Chapel Poem of New Marske

POEM: The Old Chapel At New Marske

Ruined it stands and the moonlight gleams
Through its gaping windows and broken beams.
To some, 'tis just a jackdaw's abode
But to others 'tis still the house of God.
And from my window I often gaze,
And my mind goes back to bygone days.

Forty-seven years do I remember,
A gloomy Sunday in dark December,
And I think I can hear my mother say,
"Now away you go to the parlour and play,
and think on you do not bother me
Until I call you out for tea."

So away I went with my little sister,
Who had such sweet ways that few could resist her,
And we sat and watched the firelight glow,
And told fairy tales of "Long, long ago".
Until, at last, we began to tire
of sitting so quiet beside the fire,

So I said "Lets stop this prattle
and see the people go to Chapel!"
Came Willie Dobson, a saintly man,
Who long had passed the alloted span.
Henry Caley, with children four,
were next to pass in at the Chapel door.

Then came John Crocker and Herbert, his son,
And his wife, and Lily, were following on.
Now next came two maidens, though one was a man!
Well, that's a riddle to solve if you can!
Next came John Flowers and also his mother,
And I know they would say a prayer for that brother

Who sailed far away to America's shore
In an earnest endeavour to earn rather more
Than he would at New Marske: for wages were small
And if out of work there was nothing at all,
Though people seemed happy and quite content:
Each shilling well-earned, each shilling well-spent.

Lizzie Allenden and Ada Snow
Were the very next past our window to go.
Then Mrs Bowers and her daughters three,
A truly happy family.
Mrs Jim Matthews and Mrs Maurice Braham,
Two or three Marshalls and Fanny Graham.

And of the Shaddocks there were quite a lot
Who came week by week to this sacred spot.
Mr and Mrs Sparks were next to come
To spend an hour at this spiritual home.
Allendens, Signworths and a family named Ware
Who were found week by week at the service there.

Then came the Aldens who had a short stay,
For their father died and they moved away.
Bill Blows and Ted Lambert were next to go past,
And we thought that they would be the last.
But not the last, for there came that way
Grandma Collins, old and grey,
Who came each Sabbath to watch and pray.

What happy times these people had:
How often was the heart made glad.
Blithesome were the voices singing,
When Willie Durance led the singing.
I remember many a Christmas Tree
And concerts, coffee, suppers and many a tea.

And what a day they had on Good Friday!
I can tell you that was a High Day
Of prayer and praise, for people came
From all around the district to praise His name.
They came to keep their yearly tryst
And many souls were won for Christ.

Where are they now who loved their God?
Some are in England and some are abroad.
Some have reached the Fairer Shore
And the Chapel they loved is now no more.

Mrs J E Harrison
112 Dale Street
New Marske

From New Marske Institute Club page:

The above rhyme was published in the December 2005 edition of Club News.

Thanks to all who have come forward with information. 
The following was published in the May 2006 edition of Club News.

Where was the Chapel? 
It was where the bungalows numbers 25 and 27 Gurney Street are now.

When was it in use? 
From the book "New Marske looking back", page 48:- The brick Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1874. It was closed and abandoned in 1932.

Hilda Simmons remembers playing in the ruined Chapel about 1933 to 1935.

Who was Mrs Harrison the author of the rhyme?

The printed copy of the rhyme that I have gives her initials as G E. This would appear to be a printing error and it should be Mrs J E Harrison.

From Paul Ivison:- 
"Jane Ellen Hall the author of the rhyme; became Jane Ellen Harrison on her marriage in 1902 to Thomas Harrison. In 1891 Jane was living at 11 Gurney Terrace, (now Gurney Street). She had two younger sisters named Ethel and Aida."

From Bob Simmons :- 
"I used to live at 109 Dale Street. That was three doors up from Mrs Harrison who lived at number 112. I knew her when I was a child. She was a nice old lady and was the local seamstress. I visited her many times with my mother. I was about aged around 8 when she died, she was a very old lady then."

