirely in the hands of Non-Conformists. There was an Independent Chapel on The Green.

On the same site as the present Chapel was a Baptist Chapel, on the Low Common, a disused Barn, which stood beside the present brick building and is, I believe, now used as a school. The Primitive Methodists also had a meeting in a chamber over a house in the now named South Parade, now occupied by William Ward. But the Church had hardly awakened in those days to a full sense of its duties to all sorts and conditions of men gathered within the limits of its parishes, and if anything had been done by the Vicar in this part of the parish before 1840 it was only by way of occasional visits which, I am told, were not very warmly welcomed. In those days Ossett, and especially Ossett Common deserved the reputation for roughness, which it had earned, and it has not yet quite lived down. Many are the tales that we are told of the rough treatment of strangers who ventured “down the common” when the unruly element was at large. The intrusion of such, no matter for what purpose, was deemed an offence to be punished by stoning and there was not as sufficient respect for the Vicar of Ossett, or any Curate of his to save them from the attention paid to strangers by the inhabitants of the Common: but, in spite of this the Vicar of Ossett the Rev. O.L. Collins (whose memory is justly held in respect by old Ossett people and whom we must revere as the founder of our Parish with a devotion which was somewhat rare in those days) held meetings in the house of Jesse Teall (in what is now Teall street). This house is used at present by Jesse Teall’s son as a school.

About the year 1845, as the result of consultation between Mr Collins and the Rev. Aubull, Vicar of Dewsbury, the resolution was found to make a bolder beginning here with a view, if events were favourable of the parish of Ossett being divided. [Ossett was a Chapelry of the Parish of Dewsbury and not a parish in its own right]. Facility had been provided for such sub-division of parishes under the “New Parishes Act” passed by Sir Robert Peel. In 1846 the division was effected and South Ossett became a provisional Ecclesiastical District (i.e. a district which would be a parish as soon as a Parish Church was built). The Rev. George Bayldon was ordained as Curate of Ossett in charge of the new district. Mr Bayldon changed the place of the meeting from Jesse Teall’s house to the chambers previously used by the “Prims”, [Primitive Methodists] who had vacated it for the little Chapel built by them which now stands within the Wesleyan Burial Ground. The chamber was an inconvenient place, only to be entered by a flight of steps fixed outside.

Mr Bayldon, an earnest, though eccentric person, failed to get hold of the people. He lived for some time far away from the scene of his work, first at Streetside, then Hostingley Lane, Thornhill and then at Sowood Farm. For some time in order to be near his work he lodged at the house of Mr James Mitchell in South Parade, but even then the work did not prosper or develop itself. Mr Mitchell, who gave what help he could, states that there were seldom many persons present at meetings- often not more than 10 – 12. At one time during his Curacy an effort was made to raise funds for the building of a school on the Common but his and Mr Mitchell’s salutation met with little response. In 1848 Mr Bayldon resigned his Curacy.

He was succeeded by Rev. D.C. Neary. BA of Trinity College Dublin, who, I believe, had already been Curate of Ossett. He was ordained by the Bishop of Ripon in 1847 and he at once undertook, with the characteristic energy & determination of an Irishman, the work which Mr Bayldon had laid down. He began in the same chamber which his predecessor had used; but it soon seems to have been felt that there was little hope of success on the Low Common, with its 2 chapels which was quite at the extremity of the parish, and would never be suitable for a Church.

Meanwhile more houses had been built higher up towards the Green, in the region now known as ‘Happy Land’ and so Mr Neary took a weaving chamber belonging to Mr. Geo. Wilby (father of Mark Wilby of Manor House and Manor Mill) in that neighbourhood the chamber is still standing though now made into cottages. It was not much more convenient than the previous chamber, having no other entrance than steps outside.

Here, however, Mr Neary soon gathered a congregation around him, almost entirely of the poor. His ready speech and natural shrewdness, which were not without some cultivation, pleased the ears of the people, while his earnestness, his quick sympathy and his somewhat rough & ready humour, appealed to their hearts. The room was crowded out. The sacraments could not, of course, be administered, but the teaching of the zealous Curate-in-Charge would not have led the people to feel the lack of them very keenly.

The room was used not only for service but also as a school on Sunday and a large number of children attended it and thus as far as a Congregation went the nucleus of a promising work was formed. This incipient success which bade fair to develop itself roused the anger of the Dissenters who had always considered “the south end” as a kind of preserve. Rough words were freely used & people coming to the chamber would sometimes be hustled, pushed off the pavement or subjected to ridicule, chiefly by the Independents of the Green Chapel. But this opposition which, of course, had no justification, could not injure the work already set up for and perhaps it only operated upon the strong will of the Irish Curate – in – charge a stimulant to greater exertion.

At last it became clear that there was hope of making the work permanent, and a subscription list for a Church was opened. Mr Neary was often heard to say that the first contribution he received for it was a florin from a poor widow! But first a site had to be procured and he prevailed upon Mr Joseph Thorns of Green House to give him a piece of ground, bordering on Horbury Lane, and measuring approx. 2 acres which would suffice for a Church, Churchyard and Vicarage. The piece of ground was a rough field, in the centre of which, stood a small straw thatched cottage in the possession of an old woman named Martha Giggall, who used to boil size for use in cloth weaving. Her fireplace was just where the pulpit now stands. The old woman was extremely reluctant to leave her home; although she was to receive a handsome sum (£22 was put down in the Balance Sheet, paid to Martha Giggal and Mr T. Mitchell’s expenses).

However, all was arranged satisfactorily and a Building Committee was formed consisting of Messrs Joseph Thorns, Philip Briggs (the first Churchwardens of the parish), David Dews and Jacob Archer. Their canvassing for subscriptions met with a most liberal response. The Architects appointed were Messrs Mallinson & Healey of Halifax and they did this work creditably for the Church, though without much decoration, is a thoroughly Church like building, well proportioned and quite convenient – though if objection be made it would be to the Chancel which is small & somewhat cramped. With all dispatched the contracts were let and the work began.

On Wednesday, Jan 1st 1851 the Feast of the Circumcision, the Foundation stone was laid by the Rev. O.L.Collins with a service of prayer in the presence of Mr Allbutt, Mr Neary, and a large company of people both from Ossett and neighbouring places. In the evening there was a public tea in the Parish school at Ossett, which was largely attended and produced a good balance for the building fund.

The building proceeded rapidly, the weather being invariably favourable. The wall stone came from Newmillerdam, near Wakefield and the ashlar (square hewn stone) from Brighouse. The cost of the building was incredibly small – the actual cost of the fabric, including £120 for the architects and clerk of Works, was only £1641.13.8p &1halfpenny! But building was unusually cheap at the time. The mason, however, failed almost before he had finished; and the joiner said that he lost a considerable sum by his contract. The whole expenditure, including every requisite (though an old Register of Vestry Meetings shows that the Church was in many aspects but ill-provided for with many things now termed requisite) was only £2120.11.1 & a halfpenny. Recent work done at the Church (1885), which involved breaking into the walls, has revealed the excellence of the original builder’s work.

Mr Neary is said to have worked constantly with his own hands at the Church, and one of the masons employed (Mr Eli Mercer) has told me that he made a daily inspection, that he was quick in detecting anything like “scamped” work and firm in insisting that such work should be pulled down and re-done properly. In the wonderfully short space of 9 months the building was finished and the Church ready to be opened.

The Consecration took place on Thursday Oct 16th 1851. The ceremony was performed by Dr Longley, first Bishop of the restored See of Ripon (and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury). A large number of clergy, and many friends from the neighbourhood were present, and the day was one of much rejoicing. A copy of the Bishop’s sermon was printed and placed in the Church safe. The collections and donations sent amounted to £66.2.3. At the same time the Churchyard was consecrated and the first interment took place the next day.

For some 17 or 18 yrs Mr Neary had only morning and afternoon services on Sundays, consequently many of his people went in the evenings to some of the Chapels. In 1859 when Mr Joseph Cox came to the parish as Schoolmaster he tells me that the services held were as follows: Sunday 10.30am and 3pm. Bible class in school on Sunday night, which soon after Mr Cox’s coming collapsed & ceased to meet. No weekday services were ever held in the Church except on Good Friday and Christmas Day. In winter there was sometimes a service held in the school. On Thursday evening Mr Neary held a meeting at Jesse Teall’s house on Low Common, which like the Sunday Bible Class soon ceased. Holy Communion was administered only on the first Sunday in the month, after morning service. This was not added to until the latter part of Dr. Neary’s life, when he held a celebration on the 3rd Sunday of the month after evening service. I am told that when Christmas Day fell in the week that there was no celebration and Ascension Day was not usually served at all.

Baptisms during 1852 – 1861 averaged 76 per year for the large population. In 1862 – 1871 the average was 68.8. Then, in spite of an increasing population the number gradually decreased and the average for the next 10 yrs was only 44.3. In 1882 this fell to 21 and this manifested a long neglect & increasing disparagement of the Sacrament. Candidates only presented for confirmation every 3 yrs. In 1860 several people of advanced age were confirmed and another in 1870. Subsequently a few candidates were presented every year but in his later years, owing to ill health, the candidates were presented with insufficient preparation and it is needless to add that such persons, with rare exception, did not become Communicants.

To return to the services: after its opening large congregations attended from neighbouring parishes, attracted by the Vicar as a fervid and eloquent preacher. An old attendee has described to me the great power of Mr Neary as a preacher and the large congregations, especially in the mornings, which attended the Church, would listen eagerly to the sermons, which sometimes lasted 45 minutes. During these years the majority of people were still poor and working class. Mr Neary numbered amongst his congregation many people of means and influence in the parish and neighbouring parishes, who helped with their sympathy and their purses. Such were Mr Foster, Mr Holt and Mrs Parker of Horbury, Mr & Misses Clarkson of Earlsheaton and Joseph Newsome of Batley Carr. During these years the old weaving chamber in Happy Land was used as a Sunday school and an increasing number of scholars were taught there.

It is sad to record the decline of a work as earnestly and successfully begun. It did decline and the influence of the Church in the parish – humanly speaking became small and weak. Into the reason for this most lamentable decline I have no wish to enter. They are known to God and to his merciful judgement we must leave them.

Amongst others was the dispute about Church rates, the payment of which was a sore grievance to many people before they were abolished in 1865. The collections of these rates produced an animus against the Church, in many places besides South Ossett, but here on one occasion extreme measures were used to enforce the payment. The furniture of Mr Greenwood, the Surgeon was seized and publicly sold, in consequence of which he and his family left the Church and I understand many others did the same. This added to other & grave causes of unease which lasted over a period of many years did much to destroy the influence of the Vicar, and his work never fulfilled its early promise – indeed it almost collapsed. In saying this let me add that Mr Neary was always in secular matters a good friend & advisor to the poor of his parish & he was diligent – visiting the sick & very kind in administering to their bodily needs. He transacted many little matters of business for his people gratuitously and with much shrewdness & ability, and for all this, in spite of everything, many of his people remember him with something like affection.

When the Church was opened there was no organ. Mr David Dews (a member of the building committee) hired one at his own cost, with the ready consent of the Vicar and Churchwardens, and it was placed in the gallery. Mr Dews’ nephew, Benton Wilby – a lad of 15 yrs of age was the first organist, but he died in April 1852. Subsequently a subscription list was begun to buy an organ, which was successful and one was ordered to be built by Foster & Andrews of Sheffield at a cost of £200 including fixing. Unfortunately inferior metal was used and after 20 yrs it showed signs of wearing out. By 1880 it was unfit for use.

The sum of £139 7s had been left after the building of the Vicarage. [A note was inserted on the facing page by Rev A. L. Burnham, Vicar from 1911 – 1925] “This money does not seem to have been placed to the credit of the Vicarage Building Fund, as foretold in the published Balance sheet. At any rate this amount as shown in the Trust Deed, was invested a few days after the Consecration of the Church in 3% “Consols?” The interest to be spent on the repair of the fabric & furniture of the Church” – signed ALB.

Mr Neary set about raising funds – no details of these, as there was no Committee – Mr Neary keeping the matter in his own hands entirely. The work was soon accomplished, for the date on a stone in the west front of the house is 1853, and in the following year Mr & Mrs Neary came to reside in it. When the Vicarage was first built the windows in the front commanded a fine view towards Bretton Park but subsequently Mr Neary had some differences with 2 persons named Hey & Hemingway, who avenged themselves upon him and upon all future Vicars of South Ossett by building the semi-detached houses which stand in front of the Vicarage and completely block the view. [CLARENDON VILLAS] Both these persons afterwards failed in business and the property passed into the hands of the Wakefield & Barnsley Bank in 1879.

After the Vicarage was built the next thing was to provide Schools. Mr Neary transacted the whole of the business himself; no balance sheets were ever published. I apprehend that the parishioners contributed to a great part of the cost. The Schools were opened very soon after the appointment of Dr Bickerstaffe to the See of Ripon (1856). [Written on the facing page; “Since this was written I have rec’d from Mr Edmund Holt, solicitor of Dewsbury the Conveyance and it is now deposited in the Church safe”. Signed- JH Ward]. There was a large gathering on the occasion and at the service held in the Church the Bishop preached the sermon.

The schoolhouse is an old cottage renovated and enlarged. It was secured about the same time as the schools were built. The land on which the buildings stand was purchased from Mr Dews “but I cannot discover anything as to the whereabouts of the Deeds of conveyance, though I have made enquiries in all likely quarters”. (I think that ‘Dews’ should be ‘DAWSON’ and the Deed (WYAS 1853 SF 92 97) is deposited in WR Reg. Of Deeds-JPS).

