Brooke Lambert - ministry after St Mark Whitechapel

Rainhill, Lancashire - a brief curacy (1871)

The following spat, reported in the Monthly Musical Record (vol.1) in September 1871, shows Lambert in a poor light, acting peremptorily within days of his arriving as curate of St Ann Rainhill (a church built in 1837 - right - which had developed something of a choral tradition). Was his judgement marred by the breakdown in his health, which had caused him to leave London? Why was the Vicar, Walter Lowe Clay – incumbent from 1867, with a particular interest in prison chaplaincy – absent, and did he really support Lambert's actions? (It is also interesting as a comment on clergy-organist relationships not only at that time – as the correspondent notes – but today, where proper contracts are required.)
The following correspondence, which we reprint from the Liverpool Daily Courier of the 14th ult., is, we think, of more than merely local interest, as bearing on the relations between clergy and organists. We therefore make room for it in our columns. We prefer to express no opinion on the matter; but think it will not be difficult for our readers to form their own conclusions.—ED. M.M.R.
Rainhill, 5th August 1871
TO THE EDITOR OF THE DAILY COURIER The Rev. Brooke Lambert and Mr J.J. Monk
Sir,—The organist of St. Ann's Church, Rainhill, Mr J.J. Monk, having been abruptly 'dismissed' from his office by the new curate in charge, the Rev. Brooke Lambert, and the circumstances having given rise to a good deal of ill-feeling in the parish, and as I believe there is some misapprehension abroad as to the facts of the case, I send you, with Mr. Monk's persuasion, copies of the several letters which have passed between the two gentlemen since Mr. Lambert's advent to Rainhill, and I shall feel much obliged by their publication in your next issue.
The taste displayed by Mr. Monk in the selection and playing of the music used in the church may have been, as Mr. Lambert's letter suggest, more artistic than ecclesiastical; and probably Mr. Monk would have done wisely if he had arranged with Mr. Lambert as to a substitute during his absence, before leaving for his holidays. Something might be said on both sides on each of these points, neither of which I care to discuss. But be these things as they may, when it is remembered that Mr. Lambert has been in the parish only six weeks, and that when his first letter to Mr. Monk was written he had officiated in the church on but one Sunday, the course which he has taken will appear scarcely a justifiable one.
With regard to the good taste, good feeling, dignity and courtesy exhibited in Mr. Lambert's letters, I leave the letters to tell their own tale, and your readers to form their own opinions.—Yours, &c., Zamera
Rainhill, Prescot, 30th June 1871
MR. MONK,—I have chosen the following hymns for Sunday next … I think that the music should be arranged not so much for the teaching of the choir as for the purpose of obtaining general congregational singing. It will therefore be better to sing the Canticles to musical services only on the last Sunday in the month. On other Sundays you will be good enough to play only single or double chants, choosing those  best known to the congregation. If any special occasion should arise, you can confer with me, and I will endeavour to meet the wishes of yourself and the choir. I shall be obliged if you will discontinue the practice of playing immediately after (? before) the sermon text is given out.   Brooke Lambert

