FIFTY YEARS A SEXTON
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
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.
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
EXTRACT FROM PRESTON GUARDIAN FEBRUARY 1907