Bradwell: Ancient and Modern

A History of the Parish and of Incidents in the Hope Valley.

By Seth Evans (1912)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013

Chapter XVII.


It goes without saying that the family of Bradwell is the most ancient on the soil. They took their name from the place itself, and they are as numerous as ever to day, while the sons and daughters of the old place are to be found in every quarter of the globe. It is impossible in this twentieth century to locate the ancient home or homes of the family, but in all probability they formerly were seated at a mansion or large hall just at the entrance to the town of Brough, where a large block of buildings now used as farm buildings, still occupy the site. And the road here is to this day known as “Hall Gate”, and the fields about as “Hall Gate Fields”, and the large plot of table land immediately adjoining the buildings is called “Beggar Pleck”, or Place, a spot where the wayfaring poor waited for charity at the gates of the Hall. Rowland Eyre was assessed for “Nether Hall” in 1709. Nether Side is the name of the road leading from the old Hall. There have been many distinguished sons and daughters of the old families, concerning whom a volume might be written, but brief notices of some, in alphabetical order, must suffice, in addition to the references throughout this work.

As Clergymen and Ministers.

Bradwell has contributed to the ranks of the Clergy and Ministers of various denominations. The following may be mentioned:

The Rev. Thomas Middleton, clergyman, was witness to a deed in 1766.

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Rev. Joseph Hibbs, Primitive Methodist Pioneer
Rev. George Birley, Wesleyan Minister


The Rev. Joseph Hibbs, who was born here on February 8th, 1801, joined the Primitive Methodists when they first commenced services in a barn in 1821. When he was only 22 years of age he was employed as a hired local preacher in his native circuit, entered the ministry in 1829, and in 1867 was superannuated after an active ministry of 38 years. The greater part of his ministerial life was spent in South Wales, and he was often spoken of as “The Bishop of South Wales”. For 14 years he was a supernumerary minister, and died in December, 1881, at the age of eighty.


Rev. John Hallam, Primitive Methodist minister. From a lead miner he entered the ministry, being one of the pioneer preachers, and associated with the famous Hugh Bourne. He was engaged a great deal at the Connexional Book Room in London, and was called upon to preach in all parts of the country in the early days of the movement. He was a victim to overwork and came to his native place to die at the early age of 44. His death took place on September 18th, 1845. and he was buried inside the walls of the chapel, which was then in course of erection, underneath where the pulpit was to be placed.


The Rev. George Birley. He entered the Wesleyan Ministry in 1812, became one of the best known ministers in the Connexion, and died about 1870.

Rev. Jacob Morton, Famous Wesleyan Minister
Rev. John Morton, Primitive Methodist Minister
Rev. Ralph Benjamin Somerset, Dean of Cambridge


Rev. Jacob Morton, a well known Wesleyan Minister, and was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was distinguished by Christian sympathy and sincerity, possessed of a vigorous mind, familiar with a wide range of theological and general study, and was an earnest and successful preacher. He entered the ministry in 1840. and died at Exeter in 1873.


Rev. John Morton, another brother, entered the Primitive Methodist ministry, and had a distinguished career. He was an author of several popular works. He died at West Bromwich in 1862.


The eldest son of Benjamin Somerset. He was born in 1834. He became Fellow of

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Trinity College, Cambridge, took his B.A. Degree in 1857, was wrangler, and 2nd Class Classical Tripos, took his M.A. degree in 1860, became Dean of his College, and first censor of non collegiate students in that University from 1869 to 1881. He died in 1891.

On the north wall of the Chancel there is a splendid tablet to the memory of this gentleman, surmounted with a bust, in bas-relief, of the deceased. In deep black letters there is the inscription:- “In memory of the Reverend Ralph Benjamin Somerset, M.A., son of Benjamin and Fanny Somerset, of this place; Fellow and Dean of Trinity College Cambridge; First Censor of Non-Collegiate students in that University; honoured and beloved. The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance. Born February 20, 1834; died March 23, 1891”.

