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Life in Barwick Parish in 1900

from The Barwicker No.77
Mar. 2005

Life in Barwick Parish in 1900. Rev. Frederick Selincourt Colman was rector here from 1899 to 1910. With his monumental book 'The History of the the Parish of Barwick in Elmet', his entries in the rectors' logbook and other writings, he was the most important contributor to our knowledge of the history of the parish (see 'The Barwicker No. 40). In January 1900, the parish magazine appeared for the first time. Unfortunately we have not located a copy but the February and part of the December editions for 1900 are available and tell us something of the teething problems of the new publication. Colman does not sign any of the material found here but it is clear that he is the main author. He begins:

"There was some delay last month in getting this Magazine distributed throughout the whole parish; a more punctual delivery will be secured as we get to know our regular subscribers. It is hoped that any mistake or delay in delivery may be mentioned to Mr Young (Rev. Henry Theakston Young, the curate) or Mr Pemberton. The reception of the Magazine has been most encouraging; every number was sold."

The following cash account for the first year of the magazine is included in the February 1901 edition:

s d s d
Advertisements 10 19 6 Paid for printing 21 12 0
Donation from Sir Theo. Peel 1 1 0
21 subscriptions at 2s.6d 2 12 6
36 subscriptions at 1s.0d 1 16 0
Monthly sales 4 8 5
Balance paid by the Rector 0 14 7
Totals 21 12 0 21 12 0

Most of the advertisements were for businesses in Leeds, presumably with Barwick connections. Sir Theophilus Peel was the tenant of Potterton Hall, (see 'The Barwicker' No. 43). 1s. was clearly an annual subscription; what the 2s.6d. subscription represented is not clear. At 1d. each, about 90 copies must have been sold each month during 1900, in addition to those to the 57 regular subscribers. Despite the considerable financial short-fall paid by the rector, the magazine continued. Sadly, we have copies of very few of these editions and most of those available are for the years 1904 and 1905.

In 'The Barwicker' Nos. 37 and 47, we have included some of the longer contributions made by Rev. Colman to the magazine. In this article the material is taken from the two 1900 editions in an attempt to portray the life of the parish during just one year at the beginning of the 20th. century.

The front page of the magazine is reproduced on our back cover and gives details of the many services, etc. held in the parish at this time. The Scholes services were taken by Mr Young, At both churches Sunday School was held twice during the day. Other regular activities were included in the magazine:

  • Mother's Meeting in the Reading Room, Barwick, every Monday at 2.0pm
  • Mother's Meeting in the Reading Room, Scholes, on Monday, February 5th. and 19th. at 2.0pm
  • Scholes Working Party on Wednesday, February 7th.
  • Bible Classes on Sunday at the Rectory for young women at 5.30pm
  • Confirmation Classes according to notice.
  • In addition to being chairman of the parish council, Rev. Colman was the chairman of the board of managers of Barwick school. At this time there was no school in Scholes and pupils attended Barwick school. 'School transport' wasn't introduced until 1905 when a wagonette ran from Scholes station to the school. The teaching in the school was financed by the central government but the upkeep of the building was the responsibility of the church. The money for this was raised by voluntary subscription and other activities. From time to time this raised anxieties, as is seen from the following passage.

    "There are still a few school subscriptions outstanding. The rector wishes to remind all who have not yet made their contributions that the school year ends on 28 February, and that he begs he will receive all monies before that."

    Rev. Colman draws attention to the perennial problem of money and suggests that there was some opposition to the weekly offertory, for reasons which no doubt were well known at the time but are now lost to us. The total collected in January 1900, apart from the relief fund for the Boer War, was 6.5s,0d from the parish church and 17s.3d. from Scholes, the equivalent of about a hundred 4d. contributions per week from the parish.

    He writes:
    "Our collection for the War Relief Fund was a good one. At Barwick we collected 9.5s.0d. and at Scholes 1.15s.10d., a total of 11.1s.7d. This was a highly gratifying response, and it shows that whatever opinions may be as to the support of the weekly offertory, there is no hesitation to give when it comes to a special appeal like this."

    Fund-raising schemes were essential as the December 1900 edition shows.

    "A Jumble Sale will be held in the School on Saturday, December 15th at 3 o'clock. Not only will there be a quantity of clothing for sale but also second hand furniture, crockery, household and garden implements, etc. The proceeds will be for parochial funds, and those who are willing to help the Sale are reminded that a good price is assured for anything in the way of old furniture, brass, copper and China ware."

    Rev. Colman was 'inducted' to Barwick on 1 May, 1899. He was a man of great energy and was anxious to bring about any changes which he thought were desirable. In the case of the newly formed Provident Society, it would appear that he was impatient to push through alterations faster than his parishioners wished him to go, as his comments below indicate.

