From [Bramley] to James Everett at the Methodist chapel in Altrincham (and if he is not there, tobe forwarded to him in Manchester). He is writing at the request of [John?] Wild of Armley, who forsome time has had a ‘matrimonial acquantance’ with one Ms Cromack of Armley, who is theneice of his last wife. There was no children by Wild’s last wife and there is no likelihoodof any issue by his intended bride.
‘The union is not contrary to divine law, but forbidden by the Canonical laws of a mostexcellent establishment [the Church of England], which delights in touching the purse rather thanthe conscience of men; perhaps from the idea that there is scarcely such a thing as a conscience tobe found within her pale’.
Some time ago Wild applied for a marriage license with friend [John] Ripley of Leeds. The[Anglican] minister to whom they applied was lately the curate of Armley and knew Wild well‘& had a kind of left handed affection for him as the ring leader of a pestefaricioius[sic] sect [the Methodists]. The oaths which he tendered to the gentlemen they could not take - butare referring the matter to the minister who said “You know there is no oath in bonds”.Mr Wild thought this a direction how to proceed & the bans were published without opposition.But when the parties had gotten within the church, the parson sent them word he would not marrythem, accompanying his message with some ill natured observation. The parties have since been insuch a state of mind as may easily be imagined & what could be done was difficult to say.Atherton had the idea of approaching Revd. [John] Crosse of Bradford, who was firmly of the opinionthat this marriage was not forbidden in the bible and advised that the couple should go to a largetown, reside there until the bans were published and then get married. The couple have decided onManchester and propose to go there by Friday’s coach. He would be grateful if Everett could,with the assistance of friend [John] Storry, try to find some reasonable accommodation at arespectable distance from each other.
- John Wild (1755-1841) of Armley near Leeds, was a member of theMethodist society for fity-eight years. He served as a class leader, steward and chapel trustee andwas ‘remarkable for the soundness of his views and principles as a Wesleyan Methodist’.A close friend of the preachers, he had a particularly close relationship with Joseph Benson. He wasmarried at least twice, the second time to the neice of his first wife. There does not appear tohave been any children. He suffered from poor health for several years before he died. His funeralsermon was preached by William Dawson. Source: PLP Atherton collection and Methodist Magazine 1841,620-621
- John Ripley (1751-1825) was born in Holbeck near Leeds, the son of awealthy cloth manufacturer and member of the Church of England. Ripley was raised to attend worshipon a regular basis and it was his father’s intention that his son should enter the Anglicanministry. It became clear however that Ripley had a speech impediment and as this would havepresented difficulties for a clergyman, he was trained instead for a career in commerce. TheMethodists arrived in Holbeck in 1768, introduced by members of the nearby Hunslet society. Thefirst class was formed by Joseph Johnson and his wife, who had recently moved into the village fromBirstal. At first subject to some persecution, the Methodists aroused a considerable stir and Ripleywas curious to find out more about them. He started to attend meetings and joined a class. Ripleywas converted in 1769 and two years later became a local preacher. Ripley moved to Leeds during the1780s but remained a class leader in his native village and was prominent in the erection of theHolbeck chapel in 1787. Ripley served as a chapel trustee and was also instrumental in the erectionof a second enlarged chapel in the village in 1815, to which he contributed a considerableproportion of the cost. In his late life, Ripley developed a strong interest in overseas missionsand attended the first meeting of the Wesleyan Missionary Society in Leeds in 1813, which isaccounted the beginning of what became the Methodist Church Overseas Division. He retired frombusiness in 1815 but continued active in local Methodism until an attack of palsy in March 1824rendered him unfit for further service. He died on May 16 1825. His wife Sarah (1758-1829) was alsoa devout Methodist. She was a member of the society for fifty-four years and served as a classleader for twenty-eight. Source: Methodist Magazine1826,433-438, andArminian Magazine 1829,718
- John Crosse (1739-1816) was the son of Hammond Crosse, gent. ofKensington, London. He was educated at a school near Barnet, Hertfordshire. It is not known when andby whom Crosse was ordained into the Anglican Church but as a young man he occupied curacies inWiltshire and the Lock Chapel in London. From 1765 for three years he travelled around Europe andthen completed studies at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, from where he graduated B.A. in 1768. In 1776Crosse was incorporated B.A. at Cambridge and later took the degree of M.A. at King's College. Aftergraduation Crosse held several curacies in the north of England before being appointed Vicar ofBradford in 1784. Crosse was a well-regarded evangelical who despite being afflicted with blindnessduring the last years of his life, continued to perform the offices of the Church until a fortnightbefore his death. Under the terms of his will, Crosse founded three theological scholarships atCambridge University and left money in trust for the promotion of the 'cause of true religion'. Hislife was made the subject of a book by Rev. William Morgan in 1841. Source: Dictionary of National Biography