Sunday 15 April 2012

15th April 1812: The funeral of Samuel Hartley in Halifax

Jabez Bunting in the 1840s
On Wednesday 15th April, two days after his death, the body of Samuel Hartley was transported to his native Halifax for burial.

The funeral drew hundreds of mourners, many of them wearing silk aprons edged with black. Like many of the West Riding Luddites, Hartley was a Methodist, but the local minister, Jabez Bunting, refused to officiate. Bunting was from then on the subject of much hostility to those who sympathised with the Luddites. He apparently had death threats made against him and had to accompanied on his country appointments for some time.

At the funeral, there were angry scenes, but a deputy was eventually found, apparently at the insistence of local Luddites. The crowd gathered were still evidently unhappy at the end of the service, and the preacher had to make "an abrupt exit" at the end of service.

A memorial service was to be held for Hartley at Halifax Methodist Chapel the following Sunday.

Details of the funeral are from the Leeds Mercury of 18/04/1812; the Leeds Intelligencer of 20/04/1812; a letter from George Wilson, undated, in Radcliffe MSS 126/32;George Smith's "The History of Wesleyan Methodism" (1862), volume 2, pp.520-521.

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