Friday, 30 August 2019

200 Years of Primitive Methodism in Hull!

This year marks 200 years since William Clowes, the prominent Primitive Methodist, came to Hull to preach the gospel. This event inspired a nascent Primitive Methodist community in the city.

A selection of our Local Studies books on the history of Primitive Methodism [L.287.4]

William Clowes was a distant relation of Josiah Wedgewood and was apprenticed to him in Burslem at the age of 10. His family was much poorer than his famous relation’s and he had not received much education. As a young man he was known for his reckless behaviour and admitted in later life that he spent his youth ‘banqueting, gambling and fighting’. He had originally come to Hull to work as a potter in 1804 and received a good wage which he spent on drinking and gambling. Eventually he and some friends got into trouble for impersonating the press gang and he left the city hurriedly, without paying his debts. He returned to Burslem and eventually dedicated his life to God. He worked hard, transformed his life and payed all his debts including those he had incurred in Hull.

In 1819 he was invited back to Hull as a Primitive Methodist preacher. The Primitives believed that the Wesleyan Methodist Church had become too complacent and they were not reaching the people who needed them most. So outdoor meetings, known as camp meetings, were organised and thousands of people attended them. Preachers spoke from the back of carts to those gathered round and because of the way they spoke they became known as Ranters. The Hull Advertiser of 9 July 1824 reports a camp meeting in Cottingham attended by two to three thousand people. The Wesleyan Methodist Church expelled anyone known to attend these camp meetings so the Primitives had set up their own church. It was already in existence when Clowes came to Hull but with a drive for revival and charismatic speakers led by William Clowes it quickly expanded. The church was divided into circuits and the Hull Circuit became a mission centre for the whole country.

Hull Primitive Methodist Church Centenary brochure [L.287.4]

The history centre holds a variety of records from the whole of the Methodist church some of which are administrative records, which can sometimes bring interesting stories with them. Cottingham Primitive Methodist Church had an ongoing saga with their caretaker, she would ask for a pay rise, they would refuse, she would hand her notice in and eventually a compromise would be reached [C DCT/384].

Family historians can view the registers which are kept here, baptisms and marriages are useful sources of information, some are on microfilm and are available to view in the library area, others are the original registers and available in the Search Room. The Primitive churches kept lists of all their members and these are known as roll books which are also available to view in our search room. We do not have registers or roll books for all churches but a list of records held is available, again in the search room, and also on our catalogue.

Stoneferry Primitive Methodist Church baptism register [C DCE/430]

An important Methodist gathering is the annual conference which is still held today. The first Primitive Conference was held in May 1820 in the chapel at Hull where it was reported that there were 7,842 members of the church countrywide. These gatherings debated how the church was to be run. There were strict rules and regulations for congregations and especially for the preachers who were the mainstay of the church. A resolution was passed stating that men were to wear plain dress; single breasted coats only and no fashionable trousers or white hats. The Primitives, unlike the Wesleyans encouraged women preachers and Jane Brown was one woman already preaching in Hull when Clowes arrived.

Centenary Conference programme, 1920 [L.287.4]

Clowes died in Hull on 2 March 1851. He was buried in ‘Primitive Corner’ in the Hull General Cemetery. His funeral cortege passed through Hull where many lined the streets to pay their repects.
The Hull History Centre holds many records relating to the Primitive Methodist Church in Hull. More information about William Clowes and the history of the church can be found in our Local Studies collection [reference number L.287.4].

Elaine Moll, Archivist/Librarian (Hull City Archives and Local Studies Library)

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Happy Yorkshire Day!


1st August is Yorkshire Day. The first one took place in 1975 and was created by the Yorkshire Ridings Society. The day was to be celebrated by wearing white roses and eating Yorkshire Pudding! 1974 had brought boundary changes throughout the United Kingdom and the Yorkshire Ridings, which had existed for over 1000 years, were no longer administrative areas. However the Ridings Society wished to make sure the historical boundaries of the county were not forgotten.

1st August is also Lammas Day, originally a pagan festival celebrating the harvest, the church ’Christianised’ it by calling it Loaf Mass when loaves of bread were blessed. Fairs were held throughout Yorkshire.

Given the Yorkshire and food associations with 1st August, we thought it might be interesting to look at some of the recipe books in our collections to see what Yorkshire delicacies are suggested. Looking at the recipe books from the 18th and 19th centuries in our collections there are very few, if any references to Yorkshire food. We have quite a collection of Yorkshire recipe books from the 20th century in our Local Studies collection and I have been looking at these.

A selection of the cookery books available at Hull History Centre 

Yorkshire Parkin is a well-known recipe, made with treacle and ginger and really lovely if left to mature for a couple of weeks before eating. You can check out our favourite recipe from our collections with this link to a previous blog.

Returning to Yorkshire Pudding; what is the advice for a good Yorkshire Pudding from books in our collections? It is quite a tricky recipe to get right however I was surprised that most of the cookery books I looked at did not have recipes for the pudding in them. Maybe Yorkshire folk are expected to know how to make them! One of the books: Old Yorkshire Recipes by Joan Poulson. (L.641.5) reminds us that the traditional way to serve Yorkshire Pudding is just with gravy as a starter. The pudding should be light with crisp edges.

Recipe for Yorkshire puddings taken from one of our cookery books

There are other recipes which have the words Yorkshire in the title, some better known than others; Yorkshire Goose, Yorkshire Beef Collops, Yorkshire Curd Tarts and Yorkshire Teacakes. The latter according to the Women’s Institute Yorkshire Cookery Book can be plain or fruited.

Recipe for Yorkshire tea cakes taken from one of our cookery books

One famous Hull delicacy is the Hull Pattie. These are available in local fish and chip shops and consist of potato encased in batter. The secret ingredients are the herbs and these might differ but rumour has it that sage is an essential flavour.

If you fancy a drink then you could have some Hull Cheese! In ‘The History of the Town and Port of Kingston upon Hull’ by James Joseph Sheahan (1866) [L.9.7], he describes Hull Cheese as ‘a strong ale mighty as any in the country’. The book also has a poem by John Taylor, the ‘Water Poet’, who visited Hull in 1662. He wrote the poem ‘a very merry wherry-ferrey voyage’, which includes the reference to Hull Cheese: ‘Give me Hull Cheese and welcome and good cheere’. There is also a pub named after the famous ale on Jameson Street in Hull.

So Happy Yorkshire Day and celebrate with some good Yorkshire Fare.

Elaine Moll, Archivist/Librarian (Hull City Archives and Local Studies Library)