For the Good of the Town

Extract from Arthur Mee’s The King’s England, YORKSHIRE, WEST RIDING, first published in 1941:

 A Group of Village Men

HORBURY Most of its old possessions have vanished. The Saxon fort on the hill and the ancient bridge over the Calder are gone, and the old church has given place to the new one built by Horbury’s greatest son. He was John Carr and this is the old church he designed in classic style, building it in 1794 and paying for it. Born here in 1723 he began by building small houses and went on to build town halls and to rebuild Wentworth Woodhouse and Farnley Hall. Two of his noblest achievements were Lytham Hall and Harewood House. Beginning life as a workman he died in 1807 worth £150,000 and one of the last things he did was to give his own village the church in which he sleeps, a church looking as if it stepped out of Wren’s London. Of John Carr of York as of Wren himself we may say ” If you seek his monument, look around”.

Horbury St Peter cropped


The old Norman Chapel, dedicated to St Leonard and built circa 1100, was demolished in January 1790. Unfortunately, nothing has survived from this building. The Horbury born architect John Carr built the present church, costing £8,000, as a gift to the town of his birth. Built of damstone, from the same source as Sandal Castle, in the classical style, having a central portico with four Ionic columns, its pediment displays and announces the Carr gift and the personal pride of a native son of the town.

The lofty tower of tapering stages is crowned with a spire, the nave has Corinthian columns between it and the narrow aisles, the ceiling has moulded panels. There is an imposing pulpit.

The first sermon was preached on May 18 1794.

John Carr died on 22nd February 1807 and is buried, at his request, in the crypt. The church forms a memorial to him.  

The only extensions to what Carr built have been the Vestry, added in 1884 and the chapel added in 1920 to commemorate the dead of the 1914—18 war.

Outstanding amongst the clergy who have served the Church was Canon John Sharp (1810—1903) who was minister from 1834 until 1899 – 65 years. His father, born in 1773, Rev. Samuel Sharp was Vicar of Wakefield from 1810 until his death in 1855 (and curate there from 1804 until 1810.) As Vicar of Wakefield, Samuel Sharp was in 1842/43 largely responsible for recovering the old Chantry Chapel on the Bridge for use for religious purposes.

Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould who had experience of taking services in St. Peter’s in the 1860’s wrote: “Internally it has no aisles and is apsidal at each end. This construction has its disadvantages, for every sound produced at the west end rings in the ears of the clergy within the altar rails. There, when a mother, sitting under the organ loft at the furthest extremity of the Church, admonishes her son: “Blow your nose and don’t snuffle!” the priest at the altar receives the injunction in a distinct whisper as though thus personally rebuked!”

Rev Baring-Gould came to Horbury as a curate under the care of Canon John Sharp. It was during this time that he wrote the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” for the children of Horbury Bridge.                                                                                                

 John Sharp as Vicar of Horbury was largely responsible for the House of Mercy, the building of the now closed St. Leonard’s Hospital almshouses in Tithe Barn Street and the opening of the daughter Churches, St. Mary’s Horbury Junction and St. John’s Horbury Bridge. John Sharp in his early years at Horbury angered some of the better off people by having the private pews removed from the Church. He built up a large congregation, many of whom were mill workers.

                                                                                                      Joan P Smith December 2014 

Sources of information: Some Horbury Yesterdays by R D Woodall and Horbury St Peter’s Official site.

The village  was the home of JOHN BAINES, master of the grammar school, who became a celebrated mathematician, a skilled botanist, and a classical scholar; and of WILLIAM BAINES, who died in 1922 only 23 years old, but already a composes of talent. He has a memorial in the Methodist church. Also of DAVID TURTON, who could play Handel’s Oratorios by heart and wrote many hymns beloved by Yorkshire folk (see ‘extracts’ below from the book written by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould).

After the story of David TURTON I have decided to gradually add other ‘worthies’ of Horbury.

The first of these is Eddie WALKER; second is Kenneth BARTLETT, (an adopted son of Horbury).

Yorkshire oddities


David Turton was bom in Horbury, near Wakefield, a.d. 1768, and died August 19th, 1846.

He was by trade a weaver of flannel, and his loom, which was in the upper room of the cottage in which he lived, might be heard by passers-by going diligently from early morn to dewy eve. In this way he supplied his few earthly months, for he was a man of a very simple and unobtrusive character; and he did not change either his dress or his habits with the growing luxury of the times.

In matter of diet he was frugal, and he was always stuck to the old oat-cake and oatmeal porridge he had been accustomed to from childhood. “Avver bread and avver me-al porritch” was what he called them, for he spoke the broadest Yorkshire. Alas! the delightful oat-cake, thin, crisp, is now a thing of the past in Horbury. There was an old woman made it, the last of a glorious race of avver bread makers in Horbury, some years ago. But she has gone the way of all flesh; and the base descendants of the oat-cake crunchers, the little men of to­day, sustain their miserable lives on bakers’ wheat bread.

David did not, as is the custom with Northerners now, speak two languages -English and Yorkshire, according to the company in which they find themselves; but on all occasions, and for all purposes, he adhered to that peculiarly racy and piquant tongue, both in pronunciation and phraseology, which was so well known to those who dwelt in the West Riding of Yorkshire half a century ago, and which still more or less prevails in that locality. Half a century ago every village had its own peculiarity of intonation, its own specialities in words. A Horbury man could be distinguished from a man of Dewsbury, and a Thornhill man from one of Batley. The railways have blended, fused these peculiar dialects into one, and taken off the old peculiar edge of provincialism, so that now it is only to be found in its most pronounced and perfect development among the aged.