Rev. George Middleton, Primitive Methodist Minister
Rev. Joseph Middleton, Primitive Methodist Pioneer
Rev. Robert Middleton. Primitive Methodist Minister


Rev. George Middleton, one of the most distinguished of Bradwell lads, as a boy worked in the lead mines, but when a young man he became a local preacher among the Primitive Methodists, entered the itinerancy and became a regular minister. He became one of the most famous men in the denomination, gave up circuit work and was appointed Governor of Bourne College, Birmingham, which post he held down to his death in 1908, at the age of 77.


Rev. Adam Morton (living), a well known Primitive Methodist minister, a popular preacher, well known throughout the Connexion. Son of the late Thomas Morton, lead miner.


Rev. Robert Middleton was a nephew of the Revs. George and Joseph Middleton.

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He was for half a century a Primitive Methodist minister, but when a young man was a lead miner. He died in 1901, and lies in the Primitive Methodist burial ground.


From being curate at Bradwell when preaching service was held in the old schoolroom, before the church was built, had a distinguished career in the church. In the year 1896 the Right Rev. Edward Townson Churton became Bishop of Nassau. He is a prolific writer on ecclesiastical subjects, and the author of a number of works, including “First Island Missionary of the Bahamas”, “The Missionary's Foundation of Christian Doctrine”, “ Retreat Addresses”, “The Sanctuary of Missions”, “Foreign Missions”, and “The Use of Penitence”. He married a daughter of the Rev. C.J. Daniel, Vicar of Hope, and the lady died when on the voyage out to Nassau.


Rev. John Child Bocking (living). Vicar of Gnosall, Staffordshire, to which living he was preferred in 1906. He was educated at St. Peter's College, Cambridge, took his B.A. degree in 1889, and was ordained deacon the following year. He is a surrogate of Lichfield diocese, and formerly held curacies at Tipton and Fenton.



John Edwy Bradwell. The son of a miner, and himself a miner in his early days. He has long been a prominent personage in the friendly society world, and is editor of the magazine of the Sheffield Equalised Independent Druids. He is the writer of a number of poems of considerable merit, including “A Coronation Ode”, which was dedicated to King Edward and Queen Alexandra. A copy of the Ode was sent to Queen Alexandra, which she graciously accepted, and sent a letter of thanks to the author.

A Witty Rhymster of Half a Century Ago.
Interesting Local Ditties.

One who was famous as a poet in the middle of the last century was Adam Hill Cooper, who was a son of Samuel Cooper. This gentleman had five sons, all of whom bore scriptural names - Adam, Job, Benjamin, Elias, and Jabez. Adam was a born rhymster. He was manager of Mr. Ashton's white lead works, at Brough, and died in 1879. His ditties would fill a volume, but they were never issued to the world in that form. They were, mainly, humorous rhymes on local men and things, just a few of which will be interesting to the present generation. But he produced pieces other than humorous. One of his first productions about 1860, was dedicated to his infant son, who, however, died young. Here it is:

Dear little stranger thou art come,
Not knowing where, nor yet to whom;
But still thou art a welcome guest,
With such a prize I feel I'm blest -
My little son.

Thy home is not a stately hall,
With servants to attend each call;
'Mid parks and shrubberies sublime,
But yet it stands unstained with crime -
My little son.

Our best endeavour we will try
Thy little comforts to supply;
When we divide our humble fare
It's sweets and bitters thou must share -
My little son.

I love to see those coral lips
As from its father's cup it sips;
Thou little sprightly busy bee,
Pray, who could harm a lamb like thee? -
My little son.

May thou be spared, and learn to grow
In knowledge, and true wisdom know;
And never cause they parents shame,
But be an honour to their name -
My little son.

Those dimpled cheeks and sparkling eyes
They make a father realise
Pleasures that never can be got
In mansion nor in humble cot -
My little son.

That manly arm, that chubby fist,
That doubled chin, that wrinkled wrist,
Those mottled limbs that glow with health,
Are treasured more than earthly wealth -
My little son.

Those little pegs are peeping out,
That little tongue, it rolls about.
It cannot yet articulate,
Though it must guide thy future state -
My little son.

