Thomas Edmondson was a well-known teacher, musician and singer in Warley and Halifax
He was born [20th October 1789] in one of the cottages which – now – make up Warley Grange, the son of Hannah and Thomas Edmondson of Warley.
He was baptised at Warley Congregational Church [10th January 1790].
On 12th July 1812, he married Elizabeth Turner of Warley.
Thomas was buried at Warley Congregational Church. The epitaph on his grave reads
Erected by a few friends of Thomas Edmondson of Warley Town, who died November 11th 1840 aged 51 years.Also of Martha, daughter of the above-named Thomas Edmondson who died October 1st 1857, aged 33 years.Slowly his earthly frame decay'd His end was long in sight Nor was his steady soul afraid To take its awful flight The Church's loss we all deplore And shed the falling tear We shall behold his face no more Till Jesus shall appear
Also of Annie, daughter of John and Sarah Eastwood, of New Marsh in Warley, who died November 1860 aged 3 years.
His obituary in The Halifax Courier of 1st April 1843
Thomas Edmondson was born in one of the three houses that composed the Grange – the one nearest the road – in the year 1789.
His early education was very limited, but he became an example of that proficiency, moral and intellectual, which may be attained under disadvantages.
All cannot expect to become great and distinguished, but all may, by the cultivation of their minds and the acquisition of knowledge, become respected and useful, and this is what Thomas Edmondson achieved.
He was brought up a cloth weaver and was very clever at his occupation.
He was very studious, had an efficient memory, and was well read in the Standard Works and Theology.
On the introduction of Wildspur's System of Education, Mr Milne sent Edmondson to Huddersfield to learn the principles, he also attending lectures in Halifax on the same subject and was afterwards appointed teacher in the village, having among his pupils the young Rideals.
He had great powers over his children, his kind and loving disposition making him a general favourite.
Anyone in the village having trouble or grievances would go to Thomas for counsel and advice.
After his marriage, he lived in the house now occupied by Thomas Coates and here the intellect of the village after met to debate the subjects of the day. Thomas was wonderful at debate. The wise ones would often come with the idea of taking the shine out of him, but would retire defeated and humbled.
His musical talents were of a very high order.
He was a member of the choral society and a few gentlemen in Halifax strongly pressed him to enter the Royal Academy of Music.
They offered to defray his expenses while there and to allow his wife 10/- per week during the time he was away, but he declined the offer.
He has a rich and powerful tenor voice, with a compass from F to B flat in alto.
Many attempts were made to get him away from Warley. One may be mentioned.
He was offered the position of choirmaster at South Parade Chapel at a salary of 20 guineas. A deputation waited upon him and guaranteed in addition 30 guineas a year from pupils, but he refused it all rather than leave Warley.
Dan Sugden, the Halifax musician, used to say if he'd had a voice like Thomas Edmondson, he would throw his German Flute out of the window.
When working at his farm, he would break out suddenly with such pieces asor stanzas from Judas, or his favourite authors.Thou shall break them Comfort Ye Sound as alarm
He was as excellent organizer and had the honours of arranging the plan for the first Jubilee, which has been carried out ever since. He often arranged for performances of sacred music in the chapel.
On one occasion the Messiah was performed, Mrs Sunderland the well known Yorkshire Queen of Song singing the treble solos, Dan Sugden, Abel Dean the elder, and the principal singers in Halifax and district took part.
He sang at the Leeds Festival, and also at the Liverpool Festival at the performance of Israel in Egypt. A party went from Warley to the festival in a spring cart, riding and walking in turns. The party included Thomas Edmondson, Joseph Wadsworth, John Smith and others.
A remarkable incident happened during the performance. While the choir were singing the Hailstone Chorus, a terrific storm of thunder and hail came on. He gave them hailstones with a vengeance.
The instruments used at the chapel at this time were bass and flute, Edmondson playing bass.
He was also choirmaster, clerk, deacon and superintendent.
He had great power in leading a singing in the chapel.
At Mr Hughes' ordination service, the tune America was sung, his voice ringing out the G like a clarion.
During the last three months of his life, he suffered greatly. At the commencement of his illness, the brothers Rideal sent for him to go to London, where they could place him under the best Physicians, but he declined to leave home.
Miss Milne attended him for a considerable portion of the time he was ill and saw that everything was done that could be done to restore him, but it was all of no avail, and the good, self-sacrificing, kind-hearted Thomas Edmondson passed away November 11th 1840 in the 51st year of his life.
His many excellent qualities, his earnest labours, after under great suffering, and his devotion to good works of all kinds, won for him devotion during the whole course of his useful life the respect and esteem of all who knew him.
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Malcolm Bull 2017 /
Revised 14:13 on 8th May 2017 / mme371 / 11