Wednesday, 26 May 2021

One Year On - Still a Student In Lockdown, but Finding More Diocesan Faculties has given me Hope

This morning I changed the date for our proposed holiday again. We had been booked on a Leger Beer and Battlefields tour, something for the OH, the beer, and something for me, the FWW history. It should have been in September 2020, then on a similar date this year. We have deferred for another year, with crossed fingers. It's not so much a fear of Covid, but that after fifteen months in lockdown I have lost all my stamina and a lot of confidence around other people. Hopefully in a year's time I will have built that back up.

My recent glimmer of hope was caused by the receipt of an email reply from the Borthwick Institute in York. On the advice of the West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS) in Leeds I had contacted the Borthwick re Diocesan Faculty documents for my Barnsley War Memorials. A Faculty is needed when a church plans changes to their building or land, so installation of most kinds of war memorial, from an obelisk in a churchyard to a tablet on the wall inside, will have required one. Dr Nick Melia at the Borthwick was most helpfully able to send me a set of lists of their Faculties covering my period, 1915 to 1939. I found ten entries for Barnsley and just beyond, 1918-1923.

The Borthwick Institute in York
(picture from the Family Tree Magazine's article on research there.)

Five of the index entries were for war memorials that I am pretty sure I can identify, Royston, Cudworth, Carlton, Brierley and Monk Bretton, the other five were for either for memorials, without the word war, or for war memorials in areas just outside Barnsley that I'd just like to see. One of those is for the war memorial panels in St Helen's Church in Hemsworth where one of the OH's Pagett relatives is remembered. 

The Barnsley listings at York end in 1923 which probably reflects the move of the parishes to another Diocese.  There were lots of boundary changes in Yorkshire in the 19th and 20th centuries, both for civil and church organisations. So many that I have had to create a flow chart for my thesis demonstrating that between 1914 and 1939 the Barnsley churches were in either the Diocese of York, the Diocese of Sheffield or the Diocese of Wakefield,  but after that the ones in Wakefield moved to the Diocese of Leeds. There is a very long document dated 2010 downloadable from the Church of England website which explains most of this. Apparently a review recommended that all the Barnsley Parishes be moved to the Diocese of Sheffield, for consistency, but they were overuled. It would have made my life easier! The Faculties in Sheffield Archives that I saw in 2019 were lovely and accompanied by architectural drawings and correspondence too. Very helpful, giving me dates, descriptions and the names of the person or people who had applied for the permissions. 

Part of the Faculty for a stone tablet in memory of Harold and Reginald Caunt, to be placed in St George's Church, Jump, near Wombwell
(Sheffield Archives Dioc/Fac/65)

The picture above is just a part of one of the Sheffield documents, which came in a folder with a Petition requesting the Faculty and letters between the vicar at St George's and the Registrar in Sheffield. Note the preprinted generic text at the top, the typewritten insertions specific to the request and the embossed seal. The Faculty was requested by their brother Frederick. The copy Faculty documents that I saw in Parish Records in the Wakefield office of the WYAS in 2019 were single page typewritten documents. I have searched the online catalogues for the WYAS several times in the last couple of years, but only found references to the copies. 

Yesterday I made another breakthrough. A Google search hit on an article written in 2020 by Anne Christine Brook about Faculties after the First World War.  Although I was unable to view the article, the University of Wolverhampton library didn't have permissions to that publication, the references were shown on the index page. Two of them were to the WYAS at Wakefield and mentioned Faculties.  Anne C. Brook's 2009 PhD thesis was on Commemoration in Huddersfield after the Great War and I have read it a number of times, in fact alongside Denise Coss's 2012 thesis on War Memorials in the North East they are my 'go to' examples for writing my own thesis. 

I have written to WYAS in Wakefield with the references Anne Brook gave. I could not find anything for WD100 on the online catalogue apart from one hit within the description of a document in a different category. I assume they are boxes or files that are only indexed in a paper catalogue. I am familiar with the problem at Barnsley Archives where the staff have thousands of entries to transfer and a huge number of boxes that have not been fully catalogued at all. Too much work, too little money, the usual story. 

So now I am planning trips to both the Borthwick Institute and Wakefield's office of the WYAS. But that will be after our family's own historic event, expected sometime mid to late June. My daughter is expecting her own little daughter to make her appearance, making me a grandma, and my mum a great-grandmother,  for the very first time. 

Thank you for reading.