About the same time Mr. Cooper's pen produced the following on


Man! what art thou? I meekly ask,
Reveal thyself to me;
Hard labour seems an endless task
Allotted unto thee.

I'm bone and sinew, born of earth,
Composed of living clay;
With breath infused, there starts my birth,
At least the scriptures say.

I'm very old and cannot give
To you my exact age;
The eve I began to live
Stands a disputed page.

The changes that you daily see,
Display my busy hand;
I must continue faithfully,
I'm not allowed to stand.

Each morning brings a special task
That tries both wit and skill,
Which to avoid I must not ask,
But willingly fulfil.

Stern competition creeps behind,
And keeps me on the move.
And gently whispers to the mind
“Continually improve”.

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Adam Hill Cooper, a Witty Rhymester

What difficulties I have wrought
With wire, and steam, and rails,
The new inventions I have wrought,
Throughout the world prevails.

The scythe, the sickle, and the flail,
I've left them by the way;
They find their power of slight avail
While steam and engine play.

Proud Theodore did little know,
When he refused my claims,
That to his country I should go
And snap his monstrous chains.

The heights of Magdala to me,
My freedom to defend,
Was thought too big a job to be
Successful in the end.

The heathen now may plainly see
Through our Creator's plan;
It's hard to say what cannot be
Performed by thinking man.

But those of greatest local interest were his humorous ditties. These were legion, and in them he hit off local characters admirably, regardless of offence either to friend or foe. Here is his poetical description showing how the people of the Peak celebrated the wedding of the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII.), in 1863:-

The folks in large towns have long cut it fine,
Telling all country villages that they'd take the shine,
But the men in the Peak have true English blood,
And thought opposition would perhaps do good.
So the clergy, the gentry, and farmers combined
Their gold in abundance some pleasure to find;
Old veterans were there with their tottering hand,
Seated side by side with the lords of the land,
Tho' appearance denoted their race almost run
They drank health to our Queen and her newly-married son.
Young maidens were dancing in ribbon so gay
And all seemed to enjoy the memorable day.
Hathersage people, regardless of cost,
Determined their loyalty should not be lost;
Miss Bamford, their neighbour, seemed rather dejected,
For more wanted dinners than what she expected.
Hope is a village without any trade,
Though tea and spice buns for the children were made.
The Castleton people were happily blest,
For they could not get through without a night's rest,
At Bramall's, in Smalldale, we now take a glance,
Where youth is engaged in a country dance,
One hundred and twenty were seated at tea,
And all seemed as happy as happy can be.
O'er Granby to Bradwell we now must adjourn,
And see the great bonfire brilliantly burn.
Sack racing, and jumping, and all sorts of fun,
Besides Mr. Elliott with his Armstrong gun;
The Wesleyans and Primitives by this had shook hands,
Were parading the town with both Bradwell bands,
Thus showing the world that in friendship they meet
After giving their scholars an excellent treat,
The conclusion presented a beautiful scene,
For teachers and scholars sang “God Save the Queen”.


One Sunday night in 1868 three young men from Bamford visited the Rose and Crown Inn, a public house - now cottages - at the top of Smithy Hill, Bradwell. After patronising the landlord, Anthony Middleton, they left at closing time, groped by the wall in the dark, until, reaching the corner of the building at the top of the Gutter, the first of the trio, John Robinson, for many years the mechanic at Bamford Mills, fell over a low wall into a heap of manure below. The incident was admirably hit off by Cooper in these lines:-

On a late Sunday night.

Just after daylight,
There came into Bradwell three strangers;
To mention a name
I should be much to blame.
So I think I will call them free-rangers.

Some beer did they want,
So they went up to “Tant”,
At a house called the Rose and the Crown;
To have just a sup
They went right enough up,
The misfortune was as they came down.

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They reel'd to and fro,
As they did not well know
The guides of the place in the dark;
It was too rough a street
For to stand on their feet,
And to fall would be more than a lark.

They groped for the wall,
For fear they might fall,
And one of them started to grumble;
For want of the moon
He turned rather too soon,
And into a dirt hole did tumble.

