ALBERT BAGE

Congregational Minister of St. Nicholas Congregational Church, St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich.

October 1916 – July 1940

 

Born: 16th April 1867, 103, Carlton Road, Attercliffe, Yorkshire.

 

Father: William Bage, born 1833, Attercliffe, Yorkshire. A Steel Roller.

 

Mother: Mary Ann Bage (nee Knight), born 1846, Sheffield, Yorkshire.

In 1884, Mary Ann Bage remarried.

 

Stepfather: Walter Cattle, born 1840, Curry Rivel, Somerset. An Iron Works Labourer.

 

Sister: Catherine Bage, born 1868, 103, Carlton Road, Attercliffe, baptised 2nd February 1870, at Christ Church, Attercliffe, Yorkshire. In 1891, Sheffield, Catherine (Kate) married John (Jack) Chapman, born 1864, Reedham, Norfolk. Kate and Jack had 2 children and made their family home at 49, Montfort Road, Pitsmoor, Sheffield. Jack was employed as an armour plate planer. Jack Chapman died 12th March 1923, at his residence 49, Montfort Road, Pitsmoor. Laid to rest 15th March 1923, at Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Kate Chapman died 10th June 1938, at Sheffield Hospital.

 

Brother: John Bage, born 1871, 103, Carlton Road, Attercliffe. In 1897, at Tupton, Derbyshire, the Reverend John married Annie Eliza Mee, born 1872, Tupton, baptised 9th February 1873, at North Wingfield, Derbyshire – daughter of James Mee, a railway signalman and Phoebe Mee (nee Smith, of New Street, Tupton. In 1920, Reverend Bage became one of the Ministers for Mount Pleasant English Baptist, Blackwood, Monmouthshire. In April 1913, John terminated his service at Blackwood, and on Sunday, 20th December 1914, he was licensed to the curacy of LLanhilleth. Reverend John Bage, an Assistant Curate at Llanhilleth died Sunday, 27th October 1915, at Newport Home, Newport, Wales. Laid to rest 30th October 1915, at Bedwellty, Monmouthshire, Wales. After the death of her husband, Annie Bage, returned to take up residence at Blackwood, where she and John had formerly resided. Annie Bage died 18th November 1946, of the Brynithel Bungalow, Penygraig Terrace, Llanhilleth, Abertillery, Wales. Laid to rest following a service at Bedwellty Parish Church.

 

CENSUS

 

1871   103, Carlton Road, Attercliffe cum Darnall, Yorkshire.

 

Albert was 4 years old and living with his parents and sister.

William, 36, a Steel Forgeman.

Mary Ann, 25.

Catherine, 2.

1 visitor.

 

1881   11, Holland Place, Brightside Bierlow, Yorkshire.

 

Albert was 14 years old, a General Labourer. He was living with his mother and sister. The Bage family were boarders at the family home of Thomas Cox, a general labourer, and Ann Cox.

Mary Ann Page, 36.

Kate, 12.

 

1891   35, Meadowfield Place, Brandon, Durham.

 

Albert was 23 years old, a Student of Theology and an Assistant Primitive Methodist Minister. He was a boarder at the family home of Thomas, a labourer at a coke oven, and Hannah Kent.

 

1901   28, Bricklands Road, Shipley, Yorkshire.

 

Albert was 33 years old, a Primitive Methodist Minister. He was married and head of the household.

Elizabeth, 34.

Raymond, 4.

 

1911   The Mause, Romsey, Hampshire.

 

Albert was 43 years old, a Minister of Congregational Church. He was married and head of the household.

Elizabeth, 44.

Reginald, 14.

Doris, 8.

 

In 1895, Bishop Auckland, Durham, Albert Bage married Elizabeth Starforth, born 1867, Spennymoor, Durham – daughter of Thomas William Starforth and Elizabeth Jane Starforth, of Spennymoor, Durham.

 

Father: Thomas William Starforth, born 1841, Byles Green, Durham. A Butcher – own account, at 47, High Street, Spennymoor. Thomas was a Freemason at the Whitworth Lodge. Thomas Starforth died 21st May 1916, at the Imperial Nursing Home, Harrogate, Yorkshire, of Orchard Terrace, Boroughbridge, Yorkshire.

Mother: Elizabeth Jane Starforth (nee Hetherington), born 1837, Colliery Row, Durham. Elizabeth Starforth died 1st August 1912, of 47, High Street, Spennymoor, Durham. Laid to rest at Spennymoor Cemetery, Durham.

