The Northowram Registers


The Northowram Registers


The Northowram Registers



The NONCONFORMIST REGISTER, more frequently styled the
NORTHOWRAM REGISTER, being now in the hands of the Sub-
scribers, the Editor has confidence in reprinting his description
of it:-
No idea can be conveyed by such words as REGISTER or
OBITUARY of the multitudinous and multifarious Entries in this
valuable MS. of 300 pages, which is often referred to by such
writers as the Rev. Joseph Hunter, F.S.A.
The words 'PURITAN' and 'NORTHOWRAM' equally fail to
describe its character and scope. It is a supplement to many
of the West Riding Registers, particularly those of Halifax and
Bradford, and exceeds in details of incidents anything I have
seen. Popes, Kings, Princes, Peers, Judges, Justices,
Parsons, Peasants, Doctors, Lawyers, Schoolmasters, Soldiers,
Conformist and Nonconformist Ministers, Quakers and Centen-
arians find equal admission to these pages.
Some hundreds of sudden deaths are recorded, and, which
is very exceptional, the ages of deceased persons are generally
given. The whole is spiced with remarks on Character or pos-
sessions, notices of runaway weddings, and incidents 'too
numerous to mention.'
I am sorry that so long time has elapsed since the publica-
tion of the Register was announced. The delay has occurred in
connection with the printer's Arrangements. The Indexes have
cost an incredible amount of labour, but having done the
work alone, (probably 35,OOO references,) I believe there will be
found but few errors. There is a tendency in indexing to put the
number of the page one too little, as 78 for 79.
As only a limited Subscription List can be expected for such
books, economy has been a great feature in the get-up, but the
accuracy has not suffered. It is an individual effort, backed by
no public Society, at a third the cost of Society prices, and
done by an Amateur {pro bono publico}.
The MS. has had a remarkable career for 240 years. It
would seem to have been the property of Coley Chapel six years
before Mr. Heywood became Curate there, and at the Ejection in

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Introduction vii

1662, he took the book with him. It was almost a blank book
in 1650 when he became Custodian, and, as the names would be
annually sent to the Registrar at Halifax Parish Church, there
was little in it which would be thought of any interest. Mr.
Heywood also kept a private Register in his VELLUM BOOK WITH
ONE CLASP. On page 109, I have stated that these Vellum-Book
records have been copied into the Northowram Register in a
slightly more modern hand. There is little doubt that the copy-
ist was Mr. Dickenson, not Mr Heywood as I thought at first.
The perusal of some of Mr. Dickenson's MSS., at Mr. Swaine's,
near Guildford, confirms this, and I am surprised how I should
have mistaken Mr. Heywood's familiar handwriting. Just as the
printer was drawing to a close, this identical " Vellum Book with
One Clasp" came into my hands, along with several other volumes
of Mr. Heywood's MSS. (Diaries, &c.), and I find that the addi-
tions to Mr. Heywood's portion of the Northowram Register will
make about sixty pages. These, with his Diaries and Note Books,
referring to his wonderful journeys and numerous acquaintances,
will form a companion volume to the " Register" now in the
Reader's hands, and will be issued speedily.
Mr. Dickenson (and this is very remarkable) continued the
work his worthy predecessor had begun, for nearly another half
century. Members of the Dickenson family seem to have made
occasional entries afterwards. According to Mr. Slate, the " Re-
gister" became the property of the late Rev. Dr. Ryland. The
late Joshua Wilson, Esq., of Tunbridge Wells, became the owner,
rumour says, (though I cannot see any reason for it,) in return
for a subscription to Northowram Chapel. He lent it to several
gentlemen at Halifax, who made copious notes from it, and I had
the promise of it, but as Mrs. Wilson could not find it again, I
wrote (in my anxiety for its safety) to the Rev. Professor Newth,
Librarian {pro tem.} for the Congregational Memorial Hall Library,
to which Mr. Wilson had offered a large contribution of books.
Prof. Newth found the MS., and for further favours I gladly
return thanks to the Rev. Dr. Wilson and Mr. Knox Wilson.
The MS. is a small 4to, now inlaid in a firmly bound large
4to, bearing, on a fly leaf, the inscription :-" This Register hav-
ing come into the possession of the late Joshua Wilson, Esq.,
of Tunbridge Wells, is presented by Mrs. Wilson to the Con-
gregational Library Memorial Hall. The MS. being in a dela-
pidated state and the leaves too closely written to admit of