The figure of David Turton was spare, his legs long and lean as clothes-line props. He wore drab breeches and white stockings, a long waistcoat of rather coarse black cloth, with a long coat of the same material, much the pattern of that now affected by our bishops.

His features were small and sharp, his eye especially bright and full of life; and having lost nearly all his teeth at a comparatively early age, his pointed chin and nose inclined much towards each other.

Music was his great delight, and in that he spent all his spare time and money. He was a good singer, and could handle the violoncello creditably. All Handel’s ontarios, besides many other works of the classical composers, he knew off by heart, and he was for a long time the chief musical oracle in the neighbourhood in which he lived. He even aspired to be a composer, and published a volume of chants and psalm tunes. Some of the former, but few of the latter, have survived. His chants have found their way into various collections of Anglican chants along with those of Dr Turton, Bishop of Ely, also a musician and composer of chants. But they have ceased to sound in his own parish church, where they have been displaced by Gregorians. Not one of his hymn tunes has found its way into the most popular collection of the day-”Hymns Ancient and Modern” which is the more to be regretted, as Turton’s tunes were often original, which is much more than can be said for a good many of the new tunes inserted in that collection.

A considerable number of choristers in cathedral and parish church choirs owed all their musical skill to the careful training of old David Turton.

His efficiency in music, together with the simple goodness of his character, made him a favourite among musical people in all grades of society, and there was seldom a gathering in the neighbourhood where any good class of music was performed in which his well-known figure was not to be seen.

On one occasion he went to Hatfield Hall, then the residence of Francis Maude, Esq., who was a great lover of music, and a friend and patron of old David.

His own account of his debut on that occasion is sufficiently characteristic to be given:-

“I went t’ other day,” said he, “to a gre-at meusic do at ou’d Mr. Maude’s at ‘Atfield ‘All. Nah! when I gat theare, a smart looking chap o’ a waiter telled me I was to goa into t’ parlour; soa I follows efter him doun a long passage till we commed to a big oppen place like, and then he oppens a doo-ar, and says to me, ‘Cum in!’ soa I walks in, and theare I seed t’ place were right full o’ quality (gentlefolks), and Mr. Maude comes to me and says, ‘Now, David, haw are ye?’ ‘Middlin’,’ says I, ‘thenk ye!’ Soa then there comes a smart chap wi’ a tray full of cups o’ tea, and he says to me, ‘Will ye hev sum?’ ‘Thenk ye/ says I, ‘I’m none particular.’ ‘Why, then, help yer sen/ says he. Soa I taks a cup i’ my hand; and then says he, ‘Weant ye hev sum sugar and cre-am?’ ‘Aye, for sure,’ says I; soa I sugars and creams it, and then there comes another chap wi’ a tray full of bre-ad and butter, and cakes like, and says he, ‘Will he hev sum?’ ‘I don’t mind if I do,’ says I. ‘Well, then/ says he, ‘tak sum wi’thy fingers.’ Soa I holds t’ cup and t’ sawcer i’ one hand, and taks a piece of spice cake i’ t’other. ‘Now, then,’ thinks I, ‘how am I ever to sup my te-a? I can’t team (pour) it out into t’ sawcer, for boath my hands is fast.’ But all at once I sees a plan o’ doin’ it. I thowt I could hold t’ cake i’ my mouth while I teamed (poured) t’ te-a into t’ sawcer, and then claps th’ cup on a chair while I supped my tea. But, bless ye, t’ cake war so varry short (crumbling) that it brake off i’ my mouth, and turn’led onto t’ floor, and I were in a bonny tak-ing. Howsomever, I clapt t’ cup and t’ sawcer onto t’ chair, and kneeled me down on t’ floor, and sammed (picked) it all up as weel as I could; and then I sups up my tea as sharp as I could, and gave t’ cup and t’ sawcer to t’ chap who cumed round again wi’ his tray. ‘Will ye hev some more?’ says he. ‘Noa,’ says I, ‘noa more, thenk ye.’ For I thowt to mysen I had made maugrums (antics) enough, and all t’ quality ‘at war theare mun ha’ thowt me a hawkard owd chap. Weel! when tea were finish’d we gat to th’ music, and then, I promise ye, I war all reet, an’ a rare do we had on it.”

David was returning through a pasture one day in which was a furious bull, who seeing old David with his red bag, made at him. The musician did not fly; that would not compart with his dignity, and his bass viol that he carried in the bag might be injured by a precipitate retreat over the hedge. The bull bellowed, and came on with lowered horns.

“Steady!” soliloquised the musician; “I reckon that was double B nat’ral.” Again the bull bellowed. “I am pretty sure it were B,” said David again, “but I’ll mak’ sure;” and opening his bag, he extracted the bass viol, set it down, and drawing his bow across the vibrating string, produced a sound as full of volume and of the same pitch as the tone of the infuriated beast. “I thowt I were reet,” said David, with a grim smile.

At the sound of the bass viol the bull stood still, raised his head, and glowered at the extraordinary object before him. David, having his viol out, thought it a pity to bag it again without a tune, and began the violoncello part in one of Handel’s choruses. It was too much for the bull; he was out-bellowed, and turned tail.

When David was getting a little advanced in years he was coming home on a dark night from a musical gathering, and tumbling over a large stone which happened to be lying on the road, he fell down with great force and dislocated his hip.

This was a sore trial to him in many ways. In the first place, it quite prevented his going on with his customary means of obtaining his living, and, besides that, it deprived him of the pleasure of going about his musical friends.

