CRICH PARISH

which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Revd Geldart v Mr C W Nash

Conflict of choir, school piano and Ethel Martin

Crich seems to have had a history of conflict between its vicar and the school master. No sooner had the scandal of Revd Acraman subsided (he was doing two years hard labour in Derby gaol) than his successor Revd Geldard began a battle with his newly appointed head of the Parochial School. Revd Acraman before him was constantly in conflict with the masters resulting in court cases, fights and school break-up complete with intimidation and vandalism (see village life with a troubled vicar). If the village was hoping for a more tranquil church and village life after the previous years’ discord they were to be disappointed.

In January 1902 Charles W Nash was appointed as head teacher and choir-master at Crich by the Revd Henry Walter Cotell Geldart. His salary as head was £100 pa with an extra £10 for being choir master. He was a gifted musician whose main task was to improve the church choir. The vicar was concerned that the all female choir, which did not practice, was below standard.
Mr Nash set about his task with great enthusiasm and in the process upset the older members of the choir. Faced with upset from “locals” and his choir the vicar chose not to support his choir master in his appointed task.
A fund-raising event to help buy a piano for the school was used to attack Mr Nash. This resulted in a heated exchange of letters between head and vicar each accusing the other of underhand behaviour.
Dragged into the village spat was the training of local girl Ethel Martin to be a teacher. Mr Nash considered her not to be of suitable intelligence for the job. The vicar, and others, accused Mr Nash of not training her appropriately for the job.

Some of the letters are transcribed below –

From the vicar to Mr Nash

The Vicarage, Crich, 23 Mar 1903
Mr C. W. Nash
Dear Sir
As Chairman of the School Managers, I have to ask you to furnish me, for their information, with a more detailed account of the receipts & expenditure of the School Concert held last month.
I should suppose that since you state March of 7th inst the accounts have been finally closed, & that you are in a position to state exactly the balance that remains over, after the payment of all expenses, & to hand over such balance to myself as Treasurer of the fund that has been stated for the purchase of a piano for the School.
Referring again to your statement of 7th inst, I may say as a general principle, & without prejudice to the decision of the managers in any particular case, that they cannot be responsible for any expenditure incurred without their sanction.
I may add that the expenses of the night school, if not met in any other way, are a first charge on the Government grant, the balance remaining over, after the payment of such expenses, being due to the master as his salary.
The proceeds of the Concert can be devoted to no other purpose than the purchase of a piano, seeing that tickets were sold on this understanding & on both evenings it was announced from the Chair as the one object of the entertainment
Awaiting your reply,
I am
Yours faithfully
H. W. C. Geldart

From Mr Nash to the vicar

Bank House
Crich
April 2nd 1903
Dear Sir
Please find enclosed copy of balance Sheet of school concerts of Feb 23rd & 24th. You will remember that these concerts were given entirely on my own initiation and the risk and responsibility of the expenses incurred were undertaken solely by me, had the balance been on the wrong side I should to have had to have found the money. with exception of the work done by the infants the greater part of the teaching was done out of school hours.
It was only at the last moment that the object of the concert was definitely stated to be aid of a piano for the Day School and in my letter to Mr. Smedley the object was not so stated. Obviously the tickets were not sold on account of the object – most people simply came to enjoy a good concert. The expenses are very high but it was my intention to be at the loss of some of them in order that I might make the balance £10 and this amount with the balance from concerts I intended giving later in the year would have been sufficient for the purchase of a piano for the Day School.
I understand from the candidate that a complaint has been made in regard to the instruction given yo her. Although this has not been made to me and I have had therefore no opportunity of refuting it, I will answer it now. Ethel Martin left this school June 24th 1901 and returned about 8 month later.
On April 28th 1902 she commenced instruction half-time with the scholars and has continued to so so ever since.
For the past three months she has had full time for private study.
In addition to this from Aug 11th/02 to March 9th she received in the evening one hours instruction. In connection with this hour’s teaching the father complained to you (Art 37 Code)
I have not given this extra hour’s teaching for the past three weeks as I have considered the whole day for private study sufficient. Her note books bear out the above statements. A candidate does not as a rule receive instruction out of school hours but is taught half-time with the ordinary scholars
I remain
Yours faithfully
Charles W Nash

Copy of the balance sheet sent by Mr Nash

Name £ s d
Dr Macdonald 1
1
0
L. Boyd 1
1
0
Dr Rankin  
10
6
Mr & Mrs Slack  
10
0
Mrs Dunne  
10
0
Mrs Sudlebury 1
0
0
Vicar & Mrs Geldart 1
1
0
Mr Young  
1
0
Mrs Evans  
5
0
Mrs J Radford  
2
0
A Smith  
2
0
Miss Geldart  
5
0
Mr & Mrs S Bower  
10
0
Mr & Mrs Coupe 1
0
0
Mrs J Lee  
1
0
C J Else  
10
0
Mrs Lee  
10
0
Mrs Ward  
3
0
John Haynes  
10
0
Mr S Boag  
10
6
Rev W G Parker  
5
0
J Street  
3
0
Misses Wilton  
3
0
A Mercer  
3
0
A Simms  
2
6
Mrs Simms  
2
0
J Willgoose  
2
0
A Willgoose  
2
0
G Brown  
2
6
Mr Johnson  
10
0
Concert 8
0
0
TOTAL 20 12 0

You will note that guineas (£1 1s 0d) and half guineas (10s 6d) were donated. In today’s terms (2010) that would be equivalent to £60.

