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A History of Pudsey by Simeon Rayner




It is said of the monks and friars of the centuries gone, that they were particularly careful in selecting the sites for their monasteries and other religious houses; but certainly they were not peculiar in this respect, as witness the case of the pleasant and unique village whose name is at the head of this chapter. Fulneck is most beautifully situated on the northern slopes of the Tong valley, forming the southern boundary of the Pudsey Township. It has a perfectly open prospect to the south, embracing a wide range of country, including Dudley Hill; Tong, with its tree embowered hall, the seat of Sir R. Tempest-Tempest, Bart.; Drighlington; Gildersome; Adwalton, with its historic moor; Morley, Middleton, Farnley, etc.; and it would have been difficult for the founders of the place to have chosen a spot in this district more desirable for the purposes contemplated by them. Not inaptly may a part at least of David's eulogy of Mount Zion be applied to this place:--"Beautiful for situation." More especially was this the case when the site was first selected, ere the pellucid and fish-inhabited stream, which winds through the vale, had become black with nauseous drainage, or the opposite slopes were disfigured by heaps of shale and other rubbish thrown out from the pits, which have been opened of late years by the Low Moor Iron and Coal Company, and the chimneys whose sulphurous smoke pollutes the air, and destroys the trees of adjoining woods.
The establishment presents a fine imposing front when viewed from the other side of the valley, and consists of a broken, yet not inharmonious, line of buildings; having the chapel in the centre, which, however, is not distinguishable as such on this side; the schools for girls and boys; the residences for the principals of these schools; the Single Sisters' and Brethren's Houses, the Lecture Hall, etc., the whole of which are faced by a broad and level graveled terrace, from whence gardens, orchards, fields, and forest trees, occupy the space down to the stream. Although the beauty of Fulneck is seen in the front, it is at the back where its specially unique features are most apparent. Here the line of the buildings is considerably more broken than in the front, and the chapel is conspicuous by its advancing entrance, surmounted by the belfry and clock. A paved terrace having a rise of some yards above the front one, runs nearly the whole length of this side, being shortened by an enclosed yard, etc., belonging to residences of the Single Sisters at the east end. From this terrace green slopes rise to the road or street above, which at the centre is greatly above its level, and s reached by flights of steps of varying heights. The west end of this rising ground was, until a few years ago, occupied by a block of unsightly cottages and other erections, partly used for a bakery, stabling, etc., the removal of which has added much to the cleanliness and appearance of this part of the village.
Beyond the establishment proper, are the boarding-house, the ship, the single Brethren's prayer hall, and cottages, which have been utilised as a reading room or institute. On a lower level, and in front of these latter, there are a few houses so pleasantly situated as to have acquired the name of "Paradise." They are, however, only approachable through a narrow entry on the low side of the inn, which covered passage is therefore appropriately names "Purgatory." Yet let it not be inferred from this that there was any justification for the popular belief of their Romanist or Jesuitical character. At this end is a barrier where a toll of 2d. is demanded for horses and vehicles passing through the place. The whole of the private residences are on the opposite side of the street, extending for the most part from the entrance gate on the east to the bar above indicated. Although considerably above the level of the establishment, the village is still much below the crest of the hill in its rear, so that the whole place is well protected from the north and north-east winds. From the style and arrangement of the buildings the tout ensemble of the place is of a semi-continental character, and cannot fail to impress the visitor by its neat, quiet, and almost solemn appearance.
Some of the most modern additions to the requirements of the village are, a capital Sunday School for boys nearer the top of the hill, and one for girls at the back of, and adjoining the Sisters' House. The Lecture Hall, also, was erected only a few years since on the site of what
was once the boys' day school, which for many years was successfully conducted by Mr. E. Sewell, who is now quietly passing the remainder of his days amid the calm seclusion of his former activities.
The estate, as a whole, is of very considerable extent and value, reaching from Hare Lane on the east to near Scholebrook Lane on the west, and from the top of the hill on the north to the bottom of the valley, which is its southern limit, embracing an area of 160 acres. This important freehold, originally consisting of about 130 acres, was added to by subsequent purchases or gifts, and when first acquired was mostly waste or moorland, with one small farm and a malt-kiln. When the common lands of Pudsey were enclosed in 1812, a great deal of this side of the Tong valley was quite a wilderness of moorland, thickly covered with brambles and briars. In this public spoliation the proprietary of the Fulneck freehold came in for a considerable share. By the persevering industry of the first settlers this was gradually changed into a well cultivated and fruitful inheritance, such as but few religious communities of the present day can claim to possess. This fine property is owned by the Church of "Moravian Brethren," or, as they sometimes style themselves, "Unitas Fratrum," whose history in connection with this place we must now follow.
Previous to the year 1742, this church, influenced by a holy zeal, had sent out Missionaries to different parts of the world, and had established an English Conference, or Board of Direction, in London. It was in this year decided by the Board that a staff of labourers-actually hand-working ministers-should go and "take up their residence in some convenient spot in Yorkshire, whence as a centre they could go forth to minister to the societies." "The zeal of the Brethren was such, that by the end of the following year they had organised forty-seven places where the Scriptures were regularly read and prayer offered up once in every three weeks." These places were divided into six districts, in each of which was a preaching place, to which the societies might resort on Sundays. Pudsey was one of these centres.
In March, 1743, Count Zinzendorf, who had devoted himself to the interests of the Church, visited the brethren at Pudsey; and in order fully to carry out their social as well as religious polity, fixed upon the hillside then called Fallneck, which was then, or shortly afterwards, offered for sale. This noble convert was a zealous and enthusiastic member of the cause he has espoused, and did much, both by his labours and his means, to advance the spiritual and material prosperity of the community with which he has associated himself; one of its best known and perhaps finest stations in Germany-Herrnhutt in Lusatia-being the fruit of his generosity. By many this nobleman is thought to have been the founder of the Moravian Church; but this is a great mistake, he only having been a co-worker with others in the extraordinary revivals of the last century. In fact, the Moravians claim to have been Protestants before the Reformation, and to have kinship with those early martyrs, John Huss, of Bohemia, and Jerome of Prague; with John Wicliffe, and others, who heralded Luther in his noble work.
It is stated that 240 years previous to Zinzendorf's invitation to the Brethren to form a settlement upon his patrimony, a number of Waldensian refugees from Romanist persecution in Austria, fled for safety and protection to the Church at Fulneck in Moravia; and although, from persecution and other causes, the organisation was brought very low during the following two centuries, yet it was from this same Moravian Fulneck that the first colony was transferred to Herrnhut.
As yet no reference has been made in this history to the name, "Fulneck." As afterwards stated, the place was called Grace Hall from the completion of the chapel in 1748 until 1763, when the name of Fulneck was adopted, in loving remembrance of the original home of the Brethren in Moravia, which bore that name. Also, it is said, because the situation, or general appearance of the two places, had some resemblance to each other. By a curious coincidence, however-and this may have given some weight to the new baptism-the spot had, for generations previous to the Brethren becoming owners of it, been known as "Fallneck." Some previous writer has endeavoured to find the source of this in Fall'n-Ake, or Oak, from the Saxon ac, from the supposition that some notable tree of that tribe had become prostrate thereabouts. Notwithstanding the improbability of this derivation, it has been very generally accepted by local antiquaries, perhaps without considering the value of the suggestion.
I venture, however, to offer what I think to be a much more plausible indication of the source from whence it comes. Those acquainted with the locality will know that between Nesbit Hall on this side, and Tong Hall on the other, the valley opens out westward, dividing itself into a fork or Y shape, one branch going up to Holme and Dudley Hill, the other passing round the Tyersall Hill to Laisterdyke. The junction of these two branches, then, is the head of the valley, and that portion immediately adjoining, eastward, is the neck. This is the part wholly included in the estate, i.e., from Scholebrook or Jackass Lane to South Royd or Hare Lane. Did not the name, then, indicate the wide neck of the valley, or Fullneck, as it was often spelt in the old writings? The corruption from full to fall by the original inhabitants needs no explanation.
Yet another, and perhaps more likely origin, is communicated by Mr. J. Cliff, of Nesbit Hall, from a note recently acquired by him. It is extracted from the notes of a Mr. Samuel Hemmingway, who, along with a Squire Sugden, who lived on the hill, inspected property which John Holdsworth, then residing in the old "Bank-House," wished to sell. After viewing West Royd, they walked on the "Fallneck and Fall, Stubbs, and South Royd"-all significant names-" and came up one side of the Calf Close: (sic. Hare Lane). Here, then, we have the popular and strictly correct nomenclature-the steep slope of fall at the NECK of the valley, this part being by far, steeper than the land at either end; therefore, appropriately known as the "Fall."
At the time the Moravians were pushing on their work of preaching and establishing societies, the Wesleys, with Whitfield and others, were going up and down through the country, engaged to a much greater extent in the same work. Among these, and for a long a coadjutor with them, was the Rev. Benjamin Ingham. He was a native of Ossett, in this county, was educated at Oxford, and ordained to be a minister of the Established Church; but not waiting to be inducted into a living, and probably having some private means, he commenced preaching, both in the churches and in the open air, to large congregations which flocked to hear him, principally in Yorkshire and the borders of Lancashire. He was an earnest and successful preacher, and in a short time about fifty congregations or societies were formed as the result of his labours. Probably he was a better preacher than organiser, or, preferring the system and polity of the Moravians, he persuaded his followers to unite themselves with the Brethren, and with one consent they seem to have done so, to the extent of about a thousand members. He thus became a man of considerable influence in the combined societies.
Thus it was, that when the Board of Direction in 1743, acting upon the advice of the Count, decided to obtain this site as a grand centre for their work in Yorkshire, Mr. Ingham was commissioned to purchase it for the Brethren, i.e., to pay down the purchase money, with the understanding that the Board would take it over before the end of the year. This arrangement, however, was not carried out, and subsequently there seems to have been some difficulty in bringing the matter to a settlement; as a not under date 1744 says, "No final agreement or bargain was made, but this was at length, 1754, obtained upon a lease of 500 years (another note says 999 years), after a good deal of trouble and many changes of Mr. Ingham's mind." Count Zinzendorf, who was on a visit at the time, exclaimed when the matter was settled, "I can now with freedom lift up my eyes and pronounce this settlement a settlement of the Lord." Subsequently the rights of Mr. Ingham's heirs in the estate were purchased by the lessees, and the property thus became their freehold. This gentleman appears also to have been subject to no small measure of religious impulsiveness; for it is stated, under date Oct. 9th, 1745, or nearly two years after he had bought the estate for the church,--

After a blessed Lovefeast with the single Brethren, Mr. Ingham fetched a piece of ground from the field in which their house was intended to be built, and gave it to them as a token of their henceforth having possession of it. But this was afterwards returned, when the said field was determined upon as the future place of the single sisters' house; when Mr. Ingham gave them, in the same solemn manner, possession of the ground of their present house and garden. He promised, moreover, L100, either in money or bricks, towards their house.

