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Thomas Sharples
EXTRACT FROM PRESTON GUARDIAN, FEBRUARY 1907

 

THOMAS SHARPLES
FIFTY YEARS A SEXTON

Thomas Sharples

At Hoole on Thursday the death occurred of Mr. Thomas Sharples, sexton of Hoole Parish Church. He was 88 years of age, and had been sexton for no fewer than fifty years. Throughout West Lancs. he was well known and respected. In his official capacity the deceased had officiated at over 1,000 funerals. Through an injury sustained 12 years ago he could not carry out the digging work in the churchyard, but otherwise was able to discharge the whole of his duties as sexton. Mr. Sharples was one of the old hand loom weavers, weaving in his cottage and carrying the weft to either Preston or Chorley. Another of his occupations was that of newspaper vendor. After walking to Preston he would get his supply of “Guardians” and distribute them on his return, and was never known to fail in his round. He served under the Rev. W. Brickel for 24 years prior to the Rev. E.T. Dunne the present vicar, taking up his duties in 1881.

Mr Dunne bears testimony to his efficiency, regularity and general fitness. Indeed he was a veritable handyman, and at the age of 60 regarded lightly the task of mounting the church roof for the purpose of repairing plates. He could also do a bit of bricklaying or navvying. His mannerisms were decidedly quaint, while his talk was always entertaining.

He never smoked. He has had a splendid helper in his wife, who has survived him. She is in possession of all her faculties except for a little deafness. She will be 86 this day week.

On his death bed Mr. Sharples’s final words were : “I am both willing and ready when the time comes.” He seemed to anticipate death a few hours before the end came, but never before, and asked his niece whether “She had heard the bell toll” Meaning the signal for his departure.

EXTRACT FROM PRESTON GUARDIAN FEBRUARY 1907