Harold Bentley Bentley-Smith

Second Vicar of Saint Faith`s

Harold Bentley Bentley-Smith was Vicar of East Coatham, near Redcar in Yorkshire, before taking up the position of Priest in Charge at Saint Faith`s, being inducted and instituted on 15th October 1915. He did not stay long but his time in Crosby saw many controversial changes. He instituted a Sung Eucharist and “manipulated” the organised sections of the congregation so that Mattins became less popular, much to the annoyance of some sections of the congregation. He believed in the centrality of the Eucharist and that has remained the way at Saint Faith`s. Bentley-Smith introduced vestments and transformed the South Transept into a chapel with altar and ornaments. The weekday ringing of bells, especially at the 6.30am service, prompted anonymous letters in the Liverpool press under the title of “That Waterloo Bell”. Although he was devoutly Anglo-Catholic he appears to also have believed in close ties with other churches for the Patronal Festival in 1917 he invited clergy and congregation from 21 neighbouring churches but none turned up. His health had never been good and in 1918 broke down entirely. He resigned the living but in later years recovered sufficiently to enable him to continue in the ministry; he died in 1965 at the age of 87 years.

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