Distinguished Churchmen and Phases of Church Work/Edward Craig Maclure
THE DEAN OF MANCHESTER
The Very Rev. Edward Craig Maclure, D.D.
A MODERN DIOCESE AMONG THE TEXTILE WORKERS.
“Life must always be a compromise between common-sense and the ideal—the one abating nothing of its demands, the other accommodating itself to what is practicable and real.”—Amiel.
Bradlaugh's Testimonial—A Dean opposed to Party Spirit in Church Affairs—Prayer-Book or Comprehensive Churchman—Broad Views engender Criticism—Scion of a Well-Known Lancashire Family—The Brothers Maclure: One decides for the Ministry, the other for Commerce and Politics—Goes to Oxford with Scholarship—Rows for Brasenose, Head of the River—Ordained by Dr Pepys—At St Pancras, Curate to a subsequent Dean of Lichfield—Back in Lancashire—Leaves Burnley for Rochdale—Makes His Mark as an Educationist and Parish Priest—The Rewards: Appointed Hon. Canon, Rural Dean, Archdeacon and Dean, the Last Two within a Fortnight—A Curious Jumble: represented as Grandson of His Nephew and Son of His Younger Brother—Great on School Board Work—Manchester Protestants protest against Ritualistic Tendencies—Dean stands Firm—Church and Labour—Unyielding though Friendly Attitude towards Dissenters—Thomas de la Warre's Contribution to the Church in Lancashire—The Brothers Maclure and the Restoration of “Th' Owd Collegiate Church”—Establishment of the New Diocese—Insufficient Clergy to cope with Work—Dealing with the Hebrews—Urgent Need of Sub-division and more Diocesan Bishops.
Many expressions of Charles Bradlaugh die hard, like his fame. Of course it is not to be wondered at that sensible, hard-headed Lancastrians refused to be beguiled into sharing his religious doubts; but, while firm and unbending in that sense, they treasured, and treasure still, some of his comments on their Church and the distinguished sons of their race.
“If all Churchmen were like Canon Maclure I would join the Church to-morrow.” Thus spake the great exponent of “Free Thought” on one notable occasion, and it was remarkable testimony. If the bare truth must be revealed, from his first curacy up, the man to whom Bradlaugh paid the compliment has been something of a conundrum to his fellow-churchmen, who, to adapt a phrase of a hymn well known to them all, have ever been curious in relation to his views, “the breadth, length, depth and height to prove.” The obvious reason for this is that Dean Maclure, the Canon of Bradlaugh's day, has, with acknowledged consistency, resolutely turned his back upon party spirit in the affairs of the Church. “I am a prayer-book Churchman,” he has more than once observed. And all the parties wondered! Time brought a flood of light, though not the slightest consolation to any one particular party. As a finishing touch to a stormy meeting, at which the Manchester Cathedral services in general and the Dean in particular had been warmly discussed, Dr Maclure made this astonishing declaration, “I wish you to understand that I am not a Papist nor a Ritualist. I am a downright, good High, Low, Broad, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Churchman!” The newspapers immediately seized upon the declaration, and the Daily News, conspicuous in its endeavours to unravel the party mystery, ingeniously arrived at the very safe conclusion that Dr Maclure was “a broad-minded Dean!” One or two other organs treated the declaration light-heartedly, and dubbed him “a funny Dean, brimming over with humour.” For the most part, however, the press rightly conceded that Manchester possessed a Dean who had the courage to strike out for himself a somewhat original course, and to stand to it fearless of all consequences.
Patience and a good, genial spirit may be said to have stood Dr Maclure in excellent stead. Than he, probably no man was wider awake to the fact that originality can only be maintained at the cost of much difference of opinion, much criticism, verbal and literary, possibly even much abuse from the mouths of extremists. If so, conjecture for once was well-founded. To-day it is nothing new to readers of both London and provincial journals to find their Church news prefaced with some such line as “The Dean of Manchester and His Critics.” The deduction is two-fold: Dr Maclure, while loyally adhering to the principles of the Church, as he construes them, is still a man of independent thought, out of which, by the nature of his constitution, is evolved a set purpose. To begin with, his aim is not controversy, nor does he for one moment desire to be “at daggers drawn with his fellows.” His attitude is quite different. “If controversy is unavoidable in the justification of action by conviction, let us by all means hold fast to conviction, come weal, come woe.” Such seems to be the spirit of the man, doggedly maintained. If others are not prepared to fall into line upon the plane of his adoption—well, that is not his fault. After all, no party is half so unanimous as a party of “one.” It beats Mr Balfour's famous Parliamentary “fourth party” out and out! But, as everybody knows, Dr Maclure has a large following not only in Lancashire but throughout the country.
