Friday, July 09, 2010

A letter to the Tablet, 23rd July 1870

Here follows the text of a letter written by the first Parish Priest of Hanley, Fr William Molloy to the Tablet, almost exactly one hundred and forty years ago. Fr Molloy was Parish Priest from the creation of the Parish in 1860, until his death in 1890. His great Gothic Church (mentioned below) was opened in 1891, a year after his death.

Hanley, Staffordshire
I have appealed now and again during the last ten years for help to carry on the work of this new and struggling Mission. Some have replied generously, some stingily and some not at aIl. 
By the timely aid of the former we were enabled to build a serviceable chapel and good large school. The daily attendance of the children is over three hundred. The boys' and girls' schools are separate, and taught by certificated teachers. Both the chapel and the schools are daily growing too small for us; or perhaps I should say, the population is growing too large for them. And I am sure what will shock you a great deal is that, up to the present time, the priests of Hanley have had no house to live in. 
We have now, I am happy to say, purchased about an acre of land not more than five minutes' walk from the centre of the town. The purchase money was £900. This we have paid to the last farthing. All this you hare enabled me to do by your generosity. 
I make this public statement; first, because people like to see what is done with their money; and, secondly, because I am going to ask you to advance me a little more in the same good cause, if you think I have administered your former trust fairly and honourably. 
And now allow me to tell you to what purposes this piece of ground is to be applied, with the approbation of our venerable Bishop. I intend building first a large, well proportioned presbytery; in fact, the work is already begun from drawings by E. W. Pugin, Esq., and is to cost £980; secondly, a large school chapel, to be used hereafter entirely as a school, when sufficient means are found to build our intended Gothic Church: thirdly, a convent of teaching and edifying nuns. 
Behold, my dear, generous friends, my scheme of good intentions! 
But how are they to be realised? I have the ground, and that is all. I may safely say I have not £50 towards the buildings already alluded to. What then is to be done? 
Why just this: put all the old, brassy beggars who are always before the world, aside for a few months and adopt me. Send me a few pounds or shillings, or even a few substantial prizes for my coming bazaar and drawing, to be held in November in this town. No one will be the worse or the poorer. 
And Hanley will bid fair to be in religion, as she is in trade and population, the capital of the Potteries. 
Yours, etc, 

William Molloy

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