Saturday, November 28

1893: the death of Provost Walker

Provost William Walker, the second rector of St Peter's, died on this day in 1893. He had overseen a time of much development within the parish, as an earlier post recalls. Canon Billington tells us, "His health failed early in 1892, and he died at Lancaster, November 28, 1893, fortified by the last sacraments; he was buried at St. Peter's cemetery next to his predecessor... The requiem Mass on December 1 was sung by Dr. Gordon, Bishop of Leeds; the Bishop of Salford (Dr. Bilsborrow) and the coadjutor Bishop of Shrewsbury (Dr. Carroll) and about a hundred priests were present. The church was crowded, the congregation including the High Sheriff (Sir Thomas Storey) and the Mayor (Alderman Gilchrist). The discourse was preached by Rev. R. N. Billington, who became his successor. The Bishop of Liverpool was unable to be present on account of his own illness." Canon Billington goes on to say that a memorial fund raised £668, which was used to pay for one of the St Peter windows, for the installation of electric lights in the church and house, and for part of the decoration of the chancel. He also quotes 'a local newspaper' which described him as "a local celebrity of the first rank, whom to know personally was to admire. No words could describe adequately his fine nature, genial and friendly always, even to those who in secular matters might differ from him. He was generous to a fault, and the kindness of this heart not unfrequently made him a victim of impecunious imposters. He always took a deep interest in the affairs of the town, especially in any work intended to promote the general welfare of the people. The Infirmary was one of the public institutions he most cordially supported, and his attendance at the annual meeting in February 1892 was his last public appearance." Our thanks are due to Sr Mary Campion FCJ, who sent in the memorial card which is pictured in this post.