The first schoolmaster only stayed a short time, but in 1859 Mr Joseph Cox, a native of Holme in the East Riding, occupied the position, and with only an interval of 1 year from 1870 to1871, when he was working in Bradford, Mr Cox has retained his position until the present time (1888). I do no more than justice when I place upon record the service which Mr Cox has rendered to the Parish. Quite apart from the School Work, which has always been conducted with success, though in the face of many adversities and conditions, as regards Government requirements, Mr Cox was a most valuable and trustworthy servant and friend to Mr. Neary, often discharging many kind offices for him & looking to Parochial matters in his absence, illness or incapacity. In addition to this his consistent Christian life and his admirable bringing up of a large family, has been a power for good in the place which has entitled him to the response from his fellow townsmen, recently accorded to, when they elected him twice to the Chairmanship of the Ossett Local Board, and I have to say that to myself Mr Cox’s service has been very great, and the help which he has most readily rendered with good works of all kinds and invaluable from his long acquaintance with the people, and the affairs of the parish, has placed me under a great deal of gratitude.

I have omitted to state, in connection with the Schools, that The Diocesan Board of Education contributed to their cost a sum of £200, which added to the £500 contributed towards the cost of Church by the Diocesan Church Buildings Society, place the parish under an obligation of £700 to the Diocesan Society, in return for which an annual offertory is due to them.

The first stained window was the East, installed in 1862/3 by Mrs Carr of Carr Lodge, Horbury in memory of her husband Mr John Francis Carr, who died on Christmas Day 1861. It was the work of all – but especially the circular window at the top – of greater merit, both as regard colour & treatment. I believe at the same time Mr Neary gave one of the small windows in the chancel, in memory of his little daughter who died in 1857.

In 1868 the Church underwent thorough renovation of the woodwork, which was painted and grained. Unfortunately the cleaner scrubbed the seats with hot water and soda which raised the varnish and rendered them sticky in hot weather! Up to this time no evening services were held in the Church, but now were held at 6.30 instead of afternoon at 3pm a step in the right direction, but somewhat tardily taken!

In the same year [1868] Mr Neary purchased 2 plots of land adjoining the Churchyard, formerly belonging to Mr Joseph Thorns of South Ossett and John Ellis of Horbury (the Deed of Conveyance has been sent to me by Mr Messrs Chadwick Dr. Neary’s Solicitors, and is now deposited in the Church). On one of these Plots, the nearest to Albert St., in the year 1876 the present Infant School, Reading Room & Cottage were erected, at a cost of £300 including the land. [Written on the facing page to Page 12 has been written the following “ The Building was erected for a Reading Room some years before but was not used as an Infant school until Jul 24th 1877, when the Log Book has an entry ‘removed into the New School this morning’. Before this the building had been used for sewing to relieve the congestion in the old School). No Accounts of receipts & expenditure were published (as far as I can ascertain); but Mr Neary always claimed to be a large subscriber to the cost. The Deed of Conveyance (deposited in the safe) sets forth that the buildings are “to be used for the purpose of a School Room, Reading Room, Billiard Room and Cottage and for other purposes in connection with the said Church in South Ossett, and for no other purpose antagonistic to the “principles, doctrines and tenets of the Church of England as now established by Law”. The buildings & land are conveyed to Mr Edward Appleyard, clerk to Messrs Chadwick of Dewsbury, and his heirs to have and to hold to the use of the Vicar and Churchwardens of Christ Church South Ossett, and their successors in those offices for ever, for the aforesaid purposes. The conveyance makes sundry? for sale of premises by & with consent of the Bishop of the Diocese, the proceeds of such to be invested with all convenient speed, after paying of expenses attendant to the sale – the income arising from such investment to be applied to purposes consistent with the foregoing. Any dispute arising between Vicar & Churchwardens as to the teaching of religion in the school, or the exclusion of any book, or the dismissal of any teacher on account of unreligious teaching, or the use & management of the buildings is to be referred to the Bishop, whose decision is to be final. The conveyance concludes with a proviso that if the premises be used for any purposes other than the foregoing, the property shall revert to Dr Neary, his heirs and assigns. Signed by Denis C Neary, as donor of the land, Edward Poppleton, as holder, Denis C. Neary, as Vicar and Henry CastiIe Scott & Joseph Moon as Churchwardens. Dated 1st Jan 1877.

From the opening in 1851 until 1881 the sittings in the body of the Church, but not the transept or gallery, were at an annual rent, latterly £1 per yr for each seat of 5 sittings. The income received by the Vicar as part of the stipend, but in late years I believe that £20 per annum was paid to the Vicar, anything over paid to the Churchwardens for Church expenses, for which collections were also made at intervals of 1 month.

In 1881 differences arose between Dr Neary and the Churchwardens, the rents were duly collected in May, but previously to the half yearly payment in November the Vicar posted a notice in the Porch that the Pew rents then due were to be paid to him on a certain day. The Churchwardens considered it their duty to remove the notice and to post one of their own instead, to effect that the Pew rents to be paid to them and NOT the Vicar. Dr Neary, hearing of this on Sunday morning immediately before service, was much vexed and before his sermon he gave notice from the pulpit that the Church was henceforth free, and for the future no rents at all would be paid. From that time forward a weekly offertory was collected, but the result was very little, the ordinary Sunday offertory being on an average from 10 – 12 shillings, a totally insufficient sum to provide for the necessary expenses of the Church & services.

Until the latter part of 1883 the Choir had occupied seats in the gallery, in front and beside the organ. Efforts were made in the direction of a ‘surpliced’ Choir and it was understood that it had the sanction of the Vicar. The first two pews in the Chancel were occupied by the Vicar’s family and the other by Mrs Parker of Carr Lodge, in Horbury. Three pews were removed to make room for proper Choir stalls. The money was raised for surplices and the material procured when the Vicar suddenly withdrew his sanction and so the proposal fell through for a time but thence forward the mixed Choir occupied the new stalls in the Chancel and continued to do so until the introduction of a surpliced Choir after the death of Mr Neary. He died on 15th March 1884 aged 63. His body was laid to rest in the same grave as his wife and child on the south side of the chancel. A granite monument was erected by their daughter later.

Income of the Benefice On the Constitution of the provisional District of South Ossett the Ecclesiastical Commissioners assigned from the Common Fund £150 payable half yearly May 1st and Nov 1st. In 1884 another £50 was added – total £200.

Church Repair Fund £144.6s 7d was invested in 3% Consols, annual interest received by Wakefield & Barnsley Banking Co. and to be applied as a repair fund for the maintenance of the fabric of the Church. On my coming to the Parish the fund was invested in the name of Mr Neary & Others. I have suggested that it should be in the names of Vicars and Churchwardens of South Ossett but am informed it is necessary to give definite names. As all the original trustees are now dead except one it has become advisable to substitute other names. I have given my own name and Mr J.T. Marsden, Rag Merchant, Mr George Hemingway, Book keeper and Mr John Henry Gawthorpe, Bankers Clerk. Upon the decease of the first Vicar the appointment fell to the Crown, Dr Neary having been nominated by the Bishop, Dr Longley.

On April 16th 1884 I received from the Prime Minister the offer of the living, being then Assistant-Curate to the Rev. John Sharp, Vicar of Horbury; the post to which I was appointed when I was made Deacon on 13th July 1879. On April 19th I accepted the charge but was unable to take up the post for some months owing to the Vicar of Horbury being ill. I was instituted at Ripon by Very Rev’d the Dean, acting as Commissary for the ArchBishop of York on July 14th.

My first desire was to add afternoon Sunday Services for the children and that was agreed to be at 3pm after the Sunday School. I celebrated Holy Communion for the first time on August 5th. Shortly after my appointment the income of the living was raised from £150 to £200. I had various necessary renovations done to the Vicarage. In September I called a general meeting of the Congregation to discuss a Surpliced Choir and it was resolved almost unanimously. Suggestions were made to remove the doors from the pews. There were one or two objections, namely Messrs Edwin Wilby and Edmund Briggs. The panels from the doors were used in the new Vestry. I was asked several times if I would endeavour to restore the old (and evil) system of pew rents!

In October a Sewing Society was formed – 26 members joined, meeting on alternate Mondays in the Parish Room at the Vicarage. Despite some differences with some of the members it was continued until the Bazaar in October 1885. During this month the surplices were made, the linen supplied wholesale by Mr P. Nettleton, cut out by Mrs Hall of Ossett and sewn by the members of the Sewing Society. The result was fairly satisfactory!

In November I formed a Children’s Temperance Guild. About 100 members joined. It prospered during the winter months but flagged in summer, owing to a lack of helpers. Mr H. Wilby the Assistant Master very kindly helped me for some time by playing the harmonium, but Temperance principles are not fully recognised by the Church people & I could not obtain further assistance. Soon after, I made an application to the Additional Curates Society for a grant towards the stipend of a Curate. I applied for £80 or £70, undertaking to raise £50 or £60 locally. I gave details of the need but in April 1885 received notice – not successful.

Surplices were first worn on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day there was an early celebration at 8 am – the first in the history of the Church. There were 36 Communicants. The Choir were carefully trained and taught by Mr Arthur Clegg (appointed Choir Master shortly after I came to the Parish). One member of the Choir (Mr J.T. Marsden) resigned in consequence of wearing surplices. He made no objection to me & there was some inconsistency in his action, as he had sometimes sung in the Choir of Ossett Holy Trinity and worn a surplice!

1885 At the beginning of this year I published a Parish magazine localising the “Banner of Faith” issued by the Church Extension Association. We began with a circulation of 210 which rapidly increased to 250 at which number it remained for the rest of the year. Acting on suggestions made to me by a few persons I began a clothing club, which for this year was fairly successful having 26 members. On Jan 10th I gave notice of a Confirmation Class and this was formed with 21 boys and 17 girls attending most regularly. At the beginning of Lent I began regular Holy Communion Services The Confirmation at Wakefield Parish Church took place on March 28th. The girls, accompanied by Miss Scott & Miss Priestley drove in a conveyance: the boys and I walked. We returned by train & had tea in the school at 6pm. When I came here it was obvious that a new organ was needed.

I set up a Fund to raise money for an organ and for it to be repositioned in a new Organ Chamber and not in the West Gallery. The fund was begun with a donation of £25 from Charles Wheatley Esq. of Mirfield. Other subscriptions began to come in and all were acknowledged in the Parish Magazine. In June 1885 £237 had been raised and Messrs. Kirk & sons of Dewsbury & Huddersfield, Architects and Mr Hopkinson were appointed to build the organ. Plans were drawn up for the alterations to the chancel etc. and were sent to the Bishop of Ripon. Tenders were received from tradesmen for the work: Mason’s & Plasterers – Eli Mercer & sons £150.10s; Joiners & Painters – William Dyson £29.18s; Plumbers – Joshua Snowden £23.00s; Slaters – W.R. Thompson £15.00s Total £218.8s All these, except the last, are Ossett tradesmen. No opposition put up against these. The work was begun in October. In May active preparations were made for a bazaar, to raise funds for the Organ and a committee was set up: Chairman the Vicar; Treasurer Wm. Briggs; Secretary Mr Herbert Wilby; Messrs Cox, G. Crawshaw, J. Stubbs, Mrs Wm Brooke, Mrs O Nettleton, Mrs A.F Smith, Miss Tattershall and Miss Marsden.

The School Feast took place on Saturday June 6th. From the beginning of my work here I have experienced the utmost difficulty in getting parents to bring their children to Holy Baptism. The laxity that prevailed in the latter part of my predecessors time, will account for this neglect of Sacrament. I have found whole families, sometimes persons of all ages, unbaptised, and in spite of all efforts I could persuade only some persons to bring their children. Many Confirmation candidates had to be baptised (some were Sunday School Teachers).

June 21st 1887 The Jubilee of her Majesty Queen Victoria was celebrated in Ossett with much loyalty and enthusiasm. At Matins that morning Jubilee prayers and thanksgivings (issued by Royal Command) were said. In the afternoon a public procession took place, the children were carried on wagons, kindly provided by Messrs Marsden Bros. and Abraham Marsden & Sons.

During the summer a request was received from Mr A H Clegg – organist & Choirmaster, for an increase from £5 to £12 per year.

On Sep 20th the first of a series of “cottage” meetings was held “on the common”. Mr James Mitchell kindly gave the use of his house for the purpose.

On 13th October a Mission room at Healey was opened. Mr King of Horbury Bridge provided a house at the rental of £5.10s per year and seats were made by Mr Stubbs for £4. 12s. A Harmonium was hired. The Mission was to be called ‘The Mission of the Good Shepherd’ in the charge of Rev J Blew.

On Sep 29th James Bentley resigned the post of Sexton & Clerk owing to incapacity for work. Charles Hampshire was appointed in his place at the same salary £10 plus fees & other payments, approx £12, per year.

1888 In my predecessors time the Churchyard had been much neglected and I have had great difficulty in dealing with it. The plan of graves was not properly kept- 300 burials were omitted entirely and several entered wrongly, so as to be useless for reference purposes to the yr 1876, since which time no entries were made. The rows of graves had not been kept, coffins being placed so as to be half in one row and half in another. Space was wasted by graves being dug only 5 – 6ft deep. I have had serious complaints of bodies having been buried in other people’s graves, and it has been very difficult to find room for new graves. All this coupled with the fact that over 1900 bodies had been buried in the Churchyard led me to apply to the Home Secretary for the inspection of the Churchyard with a view to it being closed. Eventually Dr Hoffman, HM Inspector of Burial Grounds visited and in accordance with his suggestions the Churchyard was closed to burials after 31st Mar 1889, with certain reservations. (Copy of document in the safe).

