We give you thanks because within the royal priesthood of your Church you ordain ministers to proclaim the word of God, to care for your people, and to celebrate the sacraments of the new covenant.
The Service for Ordination of Deacons and Priests
The first vicar, the Revd Richard Walker, was also the first to be buried in the newly consecrated graveyard. It is tragic that the one to whom, more than any other, we owe the building of St Luke’s lived to enjoy it so briefly. The foundation stone was laid on 2 June 1852 and the new church consecrated on 26 December 1853. Richard died on 31 March 1854 at the age of 54, leaving a widow and daughter. At the request of Richard’s family and friends, and because of his wishes expressed shortly before his death, the Bishop of Chester came to Crosby on the morning of 4 April and consecrated the cemetery so that the remains of the first incumbent might be interred there.
Born in North Meols, Richard had been ordained deacon in 1822 and then appointed to the curacy of Tarleton the same year and of North Meols the next, a post which he held for fourteen years. The following year he was ordained priest in Chester. When a new rector of North Meols was appointed, Richard conducted services in a schoolroom among the sandhills of Southport, originally built and occupied by nonconformists. His ministry was greatly appreciated and resulted in crowded congregations. In 1837 he became incumbent of Fulwood in the parish of Sheffield. In 1841 he was created perpetual curate of St James’ Church, Walton on the Hill, to act for the vicar of Walton who had been granted ‘exemption of residence’ (ie he did not have to live there). In 1844 he was appointed stipendiary curate of St Matthias’ Church in Liverpool, his stipend being the ‘annual revenues of the church from whatever source derived’. We are told that ‘in the pulpit he was calm, eloquent and convincing’ and that ‘the classical chasteness of his compositions, whilst appreciated by the educated, was comprehended by the humblest of his hearers’. Every day during the malignant fever in Liverpool he visited the sick and dying, without assistance, and displaying fearless courage. In 1848 St Matthias’ found itself in the way of the viaduct to bring the Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway into Liverpool Exchange station. Pre-empting plans for demolition, it burnt down accidentally and a replacement, of over 1000 places like its predecessor, was opened in 1849 in Great Howard Street. Meanwhile, only two months after his appointment to St Matthias’ in 1844, Richard was made perpetual curate of Great Crosby. The Revd George Aspinall PhD officiated as curate at St Matthias’, while Richard lived in Crosby, no doubt finding the railway that had caused him so many building problems a great help in commuting to Walton and Liverpool.
The Revd Richard Walker, the first vicar, died only weeks after the consecration of the Church.
His burial was the first to be recorded in the register.
When someone else was appointed to St Matthias’ in 1847 and to St James’ in 1850, Richard must have been glad of the respite. For two major tasks then forced his attention. Richard was much interested in education and was an inspector of church schools. In 1848 an inspection of Merchant Taylors’ School discovered that the roll had fallen to four. The headmaster at that time was the Revd Joseph Clark and the four pupils consisted of one of his sons and, contrary to the school’s statutes, three of his daughters. Joseph was forced to resign his post amidst some ill feeling and acrimony, and Richard was heavily involved in drawing up plans (which were not adopted) for reviving the fortunes of the school. In addition he must have been the driving force behind the raising of funds for the new church and building it. His exertions in Liverpool, together with justifying, planning and fund raising for the new church, will have cost him much labour, and may have been responsible, directly or indirectly, for his premature death. And when it came, the Revd Joseph Clark was appointed Richard’s successor!
The living was the gift of the rector of Sefton, and Joseph had been curate there since 1829 and of Great Crosby for four years before that, until he was appointed headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ School. He had therefore been closely associated with the rector of Sefton, the Revd Richard Rothwell, for thirty years and this would have made his appointment easy for him, if he wanted the position. But why would he want it when his return to Crosby would stir up old resentments? Maybe the pay decided it: as vicar of St Luke’s he earned £250 per annum compared with £150 as headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ School. Patronage was prevalent and accepted at that time; Joseph had taken advantage of it from the start of his career. His first appointment as curate had been to his ancestral village of Watermillock in Cumberland, and there were family connections between the Clarks and the Troutbecks, who lived in that area, one of them a recent headmaster of Merchant Taylors’. The school was then still in its original 1620s building just opposite the church, and the result of Joseph’s appointment was that on Sundays the schoolboys went over the road to be preached to by their former disgraced headmaster.
