poor Mr Pryce

Grave of David Pryce

We have already heard that David Pryce, a curate at Christ Church in Colne, died within six months of having his offer of marriage turned down by Charlotte Bronte. Yesterday I unexpectedly came across details about Mr Pryce’s death and funeral in the diary of James Foulds of Trawden. The story starts at a hunt across the border in Yorkshire:

January 4 1840

Clifton and myself joined a shooting party at Farnley [Farnley near Otley]. We killed 51 hares, several braces of Pheasants, a Woodcock and 3 rabbits, not having a shooting dress with me I borrowed a pair of trowsers of E Whittaker and a coat of Clifton which answered very well. Mr Markland left this morning

January 5 1840

Went to Church and heard an excellent sermon from the Vicar Mr. Hart [Vicar at Otley]. Had a letter from Jno Shaw informing me of the death of Mr Pryce, (our first curate at Trawden) which took place this morning a little after 4 o’ clock and I immediately concluded to go home early in the morning. [so news of Pryce’s death reached Foulds same day – it is 19 miles as the crow flies from Colne to Farnley or 32 miles on modern roads]

January 6 1840

Started in the Gig about 7 o’clock and got to Colne about 11, called upon Mr Bolton for the purpose of making arrangements for the funeral of poor Mr Pryce, sent for Wm. Hodgson incumbent of Christ Church and from him ascertained that the affairs of Mr. P. were in a bad state and then Mr Bond [more likely Bolton] and myself concluded to bury him jointly and Jno.  Shaw was fixed upon to take the management of the funeral.

January 16 1840

John Shaw and myself were engaged the greater part of the day making preparations for the funeral of poor Mr Pryce. I gave 7 of the female teachers at the Sunday School [probably Christ Church] Ribbons for their Bonnets, Gloves and Scarves the male D[itt]o Hat bands and Gloves

January 17 1840

About 2o Gentlemen 7 Clergymen partook of luncheon here today who had come to attend Mr Pryces funeral, we started in procession from the deceased house [where, presumably, Pryce’s body had been lying for the past 13 days] about 2 o’clock–and were joined at Carry Lane head by a number of the respectable inhabitants of Colne who accompanied us to the Church [Christ Church]

Source: The diary has been transcribed by Herbert Hindle and published in his “Foulds of Trawden, Danes House & Burnley” (available at Colne Library); the original, once owned by Mr Hindle, is now at the Borthwick Institute in York, reference MD.128

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