For a long, weary time he was quite confined to his bed, and time hung heavy on his hands, for he had no other resources except his loom and his music. His constant companion in bed with his violoncello, and as he could not for a long time sit up sufficiently to enable him to use the bow, he spent a great part of the day in playing over pizzicato the music which he loved so well.

After some time he got about a little on crutches, and ultimately was able to go by the help of a stick. His little savings had now dwindled away, and poverty began to look him in the face. But at this crisis his musical friends came forward, and gave with great success for his benefit the oratorio of the “Messiah” in the town of Wakefield, and by this means raised for him the liberal sum of £70, of which they begged his acceptance.

He was afraid to have so large a sum in his own charge, and he therefore requested that it might be placed in the hands of the Vicar of Horbury, so that he might draw from time to time just as much as he needed. This was accordingly done, and by his careful expenditure of it, it sufficed to make him quite comfortable during the rest of his life, and to erect the simple memorial stone which now stands over his grave in Horbury churchyard.

He had a married sister living in London who had often invited him to pay her a visit, and when he had recovered from his accident sufficiently to go about pretty well by the aid of a stick, and having now plenty of time at his disposal, on account of his being lame and unable to work at his loom, he determined to embark on the railway to London.

His sister lived in Kensington, and his own account of his visit, and of what he saw in the great city, was highly amusing:—

“I went up,” said he, “on a Setterday, and o’ t’ Sunday-mom, while we was getting our breakfast, th’ sister’s hus-hand says to me across t’ table, ‘I reckon ye’ll goa wi’ us to chapel this forenoin,’ for ye see they was chapel-folks. ‘We’ll see,’ says I, ‘efter a bit.’ But I knew varry weel mysen what I were boun’ to do, though I didn’t say so to them. Soa I just watches my opportunity, an’ when they was all gone out of the room, I nips out, as sharp as a lark, and goas to t’ end o’ t’ entry. For t’ sister’s house war not to t’ street, but up a bit on a entry like; and away I goas till I sees a homnibus, and I calls out to t’ fellow, ‘I say, are ye for Sant Paul’s?’ ‘Aye,’ says he. “Why, then,’ says I, ‘ye’re t’ chap for me!’ Soa he oppens t’ door, an’ I jumps in. ”How much is it?’ says I. ‘Nobbut sixpence,’ says he. Soa I rode all t’ way thro’ (from) Kensington to Sant Paul’s-and ye know it’s rare way-all for sixpence.

“Eh! and bless ye! we just hed a sarvice! Think nobbut o’ me goin to their ou’d chapel, wi’ nowt but a bit on a poor snuffin’ hymn or two, an’ some squealin’ bairns and women to sing ‘em, and a ram’lin, rantin’ sarmon iver so long, when I had t’ opportunity o’ going to Sant Paul’s to hear thinks done as they sud be done. Nay, nay! -1 warn’t sich a fooil as that nauther. I watn’t bom i’ Yorkshire to know no better nor that, I’ll uphou’d ye.

‘ ‘Howsomever, when I gat back hoame, they was into me weel for giving ‘em t’ slip, an’ turnin’ my back, as they said, on t’ blessed Gospel invitin’ of me. But I let ‘em say what they’d a mind to. When a beer barrel begins to fiz out o’ t’ bung hoil, tha’ mun let it fiz a bit, thof’t mak a mucky slop, or it’ll bust t’ barrel. I said nowt; I just set and thowt o’ what I’d heard, and I played it ower again on my in’ards.

‘ ‘T’ next day I thowt I sud like to goa and hear t’ band of t’ Orse Guards. Now t’ sister ‘ usband had a nephy ‘at was one on ‘em,- soa I went wi’ him. And after they’d played iver so mony things – eh! an’ bless ye, they just did play ‘em – he says to t’ leader o’ t’ band-’Yon ow’d chap’- meaning’ me-’knows a bit about meusic.’ Soa t’ fellow says to me, ‘Is there owt partickler ye’d like?’ ‘Nay,’ says I, owt ‘at ye’ve got’ll be reight for me.’

‘Nay,’ says he, ‘owt’ at ye’ve a mind to ax for.’ Soa I picks two or three things ‘at just comes to my mind like. And, bless ye! they play ‘em like owt at all, and then I menshuned another or two, an’ they were never fast wi owt till it was time for ‘em to lap up. Soa they says, ‘we mun goa now, but ye mun come agean another day!’ ‘I sail/ says I, ‘ye may depend.’ And I went reg’lar every day as long as I war i’ London; and rared pleased they war wi’ me an’ all, and so ye mind war I wi’ them. That, and Sant Paul’s, an’ Westminster Habbey, war t’ main o’ what I seed and heeard all t’ time I war i London.”




James NAYLOR was born at East Ardsley, near Wakefield, in 1616. He was the son of a small farmer, whose house was near the old church. He received a passable education in reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1628, when he was aged twenty-two, he married, and settled in Wakefield parish. He was a diligent reader of the Scriptures, and zealous as an Independent. He spent about three years at Wakefield, and then joined the Parliamentary army as a private in 1641. He rose to become quartermaster of his regiment under Major-General Lambert, but in 1649, on account of ill health, he was obliged to leave the army and return to Wakefield. The pulpits of the Established Church were now in the hands of Independent ministers, and that of Horbury, near Wakefield, was occupied by the “godly and painful Master Marshall,” under whom James Naylor sat and groaned with unction.