The Revd Joseph Clark,
vicar 1854 – 1870.
A manuscript copy of a letter survives, written by Joseph at Great Crosby on 20 June 1835 to his brother at Widewath in the Lake District. He urges, ‘Do come, if it be for no other purpose but to see how, & at what sort of a place, I am doomed to spend my days upon earth.’ He gives a vivid account of a curate’s work: although he was then curate at Sefton, no doubt St Michael’s curate at the time, and St Luke’s vicar soon after, led a similar life. ‘Sunday Even?g 1/2 past 9 o’clock – After a rather long day, for I was at Sephton (sic) soon after 8 in the morn-g – to join a couple in holy wedlock – after that I attended in the Sunday School where I am drilling a lot of illiterati for confirmation – then took part of the prayers & a pretty long sermon – in the after noon an half hour Sermon, & then nearly 60 to examine & to exhort for above an hour in preparation for the ensuing confirmation, & after that two or three calls on my way home, besides 10 miles walking during the day, I am not disposed to study much what I am scribbling.’ Sunday, being the only day when most of the parishioners would have time off for church activities, would be a particularly laborious day, but he also says that he cannot travel to see his brother because of ‘the church, & its never ceasing calls, which rivet me so to the spot’. Joseph’s life was to become even busier the following year when the first of his nine children was born. His wife, Mary Beynon Bunting, was 16 years younger and in his own words ‘one in whom I have no dependance (sic)’.
Maybe life was easier for him when he became vicar of St Luke’s as he was helped by curates. George Tucker was curate from 1858 to 1862, his stipend being ‘the proceeds of the pew rents after defraying the usual and necessary expenses of the church’. In 1864 Samuel Crawford Armour, headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ School, was appointed curate with a stipend of £75, and is recorded as being preacher at the church until 1868, to be succeeded by Albert Moore O’Connor Macdona at a stipend of £100. In the Athenaeum library there is an illuminated testimonial with over 250 signatures given to him when he left the parish after only a few years, such was the quality of his ministry.
Joseph had therefore renewed his links with the school and in fact his three sons went there, one of them winning a divinity prize. Three of his daughters later ran a private school in Crosby known as St Elphin’s. Perhaps because of his growing family, a new vicarage was built in 1859 and this was followed by other developments. In 1863 a bazaar was held in the Town Hall, Waterloo, raising £300 for the bells and then £120 for the turret clock, and in 1867 a harvest festival was started with associated athletic sports on the vicarage field. Joseph died on 28 June 1870 at the age of 77, to be buried like his predecessor in St Luke’s graveyard.
His successor the Revd Robert Love already had five children when he took up his appointment, although twins born the year before only survived a few weeks, and five more were born later. Robert, born in Ayrshire in 1838, was the son of a master weaver and was educated at Ayr Academy. After teaching there, he obtained degrees at Trinity College, Dublin, and in 1860 was ordained by the Bishop of Chester to be the curate of Seacombe. This ‘weekend curacy’ supplemented his salary as headmaster of Egremont Academy for ten years. Robert liked the life of the church, gave up teaching and was then appointed vicar of St Luke’s. How this came about is described in his obituary in the Crosby Herald: ‘The Rev. Dr Dawson Dawson-Duffield was rector of the parish [of Sefton] at the time but was unable to do duty owing to failing health. The curate, who conducted the services at Sefton, showed a tendency to introduce certain observances into the Church service which were regarded by the parishioners as Ritualistic and this change in the old form of worship was resented by the members of the congregation. Disturbances, which will be remembered by the older residents of the district, ensued and eventually the offending clergyman was removed and Mr. Turner, who previous to his going to Litherland [as the first vicar of St Philip’s] had been curate of Sefton, at the request of the Rector, asked the Rev. R. Love, with whom he was acquainted, to take Sunday duty at Sefton. The scenes of disorder at once ceased, and Mr. Love quickly gained the esteem of the congregation. The Rector, no doubt, felt that he owed Mr. Love a debt of gratitude for taking up the work at this critical period, and when the vacancy occurred at Crosby he was appointed vicar.’
The Revd Robert Love, vicar 1870 – 1902, with his family at the vicarage.
As a former teacher, he took particular interest in the state of the schools and to him we owe the strength of our church school and, through it, of the church today. When he arrived, there was no junior boys’ school and only about 30 girls and infants attended the Halsall Girls’ School. The old national schools which stood between the church and Liverpool Road were derelict. He raised a large amount of money to build a new boys’ school on the vacant St Michael’s site and then to improve the accommodation of both schools. With his continued interest and support, the two schools began to flourish.
