Revd. Ralph Emmerson 1913 – 2007
Suffragan Bishop of Knaresborough
Educated at Leeds Grammar School, Ralph Emmerson initially worked for Leeds Education Authority before obeying the call to study ordination into the church at King’s College London.
His later appointment as Suffragan Bishop of Knaresborough was historically awarded to former priests of St Oswald’s Methley.
Arriving at the village as curate in 1948 and already being perceived as a potential high riser in the church given his dynamic first experience at the parish of Seacroft in Leeds. The later position of Rector was the second such posting of three parishes where he was incumbent.
During his charge on becoming Rector his organisational skills enabled him to conjoin the existing two parishes of Methley and Mickletown.
His love of sport and already proven experience in the game of cricket, allowed his natural talent to communicate and also blend in with all, including the tail gate rippers and deputies at Savile pit.
His introduction in 1949 into the Methley cricket team had an immediate effect when he took the bowling prize with 33 wickets at a rate of 10.06 runs per wicket, standing out as he did with his individual white cap. Continuing, in the year 1951 the Rector took the batting prize and was now an important member of the side. 1952 saw him elected as vice-captain when he again succeeded to win the batting prize. Finally and deservedly he was elected club captain in 1954 where once again he led the batting averages.
1956 sadly saw the end of Ralph Emmerson’s association with Methley CC when he took up an appointment as vicar of Headingley (He surely must have engineered that one!). He departed as an all round club cricketer who would be greatly missed it was claimed as he was presented with a leaving gift.
My reflections go back to the garden parties held in the rectory grounds with the Rector showing me how to attract visitors to part with their money in order to throw wooden balls at bottles (in place of coconuts) stacked on shelves in the vacant triple garage.
Even an inexperienced adolescent like me could tell that the man was able to communicate and succeed with all he came into contact with. I was able to work that out when he introduced me along with others to confirmation lessons in 1955 culminating in bishopric confirmation at St John the Evangelist’s Oulton.
Ralph Emmerson left the parish of Methley in 1966 moving onto a higher plane (no, not that one) a bit nearer to HQ. That’s the trouble, you get a decent centre forward/leg spinner and they go and transfer them elsewhere above your head.