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Friday, 14 June 2013

Back Aboard.

The 0940 train from Hull Paragon Station to Manchester Piccadilly returned me to the boat at Droylsden. This time I was not at a table seat and there was plenty of leg room. I even remembered to bring some rhubarb from home. Straight off the train to the Metrolink tram and I was back aboard at 1200. After lunch we braved the showers and went out to have a look round the Moravian Settlement nearby. This would be the third time Helen has been as she had a wander after I had gone home and then had been again later with her friend who came to stay with her.

The Moravian Church is a Protestant religion that started in 1457 in Bohemia. In fact they were the first Protestant Church to break with Rome, about 50 years before Martin Luther. A Moravian Church was set up in Halifax and a large part of their relegion is evangelism and missionary work. They set up a settlement at Dunkenfield just up the road but there was no space for expansion so in 1783 they bought 60 acres of land at Fairfield on a 999 year lease. The architect was a Brother John Lees is said to have sold two coal mines to finance the whole thing. The settlements are set up as three 'choirs' and the priest. Married, single men and women. Each sex lived together in a house either side of the chapel. The foundation stone was laid in 1784 and several of the house and chapel were moved into 1785.

Terrace of houses next to the Doctors House to the east of the central Square.

The brothers and sisters worked within the settlement where they engaged in running the farm, weaving, baking and saddlery along with laundry and needlework. A notable feature of the settlement life was the use of the Lot. Decisions such as admission for membership and marriage partners were decided following prayer when one of three pieces of paper where drawn at random. One slip had yes, one said no, and the other blank! This went out of fashion after 1851 when a woman wanted to join the church on her death bed. All the congregation and the priest thought she was sincere but when the lot was drawn it said no!

The Chapel built 1785.

At first the chapel was called the Hall and had hard benches round the pulpit and communion table. The single Brothers sat on the west and the Sisters to the east. Married Choristers sat with their own sex. Music and singing are a big part of the Moravians and there was an organ too. Opposite the Chapel was the burial ground or God's Acre as the Moravians call it. Mourning was not encouraged and the standard gravestones were laid flat and and just had the persons name and age on. This was to show equality in death. They were not grouped by family but by gender/age/married status. The single sex hostels eventually became single sex boarding schools and there was a separate Sunday School.

Houses off Brethren Street.

Included in the settlement was also an Inn. This was closed in 1848 and was re-opened in 1861 as a hostel. The men were frequently in trouble for drunkenness and during one fire drill they turned the hose on the priest!

There are currently about 825000 practicing Moravians in many countries following the mission work from the beginning. They are spread all over the world and the largest population is actually in Tanzania.

Statue at the entrance to the settlement.

After our visit to the Settlement we went to the Droylsden Shopping Centre. You may have heard that Dale Cregan has just got life imprisonment for the murder of four people. The first was killed in a pub just near the marina. This obviously gives a bad light to the area but everybody has been very friendly. It is not exactly the most affluent of areas but most of the folk a very nice, as is always the case. There is also about 6 good discount stores in a row so bargain central!!


  1. It looks as though you have had much better weather today.

    I wish I had taken some photos of the Moravian settlement. The photos I found online did not do the area justice.


  2. Hi Ann, forgot to reply to this yesterday. It rained when Helen took me to see the Settlement but I used the photos she took on Monday. It didn't rain at all yesterday and it turned out a great day. Today, Sunday, has been hard work but the rain kept away and it is lovely and sunny now we are moored in the middle of Manchester.