The Brethren at this time lived in one or two small houses in connection with a Meeting Room on the top of the hill, also apparently in a house or houses at Bankhouse,--possibly at Nesbit Hall. The hill was then called "Lamb's Hill," and at these two places they resided for four or five years, while the chapel and houses were being built for them. The first stone of the former was laid on May 21st, 1746, by the brethren Foeltschig, Okershausen and Hauptman, with much solemn religious ceremony, singing and prayer being continued in the open air the whole of the night following. This place for worship was designated by them "Grace Hall," and afterwards for some years was the name by which the whole place was known.
One cannot but admire the ardent faith and burning zeal of this handful of men, most of whom were strangers in the land, in starting to build an establishment, calculated by themselves to cost L3,000, but which others thought would reach L10,000; and which is stated finally to have been as much as L15,000; and this upon land the tenure of which was not fully secured to them, or had been forfeited by their non-fulfilment of the terms of agreement. This Chapel or Hall was completed in 1748, and solemnly consecrated on June 2nd, by John de Watteville and Peter Bohler, two of the most learned and prominent labourers in the fraternity at that time. The minister's house had been completed and occupied during the March preceding.
The chapel organ was one of no mean repute, being built by Snetzler, an eminent maker of his day; and as music has ever been a leading feature in connection with the economy of their worship, it will account for the fact that, although engaged in a great enterprise and with straightened means, yet they succeeded in putting in this fine instrument in the same year that the chapel was opened. * It was originally placed in the east gallery, but was in 1802 removed to its present position opposite the pulpit.
This last named, and generally considered most important piece of ecclesiastical architecture, seems to have been with them a matter of minor concern, as it was not erected until 1750, when it was first occupied by the gifted and learned preacher Benjamin La Trobe, who at that time was stationed with the church as Brethren's labourer. His was a name of Huguenot celebrity, which has been continued down to the present day through a succession of talented, influential, and honoured generations.
Among the earliest of those who were connected with the Brethren, was one Claudius Nesbit, who resided at Bankhouse, and built what is now called "Nesbit Hall," at present owned and occupied by John Cliff, Esq., R.R.Hist.S., who was himself educated at the Fulneck Boarding School. A view of this finely situated, and lately much improved mansion, will be found in this history. Doubtless it was with this same Claudius Nesbit that Zinzendorf temporarily abode during his visits to the district. A great mystery has always surrounded his last days. It is related that going to London on business, he was never more head of.
In the year 1749 Zinzendorf, and his son Renatus, again visited the settlement, and laid the foundation stones of the houses for the Single Sisters and Brethren. The first is detached from the main block, it built of bricks, and is an imposing termination of the façade to the east. Through the space thus left open there is a delightful and almost telescopic view of the front prospect; here also access is had from the rear to the main terrace.
This noble promenade deserves more than a mere passing reference. It is a well kept gravel walk, having an extension of about 240 yards and a breadth of 8 yards. "It was in existence in a rude state in 1753, and about the same time the gardens on the slope below were laid out." About 60 years subsequent to the above date it seems to have been brought somewhere near to its present condition of perfection, and is said now to be "equal if not superior to that at Windsor Castle;" and also to bear more than a favourable comparison with the famed parade in front of Hampton Court. The houses above-mentioned were finished and occupied three years later. It was also in the above-named year that the Burial ground was laid out for its sacred purpose.
It is a long strip of land sloping gently down from the road to a considerable distance below, and has within the last few years been enlarged by addition of land from the adjoining fields. This holy resting-place for the dead is to the east of the estate, and is overshadowed by many very fine forest trees, which add much to its quiet and hallowing appearance. Here some of the most sacred of their religious services were wont to be held; and oft has the stillness of the early morning been broken by the slowly measured and solemn music of their brass horns. More particularly was this the case at Eastertide, when the burial and glorious resurrection of our Blessed Saviour was celebrated with much that was, to the natives, both strange and novel; and so much attention and curiosity did it excite as to cause thousands to assemble to witness the uncommon spectacle. This ultimately became, by the unruly character of the assemblies, so great an annoyance as to compel the transfer of the service to the chapel. Grace Clarke was the first interred in the burial ground.
It may not be out of place to state that the brethren and their general economy were held in much esteem by that great apostle of the last century, the Rev. John Wesley, and his equally and talented brother Charles. Indeed, the former acknowledged that it was by communion with Peter Bohler he was enabled to understand the plan of salvation as propounded in the New Testament, and to realise that "peace of God," by faith in Jesus Christ, which he afterwards preached with so much fervour, persistency, and success, and which became a leading characteristic of his long and self-denying ministry. Further, it is, apparently, to his intercourse with the brethren that the Methodist Church is indebted, not only for the knowledge of this joyous fact of Christian privilege and vital godliness, but also for much of its peculiar polity. Lovefeasts, fellowship meetings, watch-night services, class meetings, circuits, and districts, seem mostly to have been grafted from this source. He visited Grace Hall in 1747, when he first preached in Pudsey at 8.oa.m., and upon other occasions during his busy life when at Pudsey, and although the whole manner of their social arrangements did not commend itself to his judgment, yet he was always glad of that spiritual intercourse he found active amongst them. In reference to their social affairs he says in his journal, April 17th, 1780-

I left Leeds in one of the roughest mornings I have ever seen. We had rain, hail, snow and wind in abundance. About nine I preached at Bramley; between one and two at Pudsey. Afterwards, I walked to Fulneck, the German settlement, Mr. Moore shewed us the horse, chapel hall, lodging rooms, the apartments for the widows, the single men and single women. He shewed us likewise the workshops of various kinds, with the shops for grocery, drapery, mercery, hardware, &cc., with which, as well as with bread from their bakehouse, they furnish the adjacent country. I see not what, but the mighty power of God, can keep them from acquiring millions, as they (1st) Buy all materials with ready money at the first hand. (2nd) Have above a hundred young men, above fifty young women, many widows, and without any interruption, in various kinds of manufactures; not for journeymen's wages, but for no wages at all, save a little very plain food and raiment. As they have (3rd) a quick sale for all their goods, and sell them all for ready money. But can they lay up treasure on earth and at the same time lay up treasure in heaven?

The above interesting note will doubtless explain to a very large extent how the community managed to possess itself of this fine property. It was by the persistent self-abnegation of hundreds of people, industriously pursuing this one end, with a religious fervour but rarely equaled. Joyfully toiling, and under the most favourable conditions for success, not for themselves, but the cause to which they were wholly devoted. As an illustration also of the widespread interest felt in one another by the members of the Church generally, a ship's cargo of timber was sent as a present from Norway towards the erection of these buildings.
It will already have been observed from the note above quoted that the object of the establishment was not merely a spiritual one. Employment was to be found for the members, not only to provide for their own necessities, but also that by their labours there might be a capital account for the common good. They this occupied themselves in various trades and manufactures, and became the pioneers of that principle of cooperation which has spread so widely in later years.
The clothmaking business was commenced in 1748, and afterwards that of worsted and gloves, tailoring, shoemaking, farming, etc., by the brethren; and needlework, hosiery, and lace making by the sisters, were all successfully followed for many years, but finally abandoned as unprofitable, or impracticable when brought into competition with the ordinary outside traders. Doubtless the novelty of the movement would attract many young people at first, who were also the subjects of strong religious influences, but the austerity of the life imposed on them being unnaturally severe, would soon become irksome and intolerable; so that what was in the beginning effective by the influence of an abnormal zeal, speedily failed when worked under the conditions of ordinary and reasonable life. The building at the extreme west end of the terrace was erected for clothmaking in 1758, and the business continued to be carried on by the Brethren, principally under the direction of Br. Charlsworth, until 1780, when, for reasons just given, it lapsed into other hands. It was, however, resumed by them about 1823, and continued till 1837, when it was finally abandoned.

The temporary prosperity of the movement, however, aroused the jealousy and anger of many in the district. This feeling was further increased by the spreading of false and scandalous reports as to their political and religious connections; while the fact of the great bulk of their leading men being foreigners, was quite sufficient of itself to quicken the suspicions with which they were generally regarded.
In the middle of the last century the partizans of the Pretender were numerous and active, while Romanism, with which his cause was supposed to be closely connected, was everywhere by the mass of the people bitterly hated. It was, therefore, an easy task with the enemies of the Brethren to accuse them as Romanists and Jacobites, while their peculiar religious rites, and close mode of life, together with the aid they got from abroad, served to convince the ignorant and vulgar, who are always superficial in their observations and hasty in their conclusions, that these pious and harmless strangers were in league against the throne and church. They thus became subject to much annoyance and persecution; their meetings were interrupted, their houses searched, and large mobs from Leeds and elsewhere caused them much apprehension, and threatening serious riots. These, however, seem to have been averted by some of their ministers appearing before Sir Walter de Calverley and taking oath as to the loyal and peaceable character of their work and people; furthermore, they are said to have persuaded one or two magistrates to visit the settlement, and have fully explained to them the nature of its economy. From thence their way would seem to have been unmolested, save by such small matters as occasionally arose from internal causes, or other and more perplexing questions connected with the estate. An instance of the latter sort arose with the owner of the opposite side of the valley, in relation to the Brethren establishing a dyehouse for their cloth manufactory on the stream dividing the two properties.
A note under date 1750 says-
The congregation enjoyed rest from without and within, excepting some disagreeable disputes betwixt us and Mr. Tempest of Tong, concerning the Dyehouse and the use of the brook near it, which came to a tedious laws suit.
Again, in the next year, we find-
The disagreement with Mr. Tempest, in Tong, was finally settled at York in July. Some matters in dispute were given in the right of Mr. Tempest, and the right of the brook in favour of Fulneck Settlement. Br. Metcalf was very much engaged in helping to terminate this disagreeable dispute.
Still another in the year following-
Those in the Economy at Holme had much to suffer by Mr. Tempest, who threatened to turn them out of their house, and they were at last obliged to move from thence to Pudsey town (1756).
Disputes and petty jealousies also between the foreign and English residents were not unknown, and sometimes went so far as to create no small amount of vexation and anxiety.