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viii Introduction

binding, the whole has been inlaid in the present volume by my
daughter, under my direction.-SAMUEL NEWTH, November,
On the first fly leaf of the original Register are the following
names (query - their purport)
Jan. 10. 1660 Samuel Spencer Mary Burkhead
James Tetlaw Abraham Brigge Sarah Burkhead
Mary Tetlaw Judith Brigge Anne Rushworth
Mary Roides Susanna Brigge Sarah Rushworth
Susanna Earnshaw Mary Smith Susanna Rushworth
Sarah Bland Richard Murgatroyd John Aked
John Kershaw Abraham Nickol Nathaniel Aked
John Wilson Isaac Nickol Joshua Bartle
Mary Kershaw John Nickol John Askwith
Sarah Pollard Abigail Nickol Mary Aked
John Mitchell Nehemiah Burkhead Hanna Aked
Will. Mitchell Grace Burkhead Sarah Thomas.

Some of Mr. Heywood's entries of funerals are erroneously
numbered, it will be seen; and it may be useful to state that the
abbreviation {minr.} indicates minister, not minor.
Coley is one of the twelve ancient chapelries of Halifax Parish.
It has no township, but the district comprises part of Hipper-
holme, Northowram, and Shelf, the Church being erected in the
first-named township, on a bleak hill, hence its {cold} and {wintry}
name. From boyhood, Mr Oliver Heywood has been more than
human to me. I do not wonder that Mr Dickenson left a blank
leaf in the Register, and yet no record of Mr Heywood's death,
for, years before I saw the Northowram Register, in a series of
articles on Coley Church, I acted similarly, merely giving his
name and a promise of future notice. Good Dr. Fawcett had
only two of his MS. volumes, and even those two he could not
read as he confesses, and as will be seen on comparing the
volume of Mr. Heywood's Diaries, now in the press, with the
Doctor's {Life of Heywood}. Mr Slate copies these blunders, yet
reveals more of the inner life of the venerable Puritan. Mr.
Hunter, as an accomplished antiquary, is thoroughly accurate.
Yet all three fail to some extent; the old man tells his own tale
best. And tell it he shall, for by a singular and unexpected
concurrence of events many of the original MS. volumes have
been handed to me, and I have found that I could talk to
and travel with my old friend, and find the half had not been

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Introduction. ix

told me. One hundred and eighty years have fled since his
remains were deposited in the south chapel at Halifax Church,
and nearly forty since Mr. Hunter's {Life} appeared, and I for
one shall not be satisfied till every line of his MS. be printed, a
worthy and useful memorial of one of Nature's noblemen.
I have compared most of Mr. Heywood's references to
Bradford, Calverley and Bingley people, and many Halifax people,
with the entries in the parish registers of those places, and am
highly gratified, almost astonished, at his accuracy.
My Notes to the Register, alphabetically arranged according
to Families, would without an effort take as many pages as the
Register itself. An idea of this may be formed by consulting
one article, that on the Rooks family, in the {Bradford Antiquary}.
Similar articles can be compiled on scores of families mentioned
in this Register. Indeed, I have come to the conclusion that
this Register will have to be a local book of reference.
{Calamy's Lives of the Ejected} will be well known to most
readers. Autobiographies of Capt. Hodgson, Joseph Lister,
Thomas Wright, are only a little less known. Halley's
{Lancashire}, Mr. Abram's {Blackburn}, and numerous other Lan-
cashire publications may be consulted with advantage. {Congrega-
tionalism in Yorkshire}, particularly Mr. Scale's Notes in the
Appendix, The {Manchester Socinian Controversy}, Whitaker's
{Funeral Sermons}, and other similar books occur to the mind as
rendering help in many cases. Indeed, of writing notes to this
Register there is no end.
I rejoice greatly that there is a growing desire to publish
Parish Registers. Those affording special help to this book are:
{Bradford Parish Register} from 1596, in the {Bradford Antiquary};
{Halifax Parish Register} from 1538, a noble undertaking, and
{Calverley Parish Register} from 1574, edited by my friend Mr. S.
The publication of these Registers, and especially of the
Diaries and other MSS. of Mr. Heywood render it advisable to
postpone the notes to a future local work.
I gladly acknowledge my obligations to the Rev. B. Dale, M.A.,
of Halifax, for valuable hints; the Rev. C. B. Norcliffe, M.A., of
York, for several notes from his vast collection; to Mr. W. J.
Vint, for the loan of two plates; to Mr. W. Scruton, for artistic
work on Northowram Chapel; to the Rev. W. H. Wawn, for
the sketch of Coley Church; to Mr. A. B. Sewell, for permission

