Friday, 28 December 2012

Chapter 18. The early 1850s

In 1851, some months after her marriage, Marian Digby Beste and her new family left the country.  They sailed for the United States in a large party consisting of eleven children (Beste's eldest son remained behind), several canary birds, a lapdog and a dormouse.  They hoped to find a better future for the boys in the new world. 

Back in Yorkshire, some of Mr Barlow's activities at this time can be traced in his notebooks, and particularly in the one that survived amongst the logbooks for the Hutton Rudby school.  In it he recorded
the beginning of what was to be a long-running boundary dispute with his neighbour, the tailor William Jackson, who lived in the cottage where Drumrauch Hall now stands:
The time when the hedge at the foot of Jackson paddock Jacque Barn was cut by my order and in my presence
after harvest    1850    by Ramshaw
after harvest    1851    by Thos Brown
Some jottings show his open-handedness in giving and lending money to his parishioners, as for example:
Teddy has paid towards his boots    0 – 6 – 7   Decr 27th 1851
Other entries include notes of the number of days worked for him by the Meynells, Hebron, "Joe" and Pat Cannon and details of the substantial sum of £309-19s he had made in 1854 on sales of crops grown on his glebe land.

The 1851 census found Robert Barlow and all his family together in the vicarage: his wife, his three sisters and his nephew Hector.

They had a very suitable complement of servants – cook, housemaid and groom – indicating a well-to-do middle-class household.  The cook and maid were two Hutton Rudby girls aged 20 and 17, Catherine and Elizabeth Bainbridge, and the groom was an Irish lad, John McLaughlin, aged 18.

Hector Vaughan was then 18 years old and must soon afterwards have begun his career in the army, entering the 1st Battalion 20th Foot (East Devonshire) Regiment [1].  At this time an army officer was generally expected to have a private income in addition to his pay.  Hector may have inherited money from his father's family, or possibly his mother passed on to him some of the income from his father's Will and her own marriage settlement.

For this census Mr Barlow gave his age as 47 and reduced his wife's age from nearly 70 to 45.  His two eldest sisters are described as aged 30 and 28 years old, while their younger sister Nanny has a mere fourteen years taken off her age, which is given as 36. 

The date of the 1851 census was Sunday 30 March, and on the same day the voluntary, but officially encouraged, Ecclesiastical Census was taken.  This counted the number of attendances at places of worship, and so did not take into account the many people who will have attended church or chapel more than once that day.

It had been estimated that 58% of the population were free to attend worship (taking into account age, infirmity, work etc) and there was dismay when the results showed that nearly half these people did not do so:
a sadly formidable proportion of the English people are habitual neglecters of religion.  
The strength of Nonconformity revealed in the census was a blow to the Church of England, and poor church attendance in rural areas such as Kent and Sussex where there was little competition from Dissent was particularly unwelcome.  In Yorkshire, Methodism was very strong in the West Riding where the Wesleyans alone outnumbered the Anglican in attendances in the largest towns, while in the North and East Ridings the Dissenters had a long lead over the church.

Some Anglican clergy refused to complete the forms.  Some held that the state had no right to make such enquiries, while others felt that the questions – as to the incumbent's income, for example – were too prying.

Mr Barlow did not complete the census for his church or chapels; we do not know his reasons.

In Great Ayton, the Revd Joseph Ibbetson filled in the form, commenting that:
The attendance on the 30th was decidedly below the average for the last 3 months.  
At morning service in Ayton he had a general congregation of 138, with 46 Sunday scholars.  He then took a service at Nunthorpe, half-filling the chapel with a congregation of 50, and in the evening had a congregation of 155 at Ayton.

The Revd Charles Cator gave the figures for Stokesley adding a long explanation:
I do not think the congregation was on Sunday the 30th March an average congregation.  Three Houses in the Town having the windows closed on account of deaths.  There were besides two funerals at which were present 173 persons, and the persons attending funerals seldom attend the public worship on those occasions, besides that there are very many sick at the present time.  The afternoon service is attended chiefly by persons attending Baptisms and by the School Children who are catechized publicly. 
He recorded that in the morning there were 237 people in the congregation with 83 Sunday Scholars, in the afternoon there were eleven adults and 83 Sunday Scholars, and in the evening there was a congregation of 185. 

In Hutton Rudby, John Smith was the steward for the Wesleyan chapel at the top of North End.

He recorded that it had free sittings for 150 and "other sittings" for 113, "Size of Chapel 12 yards by 10 yards within."  A morning service was not held (this was common in Nonconformist chapels), and that afternoon he noted a general congregation of 70 with 37 Sunday scholars, and in the evening a congregation of 41.  The average, he wrote, was an afternoon congregation of 100 with 40 Sunday scholars and an evening congregation of 60.

William Eden was the steward for the Primitive Methodist Chapel.

This was not the building known as Church House today, but its predecessor on the same site.  It had 122 free sittings, 76 other sittings and free space or standing room for 60.  They held only an evening service, and that day had a congregation of 150, contrasting with an average congregation of 180. 