A congregation of the Moravians existed at Pudsey contemporaneously with the one at Fulneck, but whereas the "Fulneck congregation was confined to its own place; Pudsey congregation (1755) included Holbeck (Leeds), Dudley Hill, Horton, and Baildon." This separate society, with its constitution and privileges, existed down to the year 1811, when, from constantly decreasing numbers, and to prevent an utter collapse, it became amalgamated with the stronger section at Fulneck.
In connection with the Pudsey Society a boys' school was opened, and as an indication of the value set upon their own services by the brethren, it is recorded, Feb. 27th, 1784-just when they were about to begin the erection of the large boarding school at Fulneck-
Brn. Watson and Collis had conference with the committee brethren touching the boys' school to be begun, i.e., to settle the school wages. It was thought readers only should pay 2 1/2d.; readers and writ4ers, 4d.; and readers, writers, and cypherers, 6d. per week; and the schoolmaster to have for the present 6s. per week; and as soon as the Schollers bring in 7s. per week, then he to have 7s. per week!!
There had been an attempt to establish a school two years previously, which failed for the reason that it was "very hard to get any house as room in Pudsey, as they are all occupied, and the rents also are very high." This was in March, 1782; and in July of the same year it states, "we are much concerned that we cannot get a room to keep a school in for our boys."
The minister at Pudsey at this time, a married man, only received 8s. per week, and at the time of the union with Fulneck, as above, his salary was but 12s. per week.
It was old widow Stephenson who received the Brethren when they first came to Yorkshire (sic Pudsey), and in whose house they preached.
This junction of the societies "was settled with 150 persons present, but there were as many as 345 souls in the society. Pudsey, 125; Dudley Hill, 60; Great Horton, 70; Baildon, 30; Leeds and Holbeck, 60. The average during the first ten years of these societies had been 660."
The labourers on the Pudsey plan resided together in a cottage yet indicated in the street at Fulneck.
During the separate "existence of the Pudsey Congregation, the number in Fulneck averaged 359 the first ten years, then rose to 425 as their highest average, and was probably not much under 400 at the time of union."
This was undoubtedly the period of greatest energy in the church, not only in this district but throughout all its ramifications. But we have to do with Fulneck only, and what is said of the Yorkshire societies generally is most fully applicable here, that from "1775-90 was the time of greatest congregational activity; 1785-1825 the almost exclusive educational period; 1825-1855 years of comparative inactivity." (Cent. Job., p. 35.)
The first section was one of utter and general consecration, body and soul, to the service of God and the church, wherein no labour was too great, no sacrifice too much, if only the one would appear to benefit thereby, or the other required it at their hands. Indeed, the brethren seem at this time to have come as near as possible up to the standard of the primitive church, when "all that believed were together, and had all things common."-Acts ii., 44. "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul, and not one of them said that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."-Acts iv., 32. Imbued with this noble charity, and fired by such zeal to promote the spiritual and eternal welfare of each other, and of the masses lying around them in the arms of the Wicked One, it were a marvel, indeed, if, whiled sustained by this spirit, the blessing of heaven had not crowned their labours with success. But "a fierce fire needs much fuel," and humanity is none the less human however sanctified and sustained by Divine grace. The three great forty days of Moses in the mount, Elijah in the desert, and the Saviour in the wilderness, all had an end; for no abnormal condition of life, whatever good it may secure for the nonce, or promise in the future, can possibly be upheld any longer than the fire which animated it is kept fully alive. And to suppose such a state of living can be continuous is to ignore the whole tradition of our being, and the noble attempt of the early Christians which so soon collapsed.
From this universal experience the Brethren were not exempt. Here it appears that within the short space of ten or fifteen years after the settlement of our Congregations, the numbers reached their culminating point. The fire proved in many places to be merely that of stubble, quickly flaming, and soon burn down. Thus, though the number of additions was at first great, --at that time tens were counted where we are contented with units.-the number of those that fell off was proportionately large, amounting (in some years) to between 40 and 60. From the simple accounts, handed down to us, it is hardly possible to say who laboured most successfully; all appear to have devoted themselves, soul and body, to the work. The attractive eloquence of Br. La Trobe, and the loving words of the venerable Bishop Traneker seem to have made particular impression.-(Cent. Jub., p. 41.)
We should not lose sight of the fact that the later half of the last century was a time of general revival of religion throughout this and some other lands. Experimental and practical Godliness was almost extinct; services were held in the churches, and sermons were preached; but the first were coldly formal, and the latter not only insipid but in many cases wholly hid under the bushels of morality and tradition.
The clergy proclaimed the "form of Godliness: without the power; often spoke of virtue, but rarely exhibited the only saving foundation of every Christian grace. The Independents had not developed the evangelical spirit they have since displayed, and there were comparatively few Methodists here to search out the poor and dispised, and to preach with rude but earnest eloquence the terrors of "the wrath to come." Thus the field was open; there were no rivals, and even the places of worship, such as they were, were far apart and thinly scattered among an ignorant population.
Thus were the fields in this corner of Yorkshire ready for the harvest, when Ingham and Delamotte, La Trobe and Traneker, Cennick and Hartley, with others, put in the sickle and reaped a harvest of men; while some of the brethren, as Boehler and Gambold were "compelling the attention of Oxford to the truth by their Latin discourses, prayers, and extemporised verses.
The foundations this laid in true piety, zeal and learning, cannot but be abiding; and although for awhile, the superstructure may fall partially into decay, yet with such a basement to work upon, and the same Divine Power at the command of their faith, may we not at any time look for a return to the old evangelistic activities, and as a consequence, the former fruits. "Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in the ancient years." Mal. iii., iv.
We must now glance at another branch of the work allotted to the place, one which has far exceeded in importance, as it has outlived in time, that of the industrial. I refer to the work of education. This has almost from the beginning been a notable feature of Fulneck, and long ere the value of a liberal education was generally recognised in this country, the Moravians were careful to give it to their own children, as well as to admit others to the benefits of their schools. It must also not be forgotten that theirs was a Missionary Church many years prior to the other Protestant Churches awaking to a sense of this branch of Christian duty. This being so, the children of the Brethren engaged upon foreign stations, where education was next to impossible, had to be cared for at home, so that then, as now, many were sent to this country for that purpose. At the period with which we are now dealing (about 1750)-
Day schools were set on foot in various parts for the use of the societies; and the children of those brethren and sisters who were set apart for the service of the church, were, together with some few whose parents desired it, collected into one family, forming the nucleus of the present boarding-schools at Fulneck. The children's ceconomy was at Broadoaks, in Essex, in 1743, but the boys were afterwards removed to Buttermere, in Wiltshire; and in 1748 were transplanted to Smith's House (Wyke), in Yorkshire, and finally took possession of the rooms under the chapel (1753), which were occupied by them until, 30 or 40 years afterwards, the present Boys School was built.
It was two years after the arrival of the boys, that the girls were also transferred from Church Lane, Chelsea, to the same rooms beneath the chapel. In reference to a sad epidemic of smallpox, there is an entry in the diaries, very characteristic of the simplicity of the times. We read: "By occasion of the smallpox, Our Saviour held a rich harvest among the children, many of whom departed in a very blessed manner."
The first attempt by the Moravian brethren to establish a large public school in Yorkshire was made at Fulneck about 1785, when "a few children of parents who, without entirely connecting themselves with our Church, yet kept up an intimate acquaintance with it, had been already admitted to our schools. The increase of applications of this nature, together with the great insufficiency of the accommodation for both schools below the chapel, rendered an additional building requisite. In August of the above year, the older portion of the present Boys' Boarding School was solemnly opened for this purpose by Brother Traneker." This movement was so successful that, from a beginning of from 50 to 60, the number had reached 200 in 1817. This result was partly due to the fact of the Church's connection with the Continent, by which an uncommon staff of good classical, mathematical, and language teachers was readily and continuously secured. Among the most conspicuous of these was "H. Steinhauer, who, inheriting his father's zeal, and endowed with extraordinary acquirements in most departments of science, imparted signal impulse to many studies, which, with classics, mathematics, and the pursuit of the Fine Arts, enabled this institution to afford a more liberal education than most others."
A Theological College was commenced here in 1809, for the training of students for the ministry, but was discontinued in 1827, being fettered in its usefulness by "numerous restrictions and inadequate resources." It subsisted during these few years "under various names and arrangements, and has not since been renewed," except for a brief period.
The union of this secular education with the church work, and spiritual life of the congregation, was not in all respects considered satisfactory. "The service of the schools swallowed up a great number of brethren, without creating an equivalent supply of new members;" the spirit of zeal and self-denial was declining; success had enervated the establishment, "and the period of real prosperity had ceased long before the numbers had reached their maximum." But the schools were popular, the pupils were many, and the profits good; and the glamour of this success not unnaturally dimmed the eyes of the Brethren, so that they could not see to what an extent they were consuming the hard-won stock of spiritual capital accumulated during the previous fifty years. "It seemed as if the prosperity of the schools was, by its brilliant glare, to hide every other defect, and we believe we are giving a correct impression of the state of feeling, when we say that the first question of a visiting brother was not, "What spirit animates the congregation?' but 'How full are the schools?'"
They were also among the first of the Churches to enter upon that then novel, but now most popular, work of Sabbath School teaching. In 1800 the exertions of C.I. La Trobe were successful in establishing such schools at Fulneck. These, with a short break at the commencement of the period, have ever since been in operation, and proved an incalculable blessing to the whole neighbourhood. Following a principle which seems to be incorporated into most of their religious and social activities, the boys and girls are kept as much as possible apart from each other, and separate schools have been erected of late years for their use; that for the girls being in the street at the rear of the Sisters' House, while the one for the boys occupies a commanding position nearer the crest of the hill. This practice operates throughout their whole polity, the sexes not commingling in any of their religious gatherings; in fact, so far is this enforced at Fulneck, that the writer of this article, having taken a seat upon one occasion, at a public service in the chapel, on the very margin of the female side of the entrance, was peremptorily told, three times over, "You must not sit there!" This division is also strictly carried even to death, as in the burial ground one half is set apart for males, and the other for females, so that husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, whatever may be their lot in Heaven, at least in Hades are kept apart. One is led to wonder that, with such Benedictine practices, matrimony should be sanctioned.
