Page revised 21 August 2001




The Sikes papers at Tolson Memorial Museum, Ravensknowle Park, Huddersfield, are an extremely important source for the history of Huddersfield banking. Preserved among them is the following piece of inconsequential ephemera, an amusing epitaph penned on the death of a Huddersfield bank cashier in 1877.

Released from the cares of a banker's cashier,
The body of Sydney F Battye lies here,
He was clever as cashier - very clever indeed!
That is if we waive all correctness and speed.
Twixt his cash and his book was continued strife.
And to balance the two was the curse of his life.
Now no more with his blunders will cash book clerk fight,
Or be told if he "balance with either 'tis right" -
Yes, alas! he is gone; though we cannot tell where,
For like saint he could pray, and like trooper he could swear.
His religion was sound, yes 'twas quite orthodox
Except when he heard of a fall in his stocks,
If in company where the D---l was a premium commanding
A jovial lieutenant would Battye be standing,
Yet we'll grant, when "Old Nick" was "de trop""
Our friend was quite saintly, and pure as the snow.
Where he's gone we know not, perchance he now revels
Not with angels above, but below with the devils,
Still, being dubious of that, we'll show favour to neither
And confess 'twill be right if he settles with either.

Sydney's problem with his reconciliations is mirrored by uncertainty about his date of birth. An 'In Memoriam' card(1) records that he was born 1 January 1820, whilst his gravestone inscription shows the date as 31 December 1819.

Sydney Fawcett Battye, a younger son of John Battye, a Huddersfield attorney, is noted in the 1871 census as a bank cashier living in Trinity Street. He died 10 March 1877, was buried with his parents in Holy Trinity graveyard and is commemorated on a plaque within the church.

(1) West Yorkshire Archives, Wakefield C296/204.

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