Rainhill, Prescot, 3rd July 1871
 MR. MONK,—If you are to continue to discharge the duties of organist, the service must be conducted very differently to that of yesterday. The innumerable variations you played to every chant and hymn tune not only embarrassed your choir, who were once or twice quite thrown out, but rendered it impossible for the less musical part of the congregation to join in the singing. In future the chants and hymn tunes must be played as they were played at the practice on Friday, and without variations. The Kyries in the Communion service were not played as at the practice, but were interspersed with variations which might be fitting in a concert-room, but were exceedingly immodest in a church. The Kyries must in future be played simply. The organ is to lead the singing in church, and is not to be used to illustrate the fancies of the organist. The voluntaries played after the morning and evening services whilst the congregation were leaving their seats were totally unfitted for use on such occasions, and were calculated to disturb the devotional feelings of the congregation. The voluntaries must for the future be selected from the sacred oratorios, or such like music. As I regret to find that I cannot rely on your taste in such matters, I must ask you to be good enough to give me the names of the voluntaries you propose to play before and after the services on the Friday week before you play them, i.e. when I give you the hymns for the same day. I asked you on Friday last to discontinue a flourish which was played just before the sermon. On Sunday, I noticed that after the Amen in the Benediction, both at morning and evening service, you introduced a flourish lasting some half-minute or more. This must also be discontinued; it disturbs the devotions of the people at a time given to private prayer. It is also quite unusual. In future, you will play all the Amens as nineteen out of twenty organists play them, i.e. without any flourish whatsoever. Indeed, in asking you to make these alterations, I am setting up no standard of taste of my own, but am simply asking you to do what is done in other churches, and to discontinue what would be rejected as irreverent elsewhere. You will be good enough to let me have in writing as soon as possible your promise to conduct the service in the way I have presented.  Brooke Lambert
Liverpool, 5th July 1871
Mr. Monk presents his compliments to the Rev. Brooke Lambert, and begs to inform him that he is in receipt of his communication. As Mr. Monk will be away from Liverpool [for] the next four Sundays (during which time his friend Mr. Clarke will officiate at the organ), he thinks an interview on his return with the Rev. Brooke Lambert might be more satisfactory than at present.
Rainhill, Prescot, 6th July 1871
MR. MONK, —You must be aware that you have no right to absent yourself from your post without leave duly asked and obtained. If you have obtained such leave from Mr. Clay, please inform me of it. I cannot accept your friend as a substitute without proof that he is a qualified organist. Unless you satisfy me on these two heads, you will absent yourself at your own risk. Your letter is very unsatisfactory. In answer to my request for a written promise that you would conduct the service as I wished, you propose an interview at your own convenience, a month hence. You will consider your engagement as organist of Rainhill to be at an end in three months from this date.  Brooke Lambert
Matlock Bath, 11th July 1871
Mr. Monk presents his compliments to the Rev. Brooke Lambert, and begs to acknowledge the receipt of his communication dated the 6th inst. During the years Mr. Monk has officiated as organist and choirmaster at different churches, he has never asked for leave to go away, it always being an understood thing that as long as an efficient substitute is provided the organist is at liberty to absent himself. Mt. Monk, of course, expected to find the same gentlemanly feeling at Rainhill as elsewhere. As to the second head, Mr. M. need only refer to the Rev. B. Lambert to the members of the choir and the congregation as to Mr. Clarke's fitness, feeling assured that if the Rev. Brooke Lambert is not able to judge [for] himself, he will find everybody able to speak in high terms of Mr. Clarke's playing, &c.
Rainhill, Prescot, 11th July 1871
Mr. MONK,—You have not thought to take any notice of my letter of 6th instant, and have absented yourself without leave from your duties as organist. I have to inform you that you are no longer organist of St. Ann's, Rainhill, and enclose a formal notice to that effect.  Brooke Lambert
To MR JAMES J. MONK, organist of St. Ann, Rainhill.—You having misconducted yourself by absenting yourself without reasonable cause, and without proper authority, from your duties as organist of the said church, on Sunday, the ninth day of July, 1871, I hereby give you notice to terminate your engagement as organist, at and from the date of this notice.
Dated this eleventh day of July, 1871.
W.L. CLAY, Vicar of the said Church, by BROOKE LAMBERT, acting as agent for and on behalf of the said W.L. Clay.
I have left a note, of which the above is a copy, at your house, 102, Chatham Street; but as I think you may like to make arrangements for the future, I lose no time in forwarding you a copy.
Bonsall, Derbyshire, 12th July 1871
Mr. Monk presents his compliments to the Rev. B. Lambert, and begs to acknowledge his communication of yesterday containing [notice of] his dismissal as organist and choirmaster of St. Ann's Church, Rainhill, for [misconduct]. Mr. Monk is not aware of any misconduct on his part, and has not absented himself without reasonable cause. Mr. M. therefore disputes the dismissal, and begs to inform the Rev. Brooke Lambert that Mr. Clarke will continue to officiate for him till he returns to town. If the Rev. B.L. has still any doubt as to Mr. Clarke's fitness and ability, Mr. Monk begs to refer him to the Rev. F.W. Willis, late curate in charge of St Ann's [Willis served here for 1 year only, 1870].
Rainhill, Prescot, 14th July 1871
Mr. MONK,—I have to acknowledge letters from you dated the 11th and 12th. With regard to the second letter, you will find, if you look carefully at the notice, the word 'misconducted' interpreted by 'absenting yourself without reasonable cause, and without proper authority'. The counts are not two, but one. I trust you will not have to put to a legal test the question whether my interpretation of 'reasonable cause' or yours be the right one. Whatever may be the custom as to leave-taking, I am sure that it is the universal practice for all engaged in common work, whether as equals or subordinated, to ask as a matter of courtesy whether their absence at such a date will be inconvenient. Not only did you not do this, but to my remonstrance you paid no notice for so long a time that I had meanwhile sent you a formal notice of dismissal. I do not wish to press matters too harshly, and I will withdraw the notice of dismissal and revert to the three months' notice, if you will send me the promise for which I asked in my letter of the 3rd, to which no proper answer has yet been received. If I do not receive this by the morning of Wednesday in next week, I shall proceed to advertise the appointment as vacant. I has written to Mr. Clarke to inform him that I could no longer recognise him as your substitute, and he has most kindly promised to play as a volunteer on Sunday next [footnote...From other correspondence it would appear that Mr. Lambert had not correctly interpreted Mr. C.'s reply on the subject — Z.] . This settles the matter for the present; but I must remind you that legally the freehold on the church is vested in the vicar, and, in his absence, I only, as curate in sole charge, have a right to give access to the organ.  Brooke Lambert
Matlock Bath, 16th July 1871
Mr. Monk presentes his compliments to the Rev. Brooke Lambert, and begs to acknowledge his communication dated the 14th instant. If Mr. Monk had been aware that the Rev. Brooke Lambert had wished to be consulted as to his absenting himself, he, of course, would have consulted him; but he simply did what he has always done before, even at Rainhill; and the Rev. B. Lambert seems to be unaware that, as a professional man, Mr. Monk can only go away in his vacations; also that, like other people, he requires change of air to help him, to go through half a year's work. Mr. Monk has domestic affairs to keep him at home altogether, but having been unwell, he was forced even to put these aside, and take some relaxation to fit him for his duties when he resumes his practice. If this is not a 'reasonable cause', Mr. Monk is at a loss to know what would be. As to the proper authority, Mr. M. has explained that it was purely a mistake between the Rev. Brooke Lambert and himself. Hr. Monk has offered to have an interview when he returns about some matters he mentioned in a former communication (what they are exactly Mr. M. has no recollection). He cannot do more than this at the present moment. In the meantime, as the Rev. Brook Lambert knows, not the slightest harm is done to his notions, whatever they are. Mr. Monk considers a personal interview much more satisfactory in any misunderstanding than written communications.
Mr. Monk intends returning, if possible, a week earlier than he had made arrangements for, and in any case the Rev. Brooke Lambert will not have to wait long.
Rainhill, Prescot, 18th July 1871
MR. MONK,—I think it is a pity that you have not chosen the less abrupt manner of terminating your work here, which I suggested. However, as you do not think fit to accept my terms, I must abide by the decision conveyed to you in my letter of the 11th. I have taken steps to insert advertisements for an organist in the papers., which will appear on Thursday. You can only dispute my decision by legal proceedings. You will be allowed to enter the church to remove any music or other property which may belong to you personally, but you will not be allowed to officiate either at the practice or at any service.  Brooke Lambert