 

Elizabeth and Albert had 2 children:

 

Reginald William Bage, born 17th February 1897, born Glasgow, Scotland. Reginald was a Cereal Chemist for a flour mill, during the Second World War he served as an Air Raid Precaution Warden. Reginald Bage died 24th May 1974, Clopton, Suffolk.

 

Doris Elizabeth Bage, born 29th March 1903, Shipley, Yorkshire. Doris Bage died 9th October 1943, at her residence Ilfracombe, Hutland Road, Ipswich.

 

Elizabeth Bage died 29th January 1921, Ipswich.

 

Probate to Albert Bage – husband, a congregational minister.

 

ENGLAND AND WALES REGISTER 1939

Albert, a Minister of Religion – Congregational and his daughter Doris were living at the family home – Ilfracombe, Hutland Road, Ipswich

 

Albert Bage died 19th February 1944, at The Borough and General Hospital, Ipswich, of 105, Constable Road, Ipswich.

 

Probate to Reginald William Bage – son, a chemist.

 

Albert was a Liberal in politics.

 

Albert was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

 

In June 1890, after passing his examinations, Albert was admitted as a student at Manchester College. In June 1891, Albert was appointed to the Primitive Methodists Spennymoor Circuit – Leeds IV. In 1892, Albert was appointed to the Poplar Circuit, London, and in 1894, at Newcastle under Lyme, followed by Whitchurch in 1895.

 

In 1896, the Reverend Albert Bage, became the first minister in charge of Whiteinch Mission, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow. Whiteinch had been recently purchased by the Primitive Methodists from the liberal Unitarian church and placed on the Connexional Stations. Albert’s new chapel was capable of seating 350 persons. Albert and his young family resided at 29, Park Street.

In February 1898, Albert Bage was accepted to Superintendent at the Church of the Saviour, Birmingham. He was to succeed the Reverend Doctor Ferguson.

 

On Monday, 9th July 1900, after two years in Birmingham, Albert was appointed the superintendent minister to the Primitive Methodist’s Shipley Circuit, in succession to the Reverend Jonathan Goldthorpe who had moved on to be the Primitive Methodist’s Minister at Hull.

 

Included under Albert’s pastoral charge was the Windhill Primitive Methodist Chapel, on Leeds Road, Shipley.

 

FROM PRIMITIVE METHODIST TO CONGREGATIONALISM

In 1903, rumours had begun that Reverend Albert Bage was contemplating severing his connection with the Primitive Methodist Church, with a view to seeking admission to the Congregational Union. The rumours became a great deal more credible and probable when the Stannary Congregational Church, at Halifax, was rendered vacant by the resignation in March 1902 of the Reverend Thomas Maine, who after seven years as pastorate had to seek a milder climate, owing to his wife’s health. In April 1903, the Reverend Thomas Maine moved to Liverpool, Lancashire, and the Stannary Congregational Church gave a ‘call’ to the Reverend Albert Bage, who at that time was the superintendent of the Shipley Primitive Methodist circuit. The Stannary Congregational Church was the largest Nonconformist Church in Halifax, having sitting accommodations for nearly 1,800 persons. One of the principal rules of the Church is that “No liquor seller shall be a member.” The Church was one of the strongest supporters of the Band of Hope Union, contributing the largest subscription.

 

A special meeting of the officials of the Shipley Primitive Circuit took place on Wednesday, 29th April 1903, Mr. J. Whitaker presided as chair. Mr. T. Hall, as senior circuit steward read a letter of resignation from Albert Bage:

After long and careful deliberation, I have decided to resign the superintendency of your circuit and also my ministry of the Primitive Methodist Church. I have been unsettled in my mind for some time, and have prayerfully sought guidance as to my duty, in view of my personal conviction and temperament. Having come to a conclusion upon which I have no misgivings as to what I ought to do, I have finally adopted the course I am now taking.

I have nothing to say against the church in whose ministry I have served for so long, and very deeply regret causing a moment’s pain to a people in whose midst I have for so many years found a spiritual home. I heartily trust that I am actuated by no unworthy or selfish motives, but that my action will subsequently prove to have been the wisest and the best for the Master’s kingdom. My only desire has been, and is still, to do the will of God.

