Hidden history brought to life at Hartshead church on Heritage Open Days

Tales of literary legends and Luddite uprisings were among a hidden history brought to life through Heritage Open Days events at the weekend.

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 2:30 pm
John Wallace-Jones, dressed as Patrick Bronte, with Bronte descendant Carol Fox at St Peter's Church, Hartshead
John Wallace-Jones, dressed as Patrick Bronte, with Bronte descendant Carol Fox at St Peter's Church, Hartshead

The historic St Peter’s Church, in Hartshead, opened its registers to the public to share details of births, marriages and deaths since the late 17th century.

Among its more noted characters was Patrick Brontë, father of the famed literary sisters, who served as curate here in 1811, while one of the church’s most famous tales is of how he reportedly turned a blind eye to Luddite supporters burying their fallen in a corner of the graveyard, while later vicars were vehemently opposed.

Imelda Marsden, a life member of the Brontë Society who helped organise the open weekend, said it had proved a huge success with one descendent of his family among those in attendance.

Sign up to our daily Dewsbury Reporter Today newsletter

David Pinder (Rev Hammond Roberson), Imelda Marsden (Charlotte Bronte's teacher Margaret Wooler) and John Wallace-Jones (Patrick Bronte)

Carole Fox, a cousin of Patrick’s sister Sarah, was among those who travelled to see the original registers.

“We had a super day,” said Mrs Marsden, who joined the present vicar and a number of visitors in dressing for the occasion.

“A lot of people came to find their relatives’ names in the register, going back to the late 1700s.

“A lot of the churches of the time have since been pulled down, but it’s still in situ, what was here. It’s got a lot of history.”