The marriage of Ella, his second daughter, to Charles Hayward, four years after her sister, Marion, had married his brother, Francis William, was a great event in the village. The local press described it as follows:
‘It was on Wednesday afternoon a large and fashionable congregation thronged St Luke’s to witness the marriage and the ceremony was fixed to take place at 2.00 p.m. but the church was filled to overflowing long before that hour and the interior of the sacred building which had been prettily decorated for the occasion with flowers, plants, ferns etc presented a pleasing and animated appearance as the bridal party entered. The bells of the church peeled forth merrily at intervals during the day and there were signs of rejoicing throughout the entire village. A large throng had collected around the entrances to the church and the usually peaceful and picturesque church yard surrounded by its magnificent clusters of waving green foliage wore quite a gay appearance as the handsomely attired visitors struggled to catch a glimpse of the bridal procession proceeding from the vicarage to the church.’
His was a close knit family as shown by a photograph of the family playing tennis on the court between the vicarage and the church. The vicar and his family were very much involved in the church and its activities, and, in a document sent out on 12 December 1894 signed by Robert Love, he and his son-in-law appealed for funds to cover repairs and building a new vestry at a cost of £580. This was only one of many fund-raising efforts. In 1882 the boys’ school had been enlarged and new classrooms added. Five years later a Grand Bazaar had been held to raise funds for alterations to the chancel and the formation of the baptistry. Later, in 1901, the organ was renewed, the church interior painted and new wire blinds fitted to the coloured windows.
Another memorable occasion was the church service to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 when the national anthem was sung accompanied by the St Luke’s brass band. Robert Love’s address was reported in the local press, finishing as follows: ‘She has with true domestic instinct entered into the cottages of the poor as well as the palaces of Kings and Princes, and is worshipped with quiet devotion in the simple ritual of the parish kirk of Scotland as well as her own old and venerable cathedrals. Verily she has adorned and beautified every relationship of life to which, in the providence of God she has been called. As Queen, Wife and Mother she has graced with womanly virtue every position, and now throughout her dominions her subjects, as her veritable children, arise up and call her blessed.’ The schoolchildren connected with St Luke’s were then suitably entertained and processed through the village. They were treated to tea, after which Robert Love presented them with medals and books which had been donated. There was also a party given for about a hundred people of the parish without distinction of creed.
Robert devoted his time and energy almost exclusively to the parish, but was also president of the Literary Society. He was hardly ever absent from the parish, save for an occasional holiday, and for most of his tenure carried out all the duties himself. However he became increasingly infirm and from 1886 onwards had to rely on younger curates like the Revd Thomas Taylor and the Revd Frederick Shirtcliff for help. Finally, when Robert was confined by his illness to his vicarage, the bishop appointed his domestic chaplain, the Revd Hubert Probyn, as curate-in-charge.
Family records describe Robert as being austere but he must have inspired affection, as the congregation presented him with a lovely silver-mounted stick. His wife was much loved and very talented with a special ability in modern languages. A note written by Robert on 3 April 1902 survives: ‘It is with much regret that my health does not permit me to be present at our Vestry meeting this evening. During the thirty two years I have been Vicar here, this is only the second occasion on which I have been absent, and I most sincerely thank you for the invariable kindness and consideration you have shown me… Allow me to thank you for the comfort and sympathy you have so freely and fully accorded me… I need not say more as I write under the dark shadow of an unutterable sorrow.’ The sorrow was that his wife had died on 26 March 1902 at the age of 63. She was survived by her husband only until 14 November 1902, when he too died suddenly, at the age of 74, while the family were at breakfast. After thirty-two years ministry, by far the longest at St Luke’s, there was an immense gathering of friends at the funeral. Before the coffin was removed from the vicarage, the schoolchildren assembled in the grounds near the house. They sang a favourite hymn under the direction of the headmaster and headmistress of the boys’ and girls’ schools with which he had been involved so long and so closely. After that he was reunited with his wife and their daughter, Ella, in the family vault in St Luke’s graveyard.
As a measure of the high regard in which he was held, he was the first vicar to be honoured with a brass plaque which was set up to commemorate him in the Good Samaritan Chapel. Since then all other vicars have received the same honour.