But Naylor relaxed his religious exercises on visits to a Mrs Roper at Horbury, a lady whose husband had been for some time absent. When this lady became a mother by James Naylor, the Rev. Mr. Marshall thought it necessary to expose him, and Naylor, indignant with his Independent minister, joined the sect of the Quakers, then founded by George Fox. In 1652 he went on a religious visitation to the West, and in 1655 he visited London, in which city a meeting of Quakers had been established by the ministry of Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill, two men of Westmoreland.

Naylor prophesised in the meeting with so great applause that several women began to exalt him above Burrough and Howgill, and disturbed the latter when they attempted to speak. The two ministers reproved the women, and they in dudgeon complained to Naylor, and he encouraged them in their opposition to Burrough and Howgill. Two of these women, Martha Symonds and Hannah Stranger, became his most devoted adherents, and followed him in all his wanderings.

In 1656 he revisited the West, prophesised in Cornwall, and on passing through Exeter was arrested under the sweeping charge of vagrancy, and committed to gaol. There he was visited by many devout females, amongst others by one Dorcas Erbury, who fell into a swoon, and was revived by Naylor, who cried over her, “Tabitha, I say unto thee, arise!” She awoke, and the faithful believed that Naylor had restored her from death to life.

He was released at length by order of Council and then travelled to Bristol at the head of six believers. On reaching Bedminster, a village a mile from Old Bristol, though now a suburb of the town, Naylor and his party formed in procession, intending to produce a scene in the streets of Bristol.

One of his disciples, a young man with bare head, led the horse by the bridle upon which Naylor was mounted; two men followed in single file on horseback, each with his wife on a pillion behind him; and one woman walked on the causeway. As they went forward the six shouted, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!” till they came to the almshouse in the suburbs of Bristol, “when one of the women alighted, and she, with the other of her own sex, lovingly marched on each side of Naylor’s horse.” The road was deep in mud and rain was falling, but neither mud nor rain damped the ardour of the enthusiasts. On reaching Redcliffe Gate, Timothy Wedlock, a Devonshire man of the company, bareheaded, and Martha Symonds holding the bridle on one side and Hannah Stranger holding it on the other, advanced, chanting their hymn of praise.

Naylor wore a broad-brimmed hat and a long sad-coloured mantle. He was of a moderate height, ruddy complexion, had a slightly arched nose, large brown eyes, was a remarkably handsome man, and was thought by many to resemble the traditional type of face attributed to our Lord. Martha Symonds was the wife of Thomas Symonds, book-binder of London; and Hannah Stranger was the wife of John Stranger, combmaker in London. The two other women accompanying Naylor were Dorcas Erbury, whom he had raised from the dead, and her mother.

In this way the solemn procession advanced to the High Cross at Bristol, and after that to the White Hart, Broad Street, where lodged two Quakers, Dennis Hollister and Henry Row.

The magistrates at once apprehended the party, and committed them to prison.

The following is the examination of the prisoners, somewhat condensed:—


Being asked his name, he replied, “The men of this world call me James Naylor.” “Art not thou the man that rid on horseback into Bristol, a woman leading thy horse, and others saying before thee, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Hosannah to the Son of David’?”

‘ ‘I did ride into a town, but what its name was I know not; and by the Spirit a woman was commanded to hold my horse’s bridle, and some there were that cast down clothes and sang praises to the Lord, such songs as the Lord put into their hearts; and it is like it might be the song, ‘Holy, holy, holy,’ &c.”

“Whether or not didst thou reprove these women?”

“Nay,- but I bade them take heed that they say nothing but what they were moved to by the Lord.”

“Dost thou own this letter which Hannah Stranger sent unto thee?”

“Yes, I do own that letter.”

“Art thou (according to that letter) the fairest of ten thousand?”

“As to the visible, I deny any such attribute to be due unto me; but if as to that which the Father hath begotten in me, I shall own it.”

Two letters were then produced and read; we need only give one:—


Oh! thou fairest of ten thousand, thou only begotten Son of God, how my heart panteth after thee! O stay me with flaggons and comfort me with wine. My beloved, thou are like a roe or young hart upon the mountains of spices, where thy beloved spouse hath long been calling thee to come away, but hath been but lately heard of thee. Now it lies something upon me that thou mindest to see her, for the spirit and power of God is with her, and there is given to her much of excellent and innocent wisdom arisen and arising in her, which will make all the honest-hearted to praise the Lord alone, and no more set up self. And therefore let not my lord and master have any jealousy against her, for she is highly beloved of the Lord, and that shall all see who comes to know the Lord. And now He doth bless them that bless His, and curse them that curse His; for this hath the Lord showed me, that her portion is exceedingly large in the Lord, and as her sorrow hath been much, so shall her joy be much more; which rejoiceth my heart to see her walk so valiantly and so faithfully in the work of the Lord, in this time of so great trials as hath been upon her especially.

And I am,

Hannah Stranger

The Postscript. Remember my dear love to thy master. The name is no more James, but Jesus. John Stranger.

Remember my love to these friends with thee. The 17th day of 8th month, superscribed to the hands of James Naylor.

(The examination carried on for the next 3 pages in a similar vein)

Dorcas Erbury was next called. She was widow of William Erbury, once a minister.

“Where dost thou live?” “With Margaret Thomas.”

“Wherefore dost thou sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy’?” “I did not at that time; but those that sang did it discharging of their duty.”

“Dost thou own him to be the Holy One of Israel?” “I do, and with my blood will seal it.”

“And dost thou own him for the Son of God?” “He is the only begotten son of God.”

“Wherfore didst thou pull off his stockings, and lay thy clothes beneath his feet?” “He is worthy of it, for he is the Holy One of Israel.”

“Christ raised those that had been dead; so did not he?” “He raised me.”

