Humphrey Chetham Statue

In Manchester Cathedral is a statue to one of the town’s most generous sons. Humphrey Chetham, after whom the famous music school is named, served as High Sheriff of Lancashire in the turbulent years of the 1630s. The school he founded with his enormous wealth he gained as a successful cloth merchant was intended to ‘overcome poverty by curing ignorance’. He also founded the oldest free public reference library in the English-speaking world, for the education of "the sons of honest, industrious and painful parents".

Although his views of poverty are the likely product of his age, seeing the impoverished as victims of their own vices than the society around them, his legacy lives on. Manchester Cathedral is no longer, in my humble opinion, a place of spiritual light where the real gospel is shared and propagated, but the place does right to honour one who did. We live in an age of relative plenty, and certainly of greater education and literacy. Yet of spiritual truth we are as ignorant as our pagan ancestors who worshipped stones and pieces of wood. I pray God raises up more Chethams in Lancashire.

He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. Ps 112:9