R. Rayner Clark, as he preferred to be called, was a well known and respected organist at several churches in Salford.
He was born in Pendleton in 1871 and attended Brindle Heath Schools. When he was 8 years old he played at the first church service at Irwell Street Methodist Chapel. He was to play organ for a number of churches including St. Clements, Chorlton, Pendleton Congregational, St. James Hope (for over 20 years) and at St Thomas's Church, Pendleton. Robert was a prominent Freemason and a member of St. John's Lodge. He lived on Edmund Street Seedley.
The funeral took place at St. Thomas's Parish Church, Pendleton on 15th April 1930, conducted by the *Reverend Samuel Proudfoot, followed by interment at Weaste Cemetery. He was 58 years old.
*Rev Samuel Proudfoot came to St Thomas's in 1921. He was born in Carlisle and baptised a Congregationalist. He became one of the new breed of churchmen who veered away from the Church of England's "Conservative Party at prayer" image. He began active church life as a lay worker at St Andrew's Droylsden and then trained for the priesthood at Scholae Episcopli, which trained men of limited means. He became Curate to Hewlett Johnson, (the "Red Dean"), in Dunham Massey.
On becoming Vicar of St. Thomas's in 1921, he formed the Pendleton Men's Fellowship and a number of other social groups for discussion and teaching. In 1931 he was prompted to write "the vast question of housing wherein the casting condition make it nearly impossible for anyone to live a life which is truly Christian, the slums – slaying its thousands whilst the most earnest priests hardly keep the units. Church people (as many others), finding that large houses do not "pay", let them to as many as forty people and thereby procure sometimes as much as £30 a week for £2 of £3 rent. I oppose the law which allows it; I oppose the sweated wages, the brualising conditions so many are subjected to and other kindred evils in the name and by the power of Christ". He died as Vicar of St Thomas's in 1933.