“In what manner?” “He laid his hand on my head after I had been dead two days, and said, ‘Dorcas, arise!’ and I arose, and live, as thou seest.”

“Where did he this?” “At the gaol in Exeter.”

“What witness hast thou for this?” “My mother, who was present.”

“His power being so much, wherefore opened he not the prison doors and escaped?” “The doors shall open when the Lord’s wish is done.”

The Bristol magistrates sent Naylor and his deluded followers to London, to be examined before Parliament.

On the 31st October it was ordered that a Committee should be appointed to consider the information given touching “the misdemeanour and blasphemies of James Naylor and others at Bristol and elsewhere, and to report thereon.” The Committee met next day, and on December 2nd it was resolved that the report of the Committee should be brought in and read on the following Friday, December 5th. On that day it was read by the reporter, – it consisted of thirteen sheets of paper – and the debate on the report began on the 6th, when James Naylor was called to the bar of the House. He came with his hat on, but it was removed by the Sarjeant. The report was read to him, and he was demanded whether each particular was true, and he acknowledged that it was so.

The debate was adjourned to Monday, the 8th, and it occupied Parliament till the 20th December. The House resolved that James Naylor was guilty of horrid blasphemy, and that he was a grand imposter and seducer of the people and his sentence was that he should be set on the pillory, with his head in the pillory, in the Palace Yard, Westminster, during the space of two hours, on Thursday next, and be whipped by the hangman through the streets from Westminster to the Old Exchange, London; and there, likewise, he should be set on the pillory, with his head in the pillory, for the space of two hours, between the hours of eleven and one, on Saturday next, in each place wearing a paper containing an inscription of his crimes,- and that at the Old Exchange his tongue should be bored through with a hot iron, and that he should be there also stigmatised in the forehead with the letter B; and that he should afterwards be sent to Bristol, to be conveyed into and through the city on horseback, with his face backwards, and there also should be whipped the next market-day after he came thither; and that thence he should be committed to prison in Bridewell, London, and there be restrained from the society of all people, and there to labour hard till he should be released by Parliament; and during that time he should be debarred the use of pen, ink, and paper, and should have no relief but what he earned by his daily labour.

The women were ordered to be kept in confinement. The severity of this atrocious sentence deserves notice. The Independents, who had suffered under Laud and the Star Chamber, now that they were in power, had no idea of tolerating the Quakers, who read their Bibles differently from themselves. Cromwell was especially prejudiced against them, and it is probable that the Protector had something to do with the severity of the sentence on Naylor.

One Robert Rich, a merchant of London, wrote to the Parliament, on December 15, a petition in favour of Naylor:

If I may have liberty of those that sit in Parliament, I do here attend at this door, and am now ready out of the Scriptures of truth to show that not anything that James Naylor hath said or done is blasphemy, &c.

Sentence was pronounced by the Speaker, Sir Thomas Widdrington. Naylor on hearing it said: I pray God He may not lay it to your charge.

On December 20th, 1656, Naylor suffered a part of his sentence, standing two hours in the pillory, and receiving at the cart’s tail three hundred and ten stripes.

The executioner gave him three hundred and ten stripes,” says Sewell, “and would have given him one more, as he confessed to the Sherrif, but his foot slipping, the stroke fell upon his own hand, which hurt him much. Naylor was hurt with the horses treading on his feet, whereon the prints of the nails were seen. His wounds were washed by R. Travers, who certified, ‘there was not the space of a man’s nail free from stripes and blood, from his shoulders near to his waist; his right arm sorely striped; his hands much hurt by the cords that they bled and were swelled: the blood and wounds of his back did very little appear at first sight, by reason of abundance of dirt that covered them, till it was washed off.

Another petition in his favour was presented, signed by about a hundred persons, to Parliament, requesting the remission of the rest of his sentence, and as this was refused, appeal was made to Cromwell the Protector, with like want of success.

Five Independent ministers visited Naylor in prison, and vainly urged him to recant.

Rich besieged the doors of Parliament on December 27th, from eight o’clock till eleven, imploring a respite, but all in vain. Naylor was then brought out to undergo the rest of his sentence; he was again pilloried, his tongue bored through, and his forehead branded. Rich held the hand of the unhappy man whilst his tongue was pierced, and the red-hot iron applied to his brow, and he licked the wounds to allay the pain. Thousands who witnessed the execution of the sentence exhibited their respect by removing their caps. There was no reviling, and nothing thrown at Naylor, but all stood silent and sympathetic.

James Naylor was then sent to Bristol, and whipped from the middle of St. Thomas’ Street to the middle of Broad Street, and taken back to his prison in Bridewell. There he wrote his recantation, in epistles addressed to the Quakers.

In one of these he says: Dear brethren, my heart is broken this day for the offence which I have occasioned to God’s truth and people, and especially to you, who in dear love followed me, seeking me in faithfulness to God, which I rejected, being bound wherein I could not come forth, till God’s hand brought me, to whose love I now confess. And I beseech you forgive wherein I evil requited your love in that day. God knows my sorrow for it, since I see it, that ever should offend that of God in any, or reject his counsel; and I greatly fear further to offend or do amiss, whereby the innocent truth of people of God should suffer, or that I should disobey therein.

He was confined about two years, and was then set at liberty. He thereupon went to Bristol, where in a public meeting he made confession of his offence and fall so movingly as to draw tears from most of those present; and he was then restored to the community of the Quakers, from which he had been excluded by George Fox at Exeter for his presumption and pride.