The Dean of Manchester's interesting life began four years prior to the accession of Queen Victoria to the British throne. He received the baptismal names of “Edward Craig” and is of the fourth generation of his family born within the borders of Lancashire. His father, a merchant and a prominent Conservative Churchman in Manchester, resided at the time in Upper Brook Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, and his second son—“John William,” as he was familiarly termed in political circles arrived upon the scene two years later. The brothers, who were much attached to each other, were educated together at Manchester Grammar School. Edward Craig, preferring Holy Orders (while his brother fostered ambitions in the commercial world) obtained an exhibition and was elected Somerset scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he afterwards became one of Hulme's exhibitioners. While at Oxford his reputation as an oarsman brought him within an ace of representing his alma mater in the University contest at Putney. As it was, he rowed No. 5 in the Brasenose eight, then at the head of the river; but the pleasure obtained from this hardly compensated for the loss sustained in the academic direction. A serious accident to his hand, contracted in training for the college eight, hindered him from going in for honours in the final schools. However, he took his B.A. and afterwards proceeded to the M.A. degree.
On leaving Oxford young Maclure was ordained by Dr Pepys, Bishop of Worcester, to the curacy of St John's, Ladywood, near Birmingham. Thence, in 1860, he succeeded to the senior curacy of St Pancras, London, under the Rev. Canon Champneys, better known in later years as the Dean of Lichfield. Notwithstanding a lapse of years, the heads of his old college still thought well enough of Mr Maclure to offer him the college living of St Philip's, Stepney, but, in hope of a call to his beloved Lancashire, this was respectfully declined. The realisation of his hopes came in 1863, when he was appointed by the Hulme trustees to the incumbency of Holy Trinity, Habergham Eaves, Burnley. There he laboured for thirteen years, with rare tact and good sense, promoting better parochial organisation, increasing school accommodation, and enlarging the church. Through his instrumentality above £20,000 were raised and devoted to Church purposes, including the formation of two new parishes and the building of two new churches. It was while at Burnley that Mr Maclure seriously threw himself into the cause of education, being thrice elected Chairman of the Burnley School Board. A year after his call to Holy Trinity, Habergham Eaves, he acted as Chaplain to the High Sheriff of the county, Sir J. P. Kay-Shuttleworth. His moderate Church views, good preaching and sturdy adherence to the cause of Church and State rendered him a popular vicar. His work generally seemed specially to commend itself to the late Bishop Eraser, who, on the death of Dr Molesworth, in 1877, offered Mr Maclure the important living of Rochdale (worth some £1,500 per annum), and in quick succession an Hon. Canonry of Manchester and the Rural Deanery of Rochdale.
At the service of induction at Rochdale, Bishop Eraser commended the new vicar to the congregation in these terms:—“I believe your new vicar has shown wisdom and faithfulness, patience and zeal in his former post, and he has followed after the things that make for peace in a way that has at any rate commended itself to me, and gives me entire confidence in introducing him to the Church people of Rochdale.” And the Bishop's opinion was warmly seconded by the people of Burnley, for, on taking his departure, the erstwhile vicar took with him a cabinet, timepiece, silver epergne and other ornaments, besides £50 worth of books, as mementoes of the affection his former parishioners bore him, Mrs Maclure and the family. The Free Lance voted him the most zealous clergyman in the whole Diocese. “Unlike his brother,” the writer proceeded, “Mr Parson Maclure is a thorough-going Liberal, and looks with horror on the Conservative perversity of Mr John William Maclure, and there are people who say that the Bishop's real object in making the appointment is a prospective conversion of Mr ‘Non-parson’ Maclure to Liberalism…. We rather prefer that the brothers Maclure should go on their way as they are going, seeking honourable promotion, and possibly when Mr J. W. Maclure becomes Prime Minister of England, he may sink political differences and make his brother an Archbishop!” The reference is an amusing one, showing that the brothers were regarded—and rightly—as being quite inseparable.
