I think that at
least some of the vicars of this ancient parish should be mentioned in
this narrative although there is a complete list of them in the church
brought up to date and amended by the Rev T. Boyard Webster in the 1960s
and beautifully illustrated by Brian Walker a well-known calligrapher and
artist. Prior to the appointment of a vicar, Felkirk had been in charge of
first a priest and in 1120AD, a rector in this form of a corporate body –
the Priors of Nostell. Ecclesiastic legislation in 1215AD meant that a
rector could appoint a parson to take charge of a parish vicariously with
a definite status.
THOMAS DE HALTON was the first vicar of Felkirk and
he was instituted at Upton in March 1251.
RICHARD DE TYKEHILL was instituted in May 1309 and
died when still the vicar. He was a former chaplain.
JOHN LYMAN was instituted in October 1416. He made
a will in 1421 directing that he should be buried in the church of St
Oswald Nostell. He died in that year.
GEORGE GOLDSMYTH was instituted in October 1517 and
was the last vicar appointed under the patronage of Nostell. He died in
1548 and held Kippax in plurality.
THOMAS WILSON first vicar appointed under patronage
of the Archbishop of York following the death of Goldsmyth in August 1548.
He resigned in 1549.
MICHAEL LAMBE deserves to be mentioned in the short
list as he was appointed in 1633 aged 28 years and served the parish
faithfully for 53 years until his death in 1686. On the report on findings
at Felkirk in 1660 by the Archbishops inspector I quote “He is a preaching
minister who performs the cure and serenely
the said profit.” The profit being tithes and offerings of £38
per annum. The entry in the parish register of burials merely states “He
was vicar 53 years”.
THOMAS ADAMS became vicar in 1702 when the Glebe
House, near the church, was exchanged for a newer vicarage in South
Hiendley due to it having fallen into a state of disrepair. He was still
vicar in 1719.
JOHN BARNES GRAHAM was instituted in 1837 and died
in 1860 whilst still vicar. In 1832 he became master of Holgate grammar
school in Hemsworth but appears to have rejected his duties as master over
a number of years. In 1844 he was at last persuaded to attend the school
but would not live in the schoolhouse.
PERCIVAL HEDLEY was the last vicar to be appointed
by the patronage of York and was instituted in 1922 but resigned in 1926
accepting the living of Coatham. He was still living in 1966.
HAROLD ROBERT HARVEY CONEY was instituted in 1928
and resigned the living to become Canon missioner of the Diocese of
Wakefield in 1937. I include his name, as he was the very first vicar of
Felkirk that I really new as a boy. He sometimes preached at evensong at
Brierley St Paul’s. In 1925 Felkirk came under the patronage of the Bishop
of Wakefield and remains so at present.