What a pity he fell
For be caused such a smell,
As he rolled himself o'er on his back;
And his face and his shirt
Were both covered with dirt.
In what a sad plight was poor Jack.

I am told in the end
That he met with a friend,
Who assisted him with an immersion;
He emphatically says
He will see longer days
Before he's another excursion.

At this time Bradwell Church was being
built, and one of the contractors, a Shef-
field gentleman, wished to visit the grit-
stone quarries at Eyam, but not knowing
the way he took Charles Gledhill, one of
the workmen, with him as his guide. Their
experiences were hit off in this ditty:-


On Saturday last,
A tradesman was fast
To find his way over to Eyam;
O'er hedges and stiles,
About seven miles,
Required considerable steam.

One Charles he employed
To act as his guide,
The rest of his name I'll keep back;
It's the very same man,
Find him out if you can,
Who laughed at the fall of poor Jack.

After two hours chase
They got to the place
Where at first they intended to go;
They measured some stone,
Then turned towards home
And agreed they should dine at Foolow.

They did not go far
After passing the bar,
Before they turned in to their right,
At a house kept by Jerry
They made themselves merry
With something that baffled their sight.

Now, whiskey's a thing
That should make a chap sing,
But Charles would do nought but take snuff;
Sometimes he would talk,
But he would not walk,
So the tradesman became rather gruff.

“I engaged you to-day
To show me the way.
If we're lost it may cost me my life”;
“Don't be in a sweat,
There is time enough yet.
We must shake hands with Jer. and his wife”.

I am sorry to say
They turned the wrong way,
So the tradesman politely enquires;
What gave him a shock,
It was past ten o'clock
When they landed at Wardlow Mines.

With uplifted hands
He implicitly stands,
And wished he'd never been born;
They both out of breath,
Almost frightened to death
Got to Bradwell at two the next morn.


told its own tale. It was about half a century ago. The goose was procured from Callow Farm, near Hathersage, and cooked at the Green Dragon Inn, at that time kept by Michael and Ann Hall. The license has long since lapsed. Here is the lively ditty:-

Dear reader, it is by request
That I enclose this simple jest;
To tell the truth I'll do my best,
About a goose at Callow.

One person said he dare be bound
This goose would weigh full fifteen pound;
He'd warrant it both fat and sound,
Because it came from Callow.

This person could not make a sale,
For very few believed his tale;
His mates, to have a drop of ale,
Raffled the goose from Callow.

When we the public-house did reach,
It cost all five shillings each,
And many a very wicked speech,
Did this goose that came from Callow.

To make all previous matters right,
We had it cooked for Monday night;
This caused a very funny sight
While plucking the goose from Callow.

There was Mike, and Ann, and Harry, too;
Joe “Bradda” pulled his fingers through;
Like snowflakes down and feathers flew
As they plucked this goose from Callow.

Six pounds was just the weight of it!
Six hours it hung upon the spit;
But all the coal from Staveley pit
Would not cook this goose from Callow.

Both cook and stoker in despair,
Exhausted sat upon a chair;
It proved a serious affair
To cook a goose from Callow.

At last the cloth and plates came in,
We got the signal to begin,
And Mike cried out, “Now lads, walk in,
And eat this goose from Callow”.

We all tried hard to pick his bones,
But might as well have tried at stones;
So off we toddled to our homes,
And left the goose from Callow.

In the sixties the Bradwell Moss Rake Mining Company was formed on the co- operative principle, to drive a level and open out the mines, but after some years of unprofitable working the project was abandoned. But here is

written by Cooper in encouragement:

Ye sons of toil, allow a friend
To make an observation,
And my opinion I will spend
About Co-operation.

To benefit the working-class
The project was begun,
But many years of toil must pass
Before the work is done.

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What gives an impulse to a cause?
Intelligent directors,
Not men that's looking for applause;
Such are not your protectors.

'Twas time the miners made a move,
Turned over some new leaf;
Co-operation it may prove
A permanent relief.

To get an honest livelihood,
No doubt was their ambition.
But this could never be achieved
Without an alteration.

