Revd James Badnall Vicar of Endon

Revd James Badnall Vicar of Endon 1839-1897

There is a memorial plaque on St. Luke's Church, Endon - where Rev. James Badnall was vicar for 33 years. George Heath would be totally forgotten today were it not for the efforts of the three men who did so much to keep the poet's name alive. Rev. James Badnall, H.W. Foster and Francis Redfern were responsible for the two Memorial Editions of Heath's work as well as the monument over the poet's grave in Horton churchyard.

By his father and at the Royal Institute School, Liverpool. Durham University 1857-60. Obtained 3rd Honours 1859 and a B.A. in June 1860. Ordained deacon 1862, Priest 1863 by Bishop of Lichfield.

Details Of Career:
1860-1862 class master at Wimbledon College.
1862-1864 Curate of Ash, Shropshire.
1864-1892 Vicar of Endon, Staffordshire. Patron the Earl of Macclesfield.

His writings include: "Raising of Jairus's Daughter" or "The Tears of Christian Mourners Wiped Away" published James Rider 1867.

Family Connections:
His grandfather was Richard Badnall of Highfield, Leek, Staffordshire, a descendant of Christopher Badnall of Uttoxeter whose grandfather William was also the common ancestor of most Bednall's of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Australia, Lancashire and Warwickshire.

The Revd. James Badnall lived at Lane End House, Endon. During his incumbency the church was restored, a robed choir was introduced, a mission opened at Stanley and a mission church and school were built at Longsdon. He introduced the "May Queen" procession to the annual well dressing event. He was a guide and tutor of the Moorland Poet -George Heath- and was largely responsible for the publication of Heath's poems.

From the Memorial Edition of; "The Poems of George HEATH, The Moorland Poet" (2nd Edt pub. 1880)


Our pleasant task is over. Our labour of love is finished. It remains for the public now to appreciate the genius of our Poet. A few words, perhaps, are necessary in explanation of raising the price of the present volume, which originally was intended to cost 3s. 6d. At that price it was found that many pieces must have been omitted, which, for their own intrinsic merits, it was desirable should be included in the volume.

As it is, we have been obliged to curtail several of the lengthy pieces, viz.- "A Country Woman's Tale," "Icarus," and the "Doom of Babylon." Sufficient, however, it is presumed, has been given of these to enable the reader to form a tolerably good idea of the drift and style of the whole. As regards myself, I can only say that I have considered it the greatest privilege of my life to have been allowed to help a little in arranging and bringing out the present volume. And any one (and I feel sure my fellow labourers, who have so materially assisted me in this work, participate in my feelings) who knew the late lamented George Heath as well as we did, would envy us the privilege.

I take this opportunity of most thankfully acknowledging the valuable assistance I have received from my friend and parishioner, Mr. George Foster, in all the details incident to this publication; also to Mr. Francis Redfern and Mr. H. W. Foster, for their valuable departments of service, which are before the reader to speak for themselves. And I may also here, on behalf of the Poet's family, sincerely thank those ladies and gentlemen who have so kindly subscribed towards the erection of a Memorial Cross to his memory, in Horton Church-yard. By the time this volume is in the hands of the subscribers, ft is hoped that the monument also will be over the place
"Where our friend sleepeth".


Endon, June 20th, 1870

Taken from page 23

During the whole of the time George Heath was embodying his thoughts in verse, and thereby trying to fulfil the only sacred duty of productive labor in his power, he was engaged with equal earnestness in cultivating his mind by special educational studies, There was a charm in earnest endeavor to him; and consequently he had set times in each day which he devoted to study, except when he was too ill to make any mental exertion.

During his long illness he strove to gain a good knowledge of his own language, making at the same time highly satisfactory advancement in Latin and Greek. The study of these languages he prosecuted under the kind direction of the Rev. J. Badnall, M.A, Vicar of Endon, who also presented him with Greek and Latin books. He felt much the kindness of this gentleman, and amongst the many expressions of it, there are these two, "1866, January 7th--my esteemed friend, the Rev. J. Badnall came to see me. He has acted a noble part by me in giving all the instruction possible in my attempts to master Latin. On the 1st of March, i868, he likewise observes,

"The Rev. Mr. Badnall, my dear old tutor, has paid me a visit, has spoken many kind encouraging words, and has spoken very graciously of the progress I have made. I am much cheered though sorely afflicted." The following translation, the result of this instruction in Latin, is from Virgil's AEnid, and does not read amiss.

"The Rev. Mr. Badnall, my dear old tutor, has paid me a visit, has spoken many kind encouraging words, and has spoken very graciously of the progress I have made. I am much cheered though sorely afflicted." The following translation, the result of this instruction in Latin, is from Virgil's AEnid, and does not read amiss.

AEnid, and does not read amiss.
"I sing of grand exploits and martial might,
Of Rome's great hero, valiant in the fight I
Whose fame, like incense, floats, from clime to clime,
And sweeps re-echoing down the stream of time;
Who first cast out by fate, unknown to fame,
From mighty Troy to fair Italia came,
Paused in his wanderings and his heavy toil,
And pitched his tent on rich Lavinium's soil.
Plagued by the Gods above, on sea and shore,
With sorrow, suffering, and misfortune dire,
On Juno's count, and Juno's vengeful ire,
And bloody war by Demon Passion waged
With horrors fraught around him madly raged;
Whilst he, with dauntless hand, the city wrought,
And th' household Deities to Latium brought;
The source from which in widening streams we trace
The Albanian fathers, and the Latin race;
And Rome's magnific walls that proudly rise
in cloud-capped spires and turrets to the skies.

Taken from Page 29

It should be stated that although the subject of this memoir was on terms of friendship with the Rev. James Badnall, that he had attended the Wesleyan Sunday School, at Endon, and like his father and mother was a member of the Wesleyan Society there. His Sunday Diary attests his Wesleyan principles and his love for its ministers, but at the same time it evinces a catholicity of spirit which made him in sympathy with what was good in other religious bodies.

Taken from Page 31

A memoriail as suggested by his kind friend and tutor, the Rev. J. Badnall, of Endon, to be erected over his grave in Horton churchyard, and by the aid of numerous subscribers, it was successfully carried into effect. It is cheering, therefore, that he does not lie forsaken and forgotten " a cold fate he seems to have apprehended" beneath some tiny dot of earth, with only "a rude slab (if even that) reared at its head, but at the foot of a beautiful Runic Cross, raised by the affection of many, after a design by his friend, H. W. Foster, for the respect he bore him, with the follow¬ing inscription

Erected in Memory

Of GEORGE HEATH, of Gratton,
Who, with few aids,
Developed in these Moorlands
Poetic power of great promise,
but who, stricken by consumption,
After five years suffering,
Fell a victim to that disease,
May 5, 1869, aged 25 years,

His life is a fragment a broken clue
His harp had a musical string or two,
The tension was great, and they sprang and flew,
And a few brief strains a scattered few
Are all that remain to mortal view
Of the marvellous song the young man knew.

All the above information & more can be seen at the excellent site containing the Bednall Collection; these are old Solicitor's papers from the Leek area & are a useful source of information for any researcher.


©AW Bednall,Macclesfield 2000