Saturday, 26 September 2015

Ellerker Church concert

On Saturday I visited Ellerker church which is near Brough in East Yorkshire.   I have visited before with my WEA history classes in July 2014 and wrote then a piece about the Levitt window.

This time I was with churchwarden and organist Diana Bushby and The Saltmarshe Duo [Amy Butler and Steven Goulden] as they discussed their forthcoming concert on October 10th.

The concert is timed to coincide with the harvest festival at the church when it will be beautifully decorated and so it is appropriately entitled A Harvest of Music. Steven will be singing such favourites as The Flower Song from Carmen while Amy will be accompanying him as well as playing solos on piano and organ.

Harvest of Music- concert at Ellerker church by The Saltmarshe Duo

Having spent some time in the church listening to the lovely music I thought I would do a little research about its history. I think I got somewhat carried away but as I sit in a pew with its poppy head decoration on October 10th I shall be able to look around me with more appreciation of my surroundings.

Ellerker church

Ellerker church was designed by John Loughborough Pearson and was his first individual design built 1843-4.

There is a report in the Hull Packet newspaper, edition of Friday 1st Sept. 1843  of the laying of the foundation stone. Below is an edited extract.

Ellerker Chapel.
Wednesday the 23rd ult., was the day selected for the laying of the first stone of the new chapel to be erected at Ellerker, in the  parish of Brantingham. Divine Service commenced in the parish church at eleven o’ clock. Prayers having been read by the Reverend Vicar, a most admirable and effective sermon was preached by the Venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, from the epistle of Paul to the Ephesians IV chap. 16th verse. A collection of £19 5s was made after the sermon when a procession was formed from the parish church to the site of the chapel, in the following order:

Bands of Music;
Odd Fellows, with their banners of their order.
Messrs. Appleton and Malone, contractors for the building.
Foundation Stone, carried by four workmen,
Boys  of the School,
Girls of the School, all wearing neat white caps,
Choir in their surplices.

 On their approaching the ground, the children and clergy sang  the ninety-fifth Psalm and after the Archdeacon had read the versicles preceding the collect of the day, the collect of St. Simon and St. Jude's Day, and the Lord's Prayer, the  Rev. G. Fyler Townsend addressed Mrs. Edwin Hotham requesting her, in the absence of Mrs Fleetwood Shawe, of Brantingham Thorpe, to lay the first stone of the new chapel, and said

'I have very much pleasure in now asking you to do me; and the inhabitants of Ellerker, by many of whom you are surrounded, the favour of laying the first stone of the chapel to be  erected in this place "to the Glory of God, and in memory of St. Ann,"

You, as well as that lady (Mrs Fleetwood Shawe), whose representatlve on this occasion you have kindly consented to be; you, madam, have now been for some time a resident of  this parish and this neighbourhood and you are well aware as many of those present can also bear witness, into what a dilapidated and. ruinous state the chapel which lately stood on this spot had fallen. It is not my present intention to enter at any great length, into the past history of the edifice, among the  ruins of which we are now standing.

Suffice it to say, that it  was built in an age long since passed away, and that by a well  authenticated tradition it formed a part of a convenical or  monastic establishment in this place; the spiritual wants of which were not supplied by a resident minister; but were served  by a priest, an ocassional visitor, from the distant church of Durham.  We have reason, indeed, to be grateful that the  additions made in those ages to the faith, as once delivered to the saints, have been swept away. We have reason to rejoice also that while we have discarded from our creeds all Romish superstition, we have still at the same time lost no part nor portion of  Catholic truth. [ ]

Many churches  and chapels, which were erected by the piety  and endowed by the munificence of our ancestors the length and breadth of the land have been permitted to fall into decay.
Among the number is to be reckoned the chapel in this place. This may in part be attributed to the lapse of time and to that convulsion in our national history which led to the mutilation and destruction of so many of our churches yet is also to be attributed, and I must not shrink from declaring the truth, to be attributed  to the negligence and carelessness of the former inhabitants of this place.
For within the memory of man this chapel is known to have extended beyond the walls of that which has just been taken down. It reached, it is said, to the most distant part of the chapel yard in which we are now met.