The Revd Frederic Bartlett,
vicar 1903 – 1918.
His successor, the Revd Frederic Arthur Bartlett, was well known in the area. He was ordained priest by the Bishop of Chester in 1875 (the diocese of Liverpool was not formed out of the diocese of Chester until 1880) and since then had been curate of Kirkby, St George’s, Everton, and St Michael’s, Liverpool. He continued to play a full part in the local community, being a governor of Merchant Taylors’ School and a member of the Great Crosby Literary Society, and was a familiar figure round the parish on his bicycle. He was ready to defend Crosby and, as its vicar, felt he was guardian of its honour. It was he who was the driving force behind the construction of a parish hall, which is a mark of his energies and, on a different site, such a great asset today.
He undoubtedly inspired great affection amongst the congregation. On the occasion of his silver wedding in 1916, as reported in the Crosby Herald, he was presented with a solid silver tea and coffee service, suitably inscribed, by one of the wardens, Mr J L Plint, at the annual congregational tea. Mr Plint made a speech saying in what high esteem he held Mr Bartlett, and Mr J C Makinson, former curate, confirmed how good and kind Mr Bartlett was and had been like a father to him. This was endorsed by the Revd B Webster (curate of St Luke’s and later vicar of St Benedict’s, Everton, grandfather of Grace Webster, local link missionary of the ‘new’ St Michael’s). Mr Bartlett replied that he had always been a peacemaker. This remark will have had added meaning in the middle of the First World War and a similar sentiment, that he expressed shortly before his death and the end of the war, may be significant. On 9 February 1918, at an occasion to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of his institution as vicar of St Luke’s, he said that he had endeavoured, as far as he could, to maintain and set forward quietness, peace and love among all Christian people. A few months later, he died on 5 June, after a brief but severe illness, and was buried in the graveyard. It was stated that he ‘has been exceedingly popular and many will mourn him’ and that he was ‘a homely yet earnest preacher devoted to Parish duties.’ An appreciation in the Crosby Herald after the funeral and memorial service, which was held the following day, described him as a friend and helper with a gift of sympathy. He dignified his office but never lost sight of responsibilities. He illustrated his points with humour, and loved simplicity and homeliness.
The Revd Edward Hartley,
vicar 1918 – 1932.
His successor, the Revd Edward Hartley was also a local man, like him a classics graduate of Oxford University, and even more involved in the local community, being chairman of the Urban District Council when he died. In 1895, his first post after graduation was as master at Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby, but he was not ordained priest until 1910 by the Bishop of Liverpool. He then became curate at St Nicholas’ Church, Blundellsands, continuing to teach at Merchant Taylors’ School, until his institution at St Luke’s. In 1926 he was elected to the local council, serving on every committee and becoming chairman of the Higher Education Committee. He was made chairman of the council in 1931. He was also a member of the West Derby Guardians and Ormskirk Public Assistance Committee, served on the Diocesan Board of Education and was a governor of Merchant Taylors’ School.
He accomplished the rebuilding of the church spire, the rehanging of the bells, enlargement of the parish hall, and erection of the font and war memorial. This was achieved by raising £6000 in ten years (about £200,000 at today’s prices), and he also paid off debts of £2000 for the rebuilding of the organ and maintenance of the church schools.
In 1925 Edward Hartley and his wife were presented with a silver tea and coffee service by Mr J E Milton, the vicar’s warden, on behalf of the congregation. They had three daughters but Mrs Hartley died in 1927. He was kind and generous to everyone, whatever church they belonged to, and visited gas victims of the war. He had a good relationship, remarkable for those times, with the Roman Catholic SS Peter and Paul’s Church and would speak to anybody. Dora Parr thought that he looked a bit like Father Christmas, although he dressed in black and wore a priest’s hat! On one occasion she was waiting at South Road for the tram after school and he came past in his yellow car with the hood down and gave her a lift home. This made her feel very proud as it was the first car she had ever been in. When her father was very ill the doctor suggested brandy might be beneficial, but Mrs Parr did not know where she could get it just after the war. Edward Hartley went to the Crosby pub and brought back a little bottle for him. Dorothy Armstrong buy generic propecia online remembers seeing him often with a basket of groceries which would be given to a family.
Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1980 to 1991,
was baptized at St Luke’s on 22 November 1921.
On 22 November 1921 he baptized Robert Runcie, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, who worshipped at St Luke’s until he was confirmed. He then left to join St Faith’s, where there is a memorial window depicting places of worship associated with him which includes the spire of St Luke’s.