Returning to the Sabbath Schools, it is claimed for them in an account of the "Celebration of the Centenary Jubilee," that the Brethren were not second in this popular and profitable field of labour. It says, "We cannot refrain also from mentioning Bro. Steinhauer, whose exertions show us how far even some of the so-called 'simple' brethren of olden times were in advance of their age. Both as boys' labourer in Fulneck, and as ministering Wyke (1773), he made use of his own press, in order to circulate printed copies of hymns or addresses among the children, thus anticipating by twenty years the work of Sunday Schools. It would also further appear that this same "simple" brother is responsible for the introduction of choir-singing into the services of the church at Fulneck. To his also is given the honourable notice of having, ten years previous to the above date, raised the standard of instruction in the day schools from a "course of tuition at first very limited, comprising little beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic," by the introduction of higher branches of study, as Latin, German, French, music, etc.; which, of course, considerably encroached upon the time set apart for manual labour; for even the time of the children was strictly apportioned between school and work. Here we appear to see the first germ of that modern system of education in connection with our Board Schools-the half-timers-in operation at this out-of-the-way corner of the world, a hundred years before the establishment of these institutions was practically contemplated. Is there anything new under the sun?
The buildings for the boys' boarding schools were erected 1784-5, but considerably enlarged in 1818. They occupy the space between the Brethren's and the Directors' residences, and were "solemnly opened by Br. Traneker, who at that time combined the functions of congregation-helper and minister with those of school director." The ceremony of the stone laying is referred to in the Diary under date April 19th, 1784:--
Being the anniversary of the settling of the congregation in Fulneck up (on) the footing of a place congregation 29 years since. At 8 was morning blessings; at 11 the congn. assembled in the Hall, when, after singing some verses, i.e., "Unfathomed wisdom of our King," &c., reading the inscription to be put in the Leden Box, the foundation stone of the House for the Boys' ceconomy was laid by Br. Traneker, who, standing upon the foundation stone, offer'd up a prayer, and though I (was) at a great distance to (from) him, yet the feeling I had was sufficient to convince me our Savr. Was pleased with the whole transaction.
From hence have gone forth missionaries to the remotest parts of the earth, not only to teach and preach, but often to work and maintain themselves in desolate regions. Here too has been the chief seminary in England for training of ministers for the home work, and a succession of teachers for succeeding generations. The Centenary Anniversary of the schools was celebrated on May 3rd, 1853.
It would be an incomplete notice of these old and important scholastic institutions, were we to omit mention of a few of the names which stand forth conspicuously in connection with them, as Directors, Tutors, or Pupils.
Among the first of these is one whose name is constantly recurring in the Diaries of the last century, the Rev. G. Traneker. As stated above, his duties were duplex and onerous; yet discharged, evidently, with conscientious faithfulness, and a general satisfaction to those among whom he laboured. He was the first "Helper" under the new settlement, April 14th, 1755, being appointed "Ordinary [Bishop] of Fulneck, and of the whole," i.e., the other congregations in connection with it, "and his wife also was to be a general labouress or elder." He is specially mentioned with the brethren Johannes de Watteville, La Trobe, and Charlesworth.-who is referred to as the "Gaius" or "Congregation Innkeeper,"-as taking a general and principal part in all the solemnities of the great Conference where these and many other things of importance were settled, including the appointment of Br. Planta as congregation physician. The Bishop's first appointment was not of long duration, as he was succeeded in both offices in 1757 by the Rev. B. La Trobe, but he returned to his old duties twenty years later, 1776, and appears to have continued as School Director till 1791, and was congregation-helper until the appointment of the Rev. S. Benade, in 1801. This venerable and devoted servant of Christ and the brethren died at Fulneck in the following year, and was interred in the burial ground there. The jubilee of the brethren's and sisters' houses was celebrated this year.
The Rev. Benjamin Latrobe, who has already been referred to, appears to have been a man of first importance in the church of the Brethrens' Unity, and a member of the Central Board of Direction in London. From him descended a long line of worthy and notable men and women who have continuously laboured in some way or other at Fulneck, and other places, in the interest of the church.-Of his sons, Christian Ignatius, Peter, and James; the first named was very actively employed both at home and abroad, and was often at Fulneck during his busy life: in the latter part of the year 1815 he visited the missions in South Africa, being at that time Secretary to the Brethren's Missionary Society. Peter was an eminent musician and composer; James, in 1788 was minister at Mirfield, and in 1806 at Pudsey-at that time a bishop-with 8s. per week. His son, James, was minister of Mirfield from 1836 to 1841. Another member of the family, Joseph, who was educated at Fulneck, "rose to be Lieut.-governor of Victoria, in Australia."-
The "settling" of Fulneck as a place-congregation was done under his guidance, in conjunction with John de Watteville, or "Johannes," as he is usually called, during a visit which they paid apparently for that purpose. He followed Mr. Traneker in the offices of congregation-helper, and school-director at the end of his first term, 1757, and is said to have been a gifted man and an eloquent preacher as before stated, he was the first to occupy the pulpit of the chapel in 1750. His power as a preacher is often spoken of, especially at the Easter Services, when the assemblies were not only very large but tumultuous. He appears from the tabular statement, in the Cent. Jub. account to have held the above offices until 1768, or about ten years. A note under date July 31st of that year, says, "Bro. Latrobe held his last public preaching for this time of his long sojourning in Yorkshire. A farewell lovefeast was held Aug. 24th, before his setting out to London." He is, however often mentioned as visiting Fulneck during the following years. He died at Chelsea, 1786; and so great was the respect in which he was held, that no less than 58 coaches followed his remains to the grave.
A curious note occurs a year previous to his leaving this place:--"May 15th, I kept the meeting at the girls' school, and acquainted them that they must again move for some weeks to Jefferson's house, in Pudsey, as Sister Latrobe would want that house in which they were during the time of her lying in."
Passing over a host of names, worthy of note, we must come to one whose long connection with the Schools endeared him to many, and whose cheerful, active, Christian life, is yet fragrant in the memory of all in this neighbourhood. The Rev. Joseph Hutton Willey, who for a long period was director of both the Fulneck boarding schools, was born in Ballinderry in co. Antrim, in 1820. His father was born in Fulneck in 1781, and removed with his parents to Plymouth in July, 1783, who had completed their appointment on the Pudsey plan. He was a minister in the Moravian Church, as had been also his grandfather, a Yorkshireman who joined the Brethren at their first coming into these parts about the middle of last century, and was appointed minister at Pudsey, 1773. His mother was a Hutton, of a good Dublin family; she was aunt of Sir W.R. Hamilton, the celebrated mathematician, and Astronomer Royal of Ireland, who spent some time in Fulneck on the occasion of a British Association Meeting in Leeds. The late director had himself been a scholar at Fulneck, which he left in 1835 to pursue his studies, at first in Dublin, afterwards at the Moravian Church Schools in Nisky and Guadenfeld. After completion of his studies, he assisted for three years in tuition at a school in Holland, spending thus eight years in early life with what advantage is to be gained from foreign training, and becoming conversant with German and French. In 1848, Mr. Willey was ordained in Fairfield by Bishop Essex, and after assisting in the ministry in Bristol, he was appointed to the charge of the congregation at Gomersal. At the same time, in 1851, he married Miss Jane Millar, a Belfast lady, who was educated at Gracehill. Their stay in Gomersal was but short, for the next summer, 1852, saw their entrance upon the superintendence of the schools at Fulneck, a work in which nearly 27 years were to be spent. During this period there were, of course, many fluctuations, but the general course of the Institution was very successful; the premises were improved, and the playground extended, a swimming bath built, and the financial state of the school much improved. At the first beginning of the University school examination, Fulneck joined the movement heartily, and won early honours, pupils receiving prizes from the hand of Lord Palmerston in Leeds. Mr. Fitch, on behalf of Government, made a close inspection of both schools, and sent in a most favourable report. At the present time, 1887, two of the former pupils are valued members of Parliament.
During the period of Mr. Willey's directorship, above 1,000 young people boarded and were taught in the schools; at least 120 teachers had been engaged in the good work; above 200 domestic servants had followed, as usual, in too rapid succession. The elevated and airy situation of the school buildings was conducive to health, and for a long time there seemed to be immunity from any serious ailment, but a rather severe visitation of fever in 1878 checked prosperity for a time, and disheartened those who had the serious responsibility of caring for the children of absent parents, so that Mr. And Mrs. Willey were for some reasons not sorry to take an otherwise regretful leave of friends in Fulneck and neighbourhood, following a call to take charge of the congregation in Gracehill, co. Antrim. This parting took place in March, 1879.
He was succeeded in the office of Director of the Schools by the Rev. John J. Shawe, who had himself been educated at Fulneck, and in Germany; afterwards was engaged as a teacher here, and Brethren's labourer about 1856. He then removed to Ireland for a few years, and subsequently returned to Fulneck in connection with the Theological Institute, which had been revived for a short time, but which was afterwards removed to Fairfield, near Manchester. His term of labour in striving, under great difficulties, to restore the Schools to some degree of the prestige they had lost by a repetition of unfortunate epidemic visitations, was cut short by almost sudden death, under circumstances most distressing. Staying with his family at Morecambe in 1882, one of his sons when bathing, got out of his depth and called to him for assistance. Both were nearly drowned, but were rescued in a state of unconsciousness by a boatman, and afterwards restored. In the case of Mr. Shawe, however, fever supervened, and the shock to his system was so great, that although he partially recovered, yet a relapse came on, and he died in about a fortnight after the sad occurrence, to the great grief of all who knew him, and amid much sympathy for his wife and family. He was a gentleman of great energy and devotion to his work, of very considerable attainments, and as a preacher, eloquent, impressive, and popular.
The Rev. William Titterington, another old boy and teacher, succeeded next in 1882, and is at present in charge of the Boys' School, which now numbers about 70 pupils, and under his able conduct, assisted by his matronly partner, and a staff of efficient teachers, is regaining no small amount of the favour it so unfortunately lost for a while. Miss Shawe, sister of the above J.J. Shawe, has the management of the Girls' Department. These biographical notes might be extended to a great length; indeed, a volume of biographies of Fulneck worthies would in itself be a work of large extent and very considerable interest. For beside those who have had the direction of the Schools, many have been otherwise associated with them who, in their day, were
men of influence, and have left impressions of their work, which are yet, and must continue, "Footprints on the sands of Time."
One of these was Mr. William Nelson, who as a musician and an artist, was well known and highly esteemed both in the schools and the neighbourhood. He had charge of the chapel organ and the musical services for more than 30 years, these services during that period being unusually famous. As an extempore player he had few equals, and his method of accompanying the services was marked by great judgment and taste. Nor was he less known as an artist. His drawings were of the highest order, and much sought after by those who had the opportunity of knowing him.