The memory of many hallowed seasons of spiritual refreshing and the conversion of souls will long be a precious heritage to me. – Praying that the circuit may enjoy continued prosperity,

Yours sincerely,

Albert Bage

The resignation was accepted with deepest regret. The meeting placed on record its high appreciation of the character and service of the reverend Albert Bage during his superintendency of this circuit for nearly three years. Leeds Mercury – Tuesday, 28th April 1903 and Shipley Times and Express – Friday, 1st May 1903

 

FINAL TOKEN OF ESTEEM

Albert was President of the Saltaire Road Christian Endeavour Society. On Thursday, 28th May 1903, shortly before leaving as pastor of the Saltaire Road Primitive Methodist Chapel, at Bradford, to move to Halifax as a Congregational minister, Albert was presented a handsome silver and glass flower stand suitably inscribed, from Miss Rodgers (a vice-president), on behalf of the members of the Saltaire Road Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavour, as a final token of their esteem. There was a good attendance at the presentation event, over which Mr. Thomas Cuthbert Peters presided as chair. Bradford Daily Telegraph – Friday, 29th May 1903

 

THE TEMPERANCE CAUSE

On Saturday, 2nd October 1903, Reverend Albert Bage was a guest speaker during the evening reception of the Halifax and District Band of Hope Union, at the West Vale Wesleyan Church. The conference had during the afternoon met at the West Vale Baptist Church.

On the temperance cause Reverend Albert Bage was regarded as an extremist, a man of one idea. He was horrified with the facts and recital of the awful state of things which existed in the country, he believed that there should be complete abstinence from the consumption of alcohol. During his strong speech Albert spoke of how they were sometimes told that they exaggerated the evils of the drink, but as a matter of fact they could not exaggerate, the subject was so bad and the evil so widespread. He was pleased with the great change which had come over the churches, but when they knew that on the shareholders lists of brewery companies were the names of 170 ministers of religion, it was a fact that made the temperance cause pause in dismay. He wished that the Christian Church would wipe her hands of complicity with this terrible trade, then the whole thing would tumble into hell out of sheer rottenness. Brighouse News – Friday, 9th October 1903

PASSIVE RESISTANCE

On Thursday morning, 13th April 1905, after seven days in Wakefield gaol, four passive resisters were freed, after being sentenced by justices of the Halifax Borough, for non-payment of that portion of the education rate which was devoted to sectarian teaching in which the four did not believe.

Reverent Albert Bage was one of the party who travelled from Halifax to Wakefield on the 5:30 am train to greet the four men liberated:

Rev. W. Lawrence, Ebenezer Primitive Methodist minister, of Milton Place.

Rev. J. Wilkinson, Queen’s Road Primitive Methodist minister, of Gibraltar Road.

Harold Chapman, Stirling Street.

Joseph Dobson, Bright Street.

On Friday night, 14th April 1905, Albert Bage, took part in a demonstration held at Halifax to welcome back from gaol four passive resisters – two Primitive Methodists ministers and two laymen. After seconding a resolution of welcome, Albert said “that whoever might give up in this fight it would not be Free Churchmen of Halifax. They did not begin it, but they would end it, and in such a fashion that their children would not have it to fight over again.” The demonstration was held at the Mechanics’ Hall, with an overflow meeting held at the school connected with the Stannary Congregational Church. Halifax Evening Courier – Thursday, 13th April 1905 and the Shipley Times and Express – Friday, 21st April 1905

 

INVITED TO SERVE AT ROMSEY

After six years serving as pastor at Stannary Congregational Church, Halifax, the Reverend Albert Bage was approached with respect to undertake the pastorate at Abbey Congregational Church, Romsey, Hampshire, recently vacated by Congregational Minister and a Theological Professor Alexander James Grieve, now of the United College, Bradford. Albert had preached a few times at Romsey and had created a most favourable impression. Halifax Evening Courier – Wednesday, 13th October 1909

 

During the Stannary Congregational Church morning service on the 17th October 1909, Albert announced that he had decided to accept the unanimous invitation to the pastorate at Abbey Congregational Church, at Romsey, Hampshire, and that he would take up his new duties in a few weeks’ time. Shipley Times and Express – Friday, 22nd October 1909

 

THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT

Reverend Albert Bage, F.R.S.L. preached his farewell sermon at Stannary Congregational Church during an evening service on Sunday, 7th November 1909. To his joy and amazement, 2,500 people assembled at Stannary Congregational Church and Albert told the people of Halifax that this magnificent audience was the greatest compliment ever paid to him, and certainly, that scene would never be erased from his memory! Halifax Evening Courier – Monday, 8th November 1909

 

In April 1911, the Reverend Frederick Ernest MacDonald Docker, M.A., B.D., of the West Hampstead Congregational Church accepted a call to Stannary Congregational Church, Halifax.

 

Albert served as pastor at Abbey Congregational Church, Romsey from November 1909 – July 1914.