In the parish magazine for January 1932 Edward wrote: ‘Now before us lies the new year with all its secrets hidden, with all its hopes and fears. No one can face a new year without some serious thought, and this new year more than others. We are faced with a crisis in human affairs, the whole outlook of the world is changed.’ These last words referred to the years of the depression and the rise of Nazism, but could apply equally well to the world situation at the time of writing (Autumn 2001). He also wrote prophetically for his own life, as on 1 February 1932 he was taken ill while preparing for the institution of the rector of Sefton. Taken to a Blundellsands nursing home, he had an operation for appendicitis but died soon after. The headlines of the Crosby Herald referred to the ‘Loss to Church and Community’ and ‘Widespread Sorrow and Angst’. This did not seem to overstate the case as the edition was sold out, and the reports were repeated in the next edition for those unable to obtain a copy. At the funeral hundreds lined the road between the vicarage and church which was completely full. The service was taken by the Ven George Howson, the Archdeacon of Warrington, who had also instituted him to the living in 1918 when he had acted as special commissary for the Bishop of Liverpool, Dr Francis James Chavasse, who was ‘taking a much needed rest from his heavy duties’. He was buried in the churchyard, in the same grave as his wife. A memorial triptych was set up for him by the vestry, but this was destroyed in the 1972 fire and replaced by a plaque with the others in the Good Samaritan Chapel.
When Edward Hartley died, all five vicars up till his time had died in post. His successors have gone on to other churches to complete their ministry and enjoy retirement.
The Revd Augustus Powell Miller,
vicar 1932 – 1943.
In making the new appointment, the patron of the living, Dr Longford, the rector of Sefton, commented: ‘I cannot promise you another Mr Hartley…[the new incumbent] will need sympathetic consideration at the hands of the parish.’ The Revd Augustus Powell Miller had strong connections with Merseyside and the armed forces. His parents lived in Egremont and he was married there to the daughter of a captain. After ordination in 1913 by the Bishop of Liverpool, he was curate of Sefton, in charge of Hightown, until 1919. During this time he was Organising Secretary of Sunday Schools in the Diocese of Liverpool. He was then vicar of St Mark’s, Newtown, Pemberton until 1923 when he was made vicar of St Lawrence’s, Kirkdale, a post he held until 1927, together with that of the chaplaincy of the Kirkdale Homes. From 1926 he was chaplain in the Territorial Army to the 55th (West Lancashire) Division. After his appointment as vicar of St Luke’s, Liverpool, in 1927, he became vicar of St Luke’s, Crosby, in 1932 and in the same year chairman of the diocesan Board of Youth. Other positions that he held were as chaplain to the Liverpool Cancer Hospital, honorary chaplain to the St John Ambulance Brigade Liverpool Corps, chairman and honorary chaplain to St Christopher Home, chairman of Sunday Education Organising Committee National Society, London, and vice president of the York Provincial Council for Sunday Schools and Youth Movements.
Crosby saw great growth in the interwar years and due to his energies All Saints’ Church foundation stone was laid in 1934. His ministry at St Luke’s was extremely successful and at one time the evening service was so large that it had to be duplicated. His wife and family joined in everything that went on. He was active amongst young people with excursions on bank holidays and dances in the parish hall. He carried these gifts forward to the time when he left Liverpool and devoted his work full time to ministering to the forces, becoming senior chaplain at Catterick Camp. In 1943 he became Rector of St Olave’s Church (the church of Samuel Pepys). This was damaged in the blitz, but he transferred to St Edmond King’s and later returned to St Olave’s. When he left there in 1959, St Olave’s, including the hall and vicarage, had been rebuilt, and all paid for.
Although the beginning of the war saw the end of his association with Liverpool for a while, he spent his latter years in Liverpool and, when he died at the age of 88 in 1976, at his request his funeral was conducted in St Luke’s, by Raymond Lee.