: It is interesting that Lambert begins and ends his messages without any salutation (eg 'Dear Mr Monks', 'Yours sincerely') and addresses many of his comments as orders ('You will....'), and that Monks writes entirely in the third person!
James Jonathan Monk was born in 1846 and baptized the following year at All Saints Wigan; his father was a draper, of Great Bolton. He was married in 1866 at St George, Everton, described as a professor of music, and two children, Ada Adelaide Agnes and John Reginald Norris were baptized at St Ann's in 1870 and 1874 respectively – which suggests that he managed to remain in office at the church, since Brooke Lambert left within a year. He went through bankruptcy in 1873 (living at the Chatham Street address, and still described as a professor of music).
He had in fact applied for the post at Rainhill in 1863, but instead went to St Mary Magdalene, Finch Street, Liverpool (Musical Times February 1864), and transferred from St John Waterloo (Liverpool, not London) to St Philip Liverpool (Musical World April 1870, describing him as a member of the College of Organists - which had been founded in 1864). He ran a 'private choir', and published a few ballads - Tried and True (1872), Joy will come tomorrow (1872), To music (song 1871), and a 'scena' (with words by the Revd Philip Morris) The Street Arab. So it is perhaps true that his tastes were somewhat theatrical; although there is good precedent – for instance, in the Lutheran tradition – for interpolating 'flourishes' into liturgical texts such as the Kyries, doing so as the sermon text was announced (perhaps as the gas lighting was turned down?) or after the final Amen seems over the top, though the congregation appears to have appreciated it. It would be interesting to know if these practices were found elsewhere, despite Lambert's comments.