Methodism was strong in Hutton Rudby.

In contrast, the combined evening congregation of the Great Ayton Wesleyan, Primitive and Independent chapels was 124 [2]; the population of the township was 1,109, compared to Hutton, Rudby, Sexhow and Skutterskelfe at 912.  In Stokesley it was said that up to 1851 "no body of Dissenters seemed to thrive" [3], and the census showed that the evening congregation of the Bethel Chapel, the Primitive Methodists and the Wesleyans together came to 262, while the township population was 2,040. 

The local Primitive Methodists at this time had some noticeable successes.

In 1850 a large camp meeting was held at Scarth Nick on the moors above Swainby by Joseph Spoor, who was the superintendant of the Brompton circuit of the Primitive Methodists and a very zealous preacher.  He was on occasion "so filled with the glory" that he fell unconscious, and could so affect his listeners that they fell on the floor crying aloud for mercy.  People travelled many miles to attend the camp meeting, and the lovefeast afterwards in Swainby was "very powerful" [4].

In the early 1850s it was recorded of the Primitive Methodists in Hutton Rudby that:
Our friends sing through the village every time they have preaching, and it is pleasing to see that as soon as they commence their vocal music, the people flock in all directions to the little chapel. [5]
Meanwhile, a new religious movement had arrived in the area.  In June 1852 Mormon missionaries began to make conversions in the little hamlet of Faceby [6].  It lies under the Cleveland Hills a few miles from Hutton Rudby, in clear view of the vicarage.  The missionaries were holding meetings in the house of Mr Barlow's "cousins" – the cartwright James Stanger and his wife Isabella Thompson. 

Faceby was many miles from the nearest Branch of the Mormon Church, and it is not clear how contact was made.  The first converts appear to have been John and Elizabeth Etherington, who had come to the village from County Durham where branches of the church already existed, and it is possible that they were introduced to the church by family or friends.  Another possibility is that a travelling elder stopped in Faceby on his way north from the branch in Leeds and found a ready audience. 

These were respectable rural families – James Stanger was a long-established craftsman aged 60, and owned one property that he occupied himself and another that he rented out, while John Etherington was a 50 year old churchwarden and tenant farmer of 119 acres, employing two labourers.  Interest in the new faith soon spread to their families and neighbours, and must have caused some consternation in the surrounding area, particularly among the clergy.

By December 1853 a Branch of the church had been established in Faceby with sixteen members, which was represented at the Newcastle Conference by Elder Moses Clough, a young man who had been sent out as a missionary from Utah the year before. 

This was a time of intense interest in personal salvation arising perhaps from the profound dislocations in society caused by the social and economic changes then taking place.

The Mormon missionaries offered their listeners a new theology based on the familiar foundation of the Bible.  For those in search of security there was spiritual authority, confirmed by prophecies from scriptures and works of apostolic power.  For lovers of ritual, there were secret mysteries and rites.  The faith appealed strongly to people searching for social justice and equality, as there was no professional priesthood and ordinary working men could find status and recognition in the church's clearly defined structure.  The overall ideal was optimistic and progressive.  Mormon missionaries did not preach hell-fire but almost universal salvation, and they taught that life on earth was was only part of an eternal existence in which our spirits learn and progress – "Happiness is the object and design of our existence" said the founder Joseph Smith.

They called for a life of hard work, healthy living, self-discipline, education and frugality.  The church planned to create settlements which would have all the advantages of schools, public lectures, meetings, social refinement and intellectual life "as will be found in the home of the merchant or banker or professional man" [7].

Lastly, there was the appeal of emigration – the promise of a new life in a better land with like-minded people.  The general stereotype of a Mormon convert was an urban working-class Nonconformist.  The Faceby Mormons obviously did not fit this pattern – but they were clearly strongly drawn to this life of self-improvement in pursuit of a higher communal and spiritual ideal.

Mr Barlow must have been occupied with more personal matters at this time.

On 9 December 1852, his wife Marianne died of "paralysis", or a stroke.  Only a year after Mr Barlow had informed the local census enumerator that his wife was 45 years old, the registrar Thomas Harker recorded her death at the age of 70.  She and Robert had been married for 23 years.  The death was registered six days after the event not by Mr Barlow or one of his sisters, but by Margaret Coates.  She had been with Mrs Barlow at her death, probably as a servant or nurse, and she was apparently unable or not sufficiently confident to sign her name, making her mark instead. 

No Probate or Letters of Administration can be found for Mrs Barlow in England; any property she owned in Ireland will have been dealt with in Dublin and the records probably therefore lost.  If she had received an income from a settlement by her family, it may have continued to be paid to her widower, but judging by Mr Barlow's financial difficulties it could not have been a large amount.

Financial worries followed his bereavement.

It was at this time that Mr Barlow drew up a list in one of his notebooks, headed "Myshall – Arrears May 1st 1833" [8].  The list covers twelve pages of names and figures set out in columns, and consists of details of arrears of tithe due for his late brother-in-law's parish of Myshall in County Carlow, drawn up on the basis of the Tithe Applotment Books [9].