When Powell Miller left Crosby, the Revd Norman Louch was placed in temporary charge of the parish until the Revd John Christopher Kinnear was appointed curate-in-charge. He also had a forces background and had been a chaplain to the forces before the First World War. He served in the British Expeditionary Force during the war and was twice mentioned in despatches. He had also been vicar in Dunton Green and for twelve years home secretary to the Colonial and Continental Church Society, in addition to being at different times public preacher in the Diocese of Rochester, organising secretary to the Mission to Seamen, South East District, and curate of Croydon. Thus, although his working life had been spent in the South-East, his experience was wide and suitable for his new role. However, he was in a difficult position: he wanted to be appointed to the living while Powell Miller was away, but the Rector of Sefton would not agree to his being made vicar as he had been divorced. In 1943, he moved on to be curate of St Teath with Delabole at Camelford in the diocese of Truro. In his farewell sermon he was able to look back on three happy years and finish with these moving words: ‘I leave the torch that was given to me three years ago. I leave it to him who is coming on, may he use it aright. Your love and affection and trust I leave to nobody. I take that with me for nobody can buy it, and whoever comes has got to earn it.’
Canon Paul Nichols
vicar, 1943 – 1959.
As Powell Miller also resigned his post in 1943, this enabled another vicar to be appointed: Canon Paul Randolph Shalders Nichols. After being ordained priest in 1917, Paul Nichols became curate of All Saints, Wokingham. Then, after two years ministry in Edinburgh, he held successive positions in London: St Peter, Eaton Square, St Michael, Chester Square, St Michael All Angels with All Saints, Paddington, and St John the Evangelist, Paddington, before being appointed rector of Chatham in 1941. As he had been born in the West Country, his move to Crosby involved a completely new direction, to be followed, after his retirement from Crosby, by a move back to his roots in Cornwall.
Paul Nichols was a brilliant and colourful character, although he could give the impression of being reserved. He had been treasurer and secretary of the Oxford Union and he was able to memorize the numbered clues and the grid of the Times crossword and to complete it as he paced up and down. Likewise his sermons were delivered with scarcely a reference to a note. He was a renowned preacher; his sermons contained wonderful, interesting stories and travel tales were used as illustrations, ‘living long in the listeners’ minds’. It is said that Dame Nellie Melba described his speaking voice as the finest she had ever heard. He was at one time Royal Navy chaplain at Chatham, and not surprisingly his favourite holiday place was Malta where he delighted in speaking with sailors face-to-face in the bars down ‘The Gut’. Beverley Nichols, the famous author and columnist, was his brother. Paul was extremely proud of the connection and would often quote Beverley who was a frequent visitor to St Luke’s vicarage.
He had a distinguished career at Crosby, being made rural dean of Bootle, and a canon of Liverpool Cathedral. He was also chaplain of the Crosby Masonic Lodge. The electoral roll in 1959 was an astounding 3296, the result of a policy to keep it as high as possible.
Attached to St Luke’s vicarage in the 1950s was a croquet lawn which attracted the teenagers like a magnet. Lord St Audries, who had a vast country estate near Bridgwater in Somerset, was a friend of Paul’s from university. He often visited Paul, and, shy as he was, was delighted to be invited to play croquet with the young men. In later years Lord St Audries returned the favour and hosted the young men, including Lester Davey, Tom Edey and Malcolm Wright, at his country estate whilst they were en route to their holidays in Cornwall. In 1959 Paul left St Luke’s for a quieter life in Cornwall and became vicar of Sancreed and then rector of Sennen ‘the first and last’ church and parish in England. Invitations were regularly given and accepted by the young people of Crosby to holiday there. Up to 14 people were cheerfully accommodated by Paul and his devoted housekeeper, Miss Hicks, who followed Paul wherever he went.
In 1963 Paul moved back to Crosby and assisted the Revd Charles Packenham at Christ Church, Waterloo. His eyesight failing, he died in Waterloo in 1986 at the age of 94.
Canon Harry Bates,
vicar 1959 – 1969.
Canon Mansel Harry Bates came back to Liverpool. Born in Spain, where his father was an Anglican chaplain, he grew up in Liverpool, took ‘Modern Greats’ at Oxford (ie philosophy, politics and economics), and was the first of the new breed of St Luke’s vicars; previous vicars had followed traditional courses, while his successors were a modern linguist and an engineer. Harry Bates was ordained in 1935 in the Liverpool diocese to become curate first of St John and St James, Litherland, and then of St Oswald, Netherton. After six years as vicar of St Saviour, Everton, he moved to Jesmond in Newcastle in 1947 and stayed there for twelve years, becoming a proctor in Convocation and a member of the Church Assembly. His institution by the Bishop of Liverpool, Dr C A Martin, to St Luke’s to succeed Paul Nichols took place on 23 October 1959. His stature was such that he immediately became rural dean of Bootle and was created a canon of Liverpool Cathedral in 1964.
