Monday, 19 August 2013

Rectory Reminiscences

From the local magazine, date unknown.

The Old Rectory has many memories.  Jack Archer, in this article on the buildings of Highworth, remembers who lived there.

According to the church records, the Old Rectory was a vicarage in the year 1721 and most likely before that.  In about 1899, a Squire Hambridge lived there, the vicarage then being at Hill View (another local house).  After Squire Hambridge, the two Miss Hambridges, Minnie and Amelia, lived there.  They always sat in the front pew at church in view of the choir boys, who dared not speak during the sermon.

The First

Many people have asked me if I can remember how many vicars I have known during my lifetime.  The first was Canon Stevens who lived at Hill View and served in the First World War as a Chaplain and gave great comfort to the families who had suffered sad losses during the war.

When he left, Canon Wrangham came to live at the Vicarage.  He was a most likeable man and very kind to his parishioners.  After he left, the parish had a very sporting person in the Reverend Clarke Kennedy who was very keen on hunting.  Unfortunately, he was killed while out riding.

The Reverend Mr Webb then took