In the rhyme she says:- 
"And from my window I often gaze." 
Bob Simmons comments:- 
"It is possible she could have seen the ruined Chapel from her back bedroom window. The window was only 2 foot wide by about 3 feet high. It would have looked out over the drying ground at the rear of her house, but it would have to have been her bedroom window as the rear of the houses had a big brick wall around what we called the back yard in them days, of course she could have sat on her back step and watched the world go by as nearly everyone did in them days, the front door was only normally used on special occasions."

What did the Chapel look like? 
In the book "New Marske looking back" there is a picture titled "Gurney Street 1910" On the right, second building down the hill is a Chapel. As many members will know I have problems with this picture. I tried to find the spot where it was taken from so that I could take a picture from the same spot now. I could not get the buildings that are still there now to line up the way they are in the old picture. It does not look right to me. I expressed the view that this old picture is not Gurney Street. I have shown it to a number of Club members and opinion is divided. I will leave that one for someone else to resolve.

When did Mrs Harrison write the rhyme and when is she writing about? There was no date on it. Who were the people that she mentions in the rhyme?

Thanks to Paul Ivison and Toni Roe for all of the following :-

Willie Dobson - long past the allotted span; 3 score and 10? was 76 on the 1891 census. He died in late 1900.

Henry Caley with children 4 (who incidentally was Willie Dodson's son-in-law) the Caley's fourth child was born mid 1890 meaning it was most likely after this time. Henry Caley's wife died mid 1897 so does it mean it was after this or she would have been with them?

John Crocker and his wife Annie had a son Herbert born 1888 and a daughter named Lillian (Lilly) born 1884.

The two maidens were William and Sarah.

John Flowers mother Ann lost her husband William mid 1898. Is that why there is no mention of him?

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Allenden and Ada Snow. Ada married Matthew Jollings late 1898 so was it before this or was it just a matter as happens now of just calling women by their maiden name?

Mrs Elizaberth Bowers and her daughters three were Mary, Rebecca and Hannah.

Mrs Jim Matthews was Mary-Ann and Mrs Maurice Graham was Sarah. Sarah lost her husband in a fall of stone at Upleathem mine on the eleventh of September 1893. Sometimes when woman are called by their husbands names it means they have been widowed; but Jim Matthews was still alive in 1901.

Two or three Marshalls were George, Laura and family.

The only Grahams I can locate are Jane, Aida and Morna who lived at 12 Gurney Terrace. Was one of them nicknamed Fanny?

James and Maria Shaddock had 5 children.

Mr and Mrs Sparrk were Josiah and Hannah.

Allendens there were 5 more besides Elizabeth mentioned earlier.

Sigsworths on the 1891 census. Wood Sigsworth is down as sawyer which must be a family tradition; New Marske people will remember Sonny Sigsworth as a joiner.

The Wares were George and Fanny, who had three children on the 1891 census.

The Aldens could hold a clue: Henry Aldens first wife Margaret Ann died at Depwade Norfolk at the start of 1885; he remarried to Ruth Anna Warne at the end of 1886 again at Depwade. So the assumption must be the earliest he was at New Marske was 1887. He died in June 1891 giving about 4 years at New Marske if they moved away. In fact Ruth Anna remarried at Depwade Norfolk in June 1895.

Bill Blows age 16 is on the 1891 census.

Ted Lamdert was living at Guisbrough on the 1891 census but he was back at New Marske in 1901. His children Harriet born 1885, Joseph born 1888, Edward born 1892 and Robert 1895 were all born at New Marske; so it seems he was only away a short while.

Grandma Collins was most likely Mary.A.Collins who was born in 1812. She is on the 1881 census. She died in 1891 in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

William Durance who led the singing, lived at 5 Gurney Terrace.

So all these people did exist, I would say Jane is talking about 1887-1891 era when they could possibly have been in their parlour (best room at the front of the house) where they could have watched people going to the chapel.

Jane later lived at the bottom of Dale Street so it would have been possible for her to gaze out of her bedroom window at the remains of the chapel. Adding 47 years on I would say she wrote the rhyme in 1934-1938. 

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