    The Provident Society rules were not reproduced in this month's edition but they were in January 1901 and are printed below. They indicate that the society was what we would today call a 'Christmas Club':

    1. The Society will be open to any parishioners who apply for a card of membership.
    2. Deposits will be received at the Mothers' Meeting, which is held every Monday at Barwick, and every fortnight at Scholes.
    3. Deposits are not to exceed an average of a shilling a week.
    4. A bonus will be given, the amount of which will be regulated to a greater extent by the amount of the deposits and by honorary subscriptions.
    5. Repayments to members will be made once a year, before Christmas, when orders on certain selected shops will be given for the amount of deposits and bonus.

    He writes: "The Provident Society has attracted a certain number of members, but hardly so many as it should. Some of those who used to subscribe to the old Clothing Club, and have talked so much about their appreciation of it, have not yet joined this. Seeing that the benefits are really greater, it is curious that this should be so; possibly it is that the new club is not well enough known."

    Colman was anxious to create activities which would in his view improve parish life, as the following extract from the December 1900 edition shows:

    "A meeting will be held in the School on Monday, December 17th. at 7.30pm to inaugurate a branch of the Women's Help Society. This is a Church Society that has something of the same object as the Girl's Friendly Society, but is more comprehensive, and we think likely to be more widely useful. The young and the elderly, the single and the married, are all eligible for membership. The Rev. H J Glennie, Vicar of St Matthew's, Holbeck, has kindly offered to speak, and he will fully explain the workings of the Society, and the advantages of joining it. Women of all ages and girls (for whom there is a special branch) are warmly invited to come and hear about the Society, and to consider whether they would like to become members."
    The Society was established and met regularly during the decade. In another matter, he realised that the change he had brought about was not successful and agreed to go back to the 'tried and trusted', as he describes:

    "WEDNESDAY EVENING SERVICE. It seems that the alteration of the time of service from 7.30 pm to 7.0 pm has not been successful and the later hour is more generally convenient. We will go back to the original time, and in future the service will be at 7.30 pm, beginning 7 February."

    Entertainment for the parishioners and their children was reported in the magazine on two evenings during the month.

    "A very good audience gathered at the School on Monday, January 22nd., for a Lecture and Entertainment on behalf of the Army Reservists' families. The Rector lectured on South Africa, which he visited eight years ago, aided by a beautiful lime-light lantern and views kindly lent by Taylors' Drug Stores (of Boar Lane and Queen's Arcade, Leeds, an advertiser in the magazine. Ed.). For the second part some delightful singing was given by the Wetherby Prize Quartette Party. Mr S Tankard presided, and very warmly thanked those who had given their efforts for the evening's instruction and pleasure."

    "On New Year's Day a special Christmas Treat was arranged for our Sunday School children and proved most successful and pleasant. All children attending either of our schools at Barwick or Scholes, who had made a certain number of attendances, were invited, to the number of 112; some few of the smaller were kept away by the distance, but over 100 sat down to the tea which began the evening, and which was most kindly given by Lady Peel. Subsequently a magnificent Christmas tree was disclosed, blazing with lights, decked and surrounded with toys and other presents. These had been presented by Mrs Colman with Mrs Hick's very kind assistance. There was something for every child, suitable to sex and age and dispostion. Mr Hick, disguised as an extremely benevolent and jovial Father Christmas, made his appearance to perform the actual ceremony of distributing the presents. Ultimately the Rector's prizes of books were given away, two in each class (of the Sunday schools), as follows":

    1 1. William Hollings 2. George Schofield
    1 1. May Jennings 2. Norah Robshaw
    2 1. Joshua Laidlaw 2. Henry Hollings
    2 1. Nellie Armitage 2. Nelly Stead
    Infants 1. John Laidlaw 2. William Mouncey
    1. Edward Crosland 2. Lawrence Nelson
    1. Emma Crosland 2. Grace Crosland jnr.
    Infants 1. Alice Nelson 2.Maggie Crosland

    After not much more than half a year in Barwick, Rev. Colman is developing an interest in the history of the parish and he includes in the February 1900 parish magazine an extract from JR Green's 'Making of England'. This describes the Kingdom of Elmet and its conquest by Eadwine (Edwin), King of Northumbria. The extract concludes:

    "On the very edge of the British Kingdom, however, on a rise of ground westward of the road from Castleford to Tadcaster, we find what is probably a memorial of this conquest in the group of earthworks at Barwick-in-Elmet, entrenchments and ditches inclosing a large area with a mound in its centre, which probably marks the site of one of the burhs or fortified houses with which Eadwine held down the country he subdued."

    It is a little surprising that there is little mention in the magazine of the curate Rev. Henry Theakston Young, who was appointed in 1899. He resigned in September 1900 to take up a similar appointment in Sittingbourne, Kent, and there was a presentation by the parishioners to him on his departure. He was replaced by Rev. James Sidney Robertshaw and details of the new curate's advent services at St Philip's are given in the December 1900 edition. It is hoped that a future article will reveal more about the four curates who served in Barwick during rector Colman's time here.

    A century later, these two 1900 editions of the parish magazine, though not written for this purpose, gives us a picture of a parish with a very full religious life and with many other church-organised activities - educational, social and financial.


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