Charges of the most gross immorality have been brought against James Naylor, whether truly or falsely who can now decide? It is possible that the language of the women who followed him, in speaking of him, their letters to him, one of which has been quoted, may have given rise to these reports. Naylor, however, never would admit that there had been anything unseemly in his behaviour towards the women who followed him from London into Cornwall, and from Cornwall to Bristol; and Sewell, who knew Hannah Stranger, repudiates the charge as utterly false. But it is curious to notice how that religious fantacism and sensuality so frequently run together. It was so in that outburst of mysticism in the Middle Ages – the heresy of the Fraticelli; it was so with at least one branch of the Hussites in Bohemia,- and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the great convulsion of the Reformation had set minds naturally predisposed to religious excitement in a ferment, this was most conspicuous, as in the ferocious licentiousness of John Bockelson, the Anabaptist King of Sion, or the more cautious profligacy, under a cloak of religion, of Ludwig Hetzer and David Joris.

James Naylor quitted London finally in 1660, intending to return to Wakefield; but was found by a countryman one evening in a field near Holm and King’s Rippon, in Huntingdonshire, having been robbed and left bound. He was taken to Holm, and his clothes were changed. To those who kindly cared for him he said, You have refreshed my body; the Lord refresh your souls.

He shortly after died there of the rough handling he had received from the highwaymen who had plundered him, and was buried in a Quaker’s cemetery belonging to Thomas Pamel, a physician. Two hours before he died he uttered the touching and eloquent speech:

There is a spirit which I feel that delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to weary out all exultation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. It sees to the end of all temptations. As it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thoughts to any other. If it be betrayed, it bears it; for its ground and spring are the mercies and forgiveness of God. Its crown is meekness; its life is everlasting love, unfeigned, and takes its kingdom with entreaty and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone it can rejoice, though none else regard it or can own its life. It is conceived in sorrow, and brought forth without any to pity it; nor doth it murmur at grief and oppression. It never rejoiceth but through sufferings; for with the world’s joy it is murdered. I found it alone, being forsaken; I have fellowship therein with them who lived in dens and desolate places in the earth; who through death obtained their resurrection, and eternal, holy life.

A more beautiful and true description of the Christian spirit was never uttered. It is a passage meriting a place beside the famous definition of charity by St. Paul. The man who used such words was no hypocrite when he used them. If he had erred greatly, he had also repented; if he had fallen, he had risen after his fall. One is glad to turn away the eye from the blemishes of the unfortunate Quaker’s career to the spot of pure light that rests on his death-bed.

His writings were collected and published in an octavo volume in 1716. They are very unequal. Some passages of great beauty, almost comparable to that given above, may be found, but there is also much that is as involved in style and confused in thought as the specimen quoted earlier from his recantation.

Authorities: — “The Grand Imposter Examined; or, the Life, Trial, and Examination of James Naylor, London, 1656,” reprinted in the Harleian Misc., vi., 424. Johannis Lussenii “Hist. u. Schrifftmassige Erorterung der vor wenigh Zeit in Engelland entctandenen secte der Quacker,” in “Quacker Grueuel,” published by authority of the magistrates of Hamburg, 1702. “The Recantation of James Naylor,” in Somers’ Tracts,” vi., 22 pub. 1659. “Naylor’s Writings Collected,” 8vo, 1716. Sewell’s “Hist, of the Quakers,” 1714. Sewell was personally accquainted with Hannah Stranger, one of Naylor’s followers.





Eddie Walker pic



by EDDIE WALKER, of the Wakefield Express

Having lived in the place for nearly 52 years (apart from a too-long spell when the late King required my services), I can say with authority that there is something unique about Horbury.

Admittedly, it can’t claim to rival Blackpool’s bracing breezes, although its people do breathe clean air… even if they have to huddle over their smokeless fires to get it.

Nor can it match Scarborough’s scenic beauty, yet the view along the Calder Valley from Storrs Hill has a morbidly compulsive fascination—rather like looking up an industrial intestine.

But just ponder, for instance, on Horbury’s intriguing street names; roll them round your tongue and savour the ancient earthiness of them, for nowhere else will you find their like.

Cluntergate, Ranters’ Fold, Hawking Croft, Shepstye, Addingford, Dudfleet, Twitch Hill, The Shutt, Golden Square (a blatant misnomer in my young days, when it was a hotch-potch of back-to-back houses).

To Horbury folk, these quaint old names have become commonplace; to strangers they are a source of wonder verging on disbelief.

Horbury’s uniqueness goes further than its street names. It reaches into the realms of local administra­tion, for where else is there an Urban Council that sacrificially offers itself to the wolves in voluntary bi-monthly sessions?

It’s a bold Council, indeed, that willingly faces its critics in public open forum . . . and lives to tell the tale. But Horbury’s councillors have always been a competent lot; men of tough mettle whose shrewdness has been complementary to their tenacity.

There was a time, many years ago, when an agreement was negotiated for Ossett Corporation to supply Horbury with gas. If there was something rather ambiguous in the agreement which operated to Horbury’s favour, Ossett didn’t notice it and Horbury pretended not to.

But when the agreement was put into operation, Ossett found themselves supplying Horbury with gas and paying Horbury Council for the privilege of doing so, irrespective of whether or not the gas undertaking was showing a profit.

After Ossett considered they had been soaked long enough, they paid out to alter the agreement and Horbury Council raked in £6,000 on that spot of shrewdness.

It was hardly surprising that there was a decided aversion in Ossett against all things Horbury for quite a while after that.

In days gone by, when the old mill owners held sway, a seat on Horbury Council was regarded almost as an entitlement to a mantle of infallibility.

Councillors of the present era appreciate that they have been appointed and not anointed and run things rather differently.

