St Peters 18th Century

St. Peters Church Addingham

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  • 1710 William Crofts
  • 1714 Robert Allott
  • 1720 James Carr
  • 1745 William Thompson
  • 1782 William Thompson
  • 1790 John Coates

In 1720 James Carr became Rector. He was a member of a well known Craven family. He was not only Rector of Addingham but was Curate at Bolton Abbey and master of a grammar school at Bolton by Bowland. He and three of his descendants held the Curacy of Bolton Abbey continuously for 117 years. His grandson, Reverend William Carr, bred the famous Craven Heifer and compiled a Craven Dialect Dictionary.

In 1743 he was required to answer a questionnaire from the Archbishop of York concerning the state of his parish and his answers shed a little light on the Addingham of the mid 18th century:

  • There were about 100 families in the parish and apart from 5 or 6 Quaker families there were no other dissenters in the parish, though in the following year Methodism was established in Addingham.
  • There was no school in the village and no almshouse.
  • There was a Quaker meeting house licensed in the parish, at Farfield, which had been erected in 1689.
  • At Communion he had an attendance of between 30 and 40 and at Easter over 100.

James Carr died in 1745, in which year the first of the three William Thompsons became Rector. He was presented by Sir John Ingilby but it is not known how or when the patronage passed to him from the University of Cambridge. Many changes were to take place during William Thompson’s 37 years as Rector.

There had been a decline in standards throughout the Church of England and locally this decline had affected the structure of the church which had fallen into disrepair. In 1755 it was necessary to undertake some remedial demolition and rebuilding, but further work was required. In May 1756 plans had been produced and considered by the Trustees and principal inhabitants of the Parish who decided that it should be proceeded with. The question of erecting a steeple was discussed, agreed upon, and then reconsidered. It was decided that, in order to enlarge the seating area of the church, part of the chancel should be used, but the repair and upkeep of the chancel was the financial responsibility of the incumbent. If part of the chancel were now to be included in the church, the repair of which the parishioners were responsible for, then an added financial burden would be placed upon the parish. The villagers did not accept such additional obligations lightly and a special meeting had to be called. To the satisfaction of everyone concerned, the Rector suggested that the chancel should be dealt with in the same way as the church at his expense.

The next question was how the work was to be paid for without placing any unnecessary financial burden on the parish. The answer was the Addingham Brief. This was a method commonly used in post Reformation times for the repair and rebuilding of churches. In short, it was an authorised collection made over as wide an area as possible, an appeal being made from pulpits. The Addingham Brief proved very satisfactory as the amount to be raised locally was the small sum of £3.4s.4d. With sufficient finance having been raised, the work commenced:

The external porch over the south entrance along with the entire south walls of the nave and chancel were demolished and rebuilt with the internal porch we have today. The west tower was built in place of the steeple originally proposed, the date and names of the churchwardens can be seen on a string course above the clock. The gallery at the west end of the church was erected and a ceiling was installed in the nave, hiding the bulk of the oak roof. On completion of the tower, a peal of six bells was ordered from Sellers of York, but these failed to come up to specification. After considerable controversy, Lester and Pack of London supplied a new peal in 1759, these being the bells still rung today!

Several documents relating to these building works are held in the archives. These include specifications and accounts and letters relating to the bells.

Further work took place in 1788 when the old vestry was pulled down and rebuilt.

In 1782 the first William Thompson resigned the living in favour of his 24 year old son, also William Thompson. The patron again being Sir John Ingilby.

In April 1789 the younger William Thompson married, but in November of that year both he and his wife died within two days of each other and were buried on the same day in the same grave. The succeeding Rector, Rev’d. John Coates held the living for 40 years.

John Cunliffe, described in the Parish Registers as maltster, grazier, woolstapler, yeoman and gentleman was the son of Ellis Cunliffe of Ilkley and Addingham, who had married Mary Lister, the daughter of the Vicar of Ilkley. He was a wealthy man who had purchased a lot of land in Addingham and he married Mary, the daughter of the first Revd. William Thompson. The Rector, John Coates, married Mary Cunliffe, the daughter of John Cunliffe, so the incumbency was indirectly retained in the Thompson family. Mary Thompson had inherited, through her grandfather, Revd. William Thompson, the advowson of the church and she became patron of the living which remains in the family to this day.

In addition to his duties in Addingham, Revd. Coates, like William Thompson before him, was Curate at Bolton Abbey for several years.

In 1792, Revd. Coates attempted to have himself elected headmaster of Skipton Grammar School, an episode not to his credit.