On May 11th Rev Blew offered his resignation on health grounds and this was much regretted. In his place Mr Edward King, a student who hopes to be made Deacon later this year, was appointed.

At the end of the year 1887, after 11 yrs, a sufficient sum had been raised for the endowment of the Bishopric of Wakefield, to provide an income of £3000 and a Bishops residence (having been contributed chiefly by Yorkshire Churchmen.) On February 11th 1888 it was announced that the Right Rev William Walsham How; Bishop Suffragen of Bradford, whose noble & most successful work in East London had made his name illustrious, was appointed. On May 17th the Order in Council was issued creating the Diocese of Wakefield and accordingly that day The Parish passed from the Diocese of Ripon. Dr How was formally enthroned on Monday Jun 25th. He held his first Ordination in the Cathedral on Trinity Sunday May 20th 1888 1890.

At the end of April I left South Ossett for 3 months holiday on medical advice. The Bishop readily agreed & obtained a grant of £20 for a locum, Rev. D. Proctor to assist Rev. King who was left in charge of the parish. He discharged his duties most zealously and was much loved by the parishioners. I returned to the parish on Jul 25th and was most kindly welcomed.

On Aug 27th Mr Henry Noble, the Vicars Churchwarden for 8 yrs, died. He had always worked with great care & diligence. He was buried in the Churchyard beside his wife on August 30th.

In the early part of 1891 my attention was brought to an old joiners shop in Teall St, recently used as a reading room, which would make a serviceable Mission Room. I at once secured the room and furnished it. It was opened on January 27th.

In May and early June the Parish, in common with other parts of England suffered from an epidemic of “Russian ‘Flu”. Much distress was caused – both clergy were attacked.

There are still a great many unbaptised children in the Parish especially on the Common.

It is pleasing to record that a former member of our schools has gained distinction at Oxford. Mr Harry B. Hampshire (son of Henry, mason, & Sarah bapt. 5th April 1874 at South Ossett) was in the 5th standard in 1886. He left school to go to St Oswald’s College, Ellesmere Port, where he repeatedly gained distinction in the Oxford Local Examinations. In the July examination he came out among the senior candidates – 1st in Latin, 2nd in Greek and 3rd in Divinity, gaining distinction also in History. In November he gained an Open Scholarship at Hertford College Oxford of the value of £100 a yr for 5 yrs.

1892. BUILDING OF VICARAGE CLASSROOM For many years a suitable place had been needed for the Vicar to hold classes and meetings etc. I [Mr Ward] resolved early in 1891 to provide such a room, together with a storeroom. Plans were drawn up by W.A. Kendall, Architect of Ossett. The building was to be placed at the east side of the Vicarage. The plans were passed by the Town Council. The whole cost of the work was £199.7.2d. £15 left over from the Curate’s endowment fund, £10 from Mr John Harrop, £64 was contributed by private friends and the remainder by me. I wish to leave on record:- 1) That the room is the property of the Vicar of the parish for the time being and only to be used with his consent 2) On the other hand it was not built for the Vicar’s own private & domestic purposes etc. but for the furtherance of the parish work.

The following topic was written by Rev’d KIRK in 1910, on the facing pages of the entries for 1892 VICARAGE CLASSROOM.

After a residence of 18 and a half years at the Vicarage I feel bound to express my candid opinion with regard to the classroom. I thoroughly appreciate the circumstances which influenced my predecessor, for whom I have a most profound respect, to build the classroom, in a large measure at his own cost. But experience has shown that it has not been for the comfort of the occupants of the Vicarage, and that the money laid out on it might have been more profitably spent. A little more than a year after its completion additional rooms were provided at the mixed school and much more recently provision has been made to divide the large room there into 3 parts, by moveable partitions. There is ample room in the school for classes and meetings of all sizes available in the evenings, the best time for such gatherings. Moreover the classroom is sadly deficient in 2 important matters 1) ventilation 2) heating. Practically no ventilation – just 2 small inlets are provided in 1 wall only and there is no outlet for vitiated air. The consequence is that when the gas is alight and the room moderately full of people, the atmosphere soon becomes most unhealthy and unbearable. The fireplace is quite inadequate to heat the whole of the room. While I have tried various things to remedy these defects, which have been quite unsuccessful, I can only express my conviction that structural alterations are required, which would entail an expense few men would undertake. Further I greatly regret that I am unable to agree with my predecessor’s remarks as to “a breach of confidence”. (Not sure to what this refers.).The expense of fuel, light and cleaning for parochial purposes ought not to fall upon the Vicar – If they are met by parishioners, the room will be considered Parish Property and will mean the destruction of the privacy of the Vicarage. Of this we have had frequent and unpleasant experiences and, for some time all meetings etc., have been held in the school, and I have more recently been compelled to refuse the use of the room for social purposes. Early in 1910 I consulted the Archdeacon (Norris) as to the possibility of removing the structure, but he was of the opinion that I had no right to do so. It was unfortunate that Mr Ward left so soon after the classroom was finished and before he had experienced the defects of it, one other of which is that the Vicarage is filled with smoke every time there is a fire lighted in the classroom. If the place could be pulled down, and the materials used elsewhere, say to extend St. Aidan’s, they would be put to more profitable use.

On Tuesday January 26th the anniversary of the Teall Town Mission Room was celebrated. A branch of the Yorkshire Penny Bank was established in the Vicarage classroom every Saturday evening from 5.30pm to 6.30pm – in a very few weeks 150 accounts were opened and £800 deposited which showed there was a need . A committee was formed to deal with the new classrooms for the school.

During the month of March I received, from the Vicar of Dewsbury, the offer of the living of Earlsheaton, which was vacant owing to the death of Rev M.W. Tunnicliffe. The offer was accompanied by a strongly expressed wish, in which I was told that the Bishop warmly concurred that I would accept the new charge. I conferred with friends best able to advise me and with a few of the elder clergy of the neighbourhood and I acted in accordance with their unanimous advice when I accepted the offer. The Rev E. S. King, who has most loyally & faithfully worked with me for 4 years, materially assisted my decision by promising to accompany me. I announced our impending removal to parishioners after a lecture was given in the school on Sat March 12th, and also by a circular distributed in Church the following day. Four months elapsed before it was possible for us to go to Earlsheaton. During this time the parishioners very kindly raised funds with which to present Mr King and myself with testimonials of the regard and esteem in which we were held by the people amongst whom I, for the past 8 and Mr King the past 4 yrs had laboured. The testimonials which took the form of a silver tea service for myself and a bag containing vessels for private celebrations for Mr King were presented in the school on Saturday 4th June by the Mayor of Ossett (Alderman Oliver Nettleton) and Mr Cox. It is not desirable that one should place on record the feelings with which so sacred and so dear a charge is laid down. There is so much to be deeply grateful for – and not least the unbroken harmony which, in spite of many alterations and changes which have not communicated themselves to every individual, I rejoice to say has prevailed between my people and me. This has been to me a manifest sign of God’s blessing; and it has, I trust, allowed word and work to “take root downwards and bear fruit upwards”. On the other hand these pages tell – only too sparingly I fear, of failures and short comings which more prayer and greater diligence should have prevented. Of these I am conscious, and it will be, as it ever has been, my prayer that the sins of the priest may not be visited upon the people – “these sheep, what have they done?”

It is with the assurance of much future blessing to descend upon the parish of South Ossett, resulting in the furtherance of God’s work and the enlargement of his Kingdom, that I hand over my work, and this unworthy record of it, to a worthy successor.

Here Rev. Ward ends his extremely informative notes in the Log Book He was instituted to the living of Earlsheaton on Wed Jul 13th 1892.

In 1892 John Henry KIRK – BA Cambridge was instituted to the living at South Ossett. Fortunately, he carried on writing up the Log Book for the next 18 years.

1893 On 26th February Mr Fred Hallas SENIOR B.A of Trinity College Dublin, was ordained at Thornhill Lees Parish Church. Before my appointment a Committee had been set up regarding the enlargement of the mixed schoolroom. Plans had been prepared and sanctioned by the Education Department and contracts were let – Masons – R. Oldroyd £338; Joiners – Charles Lockwood £105; Slater/Plasterers – Fawcetts £47; Plumbers – J. Snowden & Son £37.10. A sum of £60 had already been promised towards this fund. [The next entry in the Log Book, I felt was worthy of a separate article in its own right, which I have named “The Dispute with Holy Trinity”]

1894 The Bazaar raised £218. 9s 3d net for the school Fund. Rev. F.H. Senior was ordained as Priest, much against my own judgement. I placed before the Bishop my reason for thinking he should wait; but the Bishop held that there was no moral or doctrinal fault. My great objection was Mr Senior’s absolute incompetency and unsuitability for the work, as well as the discovery that he had not gained the respect, or was likely to, of the parishioners. There was no brotherly sympathy between us that there should have been, which I attribute to him being older than me and unwilling to submit to my counsel. The Bishop promised that he could leave at the end of his second year. Unhappily I believe that Mr Senior has endeavoured to create a feeling against me in the parish and acted deplorably.

On February 22nd of this year my revered predecessor John Henry Ward was called home, his illness being of long duration borne most patiently. Of his work here one cannot speak too highly, it was so thorough and real. Undoubtedly this book itself tells of a humble, zealous priest who strove to fulfil his priestly office faithfully in the right of God. About this time 2 members of the congregation, prominent for their liberality and kindness of disposition were removed by death – Joshua Wilson and Mary Harriet Pickard. May they Rest in Peace. A meeting of parishioners unanimously resolved to erect a suitable memorial in the Church to the late Rev. Ward. A Committee was formed but much opposition was met and many allegations were made that a memorial should have been erected to the late Dr Neary. I pointed out that it should have been done 10 yrs ago.

SCHOOL For some time it has been apparent that there was not enough room for the infants. The average attendance was 108 but the accommodation was for only 99. It was proposed to enlarge the present room but I strongly persisted that it was not adapted for educational purposes and was originally erected as a reading room. Eventually the managers resolved to purchase all the vacant land in Crown Street and with Mr John T. Marsden I waited on the other owners in the street and gained their permission to enclose the whole, leaving an entrance at both ends of what is now known as Crown Street. Mrs Neary and Mr Ellis agreed to sell at 1s 9d a yard and the purchases were completed. Plans were then prepared for a new school to accommodate 200 children. I issued an appeal to our people for help, estimating the cost at £1400. A new Sewing Society was formed and a good beginning made.

In October the Dedication Festival and Annual Meeting of the Communicants Union was hardly satisfactory. The preachers were Mr How of Mirfield and Mr Riley of Easthorpe. On October 31st the Rev F.H. Senior resigned the Curacy and left for Hull. Unhappily he had succeeded in stirring up some strife which showed itself about this time – which I was right in urgently desiring his resignation was evident, from the fact that he went to an extreme Low Churchman and one of seven who protested against the Archbishop of York’s (Maclagan) Synod. The opposition was led entirely by “nominal” Churchmen and a few Elder lads. The Bishop sent me word that Mr W.B. Harrison BA., Oxford, son of the late Vicar of Bretton West, desired a Title and would probably visit the Parish. After interviews I offered him the title and he was ordained on St. Thomas’ Day at Wakefield Cathedral. I knew his father when I was at Barnsley.

1895 On Tuesday June 18th the Foundation Stone for the new Infant School was laid by Archdeacon Brook – a very large number of parishioners & several neighbouring Clergy were present.

Autumn1895. About this time it became necessary to remove Albert Laycock from the office of Clerk and Sexton. He had been absenting himself from the Choir and, after ringing the bell, leaving the Church. He was spoken to by the Churchwardens and me. We had complaints that the Church was not being kept clean and that a young girl of 13 was turning out the gas & locking up the Church. When remonstrated with Laycock was insolent and we were compelled to give him notice to leave at Michaelmas. William Hemingway, Painter, and a Choir man was appointed out of several applicants. After 6 months he has proved himself a thoroughly fit man for the office and the Church is much sweeter & cleaner than before.

On Holy Innocents Day [late 1895] the new Infant School was dedicated by the Bishop. When we were about to take possession of the new schoolroom the question came as what was to be done with the old one. For years the men have claimed that the building belonged to them and they seemed to be under the impression that it would now become their absolute property – there is, however, in the safe a Trust Deed conveying the property to the Vicar and Churchwardens and empowering them to exchange or sell the property.

Mr Moys and Mr Burdekin agreed with me that it was desirable that the room should be used as a Billiard Room and Reading Room, with proper safeguards that the Vicar and Churchwardens were still the owners. We accordingly met the Committee of the Reading Room and laid out our terms before them – negotiations followed, heated at times. Eventually an agreement was reached and the Conditions and Rules placed with the Trust Deed. I very strongly advised the change of name to the “Church Institute” as a safeguard against the heirs of the late Dr. Neary claiming the property as not being used in connection with the Church at South Ossett. For my own part I have no doubt that Dr Neary’s heirs can claim possession legally, if any were minded and this is the opinion of the lawyers by whom the Deed was drawn up! The Churchwardens had the school altered and painted and the members of the Institute have furnished it as a Billiard Room and Card Room, the old Reading Room being retained – the bedroom above will be ‘thrown’ into the cottage at the next vacancy of tenancy! Members joined rapidly until 100 was reached – that the Institute will do good so far as keeping the men from worse influences I am sure of, but that it will help to make them loyal Churchmen I despair! Like my predecessor I am unable to do anything with the men.

