Brayshaw’s latter years were marred by a deteriorating relationship with the Revd Theodore P. Brocklehurst, vicar of Giggleswick from 1900 to 1933, who seemed to have been a law unto himself and a flagrant breaker of Anglican rules and regulations. Brayshaw gives plenty of evidence of Brocklehurst’s questionable behaviour in the Red Book. Brayshaw began his criticisms of Brocklehurst almost from the beginning of the latter’s ministry in 1900, but crisis point came in 1920 with the publication of the Rev Dr J.C. Cox’s book The Parish Church of Giggleswick in Craven introduced by the vicar, the Rev Theodore P Brocklehurst, while the preface was written by a Rev G.H. Brown, who comments, amongst other things, that “it was time that the story of the ancient church be put into worthy and appropriate shape”. When one considers that Thomas Brayshaw had been writing pamphlets, booklets, articles and tracts on the church’s history since the 1880s, it is not surprising he was furious. He wrote a long letter to the Craven Herald (copy in the church archives) in which he criticises Dr Cox’s book from cover to cover. The book however, hit Brayshaw at his weakest point. He had no experience of organising his material and writing it down in large book form. Relations with Brocklehurst appear to have deteriorated so much that on his death in 1931, Thomas Brayshaw was not buried in the family grave in St Alkelda’s church yard, but in Holy Ascension’s church yard in Settle.
Today, Thomas Brayshaw is most famous as co-author with Ralph Robinson, of the book A History of the Ancient Parish of Giggleswick, published after Brayshaw’s death in 1932. Brayshaw not only was a great collector of written, typed and visual items of local interest, he had a remarkable eye for anything he came across which had anything to do with the history and archaeology of the ancient parish of Giggleswick, its people and its church. His talent for collecting was common knowledge in the neighbourhood and an amazing amount of material was gifted to him by others. No doubt his reputation, popularity and professional background as a solicitor were great aids to him in this respect. He wrote plenty of pamphlets and articles himself, copies of which went into his collection. One gets the impression from his style that Brayshaw may have been an inveterate collector of historical material and writer of tracts and pamphlets, but he was not equipped to write a large book on his own. In the Red Book, material, composed of private letters, formal documents, type -written tracts, a selection of church magazines, extracts of Brayshaw’s privately published Notes on Giggleswick Church, articles from Giggleswick School’s Chronicle, press cuttings, posters, drawings and photographs etc. , is not always in chronological order. The pages however, are numbered and that certainly is an advantage. It is still too easy to miss an item after even several readings. That there is a newspaper cutting recording the Rev Theodore Brocklehurst’s death which took place after Brayshaw’s, indicates that there was at least one other, apart from Brayshaw, who added to the contents of the Red Book.
After Brayshaw’s death, it was left to Ralph Robinson, a professional writer and author, to select and organise from the formidable mass of the Brayshaw collection, appropriate material to create a large book to suit the occasion. A History of the Ancient Parish of Giggleswick soon became a best seller amongst the local population and further afield. Today, it is the most quoted in current publications on the history of the ancient parish and its church, much more so than its earlier, slighter rival, J.C. Cox’s The Parish Church of Giggleswick in Craven although this needs to be studied alongside A History of the Ancient Parish of Giggleswick, especially for the Finchale Priory records relating to Giggleswick Church in chapter 2. A History of the Ancient Parish of Giggleswick is Ralph Robinson’s great achievement as it is also Thomas Brayshaw’s. To give Ralph Robinson equal prominence with Thomas Brayshaw may come as a surprise. A History of the Ancient Parish of Giggleswick contains a number of quotations from “Mr Brayshaw’s Collection”, making it clear that it was Ralph Robinson who was the author and editor, and Thomas Brayshaw, the chief supplier of material.
Brayshaw was not a trained historian. He limited himself to drawing conclusions almost entirely within the context of his own parish. He was also limited in some of his judgements by the conservatism of his rationalist churchmanship, which seemed to have more of the characteristics of an 18th century deist Anglican like that of one of his own heroes, Archdeacon William Paley, who like Brayshaw, was educated at Giggleswick School where his father was headmaster. William Paley was a famous 18th century theologian and philosopher, whose firm belief was certainly in Christ as Redeemer and Saviour, but who described God as the supreme Designer responsible for a rational, smooth running universe. His thesis was later challenged by Darwin’s theory of natural selection.