Sunday, 9 December 2012

9th December 1812: The foundation stone is laid for a new Church at Liversedge

Roberson's Christ Church, Liversedge in May 2012. Photo by Tim Green (Creative Commons License)
At noon on Wednesday 9th December 1812, and with what the Leeds Mercury called 'unusual pomp', a ceremony was held in Liversedge to mark the laying of the foundation stone of a new Church there.

The new church was the plan of the Luddite-baiting local priest, Hammond Roberson. Roberson had secured an Act of Parliament in order to build the church, and would pay for the construction from his own fortune (the eventual cost running to almost £7,500).

The Mercury dubbed the ceremony an 'Ecclesiastic-martial spectacle', as it included 20 of the local clergy and 'hundreds' of troops in a procession, including Captain Francis Raynes and some of his Stirlingshire Militia, with the troops at the rear having fixed bayonets.

Such vulgar displays of domination by the authorities were only possible as overt Luddite activity had almost completely died down in the West Riding.

As reported in the Leeds Mercury of 12th December 1812 & the Leeds Intelligencer of 14th December 1812. Reid (1986, p.227) reveals that the cost was precisely £7,447, 11 shillings & 10 3/4 pence.

Ever the self-publicist, Roberson later published an account of the ceremony & the speech he gave at it. If anyone has a copy of the text, please contact me, I would love to read it.

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