1896 Towards the end of Lent there commenced a most unfortunate and lamentable difference in the Parish, which came to head at Easter. I feel it is incumbent upon me to give a fair account of the whole matter in temperate language and I have, therefore, delayed a matter of 13 months after the event before committing it to writing. During Lent 1895 Bishop How issued a circular letter to the Church Wardens of the Diocese, asking that the Easter offerings might be given to the Incumbent. For some 8 or 9 years the Collection had been given to the Choir and the Church Wardens, although desirous of carrying out the Bishop’s suggestion I felt that it could hardly be done that year in justice to the Choir. At their request the Bishop’s letter was inserted in the Parish Magazine and it was determined to carry it into effect in 1896. Soon after Lent began the Church Wardens approached the Choir on the matter, offering them any other Sunday in the year, guaranteeing that the Choir should not lose by the change. After one or two meetings the Choir refused the offer and intimated that they would resign if the change was enforced. In this dilemma the Church Wardens appealed to the Bishop, who directed them to make the change. Unhappily the secretary to the Choir Edward Laycock would not allow either the Church Wardens or me to meet the men. On Easter Day only 3 men were present, 12 having absented themselves; and this in spite of my having written to each man pointing out the scandal their absence would cause. At the Vestry meeting on Easter Monday there was a very large attendance indeed, so much that an adjournment was made to the school. The 12 Choirmen brought together a number of ratepayers, Churchmen, who never came to Church, and Dissenters and put in a Mr Ben Teal, a joiner, as Parishioners Warden; and as Sidesmen, Mr Charles Wilson and Mr Joseph Stacey, with the avowed intention of restoring the old order of things. It now became a question for me as to what course I could pursue with regard to the Choir – I did not want to continue the unpleasantness and I asked the Bishop for advice. His opinion was that the men were not fit to lead the praises of God in the Church and discipline must be gently but firmly exercised. However, on the Wednesday in Easter Week the 12 men had a meeting and resolved to come into the Choir again on the following Sunday. On being informed of this I immediately sent word to each man that I could not allow them. As soon as Ben Teal had come into office he began in a friendly manner to endeavour to procure the restoration of the Choir and the abolition of the Easter offering to the Vicar. In regard to the former I expressed myself as being quite willing to restore the Choir upon condition that they would express regret for their conduct at Easter and promise that it should not happen again; but as to the latter I had no right to upset the Bishop’s decision. At my suggestion the 2 Churchwardens went to the Bishop, who sent for me and then communicated his decision, which was to this effect – that the Easter Offertory should go to the Vicar and another Sunday to the Choir, and that the Choir should be restored upon the conditions I had named. Ben Teal was by no means satisfied with this decision and he endeavoured to induce me to accept various compromises to which, however, he failed to secure the assent of the 12 men. Mr Arthur Henry Clegg, organist and Choirmaster then suggested a meeting of the Vicar, Churchwardens and Choir to which I most readily assented, declaring that that was what we had asked for in vain.

The meeting was accordingly held & attended by everybody concerned – unfortunately the men & Teal were determined neither to come to any compromise, nor make any promises for the future. A great deal of unnecessary talk was indulged in and ultimately the decision of the men resolved itself as follows: – (1) That the Bishop had no authority (2) If he had, it ought to be removed (3) they did right in absenting themselves (4) they would do it again. Of course this made things impossible and Teal resigned from the office. We parted quite friendly! I then resolved to ask only Communicants to come into the Choir to assist the 3 men – H. Gawthorpe, W. Hemingway and Ernest Cox, who had remained faithful. Clegg, who had all through thrown his influence with the 12, then demanded an increase of salary. The Churchwarden Mr Moys agreed to £5, though I was very unwilling that it should be done & subsequently events of the next year showed I was right. The immediate effect of the whole affair was the resignation of several Sunday School Teachers, and the withdrawal of some few from Church Worship Withdrawal of some who were Communicants was lamentable at the present time.

June 1897, it is with thankfulness that I notice the return of a few to Church and Communion. Still the sore is there and one is painfully conscious of it, in the decrease of Communicants and in Parochial visiting. I cannot look back over the last 18 months without much misgiving. There has been, partly owing to the Church Institute re-organisation but more owing to the unfortunate Choir dispute, a feeling of restraint if not coolness, between a large number of parishioners & myself. One has to make allowances for ignorance of gentle feeling on the part of some and for strong claims of kindred amongst others, greatly emphasised by repeated intermarriage. Grieved though I am & much as I feel the cold looks and distant manner of many, and not the decrease of Communicants and the congregation I do thoroughly believe that I have acted in the best way for the interest of the Church and Parish – I hope someday this will be recognised, though I may not be able to see it! In February this year I was compelled to close the Teall Town Mission Room. The services were only poorly attended and as the Fund was £38 in debt I felt it could no longer be maintained. The furniture I have stored in the Vicarage Classroom in the hope that the Mission may be revived at some future time.

In August the Diocese was shocked to hear of the sudden death of the first Bishop. In the short time of his Episcopal oversight he had done so much for a Diocese which presented very grave difficulties. To this parish, and doubtless many others, he was a true Father in God, a devout humble man, whom it was a great privilege to know. Requiescat in Pace! Dr Rodery Eden, Bishop (Suffragen) of Dover was appointed in his place.

An application having been made for the use of the schools for the purpose of dancing, a strongly worded note was put in the magazine that under no circumstances whatever would the managers let the schools for dancing. This is not the result of bigotry on the part of the managers but is in the best interest of the Parish. Some years ago, when dancing was last allowed, a most scandalous & disgraceful midnight scene occurred, and the managers will not again run the risk of a repetition thereof. The decision is much resented by some of the young people, who plead it is an excuse for neglect of the Church Sunday Schools. I am satisfied that the managers are right in their refusal.

The Rev. E.S. King, formerly Curate of this Parish paid a short visit in August & was welcomed by many old friends. In remembrance of his visit Mr King gave a silver Paten for use at the Altar, which the late Mr Ward had used at South Ossett but had left to Mr King. The Paten is suitably inscribed & a very welcome gift as the present Altar Vessels were cumbersome & incomplete. On December 1st the Rev. W.B. Harrison resigned the Curacy.

1898 In 1894 I had agreed to unite with Holy Trinity & Gawthorpe in the publication of a joint magazine – after 4 years trial I am convinced that it is better for each parish to have its own and in 1898 returned to the old method of the South Ossett Magazine. Subscribers had frequently urged me of the desirability of this.

On March 15th the Right Reverend G.R Eden, Lord Bishop of Wakefield held a Confirmation in our Church. There were 44 candidates Confirmed singly. The Curacy having been vacant 10 months, and the dearth of Curates very great I was unable to meet with a suitable man until the ordination of Mr H.I. Rayner B.A. Cambridge, on September 25th.

On October 25th & 26th another Bazaar was held to reduce the outstanding debt on the infant School. £240 was raised – this was a record for a 2 day event and reduced the debt to £30.

On the death of Rev. Ward in 1894 a meeting had been held regarding the erection of a suitable memorial in the Church. Owing to the costs of erecting a new Infant School subscriptions were slow to come in. 4 years later in 1898 a more energetic move was made and the committee decided on a Reredos. The memorial was dedicated by Canon Lowther Clarke on December 4th, an address being given by Canon Grenside, in place of Canon Sharp, who was unable to attend. The cost of the Reredos was £65, raised entirely by subscription.

In March the costs of the School Building had been paid off – £2125.19s. 5d.

The subject of ventilation had cropped up regularly. In 1898 the Churchwardens decided to set aside the collection on one Sunday evening of each month towards the fund. During September 1899 a ventilation shaft was placed in the tower, at a cost of £30, for the purpose of carrying off the vitiated air, and it has apparently been successful, at any rate the oppressiveness formerly felt on Sunday, especially in the evening, is no longer experienced.

The debt on the Infant School having been cleared, the most pressing necessity was for a school in Teall Town, which had closed on the death of the Master, Mr Teall. The journey for the young children up to the schools here was a difficulty. Enquiries were made as to the possibility of acquiring a suitable site to erect a building which should serve as a Mission Church, Day School and Sunday School. Her Majesty’s Inspectors, whom I consulted, advised that the school should be for Infants and Standard 1 only. Mr Charles Wheatley promised to give a site on Junction Lane measuring 1500 sq yards, and £50. Other promises of help were given and the Committee employed Messrs. Marriott, Son & Shaw to draw up plans for a building to serve the purpose, with Chancel properly screened off, the whole to cost about £800. The employment of Messrs Marriott was contrary to my judgment, in which events had since proved I was right. The building was more costly and the office calculations were sadly deficient as the cost was nearly £1500. A meeting of Church people living on the common was then held and I explained the scheme to them, showing the plans. They were all very enthusiastic & promised to work to do their best.

The immediate result of the meeting was the re-opening of the old Mission room on Tuesday evenings and the formation of a Sewing Society. The preliminary papers were signed by the Bishop and the Mission named after St Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne. The name of the Patron Saint was suggested by the Rev. E.B. Ward, in a sermon during the Dedication Festival.

1900 The Board of Education having established a scheme for Superannuation of teachers over 65 yrs, offered Mr Cox, who had passed that age (1) to allow him £40 yearly if he retired at once (2) that he might continue as Head Master so long as he was efficient but without any pension. Mr Cox decided to retire upon the pension and Mr Henry Lister, who had been Assistant Master, was appointed Head Master. A testimonial which took the form of an illuminated address and a purse of £40 was given to Mr Cox as an appreciation of his long and faithful service over 40 years.

On Easter Monday the Foundation Stone for St Aidan’s was laid by J.O Greaves Esq. There was a very large attendance. The sum of £44 was raised that day. From the commencement there had been a wonderful heartiness and enthusiasm, the like of which I have never before experienced since I came to the Parish. The Grants awarded to schools at that time was dependent on the attendance figures and achievement of the students. The Grant to the school had now been reduced and this was accounted for by the opening of an Undenominational School at the Baptist Chapel on the Common. This was the Non Conformist Counter blast to St Aidan’s!

Mr Rayner, who had been an indefatigable worker, began to show signs of ill health. Specialists advised that he should not remain at South Ossett but go to a warmer climate. He obtained a Curacy at Durban in South Africa and left at the end of September, amid many expressions of regret, especially from those at St Aidan’s.

On 27th October 1900 the Mission Building of St. Aidan’s was dedicated by Dr. Eden, Bishop of Wakefield, as a School – Chapel, who also licensed it for Public Worship and the administration of the Sacrament. Gifts were received from St Mary’s Gawthorpe, an Altar with Cross, Candlesticks and set of frontals, Font, Pulpit, Lectern and Foldstone; from the House of Mercy in Horbury Altar Linen; from the Parishioners – Chalice, Paten, Cruets, Bread Box; and from various individuals Alms Dish, Altar Book, Cassocks, Veils and Burses (?) and Sanctuary Chain. The Church was crowded to the door and many were unable to get in.

The Cost of St. Aidan’s Mission: Mason (Oldroyd & Son) £560. 19s. 5d: Joiner (J. W. Harrop) £418.17s.11d: Plumber (Shepley) £134. 9s. 0d: Slater (Thompson) £ 73.10s. 0d: Heating (Truswell) £35. 0s. 0d: Plasterer (Parkinson) £34. 0s. 0d: Ironmonger (Squires) £26. 1s. 0d: Painter (Jubb) £18. 2s.10d: Screen (Peace & Norquoy?) £33. 0s. 0d: Furniture £ 37. 10s. 0d: Street repair £15. 6s. 4d: Printing £12. 9s. 8d: Incandescent £5.10s. 0d: Legal charges £15.18s. 0d: Architect (Marriott & Shaw) £75. 0s. 0d: TOTAL £1495. 4s.2d.


St Aiden's Mission Church

Sunday Church Services commenced with the help of laymen; The Day School opened on December 31st and the Sunday School on 6th Jan, 1901.

As stated earlier I had consulted with H.M.I (JB Loft Esq.) before undertaking the St. Aidan’s scheme; I also received promises of help & support towards the provision of a school, which was badly needed in the district; the Board of Education, after consultation with the Inspector sanctioned the erection of the building to be placed on the Grant List. No sooner was it known that a real beginning had been made, tenders were let etc., than the Non conformists formed an Undenominational Council. They proposed to enlarge and adapt the Baptist Sunday School for boys & girls mixed and infants and sent up plans to the Board of Education, without consulting the Inspector. These were likewise accepted by the Board – under a Conservative Government – and the alterations were made in time to open the School after the summer holidays. The consequence was that many children left the Parish Church School; and only a small number, about 40, joined the St. Aidan’s School when it was opened.

Some of those who had been enthusiastic supporters of the scheme withdrew their promises and I was left with a substantial building; much too costly for a Mission Church, without a school; to raise the money as best I could. An error of judgement on my part, in recommending the appointment of a Head Mistress who proved to be quite unsuitable did not improve School matters! Added to this an agitation was started by Sunday people at the Parish Church, whose names I forbear to mention, against the use of lights and vestments. I should have been willing under the circumstances, and for the sake of peace, to have abandoned the vestments & retained the lights. As, however, the remonstrants threatened to refuse all help unless I abandoned both and removed the altar ornaments, I had no option save to stand my ground, knowing that nothing was done contrary to the Prayer Book. Now began a long struggle to raise money without the help of the protestors, which was often increased by dissension among the people connected with the Mission, who were disheartened by the weight of the burden & discouraged by the attitude taken up by some of the leading members of the Parish Church Congregation.