Monk (who was no relation of two more famous Monk organists: William Henry (of London, hymn-tune writer) & Edwin George (of York Minster) was still 'in business' on 1892, when he advertised in the Musical News
JAMES J. MONK is prepared to give Post Lessons in Theory, Harmony, Counterpoint, &c. Lessons in Organ, Piano, Harmonium Playing and Singing … Grove Street, Liverpool

Tamworth (1872-80) - freemasonry, and the Social Science Congress

During his time as Vicar of Tamworth Lambert became a freemason [right in regalia] - joining Marmion Lodge (no.1060) in 1873, and becoming its Worshipful Master five years later, and Provincial Grand Master of Staffordshire in 1875, and Provincial Grand Registrar in Royal Arch Masonry in 1878. When he moved back to London he joined four lodges. This might strike the present-day reader as an odd move in the light of his theological background; but should perhaps be seen as an aspect of using his social status to make contacts for doing 'good work'.

He became involved with the English Social Science Congress, later becoming Educational Secretary of the Social Science Association; this report is from The Age, 30 November 1872:

… The opening sermon was preached by the Rev, Brooke Lambert, a venerable-looking clergyman, who has passed many years among the labouring poor of East London, and whose writings evince a strong sympathy for the cause of struggling poverty. It is greatly to the honour of the Social Science Congress that they should have selected such a man, instead of allowing their choice to fall on a bishop or some other high ecclesiastical personage, whose only recommendation was his title. This alone is an indication of progress. The Rev Brooke Lambert belongs to a class of which we cannot have too many. Instead of devoting himself to the frippery of Ritualism, as do many of his clerical brethren, he has given his attention to the great social questions of the day and dealt with them fearlessly from the pulpit, not with the view of setting class against class, but to show how the true interests of all are identical, and that the more the common good of the community is studied, the better will it be for the interests of the individual members. He spoke very strongly respecting the condition of the agricultural labourer:—

He has been robbed, I know not how, of those two great blessings—independence and aspiration. Independence he has none, and he is told that if he asserts it he must expect retaliation. He is told that he lives half on charity, and that if he wishes to be paid full wages that charity will be in the winter withdrawn. (I refer to the statement that he must not expect to be kept on irtwinter unless he is absolutely wanted.) He has no aspiration; there are apprentices, who, like Whittington, have become lord mayors, but who ever heard of a labourer becoming by his farm labour a tenant farmer? He must leave his trade if he wishes to get on in the world. And yet there are men before whose earnest zeal for the good of their fellows—I bow myself in reverence, in deep shame that I can only talk where they have acted —who wish to keep him in this state or at least oppose his efforts to acquire independence. There is my profession, in which there are men before whose saintliness I must cover my face, who would wish to let the labourer learn to obey them that have rule over him at any price, as if the tenderest lips that ever spoke had not hurled denunciations against the rich, as if the prophets of the Old Testament had not found their echo in the fierce words of James of the New. To me there seems a selfishness in preaching to men that there is nothing better for them than to be content with their wages, and to live a sober, decent, life, only to do good to himself and save his own soul. And to me it seems that those who try to gather these labourers into associations in which the fundamental rule is that they shall not consider every man his own, but every man another's wealth, of which the essence is that each shall contribute to a fund for the good of others, and shall at any cost postpone his own advantage to that of the trade at large, preach a higher and a more Christian doctrine.

Language like this is not often heard in the English pulpit—more's the pity. But Mr. Lambert had more to say Gazing earnestly on the crowd of philanthropists, thinkers, legislators, and others that hung attentively on his words, he asked:—

Are we the descendants of the martyrs who gave up all that made life worth living for, that they might further the cause of God? are we the descendants of the heroes who sacrificed all, that they might write the name of England in indelible characters on the parchments of history, to teach men that it is a foolish thing to give up a present advantage for a future good, individual comfort for the welfare of the body? If I have seemed to take a side in the question, it is, believe me, only because I wish to bring out, as I could bring out in no other way, the fact that we are in danger of doing a great wrong to a large class of society, because we cannot put ourselves in their point of view. I have but touched very lightly on a very deep question, but am I wrong in fancying that were He on earth, and I were to ask Him what I was to do for my (agricultural brethren), He would again repeat this parable —for He seldom gave positive directions, but rather enunciated general principles, and bid me, 'Go and do thou likewise'—from the good Samaritan —bid me ask myself whether the sacrifice of caste prejudices might not be the one thing I was to learn in the story?