At Rochdale, Canon Maclure applied himself zealously to the work of Church extension, and materially assisted in the promotion of elementary, secondary and technical education, and other philanthropic work in that district. The magnificent chancel of Rochdale Parish Church marked his incumbency, and the new Church of St Luke, Deeplish. Bearing in mind that for many years now he has been a familiar figure at Church Congress gatherings, it is interesting to recall that it was on his initiative that the Congress visited Manchester in 1888, Lord Nelson lending his support to the idea. Churchmen generally appreciated Canon Maclure's services as Honorary Local Secretary of the Congress. Six years earlier he had been elected a representative on the Central Council of Diocesan Conferences. It was while at Rochdale, too, that Canon Maclure closed a valued friendship with John Bright at the brink of the latter's grave in the Friends' Burial-ground. His high testimony to Bright was that that statesman longed to see the day when there might be a higher feeling of love and true fellowship among Christian folk, since he lamented the divisions of Christendom. Thus were thirteen years happily spent in parochial and other work at Rochdale. Meanwhile, the Canon's brother had become M.P. in the Conservative interest for the Stretford division of Manchester.
The future had a great deal in store. There came a time when the Canon, like Wolsey in Shakespeare's Henry VIII., “bore his blushing honours thick upon him.” Within a fortnight he had, as Vicar of Rochdale, within his grasp the Archdeaconry of Manchester and the Deanery of Manchester. While the Canon's name was still being mentioned in connection with the Deanery, rendered vacant by the death of Dr Oakley, Bishop Moorhouse, who, five years previously, had succeeded Bishop Fraser—had offered him the Archdeaconry, vice Archdeacon Anson, resigned. A curious position arose. Canon Maclure had been accepted as the Archdeacon-designate, when it was announced that Lord Salisbury had received the Queen's approval to his appointment as the Dean of Manchester. General surprise, coupled with the profoundest satisfaction, in Lancashire, at anyrate, was evinced, for there had been some fear that a well-known Southerner—none other than Archdeacon Farrar—would receive the post, and Lancashire men were clannish enough to wish to keep the Southerner out. But what was Canon Maclure to do? On the one hand, there was the express wish of the Bishop and the offer of the work of the Archdeaconry; on the other, larger opportunities and scope for work in the great northern metropolis—the Canon's native city—at the invitation of the Crown. So the Deanery came to be accepted. Thus it happened that, just as the late Bishop of Liverpool (Dr Ryle) never entered upon his duties as Dean of Salisbury, through Lord Beaconsfield's subsequent choice of him for the episcopate, so Canon Maclure was never collated to the Archdeaconry of Manchester. But Bishop Moorhouse's selection of him for the latter post was primâ facie evidence of his confidence in him, and augured well for the existence of happy relations between Bishop and Dean, relations which, as a matter of fact, have always been most happily maintained since. At one move, it will be seen, there became vacant the Archdeaconry of Manchester, the Rural Deanery of Rochdale, an Hon. Canonry and the living of Rochdale. The choice of the Bishop fell upon the Rev. James Maurice Wilson, the distinguished headmaster of Clifton College, who became at once Vicar of Rochdale and Archdeacon of Manchester.
Dean Maclure's appointment was the subject of unlimited comment, which is not to be greatly wondered at, for it afforded one of the few examples of a parish priest stepping straightway into the Deanery of his own Diocese. By this time the new Dean had won for himself a reputation as a judicious “High Churchman,” but more especially as a hard and strong-minded worker. All kinds of Diocesan work had received his active support, from the establishment of the Order of Deaconesses down to the humble Lenten services, to which toilers were invited to “Come in your working clothes, and welcome.” The Diocesan Conference and the Diocesan Board of Education had flourished during his secretaryship, as, indeed, had many other religious and philanthropic institutions in the Diocese, through his support. But there was still a difficulty in the way of his legal installation into office. According to the charter of King Charles the First, no person could be appointed Warden of the College of Christ, now Cathedral of Manchester, unless he could affix to his name at least the degree of “B.D.,” or “B.C.L.” The Dean-designate, like most of those in the ranks from which he had sprung, was simply an “M.A.,” and a long vacation had to be passed ere Oxford was in full term again. The time, however, arrived, and Oxford, ever ready to confer honour on whom it is due, sent Dean Maclure on his way rejoicing, his name garnished with the all-important “D.D.”
