Geldart, Edmund Martin (DNB00)

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GELDART, EDMUND MARTIN (1844–1885), unitarian minister, second son of Thomas Geldart, sometime of Thorpe, near Norwich, and his wife, Hannah Ransome Geldart, author of a number of popular religious books for children (who died in 1861, aged 41), was born at Norwich on 20 Jan. 1844. He went for a short time to Merchant Taylors' School. When he was twelve years old his father, having undertaken the superintendence of the Manchester City Mission, removed from London to Bowdon, Cheshire, and Geldart was sent to a private school kept by a clergyman at Timperley. He now developed a taste for entomology, and projected and, along with his young friends Thomas and J. B. Blackburn, edited a periodical entitled ‘The Weekly Entomologist,’ published at twopence a number from August 1862 to November 1863. After spending three months at Oxford, whither his schoolmaster had removed, he went to the Manchester grammar school, then under the mastership of Mr. F. W. Walker, afterwards of St. Paul's School. From this school he was elected to a scholarship at Balliol College, where he matriculated on 26 March 1863. He graduated B.A. in 1867, and was appointed assistant-master at the Manchester school. Ill-health compelled him to relinquish his post. He went abroad, and settled for a time at Athens, where he occupied himself as a teacher, and acquired a remarkable knowledge of the language and ideas of modern Greece. On his return to England he married Charlotte F. S. Andler, daughter of a Würtemberg government official. In 1869 he again accepted a mastership of classics and modern languages at the Manchester grammar school, and at the same date was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Manchester, and became curate of All Saints Church, Manchester. Two years later he took a curacy at St. George's Church, Everton, Liverpool, but did not retain it long, as his religious views underwent a change, and in 1872 he joined the unitarians. He graduated M.A. in 1873, and from the summer of that year until 1877 he acted as minister of the Hope Street Unitarian Chapel, Liverpool, and then removed to Croydon, where, after officiating as substitute for the Rev. R. R. Suffield [q. v.] at the Free Christian Church, he was appointed pastor of that church. He was esteemed an able and original preacher, and a man of pure motive, transparent character, and unselfish purpose. A year or two before his death he became imbued with socialistic opinions, and in his enthusiasm for ‘humanity’ went much further than his congregation thought prudent. Early in 1885 his connection with the Croydon Free Church terminated. He had been in ill-health, and on 10 April 1885 he left home for Paris for a holiday. He embarked at Newhaven, but was never heard of again, and it is supposed that he was lost on the night voyage to Dieppe. He was author of: 1. ‘Modern Greek in relation to Ancient,’ Clarendon Press, 1870. 2. ‘The Living God,’ 1872, one of the tracts issued by Thomas Scott of Ramsgate. 3. ‘The Church at Peace with the World: a Sermon suggested by the Death of David Friedrich Strauss,’ 1874. 4. Translation of the second volume of Keim's ‘Jesus of Nazara,’ 1876. 5. ‘Faith and Freedom: fourteen Sermons,’ 1881. 6. ‘A Son of Belial: autobiographical Sketches by Nitram Tradleg,’ 1882. This is a real autobiography, although the names are hidden under a slight disguise. Some of the characters are drawn with a very caustic pen. ‘Nitram Tradleg’ is his own name reversed. 7. ‘A Guide to Modern Greek,’ 1883; also a key to the same. 8. ‘Simplified Grammar of Modern Greek,’ 1883. 9. ‘Sunday for our Little Ones: Unsectarian Addresses to the Young,’ 1883. 10. ‘The Gospel according to Paul: an Essay on the Germs of the Doctrine of the Atonement,’ 1884. 11. ‘Let there be Light: Sermon delivered at the opening of the New Free Christian Church, Croydon,’ 1884. 12. Translation of Hahn's ‘Folk-Lore of Modern Greece,’ 1884. 13. Translation of Zacher's ‘The Red International,’ 1885. 14. ‘Echoes of Truth: Sermons, &c., with Introductory Sketch by the Rev. C. B. Upton. Edited by Mrs. Geldart,’ 1886, with portrait of Geldart.

[Biog. Sketch by John Morgan, reprinted from the Croydon Advertiser of 12 Dec. 1885; Inquirer, 2 May 1885; Unitarian Herald, 24 April 1885; Foster's Alumni Oxon. ii. 516; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1872.]

C. W. S.