A few of these passed under the hands of the lithographer; perhaps the best known to the public being a view of Fulneck, and a set of six views of Kirkstall Abbey.
In many ways he did good work for the church of the Brethren, holding sundry offices from time to time; and many who have passed through the schools would testify to the care and attention devoted to them in connection with these two branches of stuffy under his guidance. He died and was buried at Fulneck in 1868, aged 58 years. His son, Mr. C. Sebastian Nelson, architect, of Leeds, but who resides at Fulneck, in the pleasant house formerly occupied by his parents, has now charge of the organ and musical services of the congregation.
One other, whose long connection with the place and neighbourhood forbids his exclusion from these pages, was born at Fulneck, Nov. 8th, 1820, and educated at the school there. His father dying when he was but an infant, EDWARD SEWELL became the special charge of a mother who devoted herself to his welfare. He was intended for the ministry, and his early education was conducted with that aim; but circumstances occurred ere his arrival at manhood, which diverted him from this end, and finally moulded his professional after-life very different from what he ever expected. He began to teach in the Sabbath school when only 14 years old, and for nearly 20 years pursued these labours "with abundant success."
In 1842, he was entrusted with the head-mastership of the day school in Fulneck, a post he held for 27 years with unvarying prosperity to all concerned, and with distinguished honour to himself. His name will ever be remembered by hundreds of his pupils with sincere gratitude and pleasure.
During the first 49 years of his residence in Fulneck he filled many posts of honour and trust in the church; twice he was called to its service; for years he was conductor of the choral society, and chief bandmaster. His townsmen also elected him to several public offices, which he discharged faithfully and well. He was connected with the chief improvements of his native place in every direction for the good of his fellow-men. For 16 years he was the Hon. Secretary of the Literary Union, held in Fulneck, and the papers he read before it deserve to be more widely known than they have been as yet.
In connection with the Cent. Jubilee celebration, at Fulneck, Mr. Sewell composed a "Cantata," which was performed here on April 21st, 1855, and was well received.
In the year 1869, he removed to Ilkley to establish a college for boarders, which for awhile appeared to answer his expectations. Here he served for some years upon the Local Board and the Board of Guardians. During his residence in Ilkley he paid a visit to Italy and had the honour of an introduction, as Grand Master of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, to the Pope Pius IX., who dismissed him with the remark:
I have been pleased to meet you.-your works of charity and love have preceded you here,--go on in the great work in which you are engaged; for charity knows no religion, no country, and heaven will assuredly bless you. Farewell.
Mr. Sewell not only won the distinction just indicated in connection with his Lodge, but also that of M.A., and many other inferior, though not less honourable, trophies by his wonderful energy, talent, and perseverance. Though now much enfeebled by affliction and misfortune, as before said, his marvelously active life is declining in quiet, not many yards from where he first drew his breath.
The festivals of Fulneck have always been a leading and characteristic feature of the place, and when the work from this centre was more energetic, and its influence more widely spread than it has been during the last half century, these were times of stirring importance which excited a large amount of influence, not only upon the members of the church generally, but also upon those dwelling in the district who were merely observers of their doings. Upon these occasions it was customary for very many to come from Holbeck, Baildon, Wyke, Dudley Hill, Gomersal, Mirfield, Heckmondwike, etc., to join in the sacred services which followed one another at short intervals during the day.
Such constant gatherings partook very much of the character of the feasts under the old Jewish economy; when every Jew, unless incapacitated, was expected to go up to Jerusalem to the Temple Service. Fulneck, from the time of its constitution as a place-congregation, became such a temple to the scattered societies of the Brethren in these quarters, who, like the ancient Israelites, might often be seen wending their way in small parties along most of the roads converging upon their Hill of Zion. These holy pilgrimages-long before stage coaches or railways were thought of-must have tended very much to maintain and strengthen the fraternal feeling among the locally divided members of the church, and to encourage that sympathy and fellowship which was so strong a bond to their political unity. It becomes, indeed, a question whether the excess of this feeling has not degenerated into an evil, and that partial isolation and exclusiveness for which the colony is somewhat known.
These festivals may be divided into two classes; those which are general, or related to the whole community, and those immediately connected with the individual congregation, although even these latter are as universal in their observance as the former. The general festivals-all of which are still sacredly observed, though not in the same degree-are,
1st. Beginning of the Building at Herrnhut, by the first emigrants of Moravia. For June 17th.
2nd. The laying of the Foundation Stone of the first Meeting Hall and Academy at Herrnhut. May 12th.
3rd. The Renewal of the Brethren's Church, 1727. Aug. 13.
4th. The Great Awakening among the Children at Herrnhut, Aug. 27th.
5th. Beginning of the Hourly Intercession. Aug. 27th.
6th. First Mission to the Heathen; the Negroes at St. Thomas, W.I. Aug. 22nd
7th. First Mission to the Heathen in Greenland. Jan. 19th.
8th. Powerful experience in the Unity of the Brethren, that Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and Head of His Church. Sept. 16th and Nov. 13th.
The two first of the above relate to their temporal polity; the third to their doctrinal unity, the fourth and eighth to special religious experiences, and the two others to their work in the mission field.
The local or congregational festivities are much more personal and limited in their scope, yet, as above stated, as wide spread in their observance, i.e., wherever there is a congregation to which the individual members can obtain access. For these annual ceremonials the church is divided into what are called "choirs" or bands, all of which, with one exception, are in relation to the state of marriage. Thus, there is
1st. The Married Choir-Brethren and Sisters.
2nd. The Single Brethren's Choir.
3rd. The Single Sisters' Choir.
4th. The Widowers' Choir.
5th. The Widows' Choir.
6th. The Children's Choir.
In addition even to this large number of special services, there are the local school and chapel anniversaries, and others still more sacred in connection with the birth and death of the Divine Saviour, at Christmas and Easter. And as in reference to the latter, there has been occasion to remark upon the disorderly conduct of the crowds of people who annually assembled to witness the novel ceremonials of the brethren; it is only fair to add, that the upright and sincere conversation of the one, and the good common sense of the other, at last prevailed to bring about a better state of things. Thus the Diary of 1822 says: "Being Easter Sunday we had, as usual, great crowds flocking to our chapel, who conducted themselves with decorum, and, generally speaking, with devotion." Again, in reference to the Christmas Eve of the same year, we find-Dec. 24th, "The public service this evening was attended by great crowds of attentive hearers; many who came could not be admitted for want of room. It is pleasing to observe that an improvement, at least in the manners of our neighbours, appears to take place from year to year. On such occasions they now disperse with great quietness and decorum." Surely this is a red mark for Pudsey, 65 years ago, and at a time when it is usually credited with lying in uncivilised darkness!
All these festivals partake very much of one character, excepting, perhaps, those of the Sunday Schools and that at Easter, which is preceded by a whole week of special services. As may be readily surmised, the diaries of the place abound with references to their observance, nearly all of which are expressions of gratitude and praise for spiritual blessings, sometimes the texts discoursed upon, with brief comments on the sermons, and often with references to the weather as affecting the attendance from the outlying Societies. Very often heavy and continuous snowstorms are noted as preventing the movements of the people; and at other times the wind made it dangerous even for the local members to join in the services. Let one extract suffice:--
Feby. 2nd, 1822. The wind resembled a hurricane, and rendered it dangerous for our brethren and sisters to pass and repass to and from the Chapel. Besides tiles and bricks being thrown from roofs and chimnies, especially at the Single Brethren's House, a high chimney on the house of Brother and Sister Jowett fell about 11 o'clock at night, broke through the roof under which they slept, and spread a great number of bricks on the public road, which must have occasioned the loss of life if it had happened at a time when persons passed that way. The torrents of rain at the same time were such, that when Brother Reichel, on the following day, was on his way to Baildon, there to preach, he could proceed no farther than Shipley, the whole valley of the River Aire being inundated.
The observance of the Festival days mostly commences with a short early service, which is followed by an ordinary one and address. Then there is often a lovefeast, succeeded by an evening service, and mostly the Holy Communion. There are also particular matters connected with each choir, which are introduced in their order, and which serve to vary the general routine. There is, moreover, one thing which, perhaps, characterises these solemnities more than anything else, viz., the passing round of a loving cup, or, as it is termed, "The Cup of Praise," when the whole choir, or congregation of members, stands, and, joining hands, passes the cup from one to another, each, as he or she received it, at the same time making a solemn promise to be wholly the Lord's. Two or three notes from the records will convey a sufficiently good impression of the whole of these high days, and also introduce a few names of those belonging to the Society at that period, 1818:--
April 19th. Friday being the Anniversary of the Fulneck Congregation, and the weather being fine, there was a good attendance of our brethren and sisters, Eleven persons at their earnest request were joined to our Society. The two married pairs, James and Ann Wood, Joseph and Elizabeth Waterhouse; the two men, Robert Hall and James Walker; the widow woman Elizabeth Clark and the three girls, Mary Proctor, Mary Webster, and Sarah Wilson. The married man William Stowe, junr., was also readmitted to the Society.
May 21st. The Single Sisters' Choir had a lively and blessed celebration of their festival. The day being fine, there was a good attendance from all the country congregations. The great girls, Han. Walker, Elizabeth Stanhope, Sar. Nichols, Mary Wood, Eliz. Proctor, and Maria Pliscke, were received into the Choir.
Mary 31st. The married man John Naylor; the girls Han. Man, and Sarah Turner, were added to the Society. The married woman Sarah Cromack and the married man James Bullock, were at the same time solemnly received into the congregation.
July 29th. The two youths Chas. Sharman and Jos. Stocks * were received into the Choir.
*=Still residing at Fulneck End in fairly good health and strength.
A more particular account of the observance of the great Centenary Festival which commemorated the first establishment of the little church at Herrnhut, when Christian David, the great apostle of its new dispensation, struck his axe into the first tree cut down for building a dwelling, with the exclamation from Psalm 84, v. 3, "The sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest for herself," etc. These words were the theme of a sermon on the 16th of June, 1822,
Which treated on the excellency of our religious ordinances, enjoyed for 100 years, with full security under every government in whose dominions we have been planted. In the evening the congregation met for a solemn conclusion of the last century of the revived Brethren's Unity; a powerful emotion pervaded the whole assembly, and we received manifest proofs that the Lord still owns us as His flock and people.