The Dean was still to be the victim of curious—withal amusing—mistakes. Lancashire folk represented “laughter holding both its sides,” when a London evening newspaper announced the appoint ment in such a way as to make the Dean the son of his younger brother, “John William,” and the latter the son of his own son—Mr Stanley Maclure, of the Lancashire Regiment, stationed at Tipperary. Thus the nephew became grandfather to his uncle, and father to his own parent!
Although the new Dean was hailed with every sign of approval in the county Palatine, it must not by any means be taken for granted that he had embarked upon untroubled waters. Indeed, never was he exposed to so much criticism. Within twelve months of his settlement in Manchester his fellow-citizens had concluded that he was the right man for the chair of the local School Board, to which, in spite of elections and conflicts, he has been re-elected four times unanimously—proposed by a Progressive, seconded by a Roman Catholic, and supported by a Churchman. This connection brought him into national notoriety, with the result, that when the School Boards Association of England and Wales was formed in 1893 he was prevailed upon to accept the presidency. Dr Maclure's re-election on eight occasions constitutes weighty appreciation of his services in that capacity, as also does the fact that he takes prominent part in every educational movement in and around Manchester, occupying the chair of several of its charities and institutions. He is also a prominent figure in the Lower House of the Convocation of York, and Chairman of its Parliamentary Committee.
So far, so good; but the rewards have not always been so agreeably sandwiched between the hostilities in regard to other matters. By virtue of his office as Dean he was, of course, bound to look after the Cathedral fabric, and he is not soon likely to forget the hubbub created over the erection of the new reredos. Then, in a rash moment, Canon Knox Little expressed views on the subject of evening Communion, in the course of a Sermon preached at a Lenten Service. Certain people were loud in their protests. “The Church,” they argued, “laid down no law as to the time Communion ought to be taken, and Canon Knox Little had made a grave mistake when he used the Cathedral pulpit to attack a large party in the Church, who believed that evening Communion was perfectly lawful and right.” While agreeing generally with Canon Knox Little, the Dean did not approve the Canon's discretion in the way he treated a subject so highly controversial, and took him to task for the terms in which he spoke. The importance of that affair waned with age, and the storm eventually blew over. But not so with other matters. It seems the last has yet to be heard of the reredos, of coloured stoles, of lighted candles, of the eastward position at Holy Communion, of the singing of the Agnus Dei after the consecration of the elements, and of the Nunc Dimittis after the administration of the Holy Communion. All this opposition, it is fair to state, the Dean has met with a bold front, maintaining that he knows of no practice at the Cathedral contrary to the law of the Church of England, according to its most recent interpretation by authority. In face of that retort, a Methodist organ was unkind enough to twit the Dean with being “one of the most moderate of the lawless priests of our counter-reformation.” Thus the Dean defies his critics, both within and without his city, and defies them with a stout heart and a cheerful countenance.
In other matters Dean Maclure has taken an equally firm stand. Like the late Bishop of Durham (Dr Westcott), he has exerted himself to deal with the labour problem, and in the midst of industries like those wrapped up with the welfare of a place like Manchester, his exertions are not lightly esteemed. In fact, wherever he has laboured in Lancashire he has employed his influence to establish and maintain a steady, systematic progress towards the realisation of better ideals in connection with labour. At the Hull Congress, in 1890, both Bishop Moorhouse and the Dean of Manchester were prominent figures. The Dean's paper on “The Responsibility of Employers for the Spiritual Welfare of Those they Employ” was of marked interest and importance. From the reprint (Bemrose & Sons, Derby), the appended extracts are useful as indicating the Dean's views:—
“To the munificence of manufacturers, whose name is legion, we owe numberless churches, which have been built, and often partially, if not wholly, endowed; schools, parsonage houses, clubs and reading-rooms, institutions of all kinds, which we have wisely ceased to call simply secular, and the founding and maintenance of which have relied almost altogether, perhaps too much, on the liberality of our great mercantile concerns as such. In many instances chaplains have been paid to conduct short services in warehouses and workshops. The reward has been richly reaped in the generally generous consideration for employers, which, during the Cotton Famine, and at the last crisis of a Liverpool ‘cornering,’ have characterised the self-restraining spirit of the operative classes, and which has reduced the painful experiences of strikes and the internecine warfare of capital and labour almost to a minimum…. What we want to come to is this: that every man according to his ability shall interest himself by sympathy, by effort, by gift of thought, and time and money, in all kinds of service; and that anyone, employer or employed, who stands aloof from that service, which the man can often bestow as well as the master, shall be counted a traitor to the cause of Christ and His Church.”
