Ralph Malbon

Ralph Malbon`s period of office was from 1698 to 1721, he was chosen in a hotly disputed election by a small majority of the Corporation and in opposition to the wishes of the incumbent, the rector of Astbury. His opponents objected on the grounds that he was not of sufficient status, being the son of a local feltmaker, he was not properly qualified having not finished his degree at Cambridge, and that he was too young. He was 27. He had been made Deacon and Curate on 8th September 1698 and immediately appointed to Congleton chapel. He was later appointed schoolmaster, combining the two roles for 9 years. He was made an honorary freeman of the borough in 1702.

In spite of the national upheavals as the monarchy changed from William III to Queen Anne and then to George I during his ministry the congregation appears to have flourished: in 1703 and in 1705 the Corporation added galleries to the chapel to provide more seats. The latter he initially offered to finance, but were later sold to raise funds. During his ministry three people made notable donations to the chapel: Thomas Higginbotham, gent of Buglawton, Sir Peter Shakerly, Lord of the Manor, and “W. S.” , one at least in recognition of Malbon`s service. The earliest registers for the chapel date from the last few years of his time in office. Also from his ministry we have the arms of William III. The grammar school made similar progress and in 1719 he wrote a book describing the curriculum and method of teaching which he had devised for the school. A year before the end of his ministry the six bells were recast by Rudhalls of Gloucester.

The inventory taken after his death showed that he lived in a good sized old fashioned hall house of two floors, and he had a collection of books worth £50 in his study. He loaned money, being owed £377 when he died. Together with his £60 in ready money and clothes his wealth was over £560.

His will, dated 10th September 1721, when he was 50 years old made his wife, Margaret, his executrix and sole heir. He died two months later on the 11th of November leaving his wife and six children.

His grave is in the churchyard, on the south side of church, he has no other memorial.

The remains of RALPH MALBON / Clerk minister of Congleton / were laid underneath who
died / Novbr 9th 1721 aged 50 and of / MARGARET his widow who / died Decbr 30th 1765
aged 84 / Near them also are interred / RALPH their son who died Decbr / 18th 17*4 aged 21
and ELIZABETH / their daughter who died Octbr / 15th 1743 aged 25 & JOHN their son /
apothecary who died July 12th / 1756 aged 47 and WILLIAM / their son apothecary who died / Augt 19th 1763 aged 44.