 

After sixteen months without a pastor the Reverend David Lewys Thomas, of Falmouth Congregational Church, accepted the invitation to the pastorate of Abbey Congregational Church, Romsey.

 

In June 1914, Reverend Albert Bage accepted an invitation to Laisterdyke Independent Church, Bradford. The church had been without a pastor for two years.

 

Albert Bage preached his first sermons during the morning and evening services at Laisterdyke Independent Church, on Sunday, 12th July 1914. He expressed his hopefulness in regard to the future work at Laisterdyke, and earnestly asked for the cooperation of the community – a call to which the members are characteristically competent to respond. Bradford Daily Telegraph – Monday, 13th July 1914

 

A recognition meeting was hosted on Wednesday, 23rd September 1914, to welcome Albert Bage to their church and back to Yorkshire.

OPINION ON THE WAR from the Shipley Times and Express – Friday, 6th November 1914

Speaking at a demonstration on Saturday, 31st October 1914, held under the auspices of the Halifax Sunday School Union, the Reverend Albert Bage, of Laisterdyke said the war was a cleansing of the souls of nations, though it meant the breaking of hearts. Great Britain was in it for the redemption of her scared word and in defence of national freedom. The price was heavy, but it was worth paying. The Allies would continue the conflict until the criminal lunatics in Berlin were brought to the dust never to rise again. Nothing we could do for bleeding and devastated Belgium would be great or too much to show our admiration of her magnificent stand, which had saved Paris, Calais, and Dover. Christianity had magnificently demonstrated the close alliance between public weal, national interest, and the personal religion. Never again would any man be able to say that the Church was not in touch with the national life of this country and had not done its duty in the time of national anxiety and peril.

In July 1916, Reverend Albert Bage, accepted the pastorate of St. Nicholas Congregational Church, at Ipswich, after the death of the Reverend John Gleeson. Reverend Gleeson had served as the Congregational Minister from September 1906 until he lost his life in September 1915 after an accident when in the darkened streets, he fell down a flight of steps leading to a basement.

 

Reported in the Shipley Times and Express, Wednesday, 18th September 1957, retired barber, Mr. Ernest Knowles, of Victoria Road, Calverley, remembers how both the Reverend John Gleeson, Congregational Minister, at Idle, and Reverend Albert Bage, Primitive Methodist Minister, at the Windhill Chapel, Shipley had been his customers at the “Naples of the North.”

NEW MINISTER

The Reverend John Bage opened his ministry to a large congregation at St. Nicholas Congregational Church, Ipswich on Sunday, 1st October 1916. Diss Express – Friday, 6th October 1916

 

In May 1930, Albert became the chairman of the Suffolk Congregational Union.

 

GUEST PREACHER

In May 1938, Albert Bage, of St. Nicholas Congregational Church, Ipswich was an invited special preacher at the concluding services at Abbey Congregational Church, Romsey for their 276th anniversary.

RETIREMENT FROM MINISTRY

After 23 years’ of ministry at St. Nicholas Congregational Church, Ipswich, Reverend Albert Bage retired. On Thursday, 18th July 1940, on the occasion of his retirement, an evening event was held at the church, where Albert was presented with a wallet and Treasury notes, and an illuminated address suitably inscribed. At the request of the deacons, Albert consented to supply ministry for the next three months. Bury Press – Saturday, 20th July 1940

 

A STRIKING FIGURE

The news that the Reverend Albert Bage has died at Ipswich, at the age of 76, will bring to the minds of many Halifax people those halcyon days before the last war when he was pastor of Stannary Congregational Church. In appearance and manner, he strongly resembled Mr. Lloyd George, and had the same gift of rousing a fervent atmosphere.

Even through the mist of the years I can still remember how, as a small boy in that part of the gallery allotted to children, I used to watch his every movement, those impassioned denunciations with waving arms, that promenade to and fro across the vast rostrum, which were the fashion at the time.

How many of the boys up there were led to imagine the life of a popular preacher as the greatest of all as, somewhat like Moses from Sinai, he laid down the moral law. When he preached his farewell sermon, the church was full, and at the end of the service he buried his head in the open Bible and wept openly.

In those days Nonconformist ministers were usually openly identified with the Radical side of politics, and Mr. Bage was counted one of the greatest “draws” on the Liberal platform at election times. After the singing of “Jerusalem” and an address by Mr. Bage it was impossible to doubt that the Lord was on the Liberal side. Bradford Observer – Tuesday, 7th March 1944

St. Nicholas Congregational Church, Ipswich, War Memorial.

John Gleeson. Pastor of St. Nicholas Congregational Church, Ipswich 1906-15

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