In Search of Rector Hope

In Search of Rector Hope

from The Barwicker No. 35
Sept. 1994

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Charles Augustus Hope was Rector of Barwick-in-Elmet for over 45 years, the longest serving holder of this office. He was instituted here in 1852 at the age of 24 only a year after his ordination as priest. He remained as rector until his sudden death at the end of 1898 when he was 71. During his residence here there were many changes in the economic, political and social life of the district and he was responsible for some of the features of the village that are still apparent today.
However, we know very little about him as a man, about his personality and character, his strengths and weaknesses. He did not continue the logbook in which his predecessor, Willam Hiley Bathurst, recorded so many interesting facts about Barwick and about himself, though Mr Hope did preserve the book for the benefit of historians today. As far as we can tell, he left behind no religious writings, no published sermons or hymns so we have little idea of the precise nature of his beliefs. We have found no letters or other personal writings that might have given us some clue to his real character.
His successor, Rector Colman, must have been acquainted with many people in the area who knew Mr Hope very well. And yet, in his book 'The History of the Parish of Barwick-in-Elmet', the entry for Mr Hope is shorter than those of many of his predecessors and gives only a brief note of his activities. There is nothing here that tells us about the real man behind the office. In Colman's words:

"Charles Augustus Hope was the eighth and youngest son of Sir John Hope, Bart. of Craighall and Pinkie, near Edinburgh. He was born 7 August 1827, and matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, 10 May 1845, whence he graduated BA with second class in Mathematics in 1849, and MA in 1852. Ordained deacon in 1850 and priest in 1851, he was in the next year presented to this Rectory and instituted 17 June 1852."

Mr Hope was curate of Kimble, Bucks from 1850 to 1852, before he was appointed to Barwick. Once here, he clearly approached his new responsibilities with energy and enthusiasm. The first decade of his incumbency is marked by a vigorous attack on what he saw as the neglect of some of the institutions of the parish. The first of these was the church which in Colman's words "through long neglect had fallen into a state of decay and terrible disrepair". Hope sought the opinion of Sir Gilbert Scott, one of the most prominent architects of the day, a leader of the Gothic Revival movement who later designed the Albert Memorial in London and many other buildings.
Scott's comprehensive report which draws attention to the condition of the church at that time is summarised in Colman's book. Many of his recommendations were later carried out but some, such as the complete rebuilding of the ancient chancel, thankfully were not carried out. It is said that there was not enough money for this but one hopes that the historic importance of this part of the church was also in Mr Hope's mind.
The work of restoration was entrusted to Mr George Fowler Jones of York who had already built Garforth Church and the Gascoigne Almshouses in Aberford. The work left the church much as we find it today. The changes are described by Colman as follows::

The internal stonework was cleansed of whitewash and repaired, the priest's door in the chancel was built up, the windows were renewed on the pattern of the fifteenth century window in the south aisle, buttresses were built against the chancel walls, the plaster ceilings were removed from the nave, the aisle and the chancel, and the roofs were replaced on the original lines. The west gallery was taken down, the oak pews removed, the church reseated and the floor covered with twelve inches of concrete. The old screens were taken out. A handsome monument of Italian marble to Sir John Gascoigne, who died in 1723, was removed and all traces of the ancient Gascoigne burial place were obliterated. The cost of the work was over 1700, which was raised by voluntary subscriptions from parishioners and neighbours. In addition, an organ was placed at the foot of the tower. It was built by Forster and Andrews of Hull and cost 200. The church was reopened 30 October 1856.