On the following morning, the 17th, the tru memorial day-
As early as five o'clock we were, by musical instruments, roused from sleep, and then already our distant brethren and sisters began to arrive from various quarters. At eight we assembled for the morning blessing; and at ten an extensive and very affecting narrative was read of the events we commemorated. The meeting was opened and concluded with the singing of some verses composed for the occasion by our brother James Montgomery, in which the congregation joined with uncommon life and spirit. The chapel could scarcely contain the congregation, especially at the Lovefeast, when an ode was sung which was in substance a translation of that which had been composed for the congregation at Herrnhut. Want of room prevented us from admitting, with very few exceptions, any but members of the congregation. The discourse was held on Gamaliel's words, Acts 5, v. 38-39. That the cause committed to the Brethren's Unity is of God we were most powerfully convinced, by tracing His way with us hitherto. To belong to such a people becomes increasingly dear to us, and at the "Cup of Praise" we covenanted with one accord to be faithful to Him Who hath called us. We can hope, from our experience of this day, that Our Saviour will grant to our Church a season of revival and renovation. His Spirit was poured upon us from on high, and the celebration of this jubilee will not soon be forgotten. For the purpose of obtaining room in our chapel for these solemnities, the majority of the boarders had been previously dismissed for the midsummer holidays.
A very brief account of the origin of some of the first-class Festivals may not be deemed out of place in this short history, especially as but few outside the inner circle of the Moravian community will have any knowledge thereof.
(No. 1.) The one referred to above is at the head of the list, and as more than indicated, commemorates the exodus from Fulneck in Moravia of the three or four families which, under the direction of Christian David, first settled upon the estate of Count Zinzendorf in Lusatia, where they found a refuge from the persecutions of their enemies, and began the work hereafter described. These persecutions had been maintained during a whole century by the Romish Church, until that of the Brethren and other Protestant professors was almost exterminated, and, by the "craft of their adversaries," had been deprived "of their religious liberty, their chapels, their ministers, and their books." Yet there were many of them left, especially in the little town of Fulneck and the adjacent villages, which had formerly been the parish of the last Bishop of the Moravian Brethren, Amos Comenius. It was on Whit-Sunday, 1722, that C. David made known to a few members of this tormented flock, that he had formed the acquaintance of the young Count, whom he described as "a genuine follower of the Lord Jesus," and that he had invited them to his estate at Berthelsdorf, with a promise of protection. Two brothers, Augustus and Jacob Neisser, both cutlers by trade, at once set out with David, who was a carpenter, for the new home accompanied by their wives and children, including twins only three months old, and two or three young persons besides. They were obliged to take their departure under cover of the night, and without communicating their purpose to any but their most faithful friends. These godly pilgrims arrived at their destination without any mishap, and were welcomed by the steward of the Count, he being away at the time. They were at first lodged in "a lonely and deserted dwelling, which had been erected 70 years before, but never been inhabited." A cow was also given them, "that they might be able to furnish their little ones with milk." A spot being assigned them for their colony, and the trees marked for their use, arrangements were at once made to commence clearing and building. "The place which had been chosen was an extremely wild and marshy spot, overgrown with bushes and briers, at the declivity of the hill, called the Hutberg." Is there not here a striking likeness to the site selected by Zinzendorf in Yorkshire for the headquarters of the Brethren?
Here it was, then, that the three earnest men set to work, and on the 17th of June, 1722, felled the first tree for the first house at Herrnhut, thus commencing a labour full of zeal, trust, and hope, which has been the home of their church, and the glory of its members for more than a century and a half. "This tree was afterwards formed into a pillar, and required as much work and labour as five others, which circumstance led them to many reflections." It was the pious steward, Mr. Heitz, who gave the name to the place by which it has ever since been known. This occurred in a letter from him to the Count, on July 8th of the above year. On August 12th he wrote: "Yesterday the new building erected on the Lord's Watch (Herrnhut) has been so prosperously finished, that no person engaged in its erection has received the slightest injury." In an article written by him relative to Herrnhut, he says, "We gave to this new place, situated near the Hutberg, the name of Herrnhut (Lord's Watch) partly because this name will remind us that the Lord keepeth watch over us as our protector, and partly, also, because it will bring to our daily remembrance our duty to watch and pray continuously."
(No. 2.) Meantime the persecution of the Protestants in Bohemia and Moravia, etc., was carried on with increasing bitterness; for in the year 1724
There arose a great and most violent persecution. All those who even attended the meetings were thrown into prison, and the jails being soon filled with prisoners, the rest were confined in stables, or thrown into offensive holes, where some of them nearly perished from suffocation. Others were cast into cellars filled with water, in which they had to remain in a standing posture till they were almost frozen to death. Some were confined in the very depth of winter in the tower of the castle, to extort from them, through the sufferings they had to endure in consequence of the intense cold, a confession of what books they had, who attended the meetings, etc. Some were sentenced to hard labour in irons for a series of years; some, who had made a bold confession of Jesus, remained imprisoned for life, others were transported to distant towns, or had heavy fines imposed upon them. This was particularly the case with the families of Nitschmann and Schneider. The house of one of the former was levelled to the ground because he had lodged a Protestant in the same.
Upon one occasion more than 150 persons were assembled at the house of David Nitschmann, on Easter Monday of the above year, in the village of Kunewolde, when the Justice of the Peace, with his officers, came furiously into their midst. The Brethren, however, so far from being alarmed or taking to flight, commenced at once with a loud voice, to sing that verse of Luther's,
And if the world with devils swarmed,
And threatened us to swallow,
We're not afraid, for we are armed,
And victory must follow.
When the Justice commanded them to be silent, they repeated the verse once and again, which threw him into such a state of perplexity that he flung down the books he had seized, in haste, and departed without executing his purpose. And this was only during the first half of the last century, in the centre of Europe, in the dominions of enlightened and powerful Austria. Is not the beast with the seven heads the same ravenous and cruel creature in all places, and at all times, except when awed by superior forces, or restrained by a tiger-like lurking policy? Oh, that men would dispassionately read, mark, and learn what history so plainly teaches, and not be deluded by false charity, or a political war cry, to place those religious and other privileges won for us by the blood of our martyred ancestors, in jeopardy! Rome is Rome all the world over; the same yesterday, to-day, and for as long as God shall permit her to bear her iron scepter, and wear her triple crown; whether in her own naked hideousness, or the snowy plumes of a celestial form.
From this bloodthirsty tyranny others at this time were driven to forsake their kindred, country, and possessions-for some of them were "sons of opulent parents,"-and go forth not knowing whither. A party started on this sad pilgrimage at ten o'clock at night, on May 2nd, 1724, and, that they might "not be overtaken by those who might possibly be sent to pursue them, traveled across a pathless mountain toward Silecia." On the 12th they arrived at Herrnhut, where they were received by their old friends
With uncommon demonstrations of joy: but the room for dwelling and lodging was extremely small, there being as yet but one of the houses finished, and of that only the lower story. This was the day appointed for laying the foundation stone of that large building, which was intended by the Count, and his friends united with him, to be an academy for the young nobility, and to be employed moreover for other general and useful purposes; and in which a large saloon was appropriated hereafter for the meetings of the congregation at Herrnhut.
Baron Frederic de Watteville, who was one of Zinzendorf's most devoted friends and coadjutors, and whose successor, Johannes, is mentioned often in connection with our Fulneck, resided at this time in the humble dwelling of the Brethren. On this important occasion he had, "from the earliest dawn of the day been in an extraordinary frame of devotion, and to show how utterly he had renounced the world, "placed under the foundation-stone all the jewels and costly things which were yet in his possession." The Count's discourse and de Watteville's prayer and devotion produced upon the minds of the new emigrants
The full conviction that this was the place where their foot might rest. They had quitted their country with their staff in hand, with a view to seek a place of rest for themselves, and for those of their acquaintance, who, like them, could resolve to forsake all their possessions in order to enjoy liberty of conscience. Now they had found what far exceeded their expectations, and here they therefore erected their tents.
It may be proper here to mention that the grandfather of the then Count,--Erasmus, Count de Zinzendorf,--had himself "emigrated from Austria for the sake of the Gospel, and left all his estates behind him."
Others, arriving shortly after at the place, were employed as masons, stone-cutters, carpenters, joiners, glaziers, potters, or assistant labourers; so that the Academy and Hall was opened during the following year. On the second anniversary of the stone-laying, May 12th, 1726, "the pupils were solemnly assembled in remembrance of Lady de Gersdorf, grandmother to Zinzendorf, who had departed this life the 6th of March, on which occasion they delivered orations in the Latin, German, French and Polish languages."
The celebration of this festival is thus referred to in the Fulneck Diary for 1818:--
May 12th. We took notice of the various events which render this day so important in the Brethren's Unity; and more especially of that which makes it annually a day of particular blessing to the congregation at Herrnhut, the first of the renewed Brethren's Church, and the germ whence all the rest have proceeded.
It would be extending this little history very much beyond its scope were we to enter into all the particulars of the causes which have given rise to these memorial celebrations, more especially as they are in fact a history of the Church, and bear no direct relation to Fulneck, only as an important branch of that tree at whose roots they lie.
(No. 3.) This can be but very summarily dealt with, and must also suffice as regards this feature of the Brethren's ecclesiastical history. Like most other churches where any latitude has been given to individual opinion, this had soon to lament over a strong disposition on the part of many to introduce other forms and doctrines than those to which they had already subscribed. Some of these, men of mark, piety, and influence, became infected with the peculiar doctrine of Calvin, and wrought with so much success that almost the whole community was drawn away from the truth as held by their fathers. Matters indeed arrived at such a pitch that it seemed more than probably the little colony would again become scattered, or at best divided into sects. Many means were tried to avert this evil, but apparently without avail; counsel, entreaty, and prayer; were alike without effect; the leaders declared their purpose rather to go again, with staff in hand, to seek another home than to allow their new convictions to be brought under any restraint.
All of this was matter of intense grief to the young and pious Count, who had done so much to promote the happiness and comfort of these strangers upon his estate, not, as he says, that a new town might be founded, but that it should be a congregation for the Lord. By great patience, however, combined with consummate tact, and no small amount of humility, he succeeded so far in winning back the malcontents that the breach was healed; a constitution of liberal statutes drawn up and confirmed; twelve elders elected by lot; the Count appointed warden or general overseer, with the Baron de Watteville as his as assistant; all the other offices "were filled anew, and Brethren and Sisters were respectively chosen in the same manner as the choice of the twelve Elders had been effected." This custom was also carried still further, for when the Elders in their Conference failed to agree on any matter, it was referred to the Count "to give the decision by the use of the lot." Thus, as a contemporary records, the spirit of our fathers "came again upon us, and great signs and wonders were wrought among the Brethren in those days, and great grace prevailed among us, and in the whole country. This is the re-union of the UNITED BRETHREN."
