Found below on a Facebook group:
Mr. Charles Sabine was a solicitor and an elder of Oswestry; a philanthropic lawyer, he was considered a genial, courtly old gentleman. Rev. George Cuthbert was the Irish Vicar of St. Oswald’s, who, despite being an Anglican, maintained Calvinistic views that placed him more towards the Plymouth Brethren than the Church of England, but also dressed these views up in an Orthodox Christian way.
One day, in 1854, Mr. Sabine decided to show his maverick approach to religion by playing a practical joke on Rev. Cuthbert, and later told Mr. Owen of this with great glee.
It was a bitterly-cold, snowy Winter’s day, and both Mr. Sabine and Rev. Cuthbert were about to meet each other in passing along the Broadwalk. Mr. Sabine stood by the gateway to St. Oswald’s Church, looking downcast. The following conversation was held between the two gentlemen:-
Sabine: “Ah, good day, Cuthbert. You’re just in time. I’m so glad to have met you.”
Cuthbert: “Well, friend, what’s the matter?”
Sabine: “Why, I’ve just come from a scene of misery and desolation such as I have seldom before witnessed. Fancy, in this Christian country, and in weather like this, two poor old people without a particle off food or fuel, both kneeling in the attitude of prayer before a bear table, apparently their sole article of furniture! I assure you the stony gaze of that poor old couple will not soon be forgotten by me.”
Cuthbert: “Is it possible? And pray, who are these two poor unfortunates?”
Sabine: “Mr. and Mrs. Yale.”
Mr. Sabine said that last response in a stage whisper, before hurrying away to leave Rev. Cuthbert in a brown study. Finally, the good Reverend resolved to help the Yales in any way he can. The only problem was – he didn’t know who they were. He walked up and down each street in the Town Centre, knocking on door, after door, after door, enquiring as to the Yales’ address. Perhaps he was unaware of Yale Cottages, which once existed behind his very church, where Mr. Stooge would live in his childhood days. Sadly, the Reverend was unfortunate as not one single Burgess knew who the Yales were.
It was only when he returned to his Church, and stared up at Yale’s Monument while collecting his thoughts, that he noticed the similarities between Mr. Sabine’s story and the Monument. Rev. Cuthbert suddenly realised he had been had.
Co-Admin., Hidden Oswestry
‘Personal Reminiscences of Oswestry, Fifty Years Ago [More or Less]’ [Pages 16, 24 & 39], by Thomas Owen (1904)