Douglas Horsfall and St Chad’s

This page reproduces an article written by Chris Price, partly at the prompting of  Douiglas Horsfall's grad-daughter, Mary Rae, and published in the May 2004 issue of St Faith's monthly magazine Newslink, and is largely self-explanatory. Much of the material was taken from the official website of St Chad's College, University of Durham, whose history pages chronicle the story of the development of what is now a fully-fledged University College. The founding of this establishment was probably Douglas Horsfall's most significant endowment. There is a link to the St Chad's site fon the 'Links' page via the St Faith's home page.

On Pentecost Sunday the visiting preacher at St Faith’s will be (was! Ed.) the Revd Michael Hampel, Senior Tutor of St Chad’s College, Durham. Many readers will know that the governing body of St Chad’s are patrons of the living at St Faith. This means that they are involved in the process of choosing vicars here, and that one of their number presents each incoming incumbent to the Bishop as the new parish priest is instituted and inducted. Some may also be aware that our founder and benefactor, Douglas Horsfall, was also the founder of that college. Thanks to Mary Rae, ‘H.D.H’s’ grand-daughter, something more of the story of the college and its connections can be told.

At the beginning of the last century the only places men could train for the priesthood were the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. In 1902 an experiment began in the little village of Hooton Pagnell, near Doncaster, where the vicar opened a hostel for men of limited means to study for ordination. It was Douglas Horsfall who, keen to see a supply of suitable candidates maintained for Anglo-Catholic churches (he and his family had already founded St Faith’s and other Liverpool churches), gave generous and continuing financial support to the new establishment. In due course, the venture came to flourish and expand and, in 1904, became affiliated to Durham University and opened St Chad’s Hall there. In 1910 it became incorporated as St Chad’s College and, while continuing to retain a measure of independence, was in 1923 recognised as a constituent college of the University.

St Chad’s had come a long way from its humble beginnings, and  that it has done so is clearly due in no small measure to the foresight and support of our founder. The College has recognised this by the naming of one of its buildings Douglas House, labelling a room the Horsfall room, and awarding a number of Douglas Horsfall medals.  And back in June 1907, at the University Convocation, the Principal awarded Mr Horsfall the University’s first honorary M.A. degree. In his address on that day he paid tribute to the generosity of a private benefactor’s willingness to do what public institutions had not at that time, by helping to ensure that, with the great expansion of Britain’s urban population, places of worship and priests to serve them could be provided to meet the growing demand.

And that is, of course, what Douglas Horsfall had done in 1900 by the foundation of Saint Faith’s, Great Crosby. He awarded the patronage of the living to St Chad’s College and it remains there today. Although the College now provides a wide range of courses, theological and secular, and has expanded greatly, it retains its Anglican and ethos and distinctive churchmanship, and members of its academic staff have visited us regularly over the years, not just to present incumbents but to preach from our pulpit and to mark certain special occasions. A visit to the St Chad’s website (linked from our home page) will tell much more of the history of the college and its foundation, as well as listing the various churches, five of which are in Liverpool, of which St Chad’s are patrons. St Chad is of course one of the carved figures on our chancel screen, together with St Agnes and St Paul, two other St Chad’s patronage churches. They, and the other associated churches on Merseyside and elsewhere, bear lasting tribute to a family, and a man, to whom our church and much of what we value about it, owe so much.

Our pictures show the screen carving of Saint Chad, and Mr Horsfall (‘Our Founder’) in his M.A. mortar board and robes. The quotation from Horace translates, fittingly, as ‘I have built a memorial more lasting than brass’.

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