On the question of Church and Dissent the Dean's opinions are emphatic. Speaking during the last Liberal Administration, he asserted that “the danger of the Church was greater than hitherto, because the Liberal party of the day contained many Nonconformists who were most bitter and uncompromising in their attacks on the establishment. The time had come, whether they liked it or not, when the clergy must assert themselves. Dissent now had no serious grievance or disability, and the idea among Dissenters that Disestablishment and Disendowment would equalise the social positions of all ministers was altogether a mistaken one.”
Dean Maclure is included in this collection not so much because he is a “Prayer-Book Churchman,” as he terms himself, as because the best portion of his life has been devoted to Lancashire, with the natural result that he must be as well acquainted as any man—better acquainted than many—with the Church in its relation to the textile and other industries. Unfortunately, death has removed from both political and Church circles the brother “John William,” upon whom it pleased Queen Victoria to confer a baronetcy; but, apart from all else, the brothers Maclure will go down to posterity for the conspicuous part they took in raising the £50,000 necessary for the restoration of “th’ owd Collegiate Church” of Manchester and its better equipment for the position it occupies to-day as the Cathedral and mother church of the Diocese. These objects continue to engage the Dean's time and attention. In addition to the Victoria porch erected through his exertions in 1897, and now crowned with a statuette of the late Queen by H.R.H. the Princess Louise, a subscription has been opened for the provision of vestries for clergy and choir, towards which Earl Egerton of Tatton has just contributed £1,000, and the Earl of Derby £500. The Cathedral yard, too, which was till 1890 in a disgraceful condition, has now assumed an orderly and dignified appearance, and forms a green oasis amidst the neighbouring shops and places of business.
“The Church among the textile industries” formed the subject of the interview which Dr Maclure was prevailed upon to grant in Manchester.
“The Church in Manchester,” the Dean remarked, “is placed at considerable advantage, owing to the possession of the estate devised by Thomas de la Warre in 1421, by which he founded a collegiate body, which was to have the spiritual oversight of the ancient parish of Manchester. Thomas de la Warre, who was Rector, transferred the advowson to the collegiate body, which now has revenues sufficiently large to provide incomes for the clergy of all parishes within the ancient parish (including the larger part of Salford) which now number considerably over 120. In the thirties an order in Council was made, directing that on the avoidance of either the See of St Asaph or Bangor those districts should be merged into one Diocese, and in that case a Bishopric of Manchester was to be created, with jurisdiction over Lancashire, which had hitherto been a part of the Chester Diocese. That order, however, was rescinded ten years later. The way having been cleared for the formation of the See of Manchester in 1847, it was competent for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by Act of Parliament to constitute the Diocese, and to make the Collegiate Church into a Cathedral, establishing therein a Dean, Chapter, and Cathedral body, who became the hereditary successors of the Warden, Fellows, Chaplains, and other members of the old Collegiate Church. The revenues are continually increasing in value. During the past three years thirteen new districts have been marked out which, when the churches are built, will be formed into separate parishes, each with its own incumbent. The laity have hereby been very much encouraged in the building of churches, parsonages, schools, etc., for the establishment of all the various agencies which gather round a parish church. It will be seen that the original endowment has largely stimulated the progress of Church feeling in the city.”
“What encouragement have you received from the working classes?”
“That I was coming to. It is a significant feature in Church life in Lancashire that the industrial classes are very closely attached especially to the old churches, of which Manchester Cathedral is a type, and wherever there is an industrious and diligent parish priest there is certain to be a considerable and hearty following. Illustration of this is afforded by the fact that since 1870, when School Boards were established, the Church has always held its own in the membership of those bodies, and together with the Roman Catholics has, indeed, formed a substantial majority. In the case of Manchester, the successive chairmen, of whom I have been one for the last ten years, have been members of the Church of England.
