Rev Jonathan Akroyd

Rev Jonathan Akroyd was a member of the Akroyd family.

He built Christ Church, King Cross for his own use [1826].

At Bury Petty Sessions, in January 1843, he was charged with

  1. being a rogue and a vagabond under the Vagrant Act, and
  2. having obtained money under false pretences

On 16th December 1842, he had called upon Thomas Gorton of Tottington Hall, Bury, and represented himself as the incumbent of a church at Skircoat, and claimed that the church was more than £2,000 in debt for money owing on a mortgage, and that he was asking for contributions to liquidate the debt. He added that he had performed church duties and services there for 10 years gratuitously, and that the church was still connected with the Church of England. Gorton gave him a sovereign. Other people also reported having given money to Akroyd.

William Taylor of King Cross told the court that

Akroyd had built the church and for some time had preached in it, but he had no connexion with the church, nor any directions or authority to collect money on its behalf. He said that an absolute conveyance of the church had been effected, the purchase money was £900, and that it had been bought from Mr Alexander, a Halifax solicitor

Mr Henshall, Superintendent of Police at Bury, said that he had known Akroyd for a year and a half, and that he had been in custody before on a charge of having obtained money under false pretences.

Akroyd was said to be well known in the parish of Halifax, where, years ago, his nefarious practices rendered him notorious, and, as at length, he fled from justice, bringing upon himself, a sentence of outlawry.

The bench decided that Akroyd should be imprisoned in the Salford House of Correction, and kept there for 3 calendar months on the first charge, and that he should be committed to the sessions for trial on the second charge.

Many clergyman present at the hearing were said to be gratified at

the profession being relieved from one of its greatest blots

A piece in the Hereford Journal [25th January 1843] reported

The Rev Jonathan Ackroyd, who formerly officiated as a minister of the Church of England, at Christ Church, Skircoats, near Halifax, has just been indicted for misdemeanor at the Salford Hundred Sessions, in having, on the 16th of December last, at Bury, obtained a sovereign from Mr Joshua Knowles, by falsely pretending that he was the incumbent of that church, and that he was collecting money to discharge a debt owing on mortgage of the said church. The jury found the defendant Guilty. The learned Chairman characterised the offence as one of a very serious character, expressed his regret at seeing a clergyman in such a disgraceful position, and sentenced him to 18 months' imprisonment and hard Labour in Lancaster Castle

© Malcolm Bull 2020
Revised 17:24 /12th July 2020 / 6115

Page Ref: X1942

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