Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Ceremonial trowel used in 1895 foundation stone-laying ceremony for Heaton Baptist Chapel is found in Irish antique shop
A historic building tool dating back to the laying of a foundation stone at Heaton Baptist Chapel in 1895 has been returned to the village.
Margaret Gray, of the Heaton Graveyard Community Project, said she was “delighted” at the discovery, which came after a woman mentioned to her husband she had seen the item – with an inscription on it relating to Heaton Baptist Chapel – in an antique shop when she was on holiday in Northern Ireland.
Mrs Gray found out the name of the shop and arranged for the tool to be sent back to Heaton as a memento of the history of the chapel, which has since been demolished and replaced with a smaller building.
“It arrived yesterday, I’m really, really excited about it,” she said.
According to the inscription the trowel was presented to Samuel Crabtree – who was believed to have lived at Well Springs, Heaton – after he laid a foundation stone at the chapel.
Mrs Gray said through her research she had found out Mr Crabtree was a member of a relatively wealthy textile family, chairman of Heaton Board, and a prominent member of the Baptist chapel. “He was very involved with the funding for the building of the chapel and many other organisations with the village,” she said.
The silver-plated implement has a silver cuff and what is believed to be an ivory handle.
She said she would be interested to hear from anyone who might have information about how the trowel had got from Heaton to Northern Ireland.
“What a find, I am thrilled to find such an artefact,” she said. “I have a photograph of the laying of the foundation stone, but previously I had no idea who the gentleman with the top hat was, but now I do, it was Mr Crabtree.”
Mrs Gray said the trowel would be on display at the graveyard project’s open day on Saturday, September 1.
Anyone with information about the trowel can phone Mrs Gray on (01535) 274298.