The Rev. William Smith, Vicar of Stainforth.
|On December 30th 1884,
after almost twenty of persistence from the elders of the Stainforth community,
an order was published announcing that Stainforth was soon to become a parish
in its own right. The following year, in 1885, the Parish of Stainforth
was declared, independent from that of Hatfield.
Prior to this time Divine Services had been held fortnightly in the Chapel of Ease on Field Road.
Reverend William Smith, a native of Stockport and educated in Doncaster, came to Stainforth to serve the community as vicar to the new parish. Before his premature death just eight years later, the Rev. Smith became a much loved and respected figure within the parishes of Stainforth, Thorne and Hatfield.
This report appeared in the Doncaster Chronicle
upon the Friday following the untimely death of the Rev. Smith. I thought
about re-writing and condensing the article, but after reading it several
times I decided to include the whole item in its original form.
Death of The Rev. William Smith,
Vicar of Stainforth.
"We deeply regret to announce the death of
the Rev. W. Smith, vicar of Stainforth, which took place on Friday morning,
at the early age of 44 years. The rev gentlemans death was due to
blood poisoning caused by eating tinned tongue, and the circumstances
are extremely sad and painful. Two months ago Mr. and Mrs. Smith partook
of some tinned tongue - one of the best brands it is said - and both became
unwell. In Mrs. Smiths case the poison passed of rapidly, but not
so with her husband. In his case the illness took the form acute irritant
poisoning, causing extensive and general inflammation of the bowels, and
a very deep seated abscess was formed. Dr. Christy Wilson, who had been
his medical advisor since his residence in Doncaster eight or ten years
ago, was constantly in attendance with the rev. gentleman, and Dr. Jessop
of Leeds also saw him with a view to an operation being performed, but
he decided it was not permissible. Mr. Smith gradually became weaker and
weaker, and all the symptoms of blood poisoning supervened, and after
a long and exhausting illness borne with great patience and Christian
resignation, the rev. gentleman passed away at six oclock last Friday
Having read of the Rev. Smiths premature demise, my mind insisted upon springing back to the passage which reads thus: "His kindness to the poor and his care for the young will long keep his memory green in the parish.", and I felt saddened that after 110 years all memory of the rev. gentlemans life and deeds had completely disappeared.
|Every headstone was removed as the land was cleared and rubbish removed. Under a community programme called the M.S.C. Scheme, the position and orientation of every grave was recorded, along with the inscriptions of every headstone which remained readable.|
Their records state that the inscription upon
the tombstone which was removed from the grave said he was 51 at the time
of his death, compared to 44 as stated by The Doncaster Chronicle over
a century earlier.
To clarify this discrepancy I consulted the 1891 Census which tells us that the Smith family lived in Stainforth Vicarage at the time the census was taken. William was 42 years old at that time, which corresponds with the Doncaster Chronicle obituary. His wife, Jane Ann was 43 years old at the time of the census, which also gives details of the names and ages of their seven children and tells us that the two youngest were born in Stainforth.