When he first came to St Luke’s he found that there were a lot of parish duties demanding his attention. However, he was quick to see what was required, very practical and able to win people round. Consequently, with a lot of support, he could be innovative and with great determination achieved much: for ten years he worked to disentangle the legal problems so that the new hall could be built. He was also helped by a lovely sense of humour, his favourite television programme being ‘Tom and Jerry’. He is best remembered as a man who loved his fellow men and women, and served them all his life. There are many examples of this: visiting Peggy Burn’s mother every week during her final illness, putting an elderly man, whose wife was not strong enough, to bed every evening, and going to look for children from St Christopher’s, now the autistic centre in Chesterfield Road, when they went missing. On Boxing day he took Christmas communion to the housebound and was always robed for this. On one occasion his car broke down and he walked. He worked for many church groups and charities and was involved in many social activities. He was specially remembered as chairman of the Diocesan Board of Social and Moral Welfare in Liverpool, and for the time he devoted to St Christopher’s. Veteran journalist Joe Riley recalls that in his younger days he was writer of Parish Topics in the Crosby Herald ‘which included the daunting weekly task of telephoning Canon Bates who was the last cleric in the Church of England to wear gaiters. He looked formidable, and had a persona and gravitas to match.’ Mrs Bates was renowned for baking bread. One particularly harsh winter she scrambled through snow drifts across fields to take bread in sacks to remote houses, cut off by the winter conditions. She was also famous for her hats: she would come into church via the vestry door and sit on the front row wearing a magnificent hat.
Harry was an active freemason and Past Provincial Grand Officer of the North East. In 1969, he returned to Newcastle, becoming vicar of Eglingham, an honorary canon of Newcastle upon Tyne and Archdeacon of Lindisfarne. He died in Newcastle in 1980.
Canon Raymond Lee,
vicar 1970 – 1982.
Canon Raymond John Lee decided to enter the ministry whilst at Oxford, but took a year out to test his calling, and was ordained in 1956. After curacies at St Nicholas, Tooting, in the diocese of Southwark, and at St James, Muswell Hill, he became vicar of St Mary of Bethany in Woking, in the diocese of Guildford in 1962. He came to St Luke’s in 1970 as the youngest vicar ever to be appointed to St Luke’s and was immediately involved with the practical difficulties of building the new hall and vicarage. These were dedicated by the Bishop of Liverpool, later Archbishop of York, Stuart Blanch, on 17 October 1971. In the same year it was decided to close St Luke’s Junior Boys School and create a new mixed primary school on the Halsall site. At the same time, St Luke’s Junior Church was started, linked to the family service at the new time of 10.30 am. On 9 June 1972 the church was partially destroyed by fire. As Raymond said in his farewell letter to St Luke’s ‘the foundations of our faith were truly shaken’. Help poured in, led by a local Roman Catholic Church, and All Saints’ was the greatest friend. The next three years were a triumph of leadership in adversity, with very hard work, holding the church together and raising the money needed for repair and reconstruction. It was also a period of coming together, hope, and deepening of faith. The rebuilt church was dedicated by John Bickersteth, Bishop of Warrington, on 13 April 1975.
As a result the congregation began to grow numerically and spiritually. Building a team was another secret of success. From the very start Raymond had chosen his team carefully and made a number of significant appointments: Jared Whetnall as PCC treasurer and Irene Roberts as vicar’s secretary. In 1972 Bill McIlvean became churchwarden, and was Raymond’s ‘right hand man’ through the time to come, and Renee Horsfall was PCC secretary. In his farewell letter he was to pay tribute as well to May Pilkington (verger), John Woodward (organist) and Bob Warnock (sexton). To achieve further growth Raymond involved many more people in ministry. During his time at St Luke’s there were on different occasions seven assistant clergy and ten Readers. In 1975 Frances Briscoe, who later became a deaconess, came and began her work of training lay people, including five new readers. In the same year a prayer group was started, which, when its numbers grew to over forty, divided into separate house groups. The following year a team of ordinands from St John’s College, Nottingham, came to speak at services and house groups. In addition eight members of the church were accepted for training for the ministry, of whom two are now honorary canons. Many new families joined and an extension had to be added to the hall. Raymond is remembered for always standing at the door before and after every service and making families especially welcome.