Towards the end of 1900 Mr Charles Wheatley, of Sands House, Mirfield died at a great age. He had always been, as this book testifies, a generous giver to all schemes undertaken for South Ossett and many other places besides. A loyal son of the Church, his place will be hard to fill. R. I. P.

The Rev. Montague Burnett rendered temporary assistance from Ash Wednesday until Ascension Day, beyond which date it was impossible to retain his services, owing to a pernicious habit of long standing, of which I was unaware when he was recommended to me by Canon Grenside.

1901 A re-arrangement of the Municipal Boundaries between Wakefield & Ossett; and also the formation of the Parish of St. Mary’s Gawthorpe, partly out of Holy Trinity, made it desirable to reconsider the boundaries of the Parish of South Ossett. After much correspondence and red tape, the ‘London Gazette’ of May 17th contained the official notice of the alteration and ratification, approved by the King in Council. A copy was put in the Church safe, but it may be convenient to quote the following:- “On November 14th 1846, a separate district for spiritual purposes, by the name of the District of South Ossett, was constituted out of the parish of Dewsbury. On February 26th 1858, another part of the said Parish of Dewsbury was assigned as a District Chapelry to the Consecrated Church of the Holy Trinity, situate at Ossett cum Gawthorpe, within the limits of Dewsbury. On Jan 2nd 1862 the consolidated Chapelry of St. Michael, Westgate Common, Wakefield was formed. Each of these, under the provision of various Acts has become a new Parish, and it is expected that the boundaries should be altered, the consent of the Bishop, the Patrons and Incumbents being given” etc..

The new boundary between South Ossett and Holy Trinity is: “The railway from the centre of the bridge over Runtlings Lane to the centre of the railway crossing in Great field Lane. The new boundary on the Wakefield side was extended from Haggs Hill Rd., to the limit of the new Municipal boundary of the borough of Ossett – West Wells Rd., Queen St., Prospect Rd. and Great Field Rd., with the streets leading towards the railway were transferred to the Parish of Holy Trinity”. It was anticipated that there would be an increased amount of building in that part of Wakefield which was included in the Borough of Ossett, but such did not follow.

During the spring of this year I endeavoured to persuade the parishioners to commemorate the 50th year of the consecration of the Church in a worthy manner. After many meetings and much unnecessary disputation, it was decided to thoroughly clean and paint the Church inside, except the Chancel; to overhaul & improve the organ – a long delayed need – and to endeavour to fill the two Chancel windows with stained glass.

A section of the parishioners loudly proclaimed in 1898, when the Reredos was erected to the memory of the late Rev. J.A, Ward, that there should be a memorial to the late Dr. Neary, the first Vicar, and I suggested that they should take the present opportunity to carry out their own wishes. With some difficulty sufficient money was raised to fill one window on the north side, the corresponding on the south side was given in memory of Mrs Neary by her daughters. The Church was closed for 5 weeks and a licence was granted by the Bishop for services to be held in the schoolroom. On October 15th the Church was re-opened. The new windows were unveiled by Miss Neary and were dedicated by the Rev. J A Seaton? Vicar of Cleckheaton and rural Dean of Birstal. Next day the Harvest Festival was held and collections amounted to £31. 15. 2d, everything being paid for at the close of the Festival.

1902 The beginning of this year brought with it a breakdown in my health. For nearly 15 months I had been working practically single handed. There had been the organisation of St. Aidan’s, and as I have sufficiently indicated, a large amount of anxiety and labour attached to it. During January I was at Brighton, but the change and rest was not effectual. I struggled on during Lent, with the assistance on Sundays of the Rev. F.W. Hatfield, who had been Curate at Emley. All the usual extra services were suspended including the 3 hours service on Good Friday. In April I left home for 3 months, the first part of which was spent on a cruise in the Mediterranean and the remaining in visiting friends in different parts of England. On my return, being somewhat benefited by the rest and change I was strongly advised to take things quietly and do as little visiting as possible, which, as the doctor said is very trying and tiring. Mr Hatfield who had been in charge during my absence was at once licensed as Curate by the Bishop. Now that I had again got a Priest as assistant it was necessary to make arrangements for the work in future, keeping in mind the advice of Dr. Greenwood that I must spare myself. Some changes to services were made so that more time could be given to St. Aidan’s. In November we commenced morning service on Sundays, with two celebrations a month. The King’s (Edward V11) Coronation, so long postponed was the occasion of great rejoicing and the splendid and stately function gave an opportunity to emphasise the dignity of the Holy Eucharist.

1903 On June 10th John Sharp, Vicar of Horbury & Honorary Canon of Wakefield, was called to his rest after a strenuous life of 93 yrs, The work he had done at Horbury, the foundation of the House of Mercy and the wonderful influence he had exercised in the North, coupled with his saintly life and gently character, stamped him as one of God’s good men. R.I.P.

1904 On April 1st the Town Council adopted the Education Act of 1902 and constituted themselves as the Local Education Authority, with two Ladies whom they co-opted. We were invited to transfer all three schools to the Authority but declined to do so. The old Managers now being done away with [sic] the following were elected as Foundation Managers: Mr J.T. Marsden, Mr J. Brown and Mr M. Wilby with the Vicar as Chairman and Correspondent. Representatives of the L.E.A., Councillors Bentley and Stead, required certain alterations to be made to the premises and the Board of Education insisted on them being carried out – many were of small importance but the provision of Automatic Water Closets for boys and girls at the Mixed Department was a serious item. It was decided to carry them out in order to save the schools.

From October until the end of the year there was a scourge of small pox throughout the town. Day and Sunday schools were closed and all meetings abandoned. Several of our people were smitten, though none of them died from it. The epidemic was worst amongst the unvaccinated people, the few deaths being amongst these. In this Parish the Undenominational School on the Common greatly contributed to the spread of the disease owing to an outbreak amongst the children of “conscientious anti-vaccination”. The small pox hospital was totally inadequate and temporary additions were made, those convalescing being removed to Park House, which the Corporation purchased. No one who lived during those three dark and anxious months is ever likely to forget it.

1905 Shortly before Easter a Pipe Organ with two manuals, pedals etc., was given to St. Aidan’s by the Rev. H. R. Manders, Vicar of Horbury Junction, subject to these conditions (1) that it shall never be sold (11) that it shall never be used save in the Church of England. This most acceptable gift has greatly helped the singing. On August 28th the managers agreed with great regret to the closing of the infant school at St. Aidan’s. The number of children had been reduced to less than 30 and it was not possible to resist the Board of Education’s suggestion that it should be discontinued. The school furniture and apparatus was sold off and the premises will only be used for purposes in connection with the Church Sunday School.

1906 H.M.I reported further improvements were needed for the Mixed Department which had to be done by June 30th. This work was done during the Easter holidays. 1907 Various Bazaars were held in order to raise funds to pay for these.

1908 A stained glass window, representing the Good Shepherd was placed in the East wall of the South Transept in memory of the late Mr Cox – 40 yrs Schoolmaster. It was purchased by subscription, Messrs Kayll &Co. of Leeds being the artists. By an order of Council dated 26th September and published in the London Gazette on October 6th the value of this living was increased to £215 p.a. and the patronage was vested in the Bishop of Wakefield and his successors forever.

Screenshot_20220601-165253_Facebook-012016 The Good Shepherd Window. Photo by Anne-Marie Fawcett.  

1909 At Easter a three day Bazaar was held to still further reduce the debt. The total money received was £323. 5s. 0d and as the expenses only amounted to £14. 14s. 10d there was a profit of £308 10s. 2d. – this was an excellent result. In August it was announced that the late Mr M. Sanderson of Wakefield had left a large sum of money to increase the incomes of the poor benefices in the Dioceses of Wakefield. The Committee offered £200 to South Ossett on condition that £200 was raised locally, the whole £400 being offered to the Ecclesiastical Commission who would raise the income from £215 to £239. Mr Southey came over to explain matters at a Parish meeting but nothing came of it. After several unsuccessful attempts to form a Church Council I spoke at the Committee meeting of the Dedication Festival of the advisability of forming one. The suggestion caught on this time and it was resolved to call a Parish meeting to consider that and other matters. The Council was to consist of Vicar, Assistant Curate, the Churchwardens, the 2 Superintendents of the Sunday Schools, 2 Foundation Managers of the Day Schools, 2 Trustees of the Church Repair Fund, together with 5 male and 5 female Communicants over 21 yrs of age, to be elected by Communicants & bona fide members of the congregation, over 18 yrs of age, by ballot. A Constitution and rules were drawn up and agreed to: The elected must retire each year. From that date all finance has been controlled by the Council and it has done good work.

1910 A Free will offering scheme started after meeting on April 4th, after it was explained by Archdeacon Norris of Halifax. Papers were prepared & signed and a fair number of contributors joined. For a long time the condition of the pews had been very unsatisfactory. They had previously been painted & especially in warm weather were very sticky. The PCC undertook to have them scraped, cleaned, stained and varnished at a cost of £25. Other repairs were also dealt with. Since the Bazaar of 1909 we had been steadily plodding at the last £100 due on St. Aidan’s and on September 30th the last payment was made, which balanced the account. At the Communicants gathering on October 15th it was stated that, thanks to the Free will offering Scheme all the Parochial funds (Curate, Schools and Church repairs) were free from debt. As stated earlier the Parish did not take up the offer of the Sanderson Bequest Commission towards increasing the living. I felt the position somewhat delicate owing to the fact that many said that they did not see why working class people, with only a weekly wage should have to increase the Vicar’s ”wages”. I had, however, been working quietly outside the Parish and had been promised about £40. At the Communicants meeting Canon Harvey, Vicar of Dewsbury (our Mother Church) kindly came and spoke with such success that another £40 soon followed and the newly elected Council at their first meeting determined upon a Bazaar in 12 months time, to raise whatever might be then required to make up the £200. Having received further promises of help I made application at the end of November to the Ecclesiastical Commission for a grant of £400. About the end of November the Bishop of Wakefield (Dr. Eden) offered me the living of Wrenthorpe, nr Wakefield and, after taking time to consider the matter, which involved the laying down of work in South Ossett where it appeared that affairs, which had at times been very difficult were approaching a period of smoothness, as well as taking up work in a country parish – which would be entirely different from any of my previous experiences – I decided to accept the offer. I told the parishioners on the following Sunday of the impending change of minister and, during the weeks following I received the genuine expression of regret at my departure, not only from Church people, but also from Roman Catholics and Non Conformists.

On February 10th 1911, The Bishop instituted me as the Vicar of Wrenthorpe and the rural Dean indicted me. I have, for the last time, read over again this resume of the Parish History, commenced by my predecessor the Rev’d J.H Ward, whose memory I shall ever hold in veneration, and which I pass on to my successor to continue. The book has been valuable to me as an authentic record of happenings that ought to be recorded. People are often confused in memory, or are quite forgetful of past events, and a good deal of misapprehension can be avoided by a reference to what is written in these pages. My Vicariate has extended over a long period of 18 and a half years – 10 yrs longer than that of my immediate predecessor, and, like him, I feel that it is not desirable that one should set down the feeling with which one lays down so sacred a charge. My prayer is that the work of my successor may be even more abundantly blessed than mine has been, and that the people may be prayerful, loyal, willing helpers in Christ Jesus. Signed: J.H. Kirk (There were 6000 parishioners at this time)


1956 Note by the 7th Vicar of South Ossett Henry Rosslyn HAWORTH

On becoming Vicar of South Ossett in 1956 I found that this very valuable Parish record had not been continued since the Rev. J. H. Kirk left in 1911. I hope, with the help of news contained in old Parish Magazines, to bring the record up to date by recording what appears to have been the main events during the intervening years, and then to continue it during my ministry, though more briefly than in the earlier and therefore, more interesting years of the Parish’s youth. H. R. Howarth

1911  Rev’d A.L. Burnham M.A. Oxford, Curate of Almondbury instituted by the Bishop of Wakefield 15th March. Mr. A.E. Rhodes nominated as Vicar’s Warden with Mr E. Firth and Mr C. Wilson as Sidesmen. Mr F. Fawcett as Warden & Messrs H.W. Crowther and W. Holt as Sidemen. At the St. Aidan’s Vestry meeting on Friday 21st April the Vicar appointed Messrs. T. North, J. Marsden and J.R. Megson and the people elected Messrs. J. Lightowler, W. Marsden and L. Lightowler. The Coronations of King George 5th and Queen Mary were celebrated by special services at 7.30 and 11am on Thursday 22nd June. The Church Institute gave a Union Flag for the Church Tower to mark the Coronation. The Rev. F. W. Hatfield left in July after 9 yrs faithful service, during which time his special care had been at St. Aidan’s. The services at St. Aidan’s were maintained with help from the Wakefield Lay Reader’s Association. At the Dedication Festival Celebration to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Parish in October a Jubilee Sale of Work raised about £150 for the endowment Fund of the Living and for the Curate Fund. A Confirmation was held at South Ossett on 17th December with 34 candidates from South Ossett and 32 others.

1912 Rev’d W.R. Keeler, B.A. Durham, was ordained on Mar 3rd and came as Assistant Curate. 173 parishioners of South Ossett signed a petition to be presented to Parliament against the Welsh Church Disestablishment and Disendowment Bill. A fortnightly Men’s Bible class on Sundays at 3pm in the Vicarage Room started on October 6th.