Unfortunately, when they have their moments of fallibility, the spotlight of publicity is on them. Otherwise it would never have been known that they came mighty near to calling an old people’s colony “St. Peter’s Close”

Happily, they realised the implication in time and hastily removed the custodian of the Pearly Gates to a safe distance. They named it ”St. Peter’s Grove”.

Carrying uniqueness a stage further, there can surely be few places of its size with more organisations than Horbury

If you want to sail a boat, raise cacti, show chrysanthemums, listen to good music, shoot clay pigeons, dabble in politics, play bridge, act, paint, photograph, fish or fly pigeons, there is a club, association or society ready to meet your needs.

You name it, Horbury has it. At the last count there were over 50 local bodies catering for a wide range of activity and that, in a town of less than 10,000 folks, is quite a record.

Of course, Horbury is unique in being able to claim John Carr, the noted 18th century architect, as its most famous son. Unique in being able to point to the Parish Church and say; “Carr gave us that”.

This is our Horbury; a town perhaps a little tatty and timeworn in places, but rich in community spirit, independent in outlook and proud of its traditions.

Much has still to be done to make it a modern Utopia both for young and old, but within financial limitations, progress is being made.

That so many people whose work has taken them to distant places still say: “We have always kept a soft spot for Horbury”, is a measure of the town’s appeal.

1971 Souvenir



Ken Bartlett


(photo from Bartlett’s Wakefield & Horbury courtesy of Dr Phil Judkins)

KEN BARTLETT, railway signalman, postman, local historian and amateur archaeologist, was born in Wakefield in 1932. He went to work at Westgate signal box at the age of 14. Later he became a postman, working for 27 years in Middlestown.

Below is Ken’s own account of his early life, taken from some of the work that he gave me permission to use.

Memories of Alverthorpe

I lived at Flanshaw from about 1935 until 1947. The earliest memories I have are of Acute Terrace, Flanshaw lane. I think we lived in the house third from the top. I can remember a small holding at the top of the lane with a barn for a horse etc. and Flanshaw Old Hall which was opposite our house, the grounds were a bit overgrown and a lovely place for children to play. I also remember Crook’s Quarry and the brickyard. I can remember playing in the quarry and looking back I realize what a dangerous place it was for young children (I was only about five or six at the time), there were deep pools of standing water and piles of old building materials. At that time the corporation were just building Flanshaw estate, the only houses built before the war were the ones immediately behind Mona Street and Huntsman’s Fold. I can’t remember whether the ‘ Flanshaw Hotel’ was built or not.

In 1938 we moved to Milners Court, this was just after a lot of demolition had taken place between Milners Court and Colbeck Street, we used this as a play area. When I started school at Alverthorpe infants school I thought it was a long way, to a small child anyway. I remember the difficulty we had forcing our way through under the railway bridge on windy days and the lovely icicles which formed in winter. The fishing in the beck on Becktive lane. Digging cat nuts in the fields between Flanshaw and Alverthorpe Hall. The tops of the plants were like carrot tops and the nuts were on the roots about two inches down and the size of aniseed balls. There were newts in Alverthorpe Hall pond and in the beck under the mill there were some larger Sticklebacks. The Alver beck had Bulley’s and Whiskies besides Sticklebacks. The Bulley was a fish with a large head which tapered to its tail and the Whisky was about five inches long and slender with three spikes sticking out of the front of its upper lip, there were no trout in this stream.

When I got older I used to go to Low Laithes to caddie for the golfers, this earned me anything from Is 6d to 2s 6d, 7d to 12p depending on who you caddied for, this was quite a bit of money in those days and paid for us to go to the baths (Sun lane) or the cinema with a train ride from Alverthorpe station to Westgate Id or 2d. At Westgate we could watch the big expresses (trains) come in, which we found exciting. During the war ambulance trains came in from London with wounded soldiers for Pinderfields Hospital. The walking wounded wore a light blue uniform with a white shirt and red tie.

In the days during the war the only buses I can remember were the Batley bus and I think there was one from Wakefield to Alverthorpe school but I cannot remember which way they went, via Cliff Hill, Alverthorpe road or Flanshaw lane?. Most of the buses were very old, having been in service for over ten years, some of the more recent ones had wooden seats, like park benches and the heaters did not work so the buses were very cold, everyone wore overcoats, hats, ‘wellies’, scarves, etc.in the winter and when the weather was bad.

These were the days when most people had a coal fire and some only a cold water tap and no bath, but we were happy, although some of these old terraced houses were damp and the wall paper hung off the wall in places. Most of these type of houses were pulled down after the war in slum clearance, but some of the older stone houses are prized by young people who buy them to modernise them. One thing I cannot get used to is standing where Milners Court used to be (near the entrance to Sirdar Ltd.) and looking towards Alverthorpe church. Before the demolition of the railway bridge and removal of the high embankment you could not see Alverthorpe village or the church, now you can see them both and they look so near.

I remember the time the Germans dropped the bombs in Thornes road The adults had been working all day erecting an air raid shelter at the bottom of Milners Court. It was starting to get dark and we the children were down a lane at the back of Alverthorpe W.MC. We were busy gathering conkers which had fallen from the trees surrounding the bowling green. The sirens went and suddenly there were a couple of very loud bangs. We all set off running in the near dark and fell over the trolleys we had left in the lane. When we got home everyone was in the shelter at the bottom of the street

Another thing I can remember from those days was, I used to go out with the delivery vans from Talbots sweet works and one day we were en-route to Huddersfield climbing the steep hill through Middlestown to Grange Moor when the engine overheated and we had to stop to let it cool down, I think we were just past Caphouse colliery. That is one thing that stands out in my memory, little did I know how much I would be involved in that area in the future.