The education of children in the parish was another feature of Barwick life that Rector Hope found unsatisfactory. The school was in what is now part of the graveyard to the north of the church and was at least 80 years old, although it had been enlarged in 1821 when the schoolhouse had been incorporated into the schoolroom. Rector Bathurst had been involved in a dispute with some of his parishioners (probably Methodists) when he tried to introduce the 'National' system of education which stressed the principles and practices of the Church of England (See 'The Barwicker' No. 1
March 19860). He had withdrawn his financial support from the school and took no part in its running.
Rector Hope was clearly determined that he was not going to be placed in the awkward position of his predecessor. On 23 February 1854, he was appointed Headmaster by the trustees of the school, who were the churchwardens and himself. He was then in a position to superintend the religious education and he appointed a teacher to carry out the day-to-day instruction in the school.
He was not satisfied with the existing school building and on 29 January 1861 he obtained permission from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the patron of the living, to grant to himself and four trustees 2600 square yards of glebe off Aberford Road for the building of a school in union with the 'National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales'. The new school was built but, after serving the needs of Barwick children for more than a century, it now stands empty and forlorn.
When Rector Hope came here in 1852, the system of poor relief in Barwick, unlike most of the country, had not been changed by the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. Barwick had reformed its practices under an earlier act and at that time was a member of the Barwick-in-Elmet Gilbert Incorporation in which about forty parishes and townships sent their paupers to the old workhouse on what is now Rakehill Road (see 'The Barwicker' Nos. 28 and 30). The system was administered by a Board of Guardians from the parishes, the post of Visitor or Chairman having been taken by Rector Bathurst since 1822 when the Incorporation was set up.
Rector Hope clearly approved of this method of poor relief and he allowed his name to be proposed for election as the new Visitor. He was elected to the post although this was no foregone conclusion as two influential local men were also proposed: Thomas Crosland of Scholes Lodge, the farmer and Methodist stalwart, and John Squire Gray, the influential landowner of Morwick Hall.
The book of resolutions of the Guardians is extant until 1859 and in Mr Hope's time he recorded them himself in his almost illegible handwriting. In 1853/4 under his supervision the workhouse buildings were repaired and extended. There were moves at this time by the Poor Law Authorities to have the Gilbert Incorporations abolished and in 1856 Mr Hope was asked by the guardians to prepare a petition against the proposal. This seems to have been successful and the Incorporation stayed in existence for more than a decade.
Besides his religious, educational and political work, Rector Hope had advanced ideas concerning agriculture. He was a considerable landowner, holding 1450 acres of land in the parish which was leased to 16 farmers. Between the end of 1853 and early 1856 he improved the drainage in about a quarter of the fields by the recently introduced practice of laying earthenware pipes (see 'The Barwicker' No. 11).
It is not surprising that the furious pace of his work in his first decade here was not maintained during the rest of his incumbency. The repairs to the church tower recommended by Gilbert Scott had not been carried out but in 1869 new pinnacles and paparet were provided and new slating and lead for the roof. The cost was 100. In this year the Barwick-in-Elmet Gilbert Incorporation was abolished with a consequent reduction in Rector Hope's influence in this field.
Charles Augustus Hope c.1885
In 1854, Mr Hope married Julia Sophia, second daughter of Mr John Watson Barton of Stapleton Park, Yorks, who was born in 1832 or 1833 in Eccles, Lancs. We can gain something of their domestic and family life from the ten yearly census returns. In 1861, they were living in the rectory along with one man aged 25 and five women aged between 40 and 14, all of whom were described as 'house servants'. None of them were local people, a common practice in houses of the gentry where gossip with the villagers was frowned on. Five servants to meet the domestic needs of one couple is generous to say the least.
However by 1871, the domestic staff had been increased by one to meet the needs of the family now that there was a baby son John Augustus, aged 1, who was born in Scotland. This must have been a cause for more than usual celebration given the inability of Canon Hope's brothers to produce male heirs. The precise functions of the six female servants are given; nurse, cook, ladies maid, housemaid, under housemaid and kitchen maid. None was present in 1861 and apart from the kitchen maid, a 17 year old girl from Aberford, none was local. One presumes that there would be male servants, such as coachman and gardener, who would be living locally. The following year, Rector Hope became Rural Dean of Whitkirk.
In 1881, Rector Hope and his wife were living in the Rectory here, with their sons John Augustus, then 11, and Robert Philip aged 7. Five female servants were in residence; cook, ladies maid, housemaid, nursery maid and kitchen maid, none of them local. However also living at the Rectory was Frederick Tomlinson, the footman, who was born in Barwick.
At the census of 1891 Mr and Mrs Hope were living in the Rectory with their younger son Robert Philip who was then 17. There were five female servants: a ladies maid, two housemaids, a cook and a kitchen maid, none of them local people. Frederick Tomlinson was still resident footman, the only servant who appears in two census returns.
In 1895 Mr Hope became an Honorary Canon of Ripon. In 1897, he bought 2600 square yards of land adjoining the churchyard out of the capital of the living and this was used as an extension to the burial ground.
The Logbook of Barwick School which was begun in 1895 reveals that Mrs Hope visited the school from time to time to examine the needlework of the girls and to hear the singing. This is the only written record that we can find that describes any of her activities If we do not know much about Mr Hope, how little do we know about his wife.
Rector Hope, died very suddenly in Leeds on 30 December 1898 and was buried in Pinkie near Edinburgh, the family home. The Yorkshire Post of 31 December contains the following obituary notice under the heading :