Month after month they used their tools
At jobs that never paid;
For want of some established rules
It's been a wretched trade.

But men of patience they must find,
And perseverance too.
To guide the prejudiced and blind
And lead the project through.

The men who care for others well
Must stimulate the scheme,
Who for their fellow men can feel,
Without regard to fame.

The men who have their cash to wear,
And never seem to doubt it,
But cheerfully support their share
And think no more about it.

The moment you the treasure find,
Your shares begin to rise;
Don't follow every change of wind,
Stick firmly to your prize.

Encouragement may seem but small
And things appear perplexed,
But never let a single call
On your part be neglected.

Your ancestors have often said
That there was lead in store;
If there could be a level made
That you'd get lots of ore.

Then work like men as you've begun,
May no one e'er repent,
And let what ever may be done,
Be done with good intent.

Cooper was no respecter of persons. He had a dig at everybody he thought deserved it. Here is one:-


I sent you my order to Sparrow pit,
Expecting good boots and a capital fit;
You said you would send them in course of a week,
A pair well adapted for Derbyshire Peak,
After such a firm promise I'm filled with surprise
To think you should send me such thundering lies,
I need not remind you - you know it quite well
That liars must all have their portion in hell,
I cannot imagine you waiting of leather
And other odd matters to put them together,
Such as wax, or hemp, or any such stuff,
And the order I'm sure you've had that long enough.
Do you mean to make them? I fancy you don't.
Then ---- it write back and tell me you won't.

Cooper's butcher shared the same fate as his cobbler, for here is his


I wish the country all to know,
In Bradwell we are not so slow;
A cow was killed for Hucklow wakes.
The shanks were pared and sold for steaks.
There's no deception in this case.
The trick was done before my face.
Now, had he cut them off the round,
And charged a market price per pound,
I'd then adopt the proper plan,
And pay the butcher like a man.
But steaks from shanks are “all my eye”;
No cook on earth can make them fry.
They are both tasteless, dry, and tough,
For such there's no demand at Brough.

Cooper was at a loss to know how a total abstainer could be such an inveterate smoker, and after a wordy warfare with some of these, this is how he lectured and exposed them in rhyme:-


Lights of the world without a doubt
They never ought to be put out.
And certainly I look upon
A temperance advocate as one.
Why not annihilate the pipe
If for improvements they are ripe.
And benefit their fellow men
By all the legal means they can?
But don't presume to be a light
Except your lamp be burning bright,
Free from tobacco smoke and snuff,
And all such superfluous stuff.
For if by taking snuff or smoking,
The atmosphere is almost choking,
Such lights as those pray never handle,
They are not worth a farthing candle.
Give up the pipe, and not till then
Can they set up as model men.

The following is the last piece composed by this local celebrity, on the occasion of the occasion of the renovation of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, in 1878:-


Ye followers of the firm old faith,
Come, hear what *Billy Longden saith
About the chapel in Hugh Lane,
Which lately hath been born again,
The inner part hath been renewed,
Re-organised and nicely pewed,
With alterations here and there,
And one additional gallery stair.
The heart hath undergone a change,
So wonderful and passing strange;
The system of the inner man
is formed upon the gospel plan.
The outer man, the entire frame,
(Except the vestry) is the same,
And to complete the whole attire
There stands a chimney for a spire,
Now, chapels, they like man's estate,
Grow old and sadly out of date,
And this was charged with many crimes,
And ill adapted to the times,
Anterior to this changing state,
The structure was degenerate
In all its aspects, out and in,
Conceived in error, formed in sin

* William Longden, familiarly known as Billy Longden, was the chapel keeper.

