Cir­ca 1822–1896



Born: Cir­ca 1822.

Died: June 29, 1896, St. Ma­ry church­yard, Bur­ley in Wharfe­dale, West York­shire, Eng­land.


A na­tive of Coun­ty Sli­go, Ire­land, Black was edu­cat­ed at Tri­ni­ty Col­lege, Dub­lin. He be­came cur­ate of Bu­rley in Wharfe­dale in 1855.

He was ap­par­ent­ly well con­nect­ed, and Speight, in his 1900 book Up­per Wharfe­dale, re­cords fa­mi­ly links with Lord Pal­mer­ston, Prime Min­is­ter 1855–65.

He al­so had ve­ry kind­ly and in­ti­mate re­la­tions with the late Prin­cess Al­ice, daugh­ter of Queen Vic­tor­ia, mar­ried to a Ger­man roy­al, while he was Eng­lish Cha­plain in the old Rhine­land spa town of Darm­stadt (1867–68).

Black’s first act at Bur­ley was to make it a sep­ar­ate par­ish from Ot­ley, thus be­com­ing the first vi­car of Bur­ley. The par­ish in­clud­ed Men­ston un­til 1876, when Black en­cour­aged its se­pa­ra­tion from Bur­ley.

For 40 years he re­mained vi­car, and saw much change in the vil­lage. The par­ish church was re­fur­bished in the 1870s, the mills pros­pered, the po­pu­la­tion grew, and he kept re­cords of the chang­es brought about in the Na­tion­al School in Back Lane.

Black con­trib­ut­ed to the po­pu­la­tion growth in no small way him­self: Cen­sus re­cords show he and his wife Anne, who came from the Home Coun­ties, had ele­ven child­ren in Bur­ley.

According to Speight, Black was a stu­dent all his life, an ex­cel­lent theo­lo­gian and clas­sic­al schol­ar, and a writ­er of prose and verse. He com­posed a num­ber of ca­rols, and his me­mo­ri­al win­dow in the church fea­tures scenes from the Na­ti­vi­ty.

Speight al­so men­tions his ser­mons in glow­ing terms, though vil­lage re­si­dent Jane Fors­ter in one of her let­ters was not so mag­na­ni­mous, claim­ing she got head­aches af­ter hear­ing him preach.



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