1913 The retiring wardens declined to stand again. Mr W. Haigh was nominated as Vicar’s Warden, Mr Eli Firth Peoples’ Warden, with Messrs H. Wilby, C. Wilson, M. Marsh and T.E. Mercer as Sidesmen. Mr Samuel Norman Pickard and Mr E. Firth were re-elected Diocesan Conference Representatives for 3 years. Money left by Mr H. C. Scott, a former Warden, who died last year, and added to by his surviving children, formed a Churchyard fund with an income of £4 15s 6d. A contingent of South Ossett Church people attended a large demonstration against the Welsh Church Bill, held in Huddersfield on 12th July.

1914 The coming of war in August was marked by holding weekly intercessions at both Churches on several days each week, in addition to existing Parish Church daily services. The Harvest Festivals were held on September 20th & 21st, whilst the Rev’d J. Blew, 1st Assistant Curate preached at both morning and evening services on the Sunday after the Dedication Festival on October 15th.

1915 Many young men from the Parish had enlisted in the forces, mostly in the 4th Battalion K.O. Y.L.I. or in Lord Kitchener’s Army. A Roll of Old Boys of South Ossett School in the forces reached 62 by May 1915. The Parish had been active in holding missionary meetings for some years and had a Home and foreign Missionary Association, with monthly intercession and a Missionary guild (U.M.C.A) meeting monthly. The Rev’d Dr Westcott gave a lantern lecture on “Western Canada” to a large gathering on Tuesday April 13th. A Sunday school at Healey was opened in a house, formerly used as a Mission and Reading Room.

1916 To comply with defence orders, beige curtains running on iron rods were fitted to the Church windows, made by the ladies of the Sewing Party, to enable services to continue. The Church was insured against damage by aircraft for £5. A sale of work on Easter Tuesday raised over £166, of which £50, as previously promised, was given to build a Log Mission Church in Western Canada, in the diocese of Calgary. The balance went to improving the organ and it was completed on Sunday Oct 14th, just 30 yrs after it first opened.

1917 From April the Rev. W.R. Keeler was allowed to spend part of his time helping in North Ossett as the Assistant Curate there was sent to take charge of Gildersome, the Vicar there having gone as a Chaplain to the Forces. “Soldiers Day” was observed on Sunday Aug 5th and Postal orders were sent to the 44 Teachers and Old Scholars of both Sunday Schools, serving in the forces Some land at the junction of Manor Rd and Spa lane was given by the owners, Mr W. Brookes & Mr R.J Tidswell, to be consecrated as a Churchyard for burials. Donations of £100 each were given by Mr O. Nettleton and Mr J.T. Marsden to put the ground into suitable condition. £50 War Loan stock was given by Mrs Greenwood and Mrs Read to provide an income for the maintenance of the Parish Churchyard, with special reference to the graves of their parents, Dr. And Mrs Neary.

1918 A Day of National prayer was held, by proclamation of the King, on Sunday Jan 6th, the collection being given to the Red Cross Society. Over £16 in Lent offerings was given to the Church Army War Work. By May the roll of Honour included all the names, eight of them being killed since the year began. Rev. W.R. Keeler was placed in charge of Gawthorpe in July, the Vicar there having enlisted, but continued to do some work for St. Aidan’s. Thanksgiving Service for Victory was held in both Churches on Sunday November 17th, followed by a United Service of Thanksgiving at the Town Hall, later in the evening.

1919 Rev. Keeler returned to full time work in the Parish and his stipend was raised to £220 p.a. in view of the increased cost of living. An Eagle Lectern was given to St. Aidan’s, in memory of Mr. Joseph Marsden in March. A Sale of Work was held on Easter Tuesday for the “New Churchyard Fund” and raised almost £500. Several generous subscribers enable the living to be raised to £300 p.a. It was decided to build a War Memorial School in Healey and to buy some land for it in Healey Rd., opposite the Gas Works. As a Memorial to the 91 men killed from the Parish of South Ossett it was decided to erect a Monument bearing their names in the new Burial Ground. Sunday July 6th was observed as Peace Thanksgiving Day. Mrs R. Dixon Smith gave the cost of the land for the Healey War Memorial School.

1920 Under the Church Enabling Act of 1919 an electoral Roll had been compiled and a Parochial Church Meeting held on Wednesday April 7th, to elect the new Council and 2 representatives to the Diocesan Conference. It was decided in addition to ex-officio members, to elect 23 to the Church Council, including 6 from St. Aidan’s and 2 from Healey, meeting on Tuesday April 20th in the Vicarage Classroom. A South Ossett Branch of the Mothers Union was formed, Mrs G. Clark as enrolling member. The new Burial Ground was consecrated by the Bishop of Wakefield on Rogation Sunday 9th May. The Choir led the procession from the Church, including the Mayor and Corporation and many other people. The Choirs of the Parish Church and St. Aidan’s leading the singing.

Healey Mission War Memorial School was dedicated on Saturday July 10th by Archdeacon H. W. How.


                   Photo courtesy of Paul Burnham and Ossett Through The Ages (OTTA)                       added by Anne-Marie Fawcett July 2022

1921 The Vicar, The Rev A.L. Burnham, received presents from each Church on getting married. The School Feast was held, as usual, on the Saturday in Trinity Week. On July 10th, the first Anniversary of the Schools dedication at Healey, the Vicar dedicated a carved oak table in memory of Mr G. Illingworth and a brass altar dish in memory of Private Herbert Vickers. The 70th Anniversary of the Church was kept at the Dedication Festival on Sunday October 16th, with a Public Tea and a Choral Evensong on the Saturday. A Boys Brigade was started in October for boys of the 3 Churches, led by Mr. L. Hemingway and Mr E. Briggs. Councillor M. Marsh being the new Mayor the Mayor’s Service was held at South Ossett on November 20th at 10.30am. Over 130 people joined the new Free-Will Envelope Scheme in August.


South Ossett Parish Church Choir in 1917. Rear row Rev A L Burnham (Vicar), Ernest Philpott, E L Harrop, Arthur Pickard, R Stubbs Rev WR Keeler (Curate). Front row:- C Robinson, J Sykes, H Hilton, Mr A H Clegg (organist and choirmaster), H Pickard, Clifford Laycock, H Thomas, H Wilby. Photo supplied by Paul Laycock. 

This photo turned up on Ossett Through The Ages (OTTA) . I’m unsure who all the boys are but it’s great to see a photo of Rev AL Burnham and Rev WR Keeler! – Anne-Marie July 14 2022 

1922 Rev. W.R. Keeler left to go to Knaresborough in January after 10 yrs faithful service and was presented with a roll top desk. The Rev. A Marchant came from Canada, as Assistant Curate, in May and with Mrs Marchant took up residence in Haggs Hill. Nearly 500 children took part in the School Feast service & procession on Jun 17th, besides adults. The Boys Brigade had a week in camp in August at Cannon Hall Park, near Cawthorne, under Captain L. Clafton and Lieut. E. Briggs. The South Ossett Parish War Memorial, costing about £280 was dedicated by Archdeacon How in the Burial Ground, in the presence of the K.O.Y.L.I. the Mayor and corporation and many others, on October 29th. Some £80 further would be needed for a Memorial Tablet for the Church.

1923 The debt on Healey Mission War Memorial School was fully paid off by February, the Healey People having raised £89 during the past year. A brass Cross and Flower Vases were given to Healey by St. James’ Church Dewsbury, and a Lectern Bible was given in memory of Herbert Vickers by his friends: and also an oak Hymn Board was dedicated on Easter Day. Mr A. Summerscales succeeded Mr. H. Hughes as organist at St. Aidan’s. The Log Church, in West Canada (held up by the war) had now been completed. On Jun 2nd the School Feast was larger than ever, each Sunday School having its own band for the procession. As a result of a canvas of the Parish the Freewill Offertory Scheme now had 273 members. It was learned that the brass Cross and Candle Sticks, formerly used at St. Aidan’s, given to the Mirfield Fathers for one of their Mission Stations, when replaced by larger ones, were in use at St. Augustines, Perhalonga in Southern Rhodesia. Mr William Ellis, late of Storrs Hill, left £300 for the benefit of the poor of the Parish, with the Vicar and Churchwardens as trustees. A Memorial Tablet to the Rev. W.R. Keeler at St. Aidan’s was unveiled by Mr H. Hughes and dedicated by the Vicar on Sept. 16th, and one in the Parish Church, dedicated by the Vicar and unveiled by Mr F. Fawcett on November 18th.

1924 A Parochial Tea was held on January 12th in which all Churches joined to promote unity between the members. Rev. A. Marchant left in May after 2 yrs faithful service and was given a timepiece and barometer, on behalf of the Congregation. The Rev. A. Milligan L.Th, Durham, Assistant Curate of Rashcliffe, Huddersfield took up work as Assistant Curate on August 1st and with Mrs Milligan came to live in the School House. Mr G.H. Clegg died, after nearly 50 yrs in the Choir and nearly 40 yrs as organist. He was buried on August 2nd. New Gas brackets were fixed in the Parish Church in October. A Football Club was formed in the autumn for both the boys Brigade and the St. Aidan’s Lads Bible Class. Mr Colin Smith was appointed Parish Church Organist.

1925 A Parish Tea was held on January 10th. Additional land in Healey Rd., was bought from Mr G. Illingworth for future extension of the Mission Room. In March Mr. G.H.M Holroyd was appointed organist and Choir Master in July. A Company of Girl Guides, to be known as 2nd. Ossett was enrolled on Oct 23rd and 28 girls joined. The Rev. O.D. Harvey B.A. Oxford was ordained on Dec. 20th and came as Assistant Curate in place of the Rev. A. Milligan.

1926 A Bazaar held on Easter Monday and Tuesday raised nearly £500. Mr G.N. Smith was appointed Verger and Sexton in October. The 75th Dedication Festival was observed on October 15th and 17th. The Rev J.H. Kirk preached at 10.30 & 6.30 on Oct 17th. An additional room was built at Healey Mission, by G.W. Thornton of Dewsbury, for £684. The building fund now had over £200 in hand. The stone laying was on October 16th, with a large gathering present. Mrs W. Wilby, Headmistress of the Infants School and a Teacher over 50 yrs died on Nov. 6th. In December new surplices for the Choir, made by the wives and mothers, were ready for Christmas Day.

1927 Following the installation of electric lighting the Parish Church was redecorated and the organ cleaned, the Church being closed for 3 weeks from Jun 27th; services were held in the school, marriages and burials conducted at St. Aidan’s. After the Parish Church was re-opened on Jul 24th St Aidan’s was redecorated also. Mr S. Peace became Organist in October. Dewsbury Parish Church celebrated the 1,300th Anniversary of the coming of St Paulinus on Sept 25th to Oct 2nd. Rev. Harvey left in Nov to go to Barnsley. Rev. E. J. Salmon was ordained on December 18th and came as Assistant Curate.

1928 The Boys Brigade gave a Gymnastics Display on April 21st with a Concert and Dance. Portraits of the first 2 Mothers Union “Enrolling Members”, Mrs Fawcett and Mrs Wilby, were hung in the Vicarage Classroom in July. The Dedication Festival Bazaar held on Saturday Oct 13th and Monday 15th raised £348. Dr Eden retired after 31 yrs as Bishop of Wakefield and was succeeded by Dr. J.B. Seaton? Who was enthroned on Nov 30th. Mr F. Wilby and Mr W. Williamson, who had conducted services at St Aidan’s and Healey for many years, were admitted as Readers by the Bishop on Dec 21st.

1929 Some brass Altar rails were given to St. Aidan’s by St. James’ Church Brighouse, in time for Easter Day. St Aidan’s Organ, given by St. Mary’s Horbury Junction, was thoroughly overhauled and re-opened on Sunday June 23rd. A Thanksgiving Sunday for the King’s recovery was held on July 7th. Rev’d E. J. Salmon left in September and was succeeded by Rev’d W.E. Best, Assistant Curate of St. John’s. Mansfield, and who had formerly served in New Brunswick, in October. Mr Oliver Davies became Headmaster of the Day school in November, on the retirement of W.H. Lister, after 35 years service.

1930 The Rev’d W.E. Best gave a series of “Fireside Talks” on the Church in Canada on Wednesday evenings, starting on Jan 29th, arranged by the Missionary Committee. Easter Day Communicants numbered 270, a small increase on last year.

1931 The Venerable C.R. More Succeeded Archbishop Phipps as Archbishop of Pontefract on the 2nd February. A ‘Schools Improvements Bazaar’ was held on Saturday and Monday April 18th & 20th and made over £223 profit. A Missionary Sale of Work was held in the Vicarage Grounds on July 25th. The Bishop of Pontefract preached at Evensong on the eve of the Dedication Festival on Thursday Oct 15th and conducted a confirmation here on Tuesday December 1st – 21 from the Parish were confirmed.

1932 The Rev’d E.E.G. Elford, Vicar of Horbury Junction, gave a course of Mission addresses on Wednesday at 7.30 in Lent. A Bell Turret was built at Healey by Miss Illingworth, in memory of her father Mr. G. Illingworth, and dedicated by the Vicar on Saturday March 19th. Rev’d J.A. Simpson came as assistant Curate in place of Rev’d W.E. Best in March. Mr G.H. Smith retired as Verger and was succeeded by Mr T. Hunter. New pitch pine floors were laid in the big school and the lavatories were extended in the August holidays. The Dedication Festival was held on Sunday 16th October. The Bishop of Wakefield preached at Choral Eucharist at 10.30am.