It, was owing partly therefore, to the negligence end carelessness of the former inhabitants of this village, to that negligence and carelessness alone of the ordinances and sacraments and worship of the Church, which was shown in their neglect of the building erected among them, as the outward sign of those ordinances, that we are now assembled on this occasion to erect a new House of Prayer in this place.

And although we, cannot, on this occasion, speak to you of a single owner of the soil who, of his sole bounty and munificence has come forward to re-build the chapel of this village yet we can tell you that there are funds found sufficient to enable us to commence this work.

 The cultivators of the land, the occupiers of the lands and the general ratepayers of this chapelry have granted and it redounds to their praise and credit a rate of £200 for this purpose. The chief ruler of the church in this diocese, the Dean and Chapter of Durham the munificent patron of this benefice and the owners of the neighbouring soil, have all assisted with their bounty and generosity.
Neither can I omit to mention that we are permitted to enrol a Royal personage among our list of contributors on this occasion and that a lady no less illustrious for her virtues than by her station Her Majesty the Queen Dowager has sent a donation to the completion of this undertaking.

It is owing to these circumstances and facts that I have now the pleasure and gratification to request of you the laying the first stone of the chapel to be erected on this spot.
 [ ]
Mrs. Hotham having laid the stone, with the usual formalities, the 122nd Psalm and some suitable collects were read, then The Archdeacon Wilberforce said I am happy, on an occasion of this kind, so see so large an assembly of my fellow countrymen and fellow Christians and it gives me much pleasure to see so many persons of all classes assembled around me.
[ ]
I am told that the very spot on which I am now standing actually formed a part of the old building formerly erected in this place.
The first and earliest churches in this country were built of wood and you have has an instance today [alluding to a scaffolding which had given way] of the instability and insecurity of a wooden foundation. We now therefore lay the foundation of this building in stone - the strong foundation…

After a short address from the Rev. W. Hildyard, the 1O0th Psalm was sung, and when The Archdeacon pronounced the blessing the ceremony was concluded.
A large party met at the Vicarage for luncheon, where the children of the schools and others assembled for tea in the afternoon. So ended a day, which will long be remembered.

The following inscription - in Latin and English was enclosed in the stone with a handsome Victoria medal, the gift of a lady from the neighbourhood:-

Hujus aedis
Ad Gloriam Dei et S. Aanae in memoriam dicatae, partim parochis. Ellerkerenais per impenas, partim Reverendi Capitularis Dunelmensis, Vicarii de Brantingham, et vicinae incolarum per munificentiam, extruendae, primus lapis positus est hoc vigesimo tertio die mensis Augusti, MDCCCLX111. Non nobis, Domine, sed te Nomini, Gloria

There is yet we hear some deficiency in the funds requisite for the completion of this chapel but those funds will probably be made up by collections in the neighbourhood before the completion of the chapel. The indefatigable and unwearied exertions of the much respected vicar, The Rev; G. F. Townsend, to bring about this desired object are most praiseworthy; and although he has met with a little opposition from a small portion of his parishioners, yet, since his labours have been crowned with success, tbere appears nothing but good feeling to prevail.


The church was consecrated a year later and the same newspaper of 16th August 1844 included in its report of the ceremony the following contemporary description.

The chapel consists of nave and chancel, the former 47 feet long and 20 feet 6 inches wide, the latter  18 feet long and 13 feet 6 inches wide; a south porch and a vestry on the north aide, communicating with the chancel by an open archway, in which is intended to place a parclose screen of decorated character, carved in rich English oak. The style of the buildings  throughout of pure Decorated that which prevailed during the reign of Edward the Second.

 The west end is surmounted by a bell gable, on the top  of which is placed a very ornamental cross; the east gable of the nave and the east gable of the chancel, are also finished with rich crosses. In the nave there are nine windows, three on the south and four on north side, two lights each, nearly all of differing  foliation  and rivalling each other in the beauty of their forms; the west end has two single lighted windows with tracery. These windows have very rich painted glass in upper part, with a beautiful border down the sides formed of leaves in  a running pattern, the space in the centre being filled up with small diamond squares of dark green glass, the sombre effect of which adds very greatly to the appearance of the chapel.