These must be accepted as indicating the character and source of the whole, and are given that it may be seen from whence they have come, and with what purpose they are so religiously observed, not alone at Fulneck, but wherever the Church extends.
The decision by lot, just referred to, is one of the peculiarities of the Fulneck community, and as such has often been a subject of curiosity to those without the pale. It is stated in the above instance to have been called into use for the election of officers, and the settlement of differences. There were also other occasions when this peculiar method of procedure was adopted, such as the selection of persons for the mission work, and other extraordinary purposes, and not infrequently for partnership in marriage. Whatever may be said for or against the practice, it cannot be denied that the Brethren had scripture warrant for its use; while the whole significance of it in their hands, was a testimony of their absolute consecration to God, reserving no will of their own, but leaving the whole disposing thereof with the Lord. It may then be taken for granted, that it was always resorted to with the greatest reverence and awe, and after much prayer for the divine interposition, the result being ever taken with humility and an assurance of the Lord's will. It may be added that this solemn practice is less seldom called into requisition now than formerly.
Another distinctive feature of the Brethren is the Pedelavium, or feet washing, which although confined almost exclusively to themselves, as a section of the Christian Church, has a much more positive authority than the former. For did not the God-man wash his disciples' feet? And did he not say, "Ye ought also to wash one another's feet?" This injunction is accepted literally by the Moravians. The Fulneck records say,
Wednesday, April 11th, 1770, At the Pedelavium of the place, we, who were to wash the feet of our Brethren of the Pudsey congregation to-morrow, had our feet washed with the place, and those who washed them were also to be washed with us to-morrow.
And on the following day it is noted-
At seven in the morning and at five in the evening was read this day's portion of the Acts of the Son of Man, and presently after a suitable discourse and prayer, kneeling, was the Pedelavium for the communicants of this congregation, and for those of the place who had washed their fellow members yesterday.
Just another quotation to show the importance attached to this ceremony, as a matter of conscience and holy obedience.
Feby. 28th, 1778. Br. Sam'l. Fowler, a widower, had the "foot-washing: previous to his going to the holy communion to-morrow, as he had exempit himself from it for many years through unprofitable reasoning.
A few incidents selected from many which are recorded, will give some little insight into the home life of the period and help to show that notwithstanding all the great changes of this century, the daily life of our fathers was not materially different to what it is at present. Thus,
Oct. 5th, 1775. A few days ago one of our communicant Brothers experienced a particular preservation; he works in the coal mines, and came out of the pit, and, contrary to his usual custom, ran directly under a hedge to put on his clothes, and no sooner had he left the pit but it tumbled together.
Oct. 23rd. Br. Willey went to see Grace Hartley in or Society, whose husband, a cloth maker, went to Leeds market on the 17th instant, and has not been heard of since, which is a great trouble to his wife, who thinks he's fallen into the river and drowned. Nov. 29th. Br. John Tordoff gat very much hurt yesterday in a coal-pit, and it was a great wonder to every one that knew it that (he) was not kill'd on the spot, because a stone of more than a pack weight fell from the top of the pit more than 20 yeards deep, where he was in the bottom, and it fell upon him. O
Oct. 10th, 1780. I went a good round to visit the sick; this visit was mor4e agreeable to the sick than to my poor old legs. (Br. Gossenbaur.)
We Fear that the following note would not apply to many horse-dealers of the present day.
July 3rd, 1782. The corpse of the widower, Br. John Hinchcliffe, was interred at Fulneck, and as he was a man much known (for he has followed many years the trade of going to fares and markets to buy and sell horses), and also a man much belov'd, there were a large number of people attended his corpse to their resting place. There were people from Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, and all round about. We have lost in him an excellent Committee Br., and a Br. Who helped much in our outward matters.
The part taken by the Fulneck congregation in the mission enterprise, demands a larger notice than can possibly be given to it in this brief sketch. It will have been observed that two of the general festivals relate to this important section of Moravian activity, and Fulneck has not been behind any of its fellows in doing what it could to maintain and extend this noble campaign. Besides which, its situation so near to the centre of England, made it a convenient "house of call" for those who were passing to or from the Continent in connection with the various fields of labour, so that at one time or another it has lodged nearly every person of distinction who has been set apart for this wide sphere of Christian charity and self-denial.
It is a pleasing reflection, when one enters the precincts of the village, to feel we are treading where so many holy ones have trodden in the generations before us. Men who have gone forth as "ministering angels: to the ends of the earth, "bearing precious seed," or who have returned therefrom "bringing their sheaves with them." Unknown and unheeded they passed by the doors of the many, but once at Fulneck they were welcomed with heart and voice, or dismissed with the Cup of Praise; thus-
Feby. 26th, 1773. Late at night was the Cup of Covenant (Praise) with dear Br. Meder, who sets out in the morning for London and Antigus.
And again,
Jany. 15th, 1777. The day was concluded in the Hall with the Cup of Praise with our dear Brn. And Sts. Bound for St. Kitts, who are to set out to-morrow,.. . . the people felt a good deal at parting with them from this place, especially Br. And Sr. Birkby.
The principal stations occupied by the Brethren have been, and still are, amongst the lowest and most needy tribes of the human family. This has been the policy of their Church from the beginning.
As early as the year 1715 Count Zinzendorf, while yet at the Academy at Halle, had entered into a covenant with the friend of his youth, Fred de Watteville, to establish Missions, especially among those heathen tribes which were totally neglected by others.
As the outcome of this resolve they first started to labour among the degraded negroes employed upon our sugar plantations in St. Thomas's, and afterwards in the other islands of the West Indies. Their next step was to Greenland, where they have done much good among the Esquimaux and other tribes in that most inhospitable region. They have also taken ground at the very antipodes of this northern climate, and for generations past have scattered the gospel seed, and taught the blessings of civilized life to the Hottentots and Bosjesmans of Southern Africa. Thus, at a meeting at Fulneck, April 18th, 1768, the Rev. B. La Trobe stated, that since the "setline" of the place 13 years previously-
It had yielded 20 servants and handmaids who had gone from it to be employed actually in our service, and that Samuel Isles, one of them, had been the Apostle of the Blacks in Antego; and William Balmforth, another of them, was now, with much diligence and success, employed to carry forward the work of the Lord in Island (Iceland?).
Sep. 24th, 1769. In the afternoon was the General Meeting where sweet accounts were communicated from the congregations among the Heathen.
1812. Br. And Sr. Kleinschmidt and family on their way from Greenland are compelled,
on account of the war, to winter in Fulneck.
1846. Br. J.G. Herman, a member of the Unity's Elders' Conference, visits Fulneck, previous to setting out with Br. W. Mallalieu on a visitation of our Missions in the West Indies; and calls on his return (1847) with Br. P.H. Goepp, member of the Provincial Helpers' Conference of Pennsylvania.
Nor were the labours of the Brethren unobserved or unappreciated by other sections of the Christian church in this district. A very unusual illustration of this is found in the note following, which occurs more than fifty years later.
Br. Ramftler was invited by some Christian friends, at Leeds, to explain at a meeting, convened for the purpose, the nature, progress, and management of our Missions, which was done this day, and led to the formation of a committee consisting of 12 gentlemen, who undertook to use their best efforts for raising subscriptions and donations among their fellow-townsmen for the support of our Missions. This, and other similar instances of Christian benevolence and liberality, are to be more gratefully acknowledged by us, because the several denominations of Christians have now Missions of their own, which are generously supported by them.
It is gratifying to know that this same spirit is still active in Leeds, being fostered principally by Miss Baines (a daughter of Sir Edward Baines), and that only two or three years ago a similar meeting was held in the Mayor's rooms, at the Town Hall, under the presidency of the then Mayor, Mr. Alderman Edwin Woodhouse, promoted chiefly by Canon Jackson, who has manifested much interest in the Church of the Brethren.
That the people of Fulneck did not fail in this part of their own duty is evidenced by the fact that an entry in the Diary, four years previously, says, "Two Sermons were preached on behalf of our Missions. The collections amounted to nearly £40."
This godly charity has been well maintained by the community to the present day, and the Missions in operation by the Church are not the least of the works by which it is honoured, and which still preserve to it no small degree of the glover of "the former days."
In April, 1822, a Ladies' Bible Association was formed for the township of Pudsey, with the co-operation of Fulneck.
It has been before remarked that the polity of the Moravian and Methodist churches is very closely allied. Another instance of this may be noted in reference to the Synods of the one and the Conferences of the other. These periodical gatherings in the Brethren's Church are, so far as this country is concerned, quite supreme as a legislative assembly, but have not power over any doctrinal, or radical form of church government. Several of these important meetings, which are termed Provincial Synods, have been held at Fulneck, the first of which was in 1750, attended by de Watteville, Boehler, Nitchman (from Herrnhut), Abraham Taylor, etc. Descending to more modern times, one was held here in 1868, presided over by the venerable and Rev. Benjamin Seifferth, who had occupied the same position in the six previous Synods, and who, although present at the one following, had to decline the honour on account of the infirmities of old age. At this meeting Robert Willey and Frederick La Trobe were ordained Presbyters, and others to the Order of Deacons, by the Rev. Jas. La Trobe.
The next was in June and July, 1871, presided over by Jas. La Trobe, and attended by 56 representatives. The time occupied by the business and services is usually about a fortnight.
At the following one, 1874, the Rev. W. Taylor was President. At this Conference the Rev. W. Hasse was consecrated a Bishop by Bishop Jas. La Trobe, assisted by two others of the same dignity. Of the meeting it is recorded; "It has been distinguished by harmony and good feeling throughout; moreover, many excellent measures for the good of the church and our congregation have been devised." Fulneck was further honoured with this solemn gathering in the years 1883-6. Synods were also held here in 1795, 1835, 1853 and 1856.
Nothing has yet been said in relation to the ceconomy of the Single Sisters, except as regards the building of their house. The early records of the place say,
That the first company of Single Sisters associated together at Low-house, but finding it too difficult to get their living here, they removed to Chapeltown in Pudsey. The chief aim of these ceconomies was to be as much as possible out of the way of temptation, to enjoy hearts' fellowship, and to have better opportunity for attending the meetings.