The list can be dated with a fair degree of certainty to 1854, because of its position in the notebook.  It follows Mr Barlow's "Notes on Humbolts Cosmos Vol 1", of which an English translation by Elizabeth Juliana Leeves was published in four volumes between 1849 and 1858.  At the side of one page of his notes, Barlow left a record of wages due for work in Hutton Rudby for the sixteen days beginning Tuesday February 7.  This combination of date and day occurred in 1854, 1865 and 1871.  Another of Mr Barlow's notebooks also includes a few remarks on Alexander von Humboldt's Cosmos alongside notes made in the 1850s [10]

Evidently Mr Barlow and his sister Nanny had hopes of recovering unpaid tithes due to her husband, who had been dead twenty years.

Mr Barlow calculated that the total arrears of tithe due to the Revd Vaughan on 1 May 1833 amounted to £161-3s-4d [11].  Most of the landholders owing arrears in Mr Barlow's list seem to have owed 18 months' tithes, though some owed more – for example, the Police Office at Myshall owed three years' tithes.  There is no indication as to whether they hoped to recover the tithes from the landholders, or from a later incumbent, or even under the compensation schemes for tithes unpaid in the Tithe War – we do not know whether they actually made a claim.  Growing financial difficulties in the household must have prompted them to draw up this laborious list.

To grief and money troubles, anxiety for Hector must soon have been added.

Now a young officer, he served in the appalling conditions of the Crimean War.  At the Battle of Inkerman on 5 November 1854, where his regiment earned battle honours, Hector Vaughan was one of the men who carried the regimental colours [12].  Young Major Heneage Wynne, who had just inherited the manor of Stokesley from his uncle, died in the battle, and the household at the vicarage must have heard reports of the deaths of other young men from families they knew or had known in the past.  In 1855 news of the death from disease of Lieut Richard Borough of the 2nd Rifle Brigade [13] may have reached them.  Aged seventeen, he was the nephew of their brother John's widow Georgina.
The activities of the Faceby Mormons may have been an embarrassment to Mr Barlow – or possibly something in the way of a quiet personal triumph.  In 1854 they had become increasingly committed and active, travelling the area with tracts and pamphlets to preach in the open air to all who would listen.

Finally, in the bitter weather of early 1855 there was a remarkable exodus from Faceby.  A party of twenty-seven people ranging in age from two months to 61 years set off to take the train to Liverpool.  From there, a party of twenty-six, including a newborn baby and a pregnant woman, took the long sea journey across the Atlantic to Philadelphia in the sailing ship Siddons.  At the time of the 1851 census, the population of Faceby had been 140.  Ten of these people left England for Utah in 1855, and some years later they were followed by the three Branch members who had been obliged to remain – James and Isabella Stanger, now elderly, and their son John.  The only member of the Stanger family who did not become a Mormon was the eldest son James, whose wife was Ann Elliott of Hutton Rudby.

The Elliott family was known to Mr Barlow – Ann may have attended the village school, as did others of her family, and it seems that her cousin Isabella had worked for the Barlow household.  Perhaps she and her husband had turned to Mr Barlow for advice or support in their decision.  If so, he would have been able to congratulate himself that he had done his best to uphold his church. 

The disappearance of Mr Barlow's cousins for Utah may have been galling – certainly the reappearance of Marian D'Oyley Beste and her family will have been an irritation.

Marian and John Richard Digby Beste and their children returned to Europe after spending some time in Indiana, and in 1855 Beste published an interesting two-volume account of their travels:  The Wabash: or, Adventures of an English gentleman's family in the interior of America.  Included in the work are passages from diaries kept by the children during their American adventure, amongst them several lively excerpts written by the 13-year-old daughter "Louie" – the Barlows' niece, Louisa Barlow Hoy. 


[1]  they became the Lancashire Fusiliers after 1881

[2]  The Ayton society was the strongest in its circuit by the early 20th century [see Patterson]

[3]  Northern Primitive Methodism by W M Patterson 1909

[4]  ibid

[5]  ibid

[6]  For a fuller account, see Cleveland History 86 (Spring 2004) (Cleveland & Teesside Local History Society bulletin)For my later research, see my blog posts on the Mormons of Faceby

[7]  from an early explanation of Smith's plan quoted in Roberts, Comprehensive History [Expectations Westward by P A M Taylor, 1965]

[8]  NYCRO, Rudby Parochial Church Council Minute Book 1920-32, PR/HTR Mic 1207

[9]  The Tithe Applotment Books for Myshall parish, Diocese of Leighlin, County Carlow, 1827, can be seen on microfilm at the Family History Centre. Mr Barlow evidently had access to a copy.

[10]  the notebook in the possession of the Hutton Rudby Primary School

[11]  The tithe applotment books show that the total annual rectorial composition was £400-0s-1d.

[12]  see, the Ben Smyth/Kinglake archive


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