'Sudden Death of Canon Hope of Barwick-in-Elmet'

The death of the Rev. Canon Charles Augustus Hope MA which took place in Leeds yesterday afternoon is all the more deplorable on account of its terrible suddenness. For a few years the rev. gentleman had shown signs of increasing age and two serious operations within the last two or three years had left him in a somewhat weak state. He was however able to get about as usual.
Yesterday he paid one of his periodic visits to Leeds and made several calls. It was noticed that he was in a particularly cheerful mood and there was a genuine heartiness in the way in which he wished everybody he met a happy new year.
About 4 o'clock he was walking down Albion St. on the way to the station. When near the Cooperative Stores he was seen to stagger as if about to fall backwards. A man named John Croft, who lives in Freehold Street, was close to him at that moment and seizing hold of him tried to hold him up but he was able to do no more than to check his fall.
Not a word was spoken by the Canon and only a choking sound was heard. Police Constable Mitchell and other officers quickly arrived and a horse ambulance was sent for but it was no use for it was all too painfully apparent that the rev. gentleman was dead.
The body was taken to the mortuary in Millgarth St. and later in the evening the arrival, of Mr Hope's two sons accompanied by Mr T R Jessop, surgeon, it was with the consent of the coroner later taken to Mr Jessop's home in Park Square.
In the meantime Mrs Hope had returned to Barwick and it was a great shock to her when the terrible truth was revealed to her. As Mr Jessop who attended the rev. gentleman was able to certify that he had suffered from heart disease, it will not be necessary to hold an inquest.
The obituary notice includes the details of Canon Hope's education already described and, in commenting on his long stay here, continues:
"In that quiet country parish he was content to labour for almost half a century".
In describing his interest in social affairs, the obituary goes on to say:
"The poor especially had a friend in him and he was ever ready to help those in distress".

In addition to his activities in the parish, the article describes his work in the Ripon Diocese, where he sat on several committees and was particularly involved with those connected with the Disciplinary Act and the Pluralities Act. It goes on:

"It is a melancholy fact that Canon Hope is the fourth member of the deanery consisting of only 16 parishes who has died within the last few months".

Just how close Barwick came to having a baronet as rector is revealed in a description of the extraordinary history of the Hope family given in the concluding paragraph of the obituary notice.
Canon Hope, who was in his 72nd year, came of a well-known Scottish family, the founder of which was John de Hope, who is said to have come from France in the train of Madeleine, Queen of James V. Canon Hope was the eighth youngest son of Sir John Hope, the 11th. baronet. Four sons of this baronet in turn held the title which quite incredibly fell to the seventh son, Sir Archibald Hope, who is the 15th. baronet and a bachelor, so that Canon Hope was the heir presumptive. The deceased clergyman's elder son - Captain J A Hope of the 2nd. Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps - now becomes the heir presumptive.
Colman says, "As a memorial of his long incumbency and in token of the affectionate regard in which he was held, a stained glass window and brass tablet were dedicated in the church, on the 15th. October 1903, together with an eagle lectern as a memorial to him and Mrs Hope".
Mr Hope was probably the most influential man in the parish during his years as rector. We know that in Barwick men were expected to doff their caps and women to curtsey when Mr Hope or his wife passed by, but does this show a respect for the man or for his office? What records we have found tell us little about what he was like as a parent, a friend or a neighbour; what he was like as a man. The search for the real Rector Hope still goes on.


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