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x Introduction.

to compare Heywood's Register with the Bradford Parish Register.
In common with all the members of the Yorkshire Archaeolo-
gical Association I have to deplore the sad loss by death of Fairless
Barber, Esq., F.S.A. To him I was indebted for pointing out the
treasures hid away in the Sessions' Rolls at Wakefield, and for pre-
paring the way for their consultation. The fifty pages added to
Heywood's Register is but a tithe of this subject. He com-
menced to publish notes on other topics in the {Yorkshire Archeo-
logical Journal}. Numerous favours, days of congenial intercourse,
added to his special interest in the Life of the Rev. Oliver Hey-
wood, and his desire to see the Heywood MSS. placed in a per-
manent form, render it obligatory that I should pay this slight
tribute to the memory of a generous Christian friend.
I have some original notes respecting Mr. Dickenson and
Northowram Chapel, culled from papers during a visit to Braboeuf
Manor, Guildford.
Mr. Jonathan Priestley, of Winteredge, (Mr. Oliver Heywood's
executor,) surrendered Northowram Meeting-house to Nathan-
iel Priestley, of Ovenden, on the 15th of August, 1710. On the
21st of June, 1711, the Meeting House was enlarged. The Sub-
scribers were :- Jos. Wright £6, Nath. Lea, £2, Jere. Clay £2,
Jere. Baxter £1, Joseph Wilkinson £2, John Priestley £2, Jno.
Simpson £1, and Edwd. Hanson £1.
Mr. Swaine has also a manuscript of 44 pages, on Job 1. 21,
A Funeral Sermon preached at Northourum, March ye 4th, oc-
casion'd by the Death of three Daughters of John Priestley of
Westercroft, viz., Judith, who died Jan. ye 21st, in the 15th year
of her age; Mary, who died Feb. ye 4th, in the 10th year of her
age, and Hannah, who died Feb. ye 22d, in the 18th year of her
age, A.D. 1710." The author, I presume, was Mr. Dickenson.
Another MS. of 61 pages is entitled "Exemption from Condem-
nation, Or the Privilege and Happiness of all True Believers in and
by Christ Jesus, considered and improved in A Funeral Sermon
on Rom. 8. 1, preached in Northourum, November 17, occasioned
by the death of Mrs. Mary Priestley, widow, who departed this
life November the 5th, 1734, aged 65, by Thomas Dickenson."
In 1717 Mr. Dickenson preached at the opening of a preaching
room at Ossett. He had been one of Mr. Frankland's students.
On the 22nd January, 1722, Mr. Jonathan Priestley, of Win-
teredge, yeoman, made his will. He directed his body to be
buried "in Mr. Heywood's grave, next to my dear wife's grave."