His wife, Janet, was much loved by the parish and a great helper to him. She was the first person to see the fire and raise the alarm. She read from the book of Haggai at the first service in the hall after the fire ‘the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former’ which would be triumphantly repeated at the service of rededication.
From 1970 onwards Raymond pushed for a move towards full parish status for All Saints. When he retired the way was set for the division of the parish and everything else was left in good order for his successor. The new parish of All Saints finally came into being on 1 September 1982. Raymond’s last Sunday had been on 9 May and his institution to All Hallows’, Allerton, on 24 June. From 1979 to 1995, Raymond was Diocesan Adviser for the Non-Stipendiary Clergy. He was made an honorary canon of Liverpool Cathedral in 1989 and retired from stipendiary ministry in 1995. He was priest-in-charge of Altcar from 1994-1998, and spent the last three years of ministry in a non-stipendiary capacity. He and Janet now live in Formby.
The Revd David Trollope,
vicar 1982 – 2004
The Revd David Harvey Trollope’s first career was as an engineer. It was while he was on a sandwich course as part of his training that he was introduced to David Watson and heard how God had transformed the lives of Teddy boys. After completing his engineering degree, he worked in New York with Ingersoll Rand. While he was there he sensed God challenging him to leave engineering and enter full-time Christian ministry. After working for a time in the London head office, he took a course at the London College of Divinity. After ordination in 1968 he became a curate in Bermondsey at the church of St James with Christchurch in the diocese of Southwark. Following this he went to Uganda in 1972 where his engineering training was useful in development projects that he set up, the first being a chicken farm. However, when the situation became dangerous after the murder of Archbishop Janani Luwum, and as his children were then very young, he and Christa decided to move to Kenya to work for CORAT (Christian Organisation Research and Advisory Trust).
In Kenya he was involved in running courses in management for clergy and bishops. He also did evaluation work on planning projects and became executive officer of the group. In 1982 it was time to come back to England for the sake of the children’s education. After eight interviews in eleven days, he eventually decided to come to St Luke’s. He was interviewed by Jared Whetnall and Ray Terry, chose schools for the children and then flew back to Africa. The family returned in August and David was inducted ten days later. It was quite a culture shock! David had to find out what vicars do, and it was difficult for Christa and the children also.
Fortunately, when he arrived in Crosby everything had been tidied up and completed by Raymond Lee, and he was presented with a blank canvas on which to work In the early 60s the ‘rediscovery’ of the Holy Spirit was the foundation of the Charismatic Movement and his ministry has been influenced by this. David became involved through his friendship with David Watson. In the early days of his ministry at St Luke’s it was greeted with some suspicion, but is now much more integrated within the Anglican Church, although David thinks that there is still a lot more room for renewal.
During David’s time at St Luke’s we have seen the development of the non-stipendiary ministry, with Bill Pierce being made a deacon in 1989 and priest in 1990. Ordained Local Ministry also signals another change in the style of ministry and the involvement of women. Barbara Chambers and Margaret Quayle were made deacons in 1998, and priests in 1999. David has also continued and extended the involvement of lay people and this has led to a more collaborative style of ministry. He was keen to set up the parish office to provide another focus apart from the vicar’s study, together with the RE Resource Centre. Paul Heritage was employed as a church family worker for ten years, initially part-time but then full-time, and pioneered the new 11 o’clock service. There has been continual development of the services. David feels that this reflects the changes in society and the particular needs of the different people who attend the 9 am and 11 am services. Home groups form part of an important strategy for mission and growth. Recently the principles of ‘cell church’ have been adopted. Thus there have been substantial changes in the way that St Luke’s is run but change has been gradual, and accepted by the congregation.
Another major theme in David’s time has been the covenant between the churches in Crosby. As they work together it has been good to see how trust has grown. The opening of the ecumenical Crossroads Centre has also been a sign of this trust and co-operation for all to see. The outreach of St Luke’s has been remarkable under David’s leadership, not just locally but to many missions overseas. This has been helped by his example, experience and encouragement, with particularly strong links to Uganda, and, through the work of Drs Malcolm and Liz Molyneux, to Malawi. He has also worked hard to strengthen bonds with the school. He and the head teacher, David Savage, have a similar style of management: open and collaborative.
David is very gifted in his ministry to individuals and families. Many have been helped enormously through the quiet care he shows, and his faith in our Saviour has given inspiration, help and courage.