“The leading laity also in Manchester have not been slow in showing their profound interest in everything that concerns the social and educational welfare of the people. Where so many churches and clergy are to be found it is needless to say that there are wide differences of opinion in religious matters. From time to time these have, doubtless, become acute; but under the wise administration of three of the ablest Bishops who ever sat upon the bench—I mean Dr Lee, Dr Fraser, and Dr Moorhouse—the course of the Church's history has been continuously progressive. In many respects the Church has worked harmoniously with other Christian bodies, insomuch as Bishop Fraser came to be called—I believe by a Nonconformist—“the Bishop of all the Denominations.” As to the Church proper, the Sunday School has proved itself an invaluable adjunct to the parish church, and a most useful handmaid in its service. Indeed, some have almost felt a “godly jealousy” as to whether the Sunday School has not been somewhat of a rival to the parish church, which, however, it should not and need not be, if properly administered; but a handmaid. There is one parish in Manchester in which at one time there were no fewer than three Sunday Schools, one containing several thousand scholars, adults and children, with its literary society, large library, and other means for social intercourse. On Whitsunday the scholars of the various schools march in procession through the streets to the number of 40,000 or 50,000. Another characteristic of Lancashire Church life is the devotion of its people to Church music. In fact, a church without a choral service would scarcely be tolerated, such services not being identified with any particular attitude in relation to ecclesiastical views. That the Church has taken her full share in the secular education of the people is evidenced by the establishment of day schools in connection with every parish. Some, comparatively few, have been obliged to transfer the use of their buildings to the School Board. And no wonder, for in some parts of Manchester where working people most do congregate, it has proved impossible for the clergy of the parish to maintain the day schools as well as the other institutions of which they have charge. The artisan population is gregarious in character and disposition, and it is not surprising, therefore, that the clergy have been able, with the co-operation of the laity, to form clubs and societies for the promotion of suitable and healthy recreation. In a word, the Church has held, and continues to hold, an immense influence among the vast population of South Lancashire generally. Witness their choice of representatives in the House of Commons, who are identified with the maintenance of the Church and her time-honoured privileges and responsibilities.”
“Now, a word about the Cathedral.”
“I have said that the ancient churches of Lancashire have been centres towards which large public feeling has gravitated. An apt instance is ready to hand in the hearty manner in which the restoration of Manchester Cathedral was undertaken. That was mainly due to the strenuous exertions of the late Sir John William Maclure, Bart., M.P., supported by colleagues in the Churchwardenships of Manchester, who enlisted the generous co-operation of Manchester landowers and citizens. In response to the appeal made at a public meeting, about £40,000 were raised throughout a period of years for the purpose. Under the superintendence of the late Mr Crowther, as architect, the fabric of the Church was restored in the best sense, every portion that had been rebuilt being renewed religiously on the old lines, as in the case of St Saviour's Collegiate Church, Southwark. Those operations were drawing to a close when I was appointed Dean in 1890; but it was my business to see the restoration brought to a successful conclusion, and to-day the edifice presents the exact aspect which it did in the fifteenth century, the new Victoria Porch excepted.”
“Does Lancashire suffer from a dearth of clergy, as is the case with some other counties?”
“Well, I think you may say that the candidates for ordination have been more numerous of late, partly owing to the fact that the Bishop and others have visited Oxford and Cambridge and addressed members of the Universities in college halls, with the result that many good men have been brought into the Diocese. Ordsal Hall has been established for the purpose of inducing graduates to continue their study under a well-qualified principal. At the same time, complaints are sometimes heard from the clergy that it is difficult to get curates to serve in some of the overgrown parishes. My fear is that the supply of clergy cannot honestly be said to be keeping pace with the vast increase of population—at all events, in South Lancashire. There are, of course, a certain number of ordinary lay-readers connected with parishes in Manchester; but there is also a body of candidates for the ministry who undertake to work under parish priests and to attend lectures at the Scholæ Episcopi, established by the present Bishop for the purpose of preparing for Holy Orders those who have not been to the University, but who are under regular tuition by the tutors. The Dean and Canon Kelly are Principal and Vice-Principal respectively. This movement has been, and continues to be, successful. I think it might be added that in Church matters much assistance of a voluntary character is given by Churchmen, and the Voluntary Parochial Councils which focus such help are steadily on the increase.”
