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The Tathams of County Durham
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HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE

VIEW

OF THE PARISHES OF

MONKWEARMOUTH AND BISHOPWEARMOUTH,

AND THE

PORT AND BOROUGH OF

SUNDERLAND.

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COMPILED FROM PUBLICATIONS OF UNDOUBTED AUTHORITY,
ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS, AND PERSONAL RESEARCH

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BY GEORGE GARBUTT

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SUNDERLAND

Printed by and for the Editor;

AND SOLD BY LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,
PATERNOSTER-ROW; NICHOLS AND SON, RED-LION PAS-
SAGE, FLEET-STREET, LONDON: AND THE BOOK-
SELLERS IN THE COUNTIES OF DURHAM
AND NORTHUMBERLAND

1819

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The original Minute Book of the Vestry of Sunderland is in existence. Its entries contain little beyond the election of Vestry-Men, and squabbles with the Minister. The following are extracts.

A letter from the vestry-men to the Rector, and the reply, may perhaps be thought locally interesting.

Rev. Sir,

The gentlemen of the vestry, whose names are here- unto subscribed, are willing to sign the paper produced to them, provided you will subscribe to the following conditions, (viz.) that we shall have prayers twice daily, and a sermon forenoon and afternoon, every Sunday, be preached, the one by yourself, the other by Mr Birkitt, and that you'll oblige yourself to do half the duty.
Your agreeing to the same, will oblige

Yours,

RALPH TATHAM. CHR. THOMPSON, JUN.
HENRY PICKERING.   ROBERT TODD.
THOMAS AYRES. ROBERT HARRISON.
MATTHEW CARR. ROBERT WRIGHTSON.
CHR. CRAGGS. ANTHONY BULMER.
GEORGE WALTON. FRANCIS BYWATER.
THOMAS FOX. JOHN DAWSON.
JOHN THOMPSON.  

The Rector's pithy reply, dated Dec. 16, 1734, is as follows.

I assure you, gentlemen, upon perusing ye ceremonial, I in pity would think it a chicane, a jest, or a banter; for indeed to me it is a nonpareil, since my memory, assisted by reading or observation, cannot be obviated by any case any way parallel. Methinks I see the compiler of this doughty performance laughing in is slieve, and thinking that now was ye time easily and at once to tether the parson. But it should be considered withal, that all that know me, know I am not such an idiot, as with my eyes open to throw myself voluntarily into so apparent a trap. I am indeed mounting into years, and these may in time fetter me; but I am yet not so much upon ye verge of dotage.

I do'nt in the least repent, that at his earnest request, I came into the baron's proposal; that as a president for those that might come into ye subscription, I should give it under my hand to allow Mr Birkitt ye sum of ten pounds per annum for ye term of three years, for his as- sisting me in the ecclesiastical duties of ye church and parish; but I hereby declare, that I will not admit of an equal in either.

As to afternoon sermons on Sundays, notwithstanding I was requested, at least by broad hints, to drop them, yet I shall be willing to renew them upon the old footing, not otherwise.

And as to the weekly afternoon prayers, Mr Birkitt may do as he pleases, but I shall never tie myself up to any such attendance.

If Mr Birkitt behaves with me in ye same amicable brotherly manner that his two predecessors Stackhouse and Dealtary did, well and good; I shall, in like man- ner, carry on as civilly to him as I did to them; but I'll make no further concessions.

I do'nt pretend, gentlemen, to prescribe to your pocketts; but I doe assure you, I will, by God's blessing, defend and maintain my own honour and dignity in this church, till I can no longer subscribe as usual,

DANIEL NEWCOME, RECT.

Upon enquirie, you'll find ye paper you propose to subscribe to be highly fallacious, and may occasion dis- turbance betwixt Mr Birkitt and the subscribers.

Dr Ralph Tatham (1702-1752)