There was also a dwelling for the Sisters at Holme, a little higher up the valley. They had been removed there on account of the crowded state of the house at Fulneck, but, as previously indicated, their residence was made intolerable by the action of the owner of the Tong estates, so that they were compelled to emigrate to Pudsey, into a large house at Littlemoor, now the residence of Mr. Geo. Hinings. This house was consecrated for their use, Nov. 28th, 1767, by "Our dear Br. Petrus (Boehler) with a lovefeast, and we all wished them much blessing." Interesting is the following as a combination of the social and the spiritual:--
Feby. 24th, 1777. Br. And Sr. Coldwell (the newly appointed labourers at Pudsey) and Sr. Sally Bryant, spent the afternoon with the Single Srs. At Littlemoor, to mutual satisfaction; and drank tea altogether by way of a lovefeast, to make them welcome to this their Plan in Pudsey.
The next refers to the anniversary of their entering the house, when Br. Coldwell again visited and dine with them, "as it was their going day about 11 years ago." At the following annual celebration we have "The S. Sisters in Littlemoor ceconomy had a lovefeast, as this was the day, 12 years ago, when they came to live there." They were subsequently all aggregated at Fulneck.
Although but little has been said in reference to the female portion of the settlement, it is only because it has taken a secondary part in the spiritual and social activities of the place. They-the females-have not been idle nuns, wasting their time in mere sentimental contemplation or devotion, but hard-working, pious, devoted women, consecrating themselves as fully, and, in their sphere, as usefully, as their male brethren.
In the work of education there have been some of high intellect, and members of the noblest families in their Church; while in their choirs they have laboured persistently and with great success, by the needle and otherwise, for the welfare of the community at home and abroad.
It would not be possible to say how many have renounced friends, country, and almost all the comforts of life, for the inhospitable, and often fatal regions in which the missionaries were selected to labour. And whatever praise may be given to their more robust co-labourers, they, as the weaker vessels, are deserving of more especial honour, who, so far as they were permitted, have emphasised the zeal and devotedness of their sterner companions.
At present, both the Single Sisters' and the Widows' houses are fully occupied, but the Diaconies being long since given up, the industrial activity of the choirs is less apparent, and probably confined within more personal and semi-domestic limits. One might well imagine that those whom these buildings are intended to accommodate, could not possibly desire a more quiet, harmonious, and perfect refuge from worldly storms than is to be found in the quaint interiors and beautiful surroundings of their peaceful abodes.
Of the ministers and congregation-helpers (these last were general superintendents of all the Societies in the district, and ex-officio presidents of all choir and other meetings) but little has been related, nor will it be possible to do more than mention the names of a few, this being but a sketch and not a history of the place.
The Count Donha occupied this post in 1768, and in the following year attended the Synod at Marienborm. 1788, the Rev. John Miller was the minister, succeeded in 1791 by Steinhaur, already mentioned. 1797, Rev. John Hartley honourably fulfilled the duties, followed, 1801, by Rev. Samuel Benade, a man of some eminence. 1813, C.F. Ramftler held the appointment for some years.
Holmes, Wilson, Smith, Essex, and Edwards, succeeded during the following years to 1852, when the Rev. J.P. Libby received this high and sacred call. This gentleman held the office for 13 years, during which time he earned the respect and reverence which were due to his personal merits as well as his holy calling. He died at a ripe old age in 1865, and was buried in the ground at Fulneck.
The Rev. Godfrey Clemens was the next in order, being ordained to this place in the same year, where he remained until his removal to London in 1881, thus discharging the multifarious duties of the ministry here for 16 years. Perhaps it would not be saying too much, to state that no predecessor of his at Fulneck ever succeeded to a greater extent in gaining the goodwill and respect of the neighbouring churches than he. His kindly, gentle, unassuming manners, favourably impressed all with whom he came into contact; and not infrequently was he requested to take part in the religious services of other denominations in the township. His tall, slender figure, and general Christian deportment, are remembered by many; neither will the meek yet earnest accents of his slightly toned foreign tongue be forgotten by the present generation. He carried the savour of his Master's spirit into all the outer acts of his life.
Yet if all be true we have heard, there was a vein of quiet humour within him, like the thin white layer of the onyx. Thus it is said that at a religious meeting over which he was presiding, a good Methodist, formerly well-known and much esteemed in this neighbourhood for his piety and zeal-was present, who could not restrain his usual exclamations of Amen! Glory, etc. The good minister bore this strange interruption patiently for a while, but at last was constrained to interpose by saying, in his own quiet way, "if our good brother is poorly he had better go out."
He was born in South Africa, May 1st, 1818, his father having gone to that mission field with the Rev. C.I. La Trobe, in 1815. He was the third of the name, his grandfather and great grandfather, both called Gothfried, or Godfrey, being distinguished members of the Brethren's Church during the previous 80 years. After an early training at home, where he was "a good child," he was sent in 1825 with his older brother to Europe for education. Their destination was in Saxony, and here he stayed for five years, being then removed to a more important academy at Nisky, where he pursued his studies till 1836. His first visit to Fulneck was at Christmas, 1839. It was eight years later when he received a call to Fulneck as Brethren's labourer, and in the following year he was chosen to represent the Congregation at the General Synod of the Brethren's Church. His labour for this time terminated at the end of three years. It was here, however, that he was ordained a Presbyter by Bishop Rogers, July 3rd, 1853.
After appointments at Baildon, Wyke, and Dublin, he came to Fulneck, as stated, in 1865, being greatly encouraged in doing so by "the manifestations of brotherly love and Christian regard for Br. And Sr. Libby, who served Fulneck in the gospel, for the past 13 years."
Having been elected a member of the Provincial Elders' Conference in 1881, he removed to London. "A special valedictory tea party and public meeting were held in Fulneck on Monday, Oct. 10th, and a handsome presentation was made to him and Sr. Clemens." His health, however, had been gradually declining, and not long after his arrival in London utterly broke down. When told that his end was near, he calmly replied "I am ready," and departed "to be with Christ," March 15th, 1882. A full and interesting account of his life is published in a tract by Messrs. Hazell and Co., London.
The Rev. J. Baxter is the present esteemed minister of the Congregation, he having succeeded Mr. Clemens in 1881. It would be impertinent further to remark, than that the high character of the Fulneck ministry is fully upheld in his hands, and that his own personality is not likely to take anything from the halo of pure light which encircles the memory of his predecessors.
The last of these brief notices shall be that of a man in quite another walk of life, who although holding a professional appointment in the congregation was neither minister, director, nor teacher. We refer to the late Dr. Falcon, a man who for many years went about, day and night, doing good. His plain unpretentious person was as well known at this end of the township as that of anyone in the place; and his services were as promptly rendered at the call of the humble, as in the homes of the well-to-do. Unostentatious to a fault, he was kindly and generous to the patients who needed his sympathy, while perchance somewhat abrupt with others. He did not marry until quite late in life, July 13th, 1871, and a few years after removed from here to Boden, the home his childhood, where he died, leaving two children; his wife having only a brief time before preceded him to the grave.
Quite a host of eminent and distinguished men have in one way or other been in contact with Fulneck; many have already been named :-- James Montgomery, the son of a missionary, was educated there. His patriotic spirit, his poetic talents, and his powers as a journalist, won him a name which was known and admired to the ends of the earth. The author of this little history has often seen his rather diminutive figure, enveloped in a long Spanish cloak, in the streets of Sheffield, more than 30 years ago. His poem on prayer is a household word, and can never die while the soul of man recognises its dependence upon God. Although of a true catholic spirit, his heart was bound to this hallowed spot, nor did he fail on many occasions to visit and take part in the occasional services of the congregation of which he continued a member even when residing so far away.
Edwin Atherstone and John Edwards were also educated here, both of them poets of no mean repute. Among the visitors have been the celebrated Dr. Chalmers; the renowned and eminent philanthropist, Wilberforce; the great champion of the factory children, Richard Oastler, who was a pupil in the school, and was present as a speaker at the Cent. Jubilee in 1855. This honourable list might be much extended, but it is sufficient to indicate the scope and results of the school training, and also the wide-spread interest that is felt far beyond the limits of the settlement in its old and influential economy.
It is mentioned in the early part of this sketch that the Brethren were accused of disloyalty; let us justify them by one or two extracts from their Diaries-
June 4th, 1818. We remembered also in our prayers our aged and venerable King (George III.), who to day has completed his 80th year. Again, Dec. 8th, 1818. This being the day appointed for the interment of our late Queen, whose decease took place the 7th ult, we met at 7 in the chapel to express our sympathy with the Royal Family; and to apply the mournful subject to serious meditations on our mortality.
One of the periodic seasons of distress in Ireland arising from the potato disease is referred to in the following, and helps to illustrate how far the natives of that country have been oppressed by their Saxon neighbours.
July 14th, 1822. After the public service, the present distresses of the Irish peasantry, which have chiefly arisen from the failure of two potatoe crops, and have reduced many thousands to a state of starvation, were commended to the charitable consideration of the congregation; and on the following day a collection was made, in this view, by application from house to house. The voluntary contributions in all parts of England for this purpose already amount to between two and three hundred thousand pounds.
While these sheets are passing through the press a service of much interest has just taken place in that hallowed sanctuary which has witnessed so many during the 140 years of its existence. On Sunday evening, May 1st, 1887, the chapel was filled with a reverent and mixed audience,--many members of the congregations in the town being present, to witness the ceremony of ordination, administered by the venerable Bishop England, who conducted the whole service, and delivered the charge. The text was appropriate, "And daily in the temple, and in every house they ceased not to teach and to preach the Lord Jesus." The address was delivered with much unction and force, and evidently with a deep sense of the responsibility attached to the work of the ministry. At the conclusion of the charge, which was given from a chair below the pulpit, the Bishop, who wore a long white surplice, advanced, and laying his hands successively upon the heads of the candidates, pronounced over each the form of ordination. The subjects were three in number:--the first, the Rev. Frederick Clemens, son of the late G. Clemens; he also wore a white surplice, and was now ordained a presbyter in the Church, the Bishop saying over him, "I ordain thee Frederick Clemens to be a presbyter in the Church of the United Brethren, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," etc. Mr. Clemens has laboured for several years in the West Indies, and is shortly to return thither; having been recently appointed a member of the Board of Directors for those islands.
There were two others who, in ordinary dress, were, in exactly the same manner, bowing themselves under the hands of the Bishop, inducted into the office of Deacons; the only variation being that the word deacon was used instead of presbyter. The names of these two were, Paul A. Assmussen, and Henry England a son of the Bishop's. A short anthem, with the congregation kneeling, and a verse or two sung standing, with the ordinary benediction, concluded this most interesting and profitable service.