SNOWDEN BRASS TABLETS

1. Jasper Whitfield Snowden. Born 1844 in the temporary vicarage in Wells Road, the same year as his sister Elizabeth died, aged 4. (She is remembered in the stained glass window in the north chancel.) Jasper's mother Margaret, daughter of Jasper Whitfield of Stockton, died in 1853 leaving Jasper and his three brothers and three sisters with their sorrowing father, John. Jasper, with his brothers William and Edward, caught their father's great enthusiasm for bell ringing. When Jasper was aged one, the three ancient and cracked bells were recast to make a peal of six bells. In 1873 Jasper, 29, and his brothers raised £300 out of a needed £350 to add two more bells, a Treble and a Tenor (18 cwt.). One bell was recast to make a semi-tone. Jasper died on November 16th, 1885 aged 41, a historian and expositor of change-ringing of national fame. Muffled peals of bells were rung in towers throughout the land in his honour and memory.

2. William Snowden, born in 1846, the family still being in the temporary vicarage, took over at once as President of the Yorkshire Change-Ringers, on the death of his brother Jasper. Aged 39, he continued as president for 25 years until 1910. He died aged 69 in Cartmell in 1915. The dedication "Holiness to the Lord" shows the commitment to God and his church of his life's work of calling people to worship through bell ringing.

( Earlier in 1885, May 13th, Jasper and William's brother Edward Snowden, also a committed bell-ringer, was presented with a mounted model bell by the vicar who had followed his father, the Revd. Arthur Downer, the churchwardens and sidesmen "as a slight token of their esteem and appreciation for his services to the church and parish". )

3. Jasper Whitfield Snowden, born 1897, named after his uncle ( 1 above), was the only son of Edward and Ellen Snowden. He died in Mesopotamia aged 20, on February 25th,1917, while serving with The Worcestershire Regiment.

The Revd. John Snowden Vicar 1842 -1878

Born near Durham on February 6th, 1806, John Snowden moved to Ilkley on August 4th, 1842, with his wife Margaret whom he had met while curate in Stockton. The "ancient vicarage" was in disrepair. With a grant from Queen Anne's Bounty and his own large donation, a new parsonage was built on Wells Road in 1848. The present font was put in the garden, as well as two stone crosses. A man of great energy and humour, he embarked on two major building projects simultaneously, the enlarging of the church at a cost of £1,300, re-opened on May 6th, 1861 and with the support of Canon Jackson of Leeds, the Ilkley Hospital, completed in 1862 at a cost of £3,016. There were fifty beds. The first matron was Mrs Dean. The hospital admitted 449 patients in its first year.

The railway came to Ilkley in 1865.

His next project was "the All Saints' National Schools" which opened in July 1872. The school could accommodate 440 children and cost £3,000. The final £923 was raised by a 3 day Bazaar. Plans were in hand in June 1872 for moving the Grammar School from Skipton Road to enlarged premises to hold 60 boys, with 6 free places and a boarding house. Parson Snowden delayed this project for some years, arguing about which site was to be used for the new Grammar School. His death in 1878 solved that problem.

He built The Church Institute, as a church hall, in 1875 in Leeds Road, now used by The Operatic Society. He was one of the trustees planning a new church for Ilkley. He died on February 5th 1878, so did not see the opening of St Margaret's in 1879. While dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch, it was said to be named after the vicar's daughter, Margaret. John Snowden died after a fall down the vicarage stairs, where he lived with one of his daughters. It was written at the time, "Anyone more gentle, more genial, more courageous, more self-forgetful, you will not meet. You may find a more energetic man, but never one wiser". A widower for 25 years, he was 72 when he died.