death of our founder, Douglas Horsfall, in February, 1936 was
by a respectful obituary in 'The Times' newspaper, then as now the
country's principal journal of record.
Not long afterwards, Sir Frederick Radcliffe wrote to the same
wishing to put the record straight with regard to that part
of the obituary which referred to the funding of the East Window
The text of this letter can be found by following this
link; the text of the obituary itself is reproduced below.
A photo by Bacon and Sons,
Liverpool, reproduced from The Church Times of January 18, 1935.
Times, Monday February 10th, 1936
A builder of
churches in Liverpool
Mr Howard Douglas Horsfall, who died on Saturday at Mere Bank,
Liverpool, at the age of 79, was for many years head of one of the
leading firms of stockbrokers in Liverpool. He was best known in the
city, however, as a generous benefactor of the Church.
He was the second son of Mr Robert Horsfall, of Grassendale Priory,
a nephew of Mr Thomas Barry Horsfall, an African merchant of
who was Mayor in 1847-48, and M.P. for Liverpool from 1853 -
1868. Mr Horsfall was at Eton in 1870-71, boarding at Mr Vidal's
house, and 'Ionica' Johnson was his tutor. He then entered the
stockbroking office of his father, whose benefactions to the church
included the building of St Margaret's, Princes Road, Liverpool.
his father, Mr Horsfall was deeply attached to the Anglo-Catholic
movement, and so convinced was he of the need for the training of
clergy in that school of thought that he founded St Chad's Hall at
Durham University in 1904, and at one time was bearing the cost of
training of upwards of 40 men for the ministry. In recognition of
the University gave him the honorary degree of M.A.
Mr Horsfall was a generous contributor to the fund for the building
Liverpool Cathedral, and if he could have had his way he would have
paid for the East window. He wanted the subject of the window to be
Crucifixion. Dr. Chavasse, the then Bishop, did not agree, and an
from another quarter to provide a window depicting the Ascension was
accepted. Mr Horsfall's chief gift to the diocese was St. Agnes'
Church, Ullet Road, Liverpool. This cost £25,000 to build, and
family spent much in adding to its beauty in the years that
It is acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful modern churches
the country, and last year was its jubilee year. From the time of
opening till 1932 Mr Horsfall was one of its wardens. He gave up his
office because of friction that had arisen, and eventually went to
worship elsewhere. But his interest in St Agnes' never wavered, and
1935 he presented it with more stained-glass windows as an act of
thankfulness for having been spared to see the church reach its
jubilee. He was also one of the founders of St Pancras Church, and
towards the close of the Episcopate of Dr. Ryle, the first Bishop of
Liverpool, he built St. Faith's Church, Great Crosby. Mr Horsfall
patron of St Catherine's, Abercromby Square, and of St Paul's, St
Paul's Square, Liverpool. The latter was eventually bought by the
L.M.S. Railway Company, and a new church of St Paul was erected in
of the suburbs.
Mr Horsfall married in 1887 Mabel, eldest daughter of Mr Egerton
Smith, formerly of the Royal Artillery. She died in 1921. He had two
sons and two daughters. One of the sons, Mr Robert Elcum Horsfall,
in the War. The surviving son is Major Ewart Douglas Horsfall, M.C.,
who was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, and rowed in
Oxford boat in 1912 and 1913 (stroke) in 1914.
returning to St Faith's in the 1990s recalls seeing Mr Horsfall,
wearing his trademark headgear, sitting in the choirstalls at St
Faith's - almost certainly during the period referred to above
he 'worshipped elsewhere'.
points of interest: the obituary does not mention Mr Horsfalls'
presence at the jubilee celebrations of St Agnes' Ullet Road:
the index page link below to read about it and a little about
churches. And the present writer (a lover of railways!) believes
it would have been the
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, not the London Midland and
which bought up St Paul's.....
to the Horsfall connection index page
Back to St Faith's