Sunday, 11 May 2014

Historic discoveries on my doorstep... Tong Village & Fulneck's Moravian Settlement

I love local, social & family history...

As I was looking for walks in my local area to try and improve my fitness levels, I discovered a walk on the AA walks website called Tong & Fulneck's Moravian Settlement.

Tong is a village about 5 miles south west of Bradford. It is a beautiful little village with a church, pub sweet cottages, farms, Tong Hall (the manor house), hotel, ice cream parlour, farm shop, a cricket ground and large garden centre on the outskirts. It has always been a small place that inspires me with interest for 2 reasons:

  1. My 5x great grandmother, Agnes Mitchell, was born in Tong and baptised at St James church in 1784.
  2. It is a beautiful quaint little village in the countryside between two large cities (Bradford & Leeds), yet it has managed to keep it's historic feel and green fields.

In doing some recent reading about Tong Village, here are a few things I have discovered:
  • "Tong" is derived from the Old English tang meaning fork, probably deriving from the fact that Tong is situated between two valleys (Pudsey Beck and Cockersdale) and the fork in the becks.
  • St James chapel, is a 12th century building on the remains of an earlier chapel indicating that Tong was probably a pre-Conquest settlement.
  • Tong Hall is a 17th century manor house which is also probably on the site of an earlier building.
  • The Lord of the Manor discouraged new developments to prevent over population which is probably one of the vital reasons why the village is still a village with surrounding farms.

But going back to the walk, what was "Fulneck's Moravian Settlement"? I had never heard of it...

Fulneck's Moravian Church
The AA website informed me that the Moravians were "...Pre-reformation dissenters from the Roman Catholic Church..." who came to establish a community in West Yorkshire, which was initially named Lamb's Hill and later became Fulneck.

WOW...that was a something on my doorstep which I never knew about!! 

The Moravians were the first Protestant church in Europe which began at the end of the 14th century in Bohemia and Moravia - the people wanted to worship God in their native tongue & not Latin and adopted a doctrine of "justification by grace through faith alone". They started sending out missionaries in the early 18th century, one of these early Moravian mission settlements was in Fulneck. 

Fulneck Moravian Settlement
I wanted to know about this group of people and their settlement, as well as to do this walk and visit Fulneck...

In doing some more reading about Fulneck, this is what I discovered:

  • The land was given by Benjamin Ingham (an evangelical Anglican clergyman) to Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendork (a Moravian Bishop) to establish a Moravian settlement in 1744.
  • John and Charles Wesley (who began the Methodist church in the UK) were initially associated with the Moravian Society in London.
  • The school which was built as part of the community is now a well known public school.

My husband and I decided to do the walk this weekend, which we thoroughly enjoyed despite the occasional heavy rain showers and I think the landscape and views from the Moravian settlement have not changed at all in the nearly 300 years since the Moravians first settled there.

Information from:
Wikipedia - Tong Vilage
The AA - Tong & Fulneck's Moravian Settlement
Wikipedia - Moravian Church
Wikipedia - Fulneck Moravian Church

1 comment:

  1. Do you know that there were generations of Sutcliffes who lived at or were from & later moved away from Fulneck Moravian Settlement/Pudsey, including ministers? One became a much loved minister of Malmesbury Moravian Church, Joshua Sutcliffe, buried there in 1802.

    I myself am descended from him/related to some of them. Maybe your Sutcliffes are connected?