From the vicar to Mr Nash

3 April 1903
Crich Vicarage
Matlock
The vicar desires to acknowledge the receipt of Mr Nash’s letter of this day’s date. The statement handed in by Mr Nash will be read to the Managers as well as any further statement that Mr Nash may wish to make in writing.
If the Managers desire Mr Nash’s personal attendance he will be informed accordingly.

From Mr Nash to the vicar

Bank House
Crich
3rd April 1903
Rev Sir
From your letter of yesterday I gather that a meeting of the managers will be held to consider my conduct. You will agree with me, I think, that it would be but bare justice to allow me to be present at this meeting, that I might hear the charges bought against me and be given an opportunity of justifying my actions before the managers
I am
Yours faithfully
Charles W Nash

(on the bottom of this letter in the vicar’s hand is written:
My letter merely said that matters referred to shall receive due consideration)

From Mr Nash to the vicar

Bank House
Crich 4th April 1903
Rev. H. W. C. Geldart
Rev Sir
In reply to your letter of yesterday I beg leave to make the following statement as an answer to such charges as I should suppose will be made against me.

The choir.
Although this is a matter which does not directly concern the managers yet as it is the fundamental cause of the present trouble I place it before them, for up to the time of my resignation of the post of organist no difficulty had arisen in regard to the concert funds and it was after the first meeting was called that the complaint about the girl Martin was made. I resigned because I thought you were unduly interfering with improvements I was anxious to bring about in the attendance of members of the choir. I was working on the idea that the more new members I could get the more regularly would the old members attend. The plan was working well and I was already looking to the the time when we should have a really well balanced choir. There is not as yet any keen anxiety shown by the men of the village to become members of the choir, it is in fact, very difficult to get them to join and still more difficult to get them to attend. There are one or two of the old members who are not at all satisfactory. We are not in a position to turn them out for they are useful when they are there but pressure will be bought to bear upon them by the introduction of new members. But supposing I introduce a new member and you will not sanction him I should be very awkwardly fixed with regard to the other members; and if I propose a name to you and the man would not come I am still in an awkward position. Of course if new members were plentiful the position of things would be different. Legally I know the vicar has sole control of these matters but he delegates that control to the choirmaster in appointing him and the manuals on choir-training lay it down as an outcome of experience that a choir can only be successful when the choirmaster is what the name implies. If I have acted rashly in this matter – well – I have done so – I am only a man. From the time I became organist I have been absent one Sunday up to present. I spend on average 8 hours per week in work connected with the music of the church. My remuneration is 3/4 per week. I have never spared myself – either in regard to my time or energy – in working improvements in the church services. I have been given a free hand; why should I be restrained now? The programme I submitted to you for Easter-tide is equal to any proposed for a Parish Church in a large town and I believe it will be fairly well rendered.

Concert Funds
Two days after the resignation above mentioned I received a letter from you demanding a detailed account of this money and that the balance be handed to you as treasurer of a fund which had been started. As chairman of the managers I do not think you have a right to ask for this account and I am still in ignorance as to how you became treasurer. In conversation with you a day or so before you did not ask for the money; had you done so I should –– at once have handed it over to you and am prepared to do so now on the understanding that the money goes towards the purchase of a piano for the Day School. In our conversation I told you I could get more advantageous terms than the prices quoted and I have secured these terms, and this led me to think that I was treasurer. I think that I ought to point out to you that were were robbed of quite £5 the results of our exertions in this concert, through the bad weather, with a second concert we should have raised sufficient money to pay for the piano.
In regard to the Evening School expenses and the statement you have made. I must beg you to consult the Code Article 5 (E.C.S) This article is the same for Day and Evening schools. If the teacher receives what is left from the grant after expenses are paid the school is ‘formed’ The Code lays down the rule that the expenses must be met locally by fees and subscriptions. Our expenses are about £6. The County Council, on certain conditions being fulfilled make a grant towards these expenses and in may case I claim £2-10-0 I have also received £1-8-0 in fees so that about £2 remains to be met by subscriptions

Candidate
I have already written to you on this matter giving particulars of the instruction given and I think it would be but fair to await the result. Six months ago I pointed out to you that the home influence was all against this girl ever being a satisfactory Church school-teacher. Her father has stated to me that he does not believe in any form of religion. Twice since I have pointed out to you that she has no power to apply herself to study. She has never on any single occasion been able to learn or repeat the lessons set for her. She appears to have forgotten everything during the 8 months she was away from school at work.

These matters I beg respectfully to place before you; if there are any more charges I am not aware of them; and I have only to add that the school is in a more prosperous condition now as regards attendance and efficiency than ever it has been before, as far as I am able to discover by the log-book
I am
Yours faithfully
Charles WE Nash

The originals and further details can be seen at the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock Ref D2365 A/P1 35/2

Postscript

To complete the saga, a seven-octave piano was bought from Morton Brothers at a cost of £21. It was delivered to Whatstandwell station, (weighing 3 cwt, delivery cost 9s 1d) on the 8th July 1903

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