1933 A Bazaar was held on Saturday and Monday February 25th & 27th in spite of very thick snow, and made a profit of £214. Curtains and Oak posts were given to St. Aidan’s by Mr. G. Bowers in memory of his wife. Electric blowers were installed for the Organ, during August, costing £57.10s, paid for by the proceeds of the Bazaar. Other improvements were done – additional electric lighting in Church and conversion of the Vicarage Classroom lobby into a kitchen, with geyser, sink and cupboard. A Sale of Work held on November 4th made £41. During the year over £192 was given to Home and Overseas Missions, including the Diocese, which was greater than ever before.

1934 South Ossett Football Club had a successful season, formed from Mr. Davies’ Bible Class. St. Aidan’s ran a Cricket Club on their ground at Haggs Hill. The Mayor & Mayoress, Councillor & Mrs Gladstone Moorhouse, paid an official visit to the Day School on June 14th. Mr E. Robinson was installed as a Reader on September 22nd, increasing the number of South Ossett Readers to 4 – Mr H. Thomas, Mr F. Wilby and Mr Williamson. A Bazaar was held on October 13th and `15th which made over £250. The Bishop of Pontefract held a Confirmation on December 31st – 14 males and 11 females were confirmed.

1935 Rev’d A.L. Burnham, after 24 years service as Vicar, left to become Vicar of Stottezdon, in Shropshire, on Feb 14th, leaving the Rev’d J.A. Simpson in charge during the vacancy of the living. The Vicar and Mrs Burnham were presented with a mahogany bedstead, Wilton carpet, etc., subscribed to by 474 people. Rev’d D. Oxby Parker M.A was installed as Vicar on May 1st by the Bishop of Wakefield and a ‘conversazione’ was held on Sat. May 11th in the school to welcome Mr & Mrs Parker. Electricity was installed in the Vicarage. The Mothers Union had 92 members.

1936 A Bible Reading Fellowship Branch was formed. The Men’s Meetings, held in the Vicarage Classroom decided to form a Branch of the Church of England Men’s Society. The Choirboys trained by Mr. O. Davies, with Mr J.W. Hewitt as Organist, gained 1st Place in the Pontefract Festival. A successful Sunday School Feast was held on June 13th, altering the route to enable one band only to be used, apart from the Boys’ Brigade band helping with Healey. A Young Peoples Fellowship for those aged 16 – 25 was held on Monday Sept 21st in the Vicarage Classroom at 7.30, with a talk by Canon Wilkinson.

1937 A ‘Coronation Bazaar’ was held on Saturday and Monday February 6th & 8th and made a profit of over £240. The King’s Coronation Day, on Wednesday May 12th was observed with Holy Communion at 7.30 and 9.00am. Presentations were made to Rev’d J.A. Simpson, who left to become Vicar of St. Luke’s Cleckheaton, on Wed. May 26th, comprising an oak writing desk, a piece of silver plate and a case of spoons. Rev’d H.R. Hollingsworth MA came to work in the Parish in June, after 5 yrs in Southern Rhodesia. The Bishop of Pontefract preached in South Ossett on Oct. 17th at the dedication Festival. Over 900 Gift envelopes were despatched. Ref. H.R. Hollingsworth was instituted as Vicar of St. Thomas’ Batley on November 20th. Confirmation was held at South Ossett on Friday Dec 10th – 18 persons were confirmed.

1938 A new type of Free Will envelope came into use on January. Rev’d E.W. Winter L. Div took up work as Assistant Curate on Jul 23rd. Electricity was installed in the School House before he came. A Missionary Weekend Campaign was held from Sunday to Wednesday May 1st to 4th, with lectures by Mr J. Sellors of St. Andrew’s Morley. The Golden Jubilee of Wakefield diocese was observed with Thanksgiving Services on Sunday May 15th in all Churches and a Diocesan service in the Cathedral on Wednesday May 25th. A new green Altar frontal, made at the Horbury House of Mercy and paid for by efforts by the ladies, was dedicated on June 19th. A Triptych War Memorial, with a picture of the Crucifixion and a Roll of honour was dedicated on November 6th, provided by subscription. Rev. E.W. Winter left in November to become Vicar of Gildersome. The Christmas Fair was held on Nov 28th raising about £242. The Free Will offertory fund had about 150 subscribers. St. Aidan’s made over £80 from a Bazaar in December.

1939 Rev’d C.J. Carrier, G KC? started work as assistant curate on Feb 1st. An anonymous donor presented a pair of candlesticks for the Altar in February. The Parish Church closed in June for alterations. Services were held in the school. In addition to the Church being decorated throughout, the South Transept was made into a Chapel, for which Mrs A. Wilby made an Altar frontal designed by the Vicar. Mr & Mrs H.A. Cox gave a Cross and Candlesticks and Mrs A Driver gave an Altar Book & Desk. The Church re-opened on Jul 9th and the Bishop preached at 10.30 and dedicated The All Saints Chapel, named after the Mother Church at Dewsbury. The Vicar of Dewsbury, Canon Brown, preached at Evensong and with the coming of War, Sunday Evensong was changed to 3pm from the 1st Sunday in October and daily Evensong to 5.30 and an Intercession service was held on Wednesdays at 3 pm. A silver Chalice and Paten given by Mrs Robinson and family in memory of Mr G.W. Robinson, a former Church Warden, were dedicated on Christmas Day.

1940 A Bazaar was held on Saturday & Monday Feb. 3rd & 5th made nearly £250. An Alms Dish, presented by the Youth Group was dedicated on Easter Day. The Vicar asked for the addresses of men in the forces, in order that he could write to them. Rev. C.T Carrier left in June to go to Colne Wiltshire. A Comfort Working Party and War Savings Branch were held on the School on Tuesday evenings. Holy Communion at St. Aidan’s was altered to the 2nd and 4th Sundays only at 9am. The Rev. C.E. Lawson came to help in the Parish in August. A National Day of Prayer was held on Sunday Sept. 8th. A Prayer dish in memory of Mr. R. Dixon Smith, given by his family and carved by his daughter, was dedicated on Sept 15th 1940.

1941 Rev’d C.E. Lawson left in January. Rev’d P. Smith AKC took up work in the Parish in August. A National Day of Prayer was held on Sunday Sept. 7th. The Bishop of Wakefield held a Confirmation at South Ossett of Saturday Dec 6th.

1942 “The Sign” replaced “Home Words” as the Parish Magazine this year. The Fellowship of Worship and Witness continued to meet about once a month. The School Feast was held as usual on Saturday June 6th followed by a procession and games in the Grammar School Field, after tea. A National Day of Prayer was held on Thursday Sept 3rd to mark the beginning of the 4th year of war. A Dedication Festival Gift Day was held on Sat. October 17th, the Vicar sitting in Church from 8.30am to 6pm to receive gifts for Church Funds. About £60 was received.

1943 The Sunday School gave a Pantomime, “Cinderella” on May 1st. In aid of funds and a Gift Day in July raised over £87 for a new boiler for the Church. A Social committee formed and decided to run a Social dance each Tuesday in October, as an experiment. Mr & Mrs W.E. Daniel presented a Processional Cross, made in oak with heraldic crests, by Mr. Daniel.

1944 Rev. D.O. Parker left, to become Vicar of Acomb, York, on January 22nd. after 8 and a half years as Vicar. The Rev. John Firth L Th was instituted as Vicar on February 26th. A cheque for £50 was given to Rev. D.O. Parker on leaving, raised by subscription. A welcome evening to the Rev’d & Mrs J. Firth was held on Saturday, March 4th at 6.30pm in the School. The Bishop of Wakefield, Dr C.R. Howe, preached at St. Aidan’s on May 7th at 6pm and at the Parish Church on October 22nd at the Dedication Festival, at 10.30am. The Rev. P Smith left in the autumn to go to Broadfield. A Confirmation was held at South Ossett on Saturday, December 9th at 3pm.

1945 “A Religion and Life Week” was held in Ossett, February 4th – 11th. A Pantomime “Jack & Jill” was given in the school on Saturday April 7th. A Scout Group, consisting of both Scouts and Cubs was formed early in the year. The Mothers Union celebrated its 25th anniversary on Wednesday July 18th, when Canon Brown, the Rural Dean, preached at a service at 3.15. The Church of England Men’s Society resumed meetings in September. The Bishop of Pontefract preached at the Dedication Festival on Sunday October 21st at 10.30. Mr C.P Roberts succeeded Mr O Davies as Headmaster of the school. A midnight Eucharist was held on Christmas Eve at 11.45pm.

1946 The new Bishop of Wakefield was enthroned on February 16th. The Choir gave “Stainer’s Crucifixion” on good Friday, April 19th at 7.30pm. The new Bishop was welcomed to Ossett Town Hall, May 7th at 7.30. A Garden Party was held on Saturday July 20th at “Grange View”, in aid of the Diocesan Appeal. The Rev. T. Naylor, on furlough from South Africa, came in September to help for a time in the Parish. A Bring and Buy Sale, organised by the Mothers Union on October 26th raised over £50 for the Wakefield Diocesan Appeal. Rev. Naylor left in January to return to South Africa. A Missionary Exhibition was held on Saturday Feb. 22nd in the school. Canon T.H. Cashmore preached on the first 4 Sundays in Lent at evensong. The School Feast was observed on Saturday Jun 7th. The Mothers Union annual outing was held on Tuesday 8th July, going by coach to Whitby and Scarborough. Canon H.R. Bough, Vicar of Stanley, preached at evensong at the Harvest Festival on September 21st. and the Bishop of Wakefield at the Dedication Festival on October 19th. The Bishop of Pontefract conducted a Confirmation on Wednesday Nov. 19th.

1948 Evensong was held at 3pm on Wednesdays in Lent. The Rev. C. Ashmore preaching on 4 occasions, whilst the Rev. E.C. Harper, Vicar of Batley, conducted the Good Friday Service at 1.30pm. A former Vicar, Rev. D. Oxby Parker came for the Harvest Festival on September 19th, preaching at both the 10.30 and 6.30 services. Bishop McGowan died on September 8th. The preachers at the dedication Festival on Oct 17th were Rev. O. T. Forrest at 10.30, Rev. J.L. Barber at 6.30, with the Rev. W.B. Harrison the following Friday evening at 7.30pm.

1949 Visiting preachers came for each Sunday evening in Lent, except Palm Sunday. A Day School Managers Meeting held on 20th May decided to ask for controlled status for the School, approved later by the Church Council. The preachers at the Sunday School Festival on 3rd July were the Rev. P.C. Dally, Vicar of Gawthorpe at 10.30 and the Rev. J.E. Barlow, Vicar of St. Michael’s Wakefield at 6.30. The Venerable A.H. Morris, Archdeacon of Halifax preached at all the Harvest Festival Services on September 18th. The Bishop of Wakefield was the preacher at 10.30am at the Dedication Festival on Oct. 16th and Canon T Woods, Vicar of Huddersfield at 6.30. Canon N.W. Orgill, Vicar of Normanton preached at evensong the following Sunday.

1950 Rev. B.J. Calvey, Vicar of Middlestown, preached on several Wednesdays in Lent at evensong. There were 111 Communicants on Easter Day at the Parish Church. The St. George’s Day Parade of the Wakefield and District Scouts and Cubs was held at South Ossett on Sunday April 23rd at 3pm with Rev. A. Hesselgrave preaching. The Sunday School Festival held on 2nd July, with the Very Rev. N.T. Hopkins, Provost of Wakefield preaching at 10.30. Rev F.W. Coop, Vicar of West Town at 6.30. Harvest Festival held on 17th September and the Dedication festival on October 15th. The Golden Jubilee at St. Aidan’s Mission Church was observed.

1951 The Bishop of Pontefract held a Confirmation at South Ossett on 24th Jan. 12 people were confirmed. Rev. G.R. Hall, Vicar of Mirfield preached at evensong each Sunday in Lent. There were 139 Communicants at the Parish Church on Easter Day. Rev. T.B. Summers, Vicar of St. Catherine’s Wakefield and Rev. R.R. Wilson of Earlsheaton preached at Sunday School Festival on 1st July. The Bishop of Wakefield celebrated at 8.00 and preached at 10.30 on 29th July. The great event of the year was the celebration of the Centenary of the Parish Church. The preacher at 10.30 on 14th October [the author’s 15th birthday] was Canon D. Oxby Parker, Rural Dean of York. The Mayor and Corporation attended the service, whilst the Bishop of Ripon preached at Evensong. Services were held daily during the week. Canon J. Butterworth, Rector of Castleford preached at the Mothers Union service on Wednesday afternoon and the Archdeacon of Halifax at the Men’s service on the Friday evening. A Birthday Party was held in the school on the Saturday evening. The Celebrations concluded on Sunday October 21st. The Bishop of Wakefield preached in the morning and the Bishop of Pontefract in the evening. A Centenary Bazaar was held on Saturday October 27th. Rev. J. Firth left to become Vicar of Clifton, near Brighouse on 10th December 1955. The Rev. Henry Rosslyn Haworth MA (Cambridge) BA (London) BD (Leeds), Vicar of Featherstone for the past 8 years was instituted as Vicar on Tuesday 17th April 1955 by the Bishop of Wakefield. In 1964 he was married to Miss Veronica Henwicke, Bursar’s Secretary at St Bees School at Gosforth Parish Church, Cumberland Rev. Haworth carried on writing a brief account in the Log Book until 1966 when he left on 30th January to become Vicar of Cawthorne. Tribute must be paid to the Rev. Haworth for filling in the gaps in the Log book, from the time of Rev. Kirk’s departure in 1911, until he himself became Vicar in 1955.