 In the chancel there are three windows, the east one over the altar being of three lights, and the tracery of very elegant pattern and of the richest character ; the two other windows which are on the south side, have also very rich tracery, and are of a single light each. The latter windows are filled with beautiful painted glass with the emblems of the four Evangelists in medallions. The upper part of the east window it also filled with very rich glass. The whole is painted  by Mr. Wailes who seems to have displayed his usual good taste.
 The lower portion the east window is now glazed with plain glass, but it is intended to have this also filled with rich glass when funds sufficient can raised.

 The chancel is separated from the nave by a lofty archway, which originally formed part of the old chapel: the under side of this, a series of subjects connected with the life our blessed Saviour (beginning the Nativity, and ending with the day of Pentecost, as commemorated in the the ecclesiastical year, are painted in medallions formed by the interlacing of two wreaths of thorns. On the walls all around the are painted sentences from Holy Scripture, as in the porch.

The roof of the nave is of open timber work, and of a very high pitch, and divided into eight compartments  by pointed timber arches, moulded on the edges with carved and painted bosses at the intersections. The chancel roof  is also of an arched form, and divided into twelve panels on each side, the boards being laid on the circular ribs, thus forming a wooden vault; these panels, it is hoped, will be painted and illuminated.

 The font, of very simple form, is placed at the entrance from the south porch. The pulpit is placed on the north side against the pillar of the archway. The reading desk occupies the opposite side, together with the lectern; the former faces the north, and the latter to the west. The litany dcak is placed at  the end of the nave. In the middle of the aisle, facing eastward. These are made of very beautiful dark English oak, and richly moulded and carved.

An altar rail, of very rich design oak, goes across the chancel, opening in the middle with a folding gate. Within the rails on the south side are three sedilla, stepped one above the other, of plain carved stone work. The altar table is of solid English oak, and approached by three steps or landings: there are also two desks within the rails, one for the Epistle and the other for the Gospel. The seats of the nave all face eastward; the ends of which are terminated with plain poppy heads. Children’s seats range on each aide in front of the pulpit and lectern, facing north and south. The accommodatton thus afforded is for about two hundred persons, including the children, and nearly all the seats are free.

 Th» embroidery and other ornaments of the communion table was provided under the care and taste of Mrs. Hubbarde, of Hull; and the books, in very rich crimson binding, were prepared by Mr. Nicholson, Hull. The stone work was done by Messrs. Simpson and Malone, of Hull  and the several works were contracted for and ably executed by Messrs. Appleton and Son.  of Anlaby, under the superintendence of the architect, Mr. J. L. Pearson, of London


Rev George Fyler Townsend [1814-1900], the new vicar of Brantingham was so horrified when he first saw the dilapidated brick and chapel of ease at Ellerker in autumn 1842 that he immediately began fund raising to build a new one.

His father was a canon at Durham and the family were friendly with young John Loughborough Pearson who was studying in Durham 1831-42 with architect Ignatious Bonomi. Pearson was also Sunday school superintendent while George Townsend snr was the Bishop of Durham's private secretary.

And so JL Pearson was given his first commission- to design a new chapel of ease at Ellerker. He later designed the new schoolroom.

Rev George Fyler Townsend left Brantingham for Leominster and was the translator of the standard English edition of Aesop's Fables. His volume of 350 fables introduced the practice of stating a  moral at the conclusion of each story and continues to be influential. Several editions were published in his lifetime, and others since.

In 1860, he also published a revised edition of The Arabian Nights. In 1872, Townsend published, under the auspices of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a volume entitled 'The Sea Kings of the Mediterranean',  an account of the Knights of Malta. The dedication is addressed to his 'Dear Boys', 'in the hope that they will hate all that is low and base, and love all that is noble, great and good.'

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