Social science can do much in calling our attention to evils, but it cannot do all:— It misses its mark if it neglects to take to itself the spirit of Him who spoke this parable, whose life was one long exposition of its moral. And that has been and must be the message of the church through all the ages of the world. Christ consecrating all the powers of speech, of wisdom, of healing, of human sympathy, and divine tenderness, not to win a name for Himself, not to identify Himself with a party, or even a nation, but with humanity itself. That is what we have to preach, to preach it in deed as well as in word, and to pray that the message may not fail because it is delivered by such feeble messengers. You must have often stood before that great picture, Raphael's 'Transfiguration', and wondered at the power he has thrown into the central figure of the group below, the woman pleading with the apostles to heal her son. To me it seems as if that woman who, with disdainful scom, taxes the disciples with imposture since they can do nothing for her maniac child, is a picture of wounded humanity asking for redress of her wrongs. What can the church do but point upwards, as do the apostles in the picture, to the help which is out of sight? Yes, that is all our answer. But as we look to Him the cloud which hides Him from our sight will break, He will again come down among us, and as we ask Him—'Why could we not cast this evil out?' we shall hear Him say—'Because of your unbelief'. Howbeit, this kind goeth not forth but by prayer and fasting. And learning faith in His faith, in man and in God, learning prayer from His lips, learning to deny ourselves after His fashion, we shall go and do likewise.

It does not say much for the English Church that a clergyman like Brooke Lambert, who can speak thus eloquently, should be almost unknown even by name in church annals, and that not until his hairs had become silvered by age, and his body trembling on the verge of the grave, he should be allowed to speak in this bold and fearless manner. If the English Church wishes to remain a power, it must take more heed of its Kingsleys and Brooke Lamberts, and less of its Puseys and Denisons.

Greenwich (1880-1901) - public service

There was much scope for philanthropic work in the ancient royal borough of Greenwich, whose various charities produced an annual income of about £20,000. Boreman’s Educational Foundation, and the Roan Trust, which maintained two large secondary schools, absorbed much of his attention, and he was also chairman of all the Greenwich groups of elementary schools. He was a member of the Greenwich Board of Works and a guardian and chairman of the infirmary committee, and interested himself minutely in the management of the poor law schools, serving on Departmental Committees of Parliament on Poor Law Schools (1894) and Reformatory and Industrial Schools (1895).  In 1883 he helped found the Art for Schools Association, remaining its chairman until 1899. He was also chairman of the Local Centres Association (for university extension) from 1894 to 1900 and vice-chairman of the London University Extension Society from 1898-89. A branch of the Charity Organisation Society was established, and in 1888 he was a member of the Mansion House committee appointed to inquire into distress. He was involved with the Greenwich Provident Dispensary, founded in 1885 by Carlton John Lambert (1844-1921), Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Naval College and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society [what relation?]

He was the first chairman of the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants, remaining in office until his death, and also active in the Association for Befriending Boys, founded in 1898  On 12 April 1884 the Spectator reported an enterprising fundraising venture:
The Rev. Brooke Lambert, Vicar of Greenwich and chairman of the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants, has hit upon a happy expedient for raising funds for that excellent Association. Instead of having a bazaar — for which people make what nobody values in order that other people may buy what nobody wants, all to help an Association which badly needs both time and money, and ought, therefore, to encourage in every way the economy of time and money —  Mr. Brooke Lambert has very wisely organised a course of lectures on Ancient and Modern Charity and its Methods, to be delivered at Kensington Vestry Hall, the profits of which are to be given to the Association. Professor Max Muller is to lecture on Buddhist Charity, Mr. Claude Montefiore on Hebrew Charity, Dr. Stuart Poole on Arab Charity, Rev. John Congreve on The Italian Medieval Charity, and Mrs. S. A. Barnett on Modern English Charity. We observe that the subject of Early Christian Charity has not as yet been given to any one. Could not the translator of Dr. Uhlhorn's valuable book on Christian Charity in the Ancient Church, reviewed in another column, be persuaded to give one of these lectures?

In the parish, he led renvation work on the church. He put the parish council in charge of finance, and consulted it on changes in worship and ritual. They in turn created a fund, in 1888, to augment his stipend by £400.

A final oddity: The Spectator of 31 January 1887 reported that

The Rev. Brooke Lambert, the Vicar of Greenwich, has disinterred and sent to Thursday's Times a very curious entry in the marriage registers of St. Alfege, Greenwich, under the date November 18th, 1685:—John Cooper, of this parish, almsman in Queen Elizabeth's College, aged one hundred and eight years, and Margaret Thomas, of Charlton, in Kent, aged eighty years, by licence of ye Lord Bishop of Rochester and leave of ye Governors of ye Draipers' Company. This marriage must, we should think, have been got up by others than the parties themselves, as a vulgar sort of joke. Even if the ages be a little exaggerated, no sane people of that age would have entered into a tie of this kind on the very brink of the grave. Since the age of Methuselah, if the Methuselah of tradition ever existed, there can hardly have been any such marriage.

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