Joan P Smith June 2012



Canon Addison, Vicar of Holy Trinity died in the spring of this year. The living had been vacant for 3 months when the patron appointed Rev. H.C Cradock of Mirfield. After his institution he styled himself “Vicar of Ossett” and the Church as “Ossett Parish Church. Some notes in the Dewsbury Parish Church Magazine led to doubt the rightfulness of these terms and we entered into a friendly dispute – ultimately referred to Mr S.T Chadwick, Solicitor of Dewsbury who is well acquainted with the local Ecclesiastical history. His findings were: – There is evidence from Wills in the York Registry of the existence of a Chapelry and Curate at Ossett in the 16th century. “Ossett is mentioned as a Chapelry (and is to remain a Chapelry) in the Parliamentary Survey taken in the time of the Commonwealth and it to have then had an income of £2 per annum. Also mentioned in Whitaker’s History of Leeds, published in 1816 and “Lawton’s Collections”, relating to the Diocese of Ripon, published 1842, calls it a “Perpetual Curacy” under the patronage of the Vicar of Dewsbury and of the net value of £162. Several other instances are mentioned in Lawton’s confirming the definition of a Chapelry. Ossett was never quite independent of Dewsbury, although efforts were made by the Curate of Ossett in 1753 Rev. J. Earsham? Church rate was levied on the 3 townships of Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill as recently as 1852 and was presumably levied on the whole of Ossett “On the whole it seems that Holy Trinity Church had, prior to 1846, a substantial claim to be considered as the original Chapelry of Ossett and if the Incumbent of Ossett in 1846 had looked after his interests and that of his successors there would probably have been no doubt of a legal claim – but he allowed the new Parish of South Ossett to be formed without asserting and protecting the rights of the old Church and on referring to the Order in Council, dated 14th Nov 1846, I find no mention of the Chapelry of Ossett but “the District of South Ossett” is thereby constituted in order to relieve the Parish of Dewsbury, which is stated to be of great extent and to contain a large population and it further states “ the provision for public worship and for pastoral superintendence therein is insufficient for the spiritual wants of the inhabitants”. The Chapelry of Ossett is therefore entirely ignored – and again in 1858 the Chapelry was formed by Order in Council into a District Chapelry, instead of being declared by the Bishop to be a separate and distinct Parish, under 1 and 2 Vic C107, in which case the early status of the Parish or Chapelry would, to some extent, have been endorsed and ratified and it would have had a fair claim to rank as the Mother Church of the Township. Under the circumstances I think the Vicar of Ossett cum Gawthorpe has no such rights moral or otherwise as the Vicar of Dewsbury claims over the daughter Parishes and I think South Ossett is quite independent of Ossett cum Gawthorpe and the two Parishes may be termed sisters, rather than mother and daughter.” I had satisfied myself beforehand that the Vicar of Ossett cum Gawthorpe could not substantiate his claim – comparison of the data show me that South Ossett was a Parish for 14 yrs before the Parish of Ossett cum Gawthorpe. The dispute was of a perfectly friendly nature and we felt it was our duty for the sake of our successors, as well as ourselves, that things should be definitely settled. We, therefore, decided to style ourselves “Vicar of Ossett cum Gawthorpe” and “Vicar of South Ossett” and the Parishes “Ossett cum Gawthorpe Parish and Parish Church” and “South Ossett Parish and Parish Church”, but all claim to the title “Vicar of Ossett” and “Ossett Parish Church” was abandoned – as certain rights belong to Vicars of Parish Churches it behoves all Vicars of South Ossett to assert their independence of and equality with the Vicar of Ossett cum Gawthorpe. (written by Rev. John Kirk Vicar of South Ossett 1892 – 1911)

This transcription of the Vicars Log Book is available as a Publication from Wakefield & District Family History Society (

The original Vicars Log Book is deposited at the West Yorks Archives, Newstead Rd. Wakefield.

“South Ossett Christ Church Documents at WYAS: Ref WDP 189 BOX 2 Unofficial Log Book – started by Rev. John H. Ward (1884 – 1892)”



1846 – 1848 George BAYLDON, St Bees College, Cumbria was the first CURATE


1851 – 1884 Denis Creighton NEARY – DD, Trinity College Dublin. Died March 15 1884. 

1884 – 1892 John Henry WARD – MA, Keble College Oxford. 1892 appointed Vicar of Earlsheaton. Died February 22 1894

1892 – 1911 John Henry KIRK – BA Cambridge. 1911 appointed Vicar of Wrenthorpe

1911 – 1935 Alfred Lee BURNHAM – MA, Magdalen College, Oxford (Former Curate of Almondbury) Installed Mar 15th 1911. 1935 – 1939 Vicar of Stottezdon. Died 1950

1935 – 1944 Douglas Oxby PARKER MA (BA Man) Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Vicar of Whitechapel. 1944 – Vicar of Acomb, York.

1944 – 1955 February 26 1944 John FIRTH L.Th Durham. Vicar of St John, Thorpe & St Mary Sowerby 1955 appointed Vicar of Clifton, Nr Brighouse

1956 17th April – Henry Rosslyn HAWORTH MA Selwyn College Cambridge. BSc, London. BD Leeds. Vicar of Featherstone. 

Vicar of South Ossett in 2011David ROBERTSON, Vicar of St. George’s Ovenden. Induction took place on Thursday 12th May 2011


Some information was extracted from Notes in West Yorks Archives, supplied by Mr C.E Priestley of Highfield cottage 1884? Other information my own. JPS

Vicars Postcard

Left to right: Denis Creighton NEARY 1851 – 1884; John Henry WARD 1884 – 1892; John Henry KIRK 1892 – 1911; Alfred Lee BURNHAM 1911 – 1935 

1851 – 1884  Dr. Denis Creighton Neary, son of Daniel Neary, a farmer, was born in Northern Ireland in 1821. His friends wished him to become a medical man, but his inclinations were elsewhere. He graduated at Trinity College Dublin as Doctor of Divinity. He married Miss Jane Anna Owen, born in Merioneth, Wales with whom he had 5 daughters; Mary Jane born 1846, Catherine Owen born 1848, Ann Elizabeth born 1849, Sarah Emma born 1851 (buried 23rd July 1858) Fanny born 1858, and 1 son, William Edward, born 1856. Mary Jane was buried on 23rd Aug 1881, in South Ossett Churchyard. He afterwards married an Ossett Lady, Miss Charlotte Sykes, daughter of Joseph Sykes, Gentleman, on 8th December 1881.

Rev. Neary belonged to the Evangelical School of Churchmen, he never wore a cassock and the mixed choir did not wear surplices. He was an Educationalist; he opened evening classes and was one of the earliest workers in the Ossett Mechanics Institute. Many prominent men in Ossett owe their education to him. He was Deputy Grand Chaplain of the Orangemen of England and also a Freemason. He published a sermon on “The Principles of Protestism and Orangeism” which was preached in the Parish Church South Ossett on 17th July 1881, before members of the Loyal Orange Institution. He also published other sermons and lectures. He was human enough to have the faults as well as the virtues of his race. He was quick tempered, but not vindictive and although an uncompromising anti-Romanist, he was on good terms with the Roman Catholics of South Ossett, even then a numerous body. One of the most prominent of them was heard to say “he could get on very well with the ‘ould’ doctor”. Although he was somewhat of an autocrat, he was generous, and a great friend of the poor. He had the Irishman’s sense of humour and gift of repartee, as the following anecdote shows.

At Christmas time the local band always called on the doctor and played the usual Christmas music in the Vicarage Garden, when it was also customary for the Doctor to address them from the Vicarage steps. On this occasion during the address ‘A.B’ a well known local character, shouted out, “I was one of your scholars, doctor”, Yes, replied the Doctor “and I was very sorry to see in the local paper that ‘A.B’ had been fined for imbibing too freely.” Needless to say the retort vastly amused the crowd. He was deservedly popular as a preacher. His delivery was forcible and eloquent, and his published sermons show both a scholarly and an analytical mind. Not the least of his gifts was that of tact, as the following incident proves. This was before the advent of the “Church Councils”, and the parish affairs were more in the hands of the parson than is the case today. Having caused offence to certain of the Parishioners, (More about this in the History of Clarendon House) a meeting was called in the school with the idea of passing a vote of censure on him. During the meeting he obtained a hearing and by his tact and eloquence, so worked his hearers, that to parody Goldsmith, “those who came to curse remained to bless”.

(Rev. Neary’s name appeared often in the various newspapers during his years at South Ossett, usually on Church matters, sometimes on Orangemen matters but a few other times on what must have been quite scandalous matters in those days!)



(Please click on images for a better view)

Neary Debts article Leeds ~Mercury 1862

Jane Neary



 Neary v Senior 1865 pt 1

 Neary v Senior 2


He had many faults, but his death on 18th March 1884 was sincerely regretted, especially by the poor of the parish. He was buried with his first wife Jane Anna in South Ossett Churchyard

 After Dr. Neary’s death, the parishioners presented a petition (containing 477 signatures) to Mr. Gladstone the Prime Minister, praying for the appointment to the living of Mr H.J Cheeseman, of Chapeltown, Leeds. As Organising Secretary to the Irish Church Missionary Society, Mr Cheeseman was well known in the parish as he had occupied the pulpit on behalf of his Society, and also taken occasional duty during Dr. Neary’s illness. A reply to the petition (dated April 10th 1884) was received by Mr Henry Noble, Churchwarden. Mr Gladstone acknowledged the receipt of the petition, assured them of his best consideration, but pointed out that he, not infrequently, was obliged to take into account other considerations besides local ones.

1884 – 1892 Mr John Henry Ward, (an unmarried man, born in India in 1856); MA Keble College, Oxford, Senior Curate of Horbury was offered the living, and he preached his first sermon from the pulpit on May 11th 1884. The appointment of Mr Ward created a feeling approaching consternation in the parish. (Dr Neary’s services could be compared with the services held in a Congregational Chapel. Coming therefore from Horbury which about that time was described by Viscount Halifax as the ‘centre of the Tractarianism movement in the north’ to the low church Parish of South Ossett, it will be readily understood that Mr Ward commenced his ministrations under difficult circumstances. A letter signed “A Protestant churchman” appeared in the “Ossett Observer” May 31st 1884. The writer, in protesting against Mr Ward’s appointment dwells on Mr Gladstone’s preference for Romanising churchmen. He also quotes the following paragraph from a Dewsbury Paper – “We are informed that the great bulk of the congregation are anything but pleased with the appointment of Mr Ward.” The tone of the letter is such that the Editor of the Observer, in a long foot-note, points out the unfairness of raising suspicion and prejudice against Mr Ward. He also counters the quotation from the Dewsbury paper by quoting the following from a Wakefield paper:-“It is to be hoped that, in his new benefice, he will be as successful in winning the love and sympathy of his parishioners as he has seen at Horbury.” The editor concludes by saying he cannot open his columns to a discussion of this kind but later allows “A Protestant Churchman” to reply.

To add to his difficulties Mr Ward came to a Parish, which, owing to the ill-health of Dr. Neary, had been sadly neglected. How he encountered these difficulties, and galvanised the Parish into new life, is now a matter of history. (See Article in Vicars’ Log Book) Mr Ward had a fine open countenance, was urbane and courteous in manner, but could be very firm when he thought it necessary. He was sincere and enthusiastic to the highest degree. He had literary tastes, and although he seldom preached extempore, his sermons were scholarly and thoughtful. He showed great tact in dealing with those who objected to the doctrine and ritual which he held dear, and he fully justified the hopes mentioned in the paragraph from the Wakefield Paper quoted elsewhere.

Mr Ward accepted the living of Earlsheaton on March 13th 1892. He died 22nd February 1894

1892 – 1911 John Henry KIRK, BA Cambridge. He was born in 1861 in Maidstone, Kent. On the 1881 Census he is listed as an apprentice to a Chemist in Leicester, aged 20. In 1901 he is married, living on Vicar Lane Ossett, with his wife Rubannah aged 46, born in Chester, son John Theodore aged 11 born in Barnsley and daughter Christabel M. aged 5 (born in Ossett). In 1911 he was appointed Vicar of Wrenthorpe.

1911 – 1935 Alfred Lee BURNHAM, was born in Kingsthorpe Northamptonshire in 1873, the son of Braughton Burnham, a riveter in the shoe trade, born in Clipstone and Rachel (possibly Lee), born in Buckinghamshire); MA Magdalen College, Oxford (former Curate of Almondbury), he was installed 15th March 1911. On the 1911 Census he is listed as an unmarried man with a housekeeper. In 1935 he was appointed Vicar of Stottezdon.


1935 – 1944 Douglas Oxby PARKER MA (BA Man) Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, Vicar of Whitechapel In 1944 he was appointed Vicar of Acomb, York

1944 – 1955 John FIRTH L.Th Durham, Vicar of St. John,  Thorpe and St Mary Sowerby. In 1955 he was appointed Vicar of Clifton, Nr Brighouse.

Rev Firth

1956 –  Henry Rosslyn HAWORTH MA Selwyn  College, Cambridge BSc London, Vicar of Featherstone.

   Rev. Haworth.jpg a

Copies of this Publication have been deposited at the West Yorks Archives in Wakefield; Ossett Library and Christ Church South Ossett and summaries are available on 0ssett History website – (

It is also available for sale in A5 format from Wakefield & District Family History Society (


On 17th November 2016 Ossett Through The Ages (OTTA) paid a visit to Christ Church South Ossett. Following are some photos taken on this visit by Brendan Hughes who kindly gave permission for me to use them on this site.





The following photos are courtesy of Andrea Hartley who also kindly allowed me to use them.







Joan P Smith

South Ossett Church Football team 1911-12
(photo courtesy of Paul Laycock and OTTA)