Church Dispute Between Thornton and Nash 1858

In 1858 a dispute arose between the churches of Thornton and Nash about the erection of crosses in the churchyard. The following letters are from the Bishop of Oxford, attempting to settle the dispute. Cavendish was not forthcoming with further funding to finish the church at Nash.


Palace, Bangor
Aug: 9th 1858

My Dear Mr. Cavendish, I am extremely distressed at the turn things have taken - & I am now in communication with Dr. Phillimor upon them & am trying to devize some way of securing what you wish to keep — But I am distressed also by your last letter & I earnestly beg you to consider the statement of facts I have now to lay before you: -because I am quite certain that as I ever have received so now I shall receive the most honourable treatment at your hands.-

1. Your promise of this £450 was made entirely irrespective of this faculty question Pits fulfilment cannot honourably be affected by this issue. — You were most anxious to secure the consecration of the Nash Churchyard: I consecrated it on the faith of your promise. — Few Bishop would have consented to do so, ad I did it — But I was so anxious to secure you from what I thought a most unseemly infliction of annoyance by Nash Burials at Thornton that I stretched a point & consecrated the ground & Chancel in simple reliance on your promise
2. You would have paid the money some weeks ago wholly irrespective of the Faculty Case, but that from absence from my Papers I could not lay my hands on the letter in which you named the sum — When you reflect that this accident alone prevented the money being paid I am sure that you will feel that you are bound in honor to fulfil the pledge on which I have unhesitatingly acted.

And now as to the faculty:- I highly disapproved of the parties being allowed to erect the stone - & I told you that I would use every power I possessed to remove the annoyance & that I would most gladly issue a Faculty for laying it flat — which Faculty, if imposed, I agreed Mr. Davenport should not charge more that £5 for getting out.

But I had not & never for a moment spoke as if I had any power of presenting opposition — How could I have? The Court is the open Court of the Ordinary in which every Subject of the Queen as much a right to a legal decision if any right of his is concerned, as he has in the Court of Queen’s Bench. —

By the decree of that Court —First—The assent of the Ordinary is legally pronounced; - Second — the rights of third parties are considered — You had as I promised you should have the first of these, - my entire assent. And if no third party had appeared against it, the Faculty would have issue & the Cost fixed — I did all I ever or could promise and my desire, will & purpose are much & as vexatiously over-ruled by this decision as your’s are —

I must also remind you that I never saw the Faculty of 1783 but took your account of it.

You told me that it gave you these rights which your neighbour grumbled at my preserving to you — but which did not seem to me unreasonable. — Had that Faculty, as you thought it did, legally secured these rights for you, there would have been no power in these opponents to prevent the issue of my intended Faculty. — Still I do not despair. —

I am with my Chancellor, at this moment endeavouring, & not without hope of success to right matters. But though I feel that you have been unkindly treated & am resolved to it and by .an to the utmost, this can have no bearing on the honourable engagement you entered into with me as to the Consecration —

For your comfort also I earnestly beg you not to put yourself into the position of abandoning the Old Faculty etc. For you seriously expose yourself by so doing — to the annoyance of these unworthy people. It is evident to me that expense is no object to them compared with your annoyance: & they may (tho’ I would by no means let them know it) if this Faculty were set aside, compel the Parish to build a high Wall round the Church-Yard.

I am My Dear Mr. Cavendish
Most truly Your’s

S. Oxon

The Honble
R. Cavendish

Palace, Bangor, Aug: 9th 1858
Address Oxford Secret

My Dear Chancellor,

Your decision on the Thornton Case has given me almost more annoyance than any Diocesan case for these 13 years.

Will you carefully weigh for me this statement: & send me your opinion.

When I came to the See The Thornton Churchyard was with the consent of my Predecessors & Archdeacons parted from Cavendishe’s Park only by bound stones—

They were most anxious to get rid of Burials just under their Windows - & were

doubtless in part influenced by that amongst reasons to turn their synecure of Thornton into the Benefice of Nash cum Thornton. —

They put the appointment into my hands & I recommended Mr. Templer — He utterly

disappointed me — quarrelled with the C’s imbibed every vulgar prejudice against them & annoyed them in every way. —

Meanwhile Mr. Selby Lowndes’ Wife died & he formed an incestuous sham marriage

with her sister - A gross, ignorant, sensual overbearing Man he resolved to force his incestuous paramour on the County — Mrs Cavendish stood firm & would not visit her & Lowndes began every low revenge which could occur to such a mind — Inter alia: he stirred up this Woman to erect this stone & paid for its erection — Templer allowed it — knowing all — I fear to gratify his own spite to the C’s & to frighten them into paying more than they wished for furnishing Nash Church — After this with God’s help by plain speaking I healed the breach between Mr Cavendish & Templer.—

Templer agreed to allow no future Gravestone & I promised so far as Ordinary I

could, the faculty for laying this Stone flat. —

Cavendish so won, promised a large increase to his subscription to Nash on the faith of them the Chancel was built .it & the Church Yard consecrated. —

Now — The Faculty is refused: - The Tomb Stone stands. He not understanding Eccle:1 Law says some — You have deceived me — you promised me a Faculty & then your Chancellor refused it — I will not pay my money — the Builder will arrest Templer & all will be in utter endless confusion Surely you can help me — Will you turn that mind which was so prolific in defence of G. Deuison into the Case for me — indeed the evil which will be done & which I know you will feel the bitter personal annoyance of myself cannot be over — rated

I am ever, Your’s Most truly & affiy

S. Oxon

Dr R. Phillmore

Will you answer the enclosed — I put them for your convenience of return on a separate sheet: -

1. Can the Rector legally lay down, not remove, Tomb Stones in the Ch: Yard with consent of ordinary?
2. If he did so, with consent of ordinary, could he be punished & if so by what process?
3. Could a faculty for laying flat such a stone be successfully opposed on the mere wishes of the parties interested, if the Rector applied for such faculty?
4. Could the Ordinary on prayer of Rector etc — issue a faculty ordering all future Stones if placed at all to be placed horizontally. -


Palace Bangor
Aug 9th 1858

My Dear Mr Temper,

I have written to Mr. Davenport to try to keep the Builder quiet for a little while: & I am using every effort in my power to get Mr. Cavendish to pay. — I think the quieter you keep in the matter the better — He is greatly, & I regret to say I think most justly, provoked with you —

You found the Burial Ground at Thornton, as I found it, made by permission of our predecessors, as little annoying as it could be, - just outside the Hall Windows; you knew that it was the tenderest point on which the C’s could be touched. — You had been put by them into the position of being capable of, in this matter, annoying them as rector. — I who had been morally & they who had been legally your Patron disapproved of your doing so, you allowed a bad neighbour living in incest to wreak his anger on Mr. & Mrs. C because Mrs. C would not visit his Concubine, - by paying for the erection of a Tomb Stone to wound the C’s.-

God knows what your motive was; but all your present anxiety & trouble is the fruit of that step.

I am your’s very truly

S. Oxon

The Revd H.S. Templer