Tuesday, 28 August 2018

More on the cholera and the Rev R J Barlow

This exchange of letters casts more light on the events of the Cholera Epidemic in Hutton Rudby in the autumn of 1832:  Mr Peacock uses Mr Barlow's activities during the epidemic to strike back at critics of the Established Church.  In his reply, Mr Barlow praises the doctors who came to the assistance of the stricken villagers:-

Yorkshire Gazette, 17 November 1832
To the Editor of the Yorkshire Gazette 
Sir, – It ought to be mentioned, to the praise of a humane and pious clergyman of the Church of England, the Rev. Barlow, vicar of Hutton-Rudby, in Cleveland; – and also as an example "to go and do likewise," – that during the prevalence of the cholera in that village, he never failed to visit every individual afflicted with that dreadful malady, especially the poor and needy; and to administer to their wants and comforts with a truly christian benevolence.  I may also add, that the funeral service was performed by him in the numerous instances of mortality, with a seriousness and solemnity befitting so awful a visitation. – He has indeed raised for himself, in the language of Horace –
"Monumentum aere perennius"
that will live in the grateful recollections of his parishioners. 
Yet such are the men whom it is too much the fashion of the present liberal age to depreciate and vilify!  But what greater injustice can there be, than to cast odious reflections upon the venerable Establishment, because, forsooth, a few of its members may possibly walk unworthily, and in some instances, neglect the duties of their sacred calling.  But let such examples as have been mentioned, have their due praise; – such conduct exhibits the traits of true christian heroism, as well as of humanity, – far more ennobling than the laurels of the warrior when "died in blood, and bedewed with the tears of the widow and the orphan." 
I am ever yours respectfully, 
G C Peacock
Sowerby Grange Academy, near Thirsk,
November 14, 1832

Yorkshire Gazette, 1 December 1832
To the Editor of the Yorkshire Gazette 
Sir. – Having accidentally seen in your Gazette of the 17th inst., a letter signed G C Peacock, of Sowerby Grange, near Thirsk, permit me, through the medium of your excellent and widely-circulated paper, to present unto Mr Peacock my most grateful thanks and acknowledgments for the very handsome and flattering manner in which he has introduced my name to public notice.  Deeply as I feel impressed with a sense of my own unworthiness, if, during the awful pestilence at Hutton Rudby, I have afforded spiritual or temporal comfort to the unhappy sufferers, I trust I may ever feel thankful to the Almighty God, who, in his mercy, not only spared my life, but gave me, as it were, new strength both of mind and body, proportioned to the duties I had to perform. 
Allow me to trespass for a moment longer upon your valuable time, to pay an humble, but just, tribute to the merits of Doctor Keenlyside, of Stockton, and James Allardice, Esq., of Stokesley, our medical assistants, who kindly gave up their own excellent practice, and, with a truly philanthropic spirit, came into the midst of the plague to alleviate the anguish of suffering humanity.  To a stranger nay, to the very people of the village unconnected with the seat of disease, it is unknown how much those gentlemen had to contend with, between prejudice on the one hand, and on the other from the want of an hospital, and all other conveniences which a well regulated town can command; but, to the honour of their names be it recollected, their unwearied attention and benevolence surmounted every difficulty, – for which I do feel myself personally much indebted to them, and for which the inhabitants of Hutton Rudby can never repay them without a grateful remembrance of their names, convinced as they ought to be, that to their assiduity and professional skill alone, under divine Providence, must be attributed the rapid disappearance of the alarming malady. 
I have the honour to remain, Sir, 
Your most obedient Servant.
R J Barlow, Clerk.
Linden Grove, Rudby, Nov. 29th

It does seem a pity that the doctors' names were not remembered – instead, a story grew up that the doctors came out from Northallerton only so far as Doctors Lane, and would not enter the village.

But, as I pointed out in my book, Doctors Lane was known by that name before the Asiatic cholera ever arrived in the British Isles.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Disrobing at the altar, Otley in 1808

I was looking for something completely different when I came across this exciting story:

Tyne Mercury, 3 May 1808
Tuesday last, at Otley, after a disconsolate widowhood of three months, Mr George Rastrick, of Hawksworth, aged 78, to Mrs Mitson, of Burley-wood head, aged 60, making the fourth visit paid by the husband, and the third by his fair bride, to the altar of Hymen.  
In compliance with a vulgar notion, that the wife being married in a state of nudity, exonerates her husband from legal obligations to discharge any demands upon her purse, the lady, with much sang froid, began to disrobe herself at the altar, and did not desist till her chemise remained her only covering; thus having attained the very summit of the nude ton, the marriage ceremony commenced, and it was not till the whole had been deliberately gone through that the parish sexton, in the capacity of waiting woman, began to dress this blooming daughter of Eve, and to revive, by the genial heat of warm clothing, that spark of hymeneal fire which a chilling air and humid atmosphere had well nigh extinguished.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Jacob Honeyman's pony is stolen, 1829

Jacob Honeyman's pony must have been left to graze by the roadside when it caught the eye of Thomas Boulton.  Boulton's defence – such as it is – is striking by its hopelessness, and the sentence is a reminder of the days of the Bloody Code of criminal law.  But it's quite possible, as that link shows, that Boulton was transported instead.  If he survived the voyage and the appalling punishment regime, he and his descendants might have done rather well ...

York Herald, 8 August 1829
THOS. BOULTON (33), charged with having stolen a pony, the property of Jacob Honeyman, of Hutton Rudby.
Mr Alexander stated the case, which was briefly this.  Early on the morning of the 18th of May last, the pony was taken from a lane near the village of Hutton Rudby.  The prisoner was seen to be riding it without a saddle, &c. which caused suspicion to be created that he had stolen it.  He was interrogated, and the result was, he and the pony were secured.  In his defence, he said that he had another pony in the lane belonging to himself, which he exchanged with a stranger for the one stolen.  He had several respectable witnesses to that fact, who unfortunately were not here.  The jury found him Guilty, and judgment of death was recorded against him.  He handed some letters to his Lordship, and hoped he would read them.  The learned Judge did so, and said that he would advise him to send a representation to the Secretary of State.

Friday, 3 August 2018

A sea monster at Coatham, 1778

A newspaper report from this day, 240 years ago.  A most surprising find at Coatham!

Caledonian Mercury, 3 August 1778
Friday se'enight, was killed at Coatham, near Kirkleatham in Cleveland, a very extraordinary monster that resembled a crocodile.  It was seven yards long, and was thought, by a numerous company who assembled to see it, to be the most surprising creature ever seen on any coast in England.