THE MORLEY GRAVES
In connexion with the three graves at Oakington, it may be noticed that there is a similar group in the graveyard of Moriey Chapel, near Leeds, Yorkshire.
The three following ejected ministers there sleep together:Â— Robert Pickeringe, who, as stated on the tombstone, “counted himself the meanest servant in the work of Jesus Christ:” he was of Sydney College, Cambridge, and died October 11, 1680.Â—Mr. Joseph Dawson, according to Calamy, “of very venerable aspect, a hard student, an affectionate preacher; who naturally cared for the good of souls, unwearied in labours, very successful in his ministry, and had a good report of all men: he expired June 26, 1709.Â—Mr. William Hawden, a zealous promoter of what was good, and one of magnanimity and resolution, who departed this life 26th August, 1699. “When the Duke of Monmouth landed, he was sent prisoner to Hull, and thence conveyed to York Castle, where the Commissioners required he should be bound to his good behaviour, which he peremptorily refused, knowing no occasion for it; but the matter was compromised, upon a friend passing his word for him.”
Near these ejected ministers repose the remains of Samuel Baily, Minister of the Gospel at Morley and Topcliffe, who died December 6, 1675.
There is, perhaps, no Nonconformist place of worship in England so remarkable in its appearance and history as the Chapel at Morley. It is a low, wide-roofed building, with projecting windows in the roof, and a part at the east end, which looks like a chancel. It is small; and has internally the aspect of an old rustic parish church. It seems to have been built in the reign of Elizabeth, and to have been originally used as a tithe-barn. The first change in the structure probably occurred in the reign of James I or Charles I, when it was converted into a place of worship. The greatest improvement of it was under the Commonwealth, It certainly was then employed as a Chapel, as this is testified by the ancient scrolls and inscriptions on the walls. A trust-deed was executed in 1650 expressly mentioning “the Chapel,” which could have been no other than this edifice. Thomas Lord Viscount Saville, Earl of Sussex, Lord of the Manor in 1650, then living at Howley Hall, granted to certain trustees of the Presbyterian denomination a lease for 500 years of the Chapel premises, with some land, and other buildings, and all the tithes thereto belonging, at an annual rent of 20s., for the benefit of a preaching minister. Among the trustees was Thomas Otes, an old Republican officer, and afterwards a schoolmaster, who was concerned in the Farnley Wood Plot; and Major Thomas Greetheed, another Republican officer, who fought under Fairfax. After the Restoration, the premises came into the possession of the Episcopalian party. The royal arms were put up, which still remain there; and passages of Scripture were inscribed on the walls, enjoining loyalty. One of them isÂ—”My son, fear thou the Lord, and meddle not with them that are given to change.” But, in consequence of the Revolution of 1688, Nonconformists obtained liberty to preach and worship; and then, because the place while held by Episcopalians was deserted by the people, who
assembled elsewhere; and because there was no fund for the payment of a curate, and the Vicar of Batley became tired of supporting it, the Chapel was surrendered again to the Nonconformists who obtained a licence, built a minister’s house, and have had the premises in their possession ever since.