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Rev Arthur William Cribb
Born: 3 January 1841
Died: 3 June 1914
Buried: 6 June 1914
Age: 73
Grave No: C47
Notes: Also buried there: Josephine Cribb, buried 16 August 1911, aged 68
Rev Arthur Cribb, vicar of Shipley, was the man who decided the church should have Hirst Wood Burial Ground when the council refused to consecrate part of Nab Wood Cemetery. He was also responsible for building the vicarage and St Peter’s Church. His death was reported in the Shipley Times & Express on 5 June 1914: The Rev Arthur William Cribb, who has been Vicar of Shipley for twenty-four years, passed away on Wednesday afternoon, after a long illness. Mr Cribb, who was in his 74th year, preached his last sermon on 21st September 1913 when the Territorials attended service at Shipley Parish Church. A week later he took part in the harvest festival service and that proved to be his last visit to the church. He had been confined to the vicarage ever since and for some time past it had been known that he was in a very critical condition. Up to a few years ago the rev gentleman enjoyed good health and was very active. A sharp attack of bronchitis and pneumonia left him with a weak heart and subsequently dropsy supervened. Since March he had been unable to lie in bed and had to sit day and night in a chair in his bedroom. Despite his serious illness he kept in close touch with the affairs of the parish up to the last, having constant interviews with his curate, Rev W Bowker, and officials of the church. Less than two hours before he peacefully passed away at two o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, he had a conversation with the vergers, Mr J Hardcastle, for whom he signed a document relating to cemetery business. Grateful appreciation On Whit Monday the procession of scholars from the Parish Church Sunday School visited the Vicarage and sang a number of hymns. The Vicar’s chair was brought to the bedroom window and although he looked very ill, it was not thought at the time that the end was so near. Mr Cribb, who expressed pleasure at the happy appearance of the children and their hearty singing, waved his hand as a sign of grateful appreciation. One of the hymns sung contained the lines: Oh, then, what raptured greetings On Canaan’s happy shore; What knitting severed friendships up Where partings are no more. Since the announcement of the Vicar’s death a passage in the New Year greeting to the parishioners, which was published in the Parish Magazine for January, has been recalled. Having expressed a sincere wish that the year might prove a very happy one for all the readers of the magazine, he wrote: “As the depths of the ocean are perfectly calm, even when the seas upon its surface rage horribly, threatening to engulf every vessel sailing upon them, so there may be peace – the foundation of all happiness – amidst all the storms we have to encounter in life. “Even should the last dread trial come, it need not be feared; for it shall issue in greater happiness than we have ever yet known.” Mrs Cribb died on 13th August 1911 and the loss of his devoted helpmeet was a great trial to
him. There were fifteen children of the marriage, of whom thirteen survive – eight daughters and five sons – for whom much sympathy has been expressed. The late Vicar was born on 3rd January 1841 at Prince’s Street, Leicester Square, London. He was educated under the Rev J Clark, BA, at Queen’s Square, London; the Rev J S E Spencer, MA, The Poplars, Mitcham; and the Rev R J Major, DD, at King’s College School, London. On leaving school he had a little business experience with his father, who was in the cabinet making business and attended the science and art classes at South Kensington, where he gained a second prize among students from all parts of the country for a water-colour drawing. He was present as a student on the occasion of the opening of the South Kensington Museum by Queen Victoria. For a short period he was headmaster at Afton College, Turnham Green and whilst there conducted a night school in the parish rooms. He commenced with one pupil but soon had about thirty. Such schools were then almost unknown. In January 1861 he entered the CMS College, Islington and remained there for three years with the object of undertaking foreign missionary work on the completion of his theological training. He was ordained deacon 21st February 1864, at Tunbridge Wells, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Longley. Mr and Mrs Cribb were married on 12th March 1864 at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden in connection with which they had both been prominent workers. Along with his wife he embarked at Gravesend for China on 10th June 1864 in the ‘Sovereign of India.’ The voyage occupied 120 days. Immediately on his arrival at Foochow – which then had a population of 500,000 – Mr Cribb commenced the study of the Chinese language. He was ordained a priest on 1st December 1867 at Hong Kong and both he and Mrs Cribb performed a grand work in the Fukin Province. In addition to preaching and building, he did a good literary work, part of which was the preparation of a Reference Testament in Chinese. Walked 150 miles Mr Cribb was the first foreigner to be seen in Ping Nang and it may be mentioned that he walked there and back from Foochow – 150 miles – in a week, spending 24 hours in the city. For over three years he was Consular Chaplain at Foochow. Various circumstances led to his remaining in England when he returned home on a well- earned furlough in 1871. He first took the curacy at Hoby-cum-Rotherby, Leicester, and then removed to the Metropolis, becoming curate and Afternoon Lecturer at the important church of St Mary, Whitechapel. In February 1874 Mr Cribb was preferred to the vicarage of St Thomas’s, Stepney, a parish of 1200 souls where his work was greatly appreciated. He collected much money for the schools and brought them up to a fine state of efficiency and he also greatly improved the interior of the church, for which his mechanical and
architectural skill served him well. When he went to Stepney the church was in a very dilapidated condition, there being no fewer than 700 broken panes of glass. He left the church in a very different condition to what he found it in and the parishioners and friends presented him with a purse of £300 and an illuminated address. During the 18 years he laboured in London parishes he was a very useful member of the Church Missionary Committee. His experience in China was specially valuable on that committee. For three years he was a Guardian of the Poor at Mile End. Vicarage and St Peter’s In 1890 the Simeon Trust gave Mr Cribb the living of St Paul’s, Shipley, and he was instituted on 8th June. The church is a fine handsome building with seating accommodation for about 1,200 worshippers. During Mr Cribb’s vicariate the church has been much improved inside. The old Vicarage near the church had to be pulled down and Mr Cribb and his family had to live in Shipley Fields Hall, a mile from the church, for a considerable period. However, after much thought, planning and difficulty, Mr Cribb built a new vicarage on the site of the old one. It is generally admitted to be one of the best and most convenient vicarages to be found anywhere. The vicar planned it mostly himself and it will always remain a monument of his skill and patience for he had many difficulties to contend with in getting it built. The church schools were also improved during Mr Cribb’s vicariate and another of his works was the establishment of a Church cemetery at Hirst Wood, near to the Nab Wood Cemetery owned by the Shipley District Council. It was through Mr Cribb’s efforts that St Peter’s Church, Shipley, was erected and the building will ever remain a testimony to his labours to supply a much needed want in the west end of the parish. In 1890 the rev gentleman established services in the Shipley Technical School and on 26th August 1893, the foundation stone of St Peter’s Church Hall was laid, the building being opened on 17th March 1894. Mr Cribb was the chairman of the Building Committee and subsequently he initiated as scheme for the building of a new church which was opened on 1st May 1909. The living of St Peter’s is the gift of the Vicar of Shipley and Mr Cribb appointed the first vicar, the Rev F Beresford Hope. On February this year the rev gentleman attained his jubilee as a church clergyman. Besides his parochial work, Mr Cribb was the honorary secretary of the Church Missionary Society for the Bradford Deanery, an office which involved a large amount of correspondence.
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