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Henry John Rose - Religious Bigot

The church from the north-east January 2016
The church from the north-east January 2016

The following is an extract from the Bedfordshire Mercury of 10th July 1866

“RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY – The Rev Marmaduke Miller’s lecture, at Stockton [Durham], says the Liberator, continues to afford food for local controversy, the correspondence in the South Durham Mercury having been followed by another set, in a newly established Conservative paper, the South Durham Herald. The discussion originated in the assertion of the Rev H B Tristram, Vicar of Greatham [Durham], that Mr Miller had uttered “a foul, deliberate and malicious slander” in stating that “these priests of the State Church teach, even now, that persons, married by dissenting ministers – their own ministers – are not married at all, but are living in fornication”. In reply, Mr M has furnished the facts connected with the Greywell and other re-marriage cases, to show that what was declared to be slanderous is really true. He has also sharply rebuked the vicar for his wholesale condemnation of a lecture, of which, it is admitted, he knew no more than he could learn during the five minutes he was in the room”.

“The Rev Thomas Cardwell, who signs himself as “The minister of the chapel in which the above parties were first married” gives the following additional case: “In the county of Bedford there is a place called Maulden. In that place there is a dissenting chapel, licensed for the solemnization of marriages. Less than twelve months ago, a couple were married in that place. After marriage, that couple was met by a clergyman of the name of Rose, who is rector of Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire. This Mr Rose said to the newly married pair, “Have you been to a dissenting place of worship to get married?” On receiving an answer in the affirmative, he said: “You are unmarried still, and if you are determined to live together without being married at the Church of England, you will be living in a state of fornication”. He further said “If you will come to church to be married by me, I will give you a good marriage dinner; for I know very well that you are not married at all in the sight of God””.

“The parties consented, were re-married, partook of a good marriage dinner provided by parson Rose; and when the bridegroom was afterwards asked if he had been re-married, his reply was: “Yes and I would be married every day of the week if Rose would give me a good marriage dinner”. Now, Sir, I can vouch for the truthfulness of the above statement”.

The marriage register for Houghton Conquest for the period shows all marriages by banns except for one – on 16th November 1865 when William, son of Frederick Butcher of Houghton Conquest, a labourer aged 19 married Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Bunker of Houghton Conquest, also aged 19. Whether or not some regarded him as a religious bigot, Rose became Archdeacon of Bedford from 1866-1873 [Fasti/6/1].