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The under bearings ill arranged,
The upper gearings quite deranged,
The organ too, did rant and roar
In a corner on the floor,
The music of the sacred lyre
Was sadly mangled by the choir.
The ventilation and the light
Were never altogether right.
The air was dense, the place was dull,
And, should the chapel chance be full,
How frequently it's been my lot
To gasp for breath when reeking hot.
The windows, I'm ashamed to own,
Were seldom opened up or down;
And further more confess I must,
The seats were covered o'er with dust.
At times there was a brimstone smell,
From whence it came I dare not tell.
But then, you see, as I've asserted,
The chapel then was not converted,
And all their evils were, of course,
The outcome of an evil source,
Long it withstood the Gospel blast.
But *Mr. Smith arrived at last,
Who, by his faith and great exertion
Became the means of its conversion,
From hidden treasures manifold
He gathered silver, pence, and gold;
The wind was raised, the fabric stormed,
And now the Chapel is transformed
Into a noble, bright example
Of a real converted temple.
Renewed within, improved without,
A true conversion none need doubt.
Long may its past and present state
To sinful man illustrate
That self improvement is not vain -
That men must all be born again,
If they would see or realise
God's kingdom here or in the skies.

* The Rev. William Smith, Primitive Methodist minister.


He was father of the above, and like his son, he aspired to poetic fame. Such a hatred had he of smoking, and so pained was he to see the habit growing among both young and old that he composed and published a poem, his object being to induce the habitual smoker to throw away his pipe, and “to prevent the initiated from learning a habit which will make unlawful demands upon his purse, injure his health, and give him much vexation”. As the author himself frankly admitted, “in point of poetical beauty there is nothing to admire, and therefore poetry in the verses which follow, must not be sought for”. but if his end was accomplished he should “reap more heartfelt satisfaction than if my brow were to be wreathed with poetical laurels gathered from the top of Parnassus' mountain”. It is a remarkable piece of composition, put together when its author was nearly seventy years old: He died in 1872; aged 73, and is buried in the Primitive Cemetery.


The Rev. George Bird, the Vicar of Bradwell, has from a youth been a lover or verse, and gifted with the spirit of poetry. His masterpiece is, perhaps, “Ronald's Farewell”, issued to the world in 1892.


Horace E. Middleton, a distinguished and talented musician, appointed in 1908 Musical Director of the Kings' Theatre, Hammersmith, London.

First Bishop of Calcutta, a Middleton of Bradwell.

Thomas Fanshaw Middleton, the first Bishop of Calcutta, was the only son of the Rev. Thomas Middleton, one of the oldest of the family of Bradwell Middletons, who was born in a cottage in Nether Side, now used as a lock-up shop, and still the property of the Middleton family. Thomas Middleton became rector of Kedleston, near Derby, and he was allied by marriage with the family of Fanshaw of Brough. It was whilst he was rector of Kedleston that his son Thomas Fanshawe Middleton was born on January 26th, 1769. He entered Christ's Hospital on 21st April, 1779, and he became a “Grecian”. Among his schoolfellows were S.T. Coleridge and Charles Lamb, who describes him as “a scholar and a gentleman in his teens”, whose manner at school was “firm, but mild and un-assuming”. Middleton was always grateful to Christ's Hospital, and shortly before his death gave a donation of £400, and was elected a governor of the institution. Entering Pembroke College, Cambridge, he graduated B.A., January,

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Thomas Fanshaw Middleton, First Bishop of Calcutta
First Bishop of Calcutta, a Middleton
of Bradwell.

1792, as fourth in the list of senior optimes. He became M.A. in 1795, and D.D. 1808. In March, 1792, he was ordained deacon by Dr. Pretyman, Bishop of Lincoln, and became curate of Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, where he edited, and in great part wrote, a weekly periodical called “The Country Spectator”. This periodical - an echo of Addison and Steele - attracted the attention of Dr. John Pretyman, archdeacon of Lincoln, and brother of Bishop Pretyman, and he made Middleton tutor to his sons, first at Lincoln, then at Norwich. In 1795 Middleton was presented by Dr. Pretyman to the rectory of Tansor, Northamptonshire, and in 1802 to the consolidated rectory of Little and Castle Bytham, Lincolnshire. At this time he began his well-known work on the Greek article, being incited by a controversy of this subject in which Granville Sharp, Wordsworth, Master of Trinity, and Calvin Winstanley engaged. The volume appeared in 1808 as “The Doctrine of the Greek Article applied to the Criticism and the Illustration of the New Testament”. It was praised in the “Quarterly Review” as a learned and useful work, and went through five editions. In 1809 Middleton obtained a Prebendal stall at Lincoln, and in 1811 exchanged Tansor and Bytham for the vicarage of St. Pancras, London, and the rectory of Pultenham, Hertfordshire. In 1812 he became archdeacon of Huntingdon. On his removal to London in 1811 he undertook the editorship of the “British Critic”, and took an active part in the proceedings of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to raise funds for a new church in St. Pancras' parish.

