Herford, Brooke (DNB12)
HERFORD, BROOKE (1830–1903), unitarian divine, born at Altrincham, Cheshire, on 21 Feb. 1830, was eighth child of John Herford, and younger brother of William Henry Herford [q. v. Suppl. II for account of parents]. From the school of John Relly Beard [q. v.] he entered in his fourteenth year the Manchester counting-house of his father, a wine merchant and insurance agent. Six months in Paris at the age of sixteen gave him a command of French. He engaged in Sunday school work, and the influence of Phihp Pearsall Carpenter [q. v.] made him a teetotaler. He began to prepare for the Unitarian ministry, this purpose being strengthened by the iiafluence of Travers Madge, whose life he afterwards wrote. In Sept. 1848 he entered Manchester New College (then at Manchester, now at Oxford) j there his proficiency was conspicuous; but preaching was even more to him than scholastic attainment : he did missionary work in vacations, and as the college authorities refused to sanction his combining with his studies a regular engagement as preacher at Todmorden, he withdrew to become (February 1851) the settled minister there, and married soon after. From Todmorden he removed in January 1856 to Upper Chapel, Sheffield, including with his pastorate much missionary work in both Sheffield (leading to the formation of the Upperthorpe congregation) and Rotherham, and in Yorkshire and Derbyshire villages. Hence, in 1859, he was appointed missionary tutor to the Unitarian Home Missionary Board (now College) in Manchester, and added this engagement to his Sheffield work. In 1861 he was one of the founders and editors of the 'Unitarian Herald,' and in 1862 he began the publication of 'Home Pages,' a popular series of religious tracts. Economy of time combined with sagacious method enabled him to get through an enormous amount of strenuous labour. The success of his Sheffield ministry was largely based upon his intelligent sympathy with the working classes; his lecture to them on 'Trade Outrages' (1861) was a striking example of plain and wise speaking. His sermons were not rhetorical, but clear and devout, and 'packed with good sense' (Cuckson). In November 1864 he succeeded Beard in the ministry of New Bridge Street chapel, Strangeways, Manchester, accepting the call on condition that seat rents and subscriptions should be abolished, and the minister's stipend be dependent on an offertory; the experiment so long as Herford remained was successful. On the death of John Harland [q. v.] in 1868, Herford undertook the completion of the new edition of Baines' 'Lancashire,' travelling up and down the county in search of particulars, to the detriment of his health. The second and last volume, which appeared in 1870 (4to), is by Herford; the edition is superseded by the improved edition by James Croston (1886-93, 5 vols. 4to).
Herford visited the United States in 1875, and removed thither later in the same year on a call to the Church of the Messiah, Chicago, where he ministered from January 1876 to July 1882. He had declined in 1881 a call to Cambridge, Massachusetts, but now accepted one to Arlington Street church, Boston (the scene of Channing's labours); here he remained till January 1892. In America his powerful and genial personality found scope for abundant activities. He was chairman of the council of the American unitarian conference (1889-91), became preacher in 1891 to Harvard University, and received its degree of D.D. in June 1891. Herford returned to England in February 1892 in order to succeed Thomas Sadler [q. v.] in the ministry of Rosslyn Hill chapel, Hampstead. This, his last ministry, was full of vigour. He put new Hfe into the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, doubling its income, and acting as its president (1898-9). In June 1901 he retired from active duty, and was presented with a testimonial of over 3000l. Herford's position in his denomination was that of an open-minded and warm-hearted conservative, especially in Bibhcal matters; his relations with members of other churches and of no church were extremely cordial. He died at Hampstead on 20 Dec. 1903. He married on 22 June 1852 Hannah (d. April 1901), daughter of William Hankinson, of Hale, Cheshire, and had issue three sons and six daughters. His third son, Oliver (Brooke) Herford, is well known in America as author of ironical prose and poetry, illustrated by himself.
In addition to a multitude of sermons, tracts, and a few good hymns, Herford published: 1. ‘Travers Madge: a Memoir,’ 1867, 12mo; 3rd edit. 1868. 2. ‘The Story of Religion in England: a Book for Young Folk,’ 1878. 3. ‘The Forward Movement in Religious Thought as interpreted by Unitarians,’ 1895. 4. ‘Brief Account of Unitarianism,’ 1903. Posthumously published were: 5. ‘Anchors of the Soul,’ 1904 (sermons, with biographical sketch by Philip Henry Wicksteed, and portrait). 6. ‘Eutychus and his Relations,’ 1905 (sketches reprinted from the ‘Unitarian Herald’).
[Memoir by John Cuckson, 1904 (three portraits); biographical sketch by P. H. Wicksteed, 1904 (portrait); Roll of Students, Manchester New College, 1868; C. S. Grundy, Reminiscences of Strangeways U.F. Church, 1888; G. E. Evans, Record of Provincial Assembly, Lanc. and Chesh., 1896; J. E. Manning, Hist. of Upper Chapel, Sheffield, 1900; Julian, Dict. of Hymnology, 1907, p. 1718.]