Circa 1822.

June 29, 1896, St. Mary Churchyard, Burley in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire, England.

A native of Sligo, Black was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and in 1855 became Curate of Burley in Wharfedale. He was apparently well connected, and Speight, in his 1900 book Upper Wharfedale, records family links with Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister from 1855 to 1865. 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 that of 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 growth in population in no small way himself, as 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 listening to him preach.

  1. ’Twas in the Winter Cold

Black’s date & place of birth