The Act of 1813, which renewed the charter of the East India Company, erected their territories into one vast diocese with a bishop (of Calcutta) and three arch-deacons. The number of Anglican clergy in India was very small. The bishopric, the salary of which was £5,000, was offered to Middleton. He was consecrated at Lambeth Palace on May 8th, 1814, and reached Calcutta on November 28th, 1814. Difficulties had been prophesied with the natives on religious grounds, but the Bishop's arrival and subsequent visitations created no alarm or disturbance. He found the Bible Society established at Calcutta, but declined an invitation to join it. He had a difficulty with the Presbyterian ministers, who were maintained by the court of directors of the East India Company. In 1815 he organised the Free School and the Orphan School at Calcutta, and in May of the same year formed a diocesan committee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a society which, when he left England, had placed £1,000 at his disposal in furtherance of its views. On December 18th, 1815, he left Calcutta to make his primary visitation, attended by a party of about 450 people. The whole journey was one of about 5,000 miles. He had an interview with the Nabob of the Carnatic at Madras, traversed Southern India, visited Bombay, Goa, Ceylon, and the Syrian Christians at Cochin. During this visitation, which ended in 1816, the Bishop made no heathen converts. His view, frequently expressed, was that the “fabric of idolatry” in India would never be shaken merely by the preaching of missionaries. He trusted rather to the general diffusion of knowledge and the arts to pave the way for Christianity. The first duty of the Anglican Church was to bring the European inhabitants under its influence, and to set up a high standard of moral and religious life. About September, 1820, the Bishop's house was struck by lightning while the family were at dinner, but no one was injured.

On December 15th, 1820, Middleton laid the foundation stone of Bishop's Mission College, on a site within three miles of Calcutta. The establishment of this college was the Bishop's favourite scheme. The institution was to consist of a principal and professors, and of students who were afterwards to be provided for as missionaries and schoolmasters in India. In 1821 he again visited Cochin to ascertain the condition of the Syrian Church there, and in December held his third visitation at Calcutta. He died on July 8th, 1822, of a fever, in the 54th year of his age and the ninth of his episcopate. He was buried in Calcutta Cathedral.

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, to which he left £500 and five hundred volumes from his library, joined the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, in subscribing for a monument to him in the nave of St. Paul's Cathedral. This memorial - a marble group, by J.G. Lough - represents Bishop Middleton blessing two Indian children kneeling before him. In accordance with Middleton's will, all his writings in manuscript were destroyed, including a memoir on the Syrian Church. While in India he collected Syrian manuscripts and learnt Hindustani, but gave up the study of Greek. His “Sermons and Charges” were published with a memoir, in 1824, by Archdeacon Bonney. Middleton was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Vice-President of the Asiatic Society.

Middleton's life was written in 1831 by his friend the Rev. C.W. Le Bas, and it contains a portrait of the Bishop in his robes. He was a man of handsome and vigorous appearance, his voice was clear and sonorous, and his preaching impressive. In Kay's “Christianity in India” he is called “a cold and stately formalist”, who had “an over-weening sense of the dignity of the episcopal office”, though she admits that the Bishop was not actuated by personal vanity, and that the externals of religion had been too much neglected in India before his arrival. Other, friends of Middleton found him stiff and proud in his manner, though, as

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Charles Lamb expressed it, the newly and imperfectly defined position of the first Anglican Bishop of India, perhaps, justified his high carriage. As an organiser he was cautious, able, and active, and his successor. Bishop Heber, was not a little indebted to him.

Middleton married, in 1797, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of John Maddison, of Alvingham, Lincolnshire. His wife survived him, but there were no children of the marriage.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in February 2013.

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