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Introduction. xi

Winteredge he bequeathed to his nephew Jonathan Priestley,
then living with him; Dodge Holme in Ovenden, which he pur-
chased of Timothy Heywood, deceased, late of Sheffield, apothe-
cary [son of John and grandson of Oliver], he gave to his
nephew Nathaniel, son of his brother John Priestley, of Wester-
croft, deceased; his lands in Shelf, purchased of Mr. Wm.
Walker, of Crow Nest, he left to his nephew Jonathan, &c.
In 1734 John Speight sold the double stall or pew in the
middle row of seats, "late my father-in-law's, Abraham Milner,"
for 5s. to Thomas Dickenson, John Clay and Nathaniel Priestley,
three feofees.
Mr Nathaniel Priestley, in 1749, gave ground and stones for
a minister's house at Northourum. The original receipt, dated
1750, giving the amount of cost at £189 14s. 8d. is preserved at
Guildford. For repairs to the chapel house at Northowram, Nov.
15, 1767, the following subscriptions were paid: Nathaniel Priestley
and John Priestley, ten guineas each; Benj. Dickenson, John
Ramsden and James Pollard, five guineas.
The name of the Rev. Thomas Drake, D.D., of Lambeth
Palace, in 1786, appears as a Trustee for Northowram School.
About the same time the following persons were proposed
Trustees for the Chapel: Mr. John Priestley, Mr. Benj. Dickenson,
Mr. Wm. Dickenson, Mr. James Pearson, Mr. Wm. Prescott, Mr.
Benj. Irvin, Mr. David Asquith, Rev. Mr. S. Walker, Mr. Tho.
Clark, Mr. W. Mitchell, and Mr. Richard Fawcett.
"Whereas Mr. Jonathan Priestley the elder, of Winteredge,
did by his last will bequeath an annuity to the minister at
Northowram, and Mr Jonathan Priestley his representative
proposes to pay £20 in lieu, we acknowledge the receipt of the
said sum: Samuel Walker, minister, Nathaniel Priestley,
Timothy Bentley, Jos. Wilkinson, Jno. Ramsden, Benj. Dicken-
son, John Priestley."
The Rev. Robert Hesketh was minister of Woodkirk, or
Topcliffe, in 1736, Eastwood in 1739, and Northowram in the
spring of 1744. He was educated at Glasgow, and was also
minister at Bolton-le-Moors some time. At Northowram he
records that he received 1Os. 6d. for a funeral sermon for Mrs.
Wilkinson, and £8 from London during the first quarter.
-Since May 30, 1744, (he writes,) the day when my family
fixed at Northowram, received in presents-Joshua Robertshaw,
5s., Mrs. Priestley, chinay, 7s. 6d., Mrs. Ingham, two chinay

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xii Introduction

basins 2s., Mrs Ramsden, of Warlers, a Table Cloth 1Os. 6d."
By his marriage he was related to Capt. Pickering, of Tingley,
and the Lords Eure. Mr. Joseph Swaine (of an ancient Brad-
ford family,) married Mr Hesketh's daughter Bathshua, in 1744,
and their eldest son Robert Swaine married Hannah, daughter of
Nathaniel Priestley, of Northowram, in 1769. To follow up the
Priestley and their allied families would require a little volume to
itself. Mr. Hesketh was interred at Northowram Jan. 23rd, when
Mr. Haggerston, of Ossett, preached, and on the following
Sunday, Jan. 30th, Mr. Walker preached. The stone in the
yard records :-" H. M. C. M. S. Reverendi Roberti Hesketh,
olim in Academia Glasguensi Instuti qui Evanglii 52 et hujus
Ecclesiae 29 Annis concionator Praeclarus Eruditus non
mediocriter ac Moribus Inculpatis habebatur in Christo excessit
e Vita Jan. 19. die, A.D. 1774, AE. 77. Necnon Helenae
uxoris charissimae ejusdem" &c [the rest covered with soil.]
A sundial bearing the inscription-1780, Tempus Fugit,
Ingruit Mors,-is {throwing about} (to use a Yorkshireism) in the
grave-yard. I may be excused giving these few memorabilia
when I state there is not the slightest vestige of deeds or manu-
scripts referring to the old chapel, and very little indeed concern-
ing the modern "Heywood Chapel" though erected solately as
1837, preserved at Northowram, or known of by the Trustees.
Only two or three relics of the old chapel can be identified.
It stood nearer the highway as may be traced by the old
gravestones. Reared against the adjoining cottages is one
that claims special attention: "Under this monument lieth the
Body of the Revd. Mr. Thomas Dickenson, a worthy Minister of
the Gospel, who was eminent and exemplary for piety and useful-
ness, behaved well in all stations of life, with meekness and
universal charity. He was continued a shining light in this
place 42 years and died comfortably and much lamented the
26th December, 1743, aged 74. Also two of his sons who
died in their minority. Also Thomas his son who died Nov.
24. 1754, aged 51. Also John his son who died June 25, 1764,
aged 51. Also Hannah his wife died at London July 28, 1765,"
[the rest is below the soil.] A stone near records: " Ann
widow of late Rev. Mr. Pendlebury of Leeds, died 2 July, 1755,
aged 59. Also Hannah, Thomas and Ann, children of Benjamin
and Ann Dickenson.'

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Transcribed by Colin and Pauline Hinson © 1995