In touching on other phases of the work in this modern Diocese, Dean Maclure spoke of a vigorous branch of the C.E.T.S. and of Manchester as one of the great centres of temperance work and organisation; of the work of the C.A., and of the Church Lads' Brigade (of which the Dean is the Brigade Chaplain). Contemporaneously with the opening of the great Manchester Ship Canal, an effort was made to establish a mission for sailors and others. For several years the Rev. S. M. Young was the Chaplain, doing admirable service in temporary premises. A permanent home is now about to be opened near to the docks. Church people of both sexes and of different ranks in Society have associated themselves with this enterprise. At the present moment the clergy and laity are engaged in a movement set on foot in Ancoats, a manufacturing district of Manchester, for the better housing of the poor. A committee was appointed at the last Diocesan Conference to take the whole subject into consideration and to report to the next Conference. All this proves that the Church is really taking an active interest in the housing of the working classes. The local Sanitary Association is a body in which the clergy are largely concerned.
The Dean, who expressed his strong conviction that both the Roman Catholics (chiefly among the Irish) and the Nonconformists were all eagerly zealous and doing active work of a religious character in Manchester and South Lancashire generally, was then asked, “But what of the Jewish community?”
“Between my own residence the Deanery and the Cathedral,” Dr Maclure replied, “there is a vast colony of Hebrews, over 20,000 of whom are said to live in Manchester. An effort is being made, under the auspices of the Parochial Missions to the Jews, to inform this population on the Christian religion, and a clergyman has been appointed by myself for this special purpose. The Hebrews, I find, are a loyal, law-abiding, well-mannered people, setting an example in many respects as citizens to their Christian neighbours. I am deeply interested in all that concerns their welfare, and together with my son, the Rector of St Alban's, in whose parish also they dwell, I am determined to spare no effort to lead them on, at anyrate to inquiry respecting the Christian faith. It is significant that many Jewish parents are not only willing but anxious that the children should know something of Christ, but, of course, they do not admit Him to be their Messiah, though He may be ours.”
“Then do you regard Church work as a whole in Lancashire as being in a healthy state?”
“In the first place, it is well to remember that the Diocese of Manchester is a large one, comprising the County of Lancashire, except that part—the lesser part—embraced in the Diocese of Liverpool. So far as my knowledge extends, I should say there was a strong and deep interest taken in the work of the Church in Lancashire. Speaking for the Diocese of Manchester, I am persuaded that a further subdivision must be secured, ensuring more direct episcopal oversight and relationship if the Church is to keep pace with work extending over so huge an area and affecting so enormous a population. The population cannot be much, if at all, short of 3,000,000 of people, and though by the creation of the Bishopric Suffragan of Burnley, and with the help of an assistant Bishop, who is Vicar of Blackburn, the Bishop of Manchester is supplied with valuable assistance, there is a growing feeling, especially in the north and north-eastern parts of the Diocese, that more Diocesan Bishops are needed to bring the forces of Episcopacy to bear upon the operations of the National Church. A movement is now being made to this end, happily with the cordial sanction of the Bishop of Manchester, and a committee appointed by the Diocesan Conference exists, charged with the duty of considering how subdivision may best be brought about.”
P.S.—Since this interview took place a meeting of the Manchester Diocesan Conference has been held, and the question of the sub-division of the Diocese again discussed. The qualifications of different districts for the honour of becoming the centre of a Diocese caused some difficulty in arriving at a final decision; but, as a solution, the Bishop suggested that the Dean of Manchester and the Vicar of Rochdale should, by virtue of their offices, be made Suffragan Bishops. The report was referred back, and a scheme is to be laid before the next Conference. It may be added, as a proof of the appreciation in which Dr Maclure is held in educational circles and the city generally, that he received recently, on the occasion of the Owens College Jubilee, the degree of LL.D. Honoris Causâ from the Victoria University, in presenting him for which distinction the Principal of Owen's (Dr Hopkinson) mentioned the services rendered by the Dean to the cause of education in Manchester.—The Author.
- At a visitation of the Cathedral body held on April 2nd this year (1902), the Bishop referring to the Cathedral and its relations to the City and Diocese observed:—“There is yet another advantage still left to the Diocese by the existing constitution of the Cathedral. Fortunately, in undertaking the cure of souls with which he has been charged in the residuary parish, the Dean has abundant assistance, and thus he is at liberty to do important work in this city. To him I desire to express my personal thanks for welcome and most valuable co-operation. People sometimes forget that I am responsible for the spiritual oversight of more than 2,000,000 souls outside the boundary of Manchester and Salford. But the Dean does not forget the fact, and often when I am absent in other parts of the Diocese he supplies any lack of service to both churches and institutions in the city.”