Memories of Thornes

I have very few memories of Thornes, I lived at my grandma’s on St.Oswald’s road for a period when my mother was ill and during this period I used to play sometimes in the grounds of Snapethorpe Hall which was quite near, so I remember a bit about the rear of the Hall. When I was eleven years old I had to leave Alverthorpe church school and attend Snapethorpe school until I was fourteen. This meant that I had to walk to school and back. I walked from Milners Court on Flanshaw, lane to where Asquiths greengrocers used to be (144) and then I cut through the snicket onto Crook’s estate, through the estate and another snicket onto Eden Avenue to Dewsbury road, from here we cut through Lupset estate onto Broadway and the school. Although it does not seem so far now, it did then, my stride being a lot longer now than it used to be.

After I left school I went to live on Milton Crescent adjacent to the school, the irony of it all!!!. We lived there for a couple of years and then moved onto Portobello estate, Sandal. So that was my sole experience of Thornes, with the exception of a few visits to Thomes park. Later in my twenties I became a member of Lupset Golf Club and later still I was associated with an archaeological excavation on Thornes Mount which uncovered remains of Roman occupation.



I was elected Projects Co-ordinator for Wakefield & District Family History Society in early 2001. Sometime after this I wrote to the Incumbents of all the Churches in the Society’s area of coverage (WMDC) asking for permission to transcribe the Parish Registers. Not long afterwards I received a ‘phone call from the Rector of Dewsbury and Vicar of Thornhill St Michael’s. He said he was delighted we were going to do this as he was frequently contacted by people trying to trace theirAncestors! Accompanied by another member I went to the church and we were given permission to take photos of anything that we wished. A few weeks later I was contacted again by the Rector who said that he had found a book in the safe that had been compiled by the Sitlington Group, run by Ken BARTLETT . He put me in touch with a lady (who I think may have been Marian Marshall) and she in turn gave me Ken’s ‘phone number. At first our conversation was a bit ‘strained’ as he didn’t know about the Society and I didn’t know him. Anyway he invited me to visit him at his home on Industrial Street in Horbury. This I did and from then on we got on famously! (Ken’s wife, Pam, was very hospitable to us, offering tea and cakes!) He said some time previously someone he knew had promised to put his material onto the Internet, but this had not happened. He showed us some of the material that he had produced and I took some of our Publications for him to see. I had many visits from Ken, in his little three-wheeled car and gradually obtained all his data on my PC. He told me many times that ” I’m not a computer person“. He had been using one (most of his stuff was on Floppy Discs).

Ken’s dear wish was to make his work available to as many people as possible. I said that I would do my best to bring that about. Around about this time the Federation of Family History Societies, to which WDFHS belonged had created a website called FHOL (Family History Online).

At a meeting held at my home on NOVEMBER 13th 2003 Kenneth Bartlett agreed to allow Wakefield & District Family History Society, to use his material as it wished. It was apparent that Ken wanted his material to be available to as many people as possible – both Family and Local Historians. I suggested that the Family History Online – Pay Per View site would probably be the best outlet for it. This was agreed and it was  suggested that a link to the society website, where related material e.g. maps could be put should be made. The subject of copyright was discussed – It was felt that we should ideally have this for the Society. However, as Ken still wished to allow Richard Knowles of Rickaro Books and Bob Alderson, the printer, to carry on selling the books, a non-exclusive licence should be drawn up for the Society. (This was done shortly after the meeting)

I agreed to prepare samples of suitable material to submit to the Pay Per View coordinator. I had already put some of the Society’s material on this site so I contacted them and asked if they would be interested in using Ken’s Tithe Awards and Maps. The answer was yes they would like the Data but could the maps go on WDFHS Website?

I was aware from the start that Ken was not well and so I made an effort to work on this material as soon as possible. The material was sent off to FHOL and the Maps put on WDFHS sites. By this time Ken was seriously ill and admitted to the Hospice. I contacted Pam and she was able to tell him that ” some of his work was now on the Internet”.

KENNETH SMITH BARTLETT, local historian. died on 10th August 2004. I attended his funeral as a representative of the Society, which sent a donation for the Macmillan Nurses, the chosen charity of Ken’s Wife Pam.

Before he died Ken granted a Licence to the Wakefield & District Family History Society on 1st Dec 2003 to use his material and to make it available to as many people as possible. This Licence has been continued by the present owner of the copyright, Dr Phil Judkins.

Afterwards I received a lovely letter from Ken’s wife Pam, in which she asked to be kept up to date with the progress on Ken’s material.

Publications were produced using the Trades Directories material that Ken had transcribed. I dedicated the Horbury booklet to Pam, Ken’s wife.

Unfortunately, FHOL was taken over by Find My Past and this site did not wish to use the Tithe Awards. At present I am checking this material at the WYAS and the Society will then publish them as booklets. The Maps are still on the Society website (www.wdfhs.co.uk) so the reader of these booklets can find the plots on these maps (they are far too large to be put in the publications).

I hope to put work that the Society cannot accommodate on this, my own website. (Like Ken I wish to make available as much of my (and Ken’s) material as possible). To this end I have received permission from Dr Judkins.


On a more sombre note, my husband and I have already purchased a Plot in Horbury Cemetery (my parents, grandparents, Gt Gt grandparent and further back are all buried there) This Plot is very close To Ken’s Grave, so who knows perhaps sometime in the future, we will have a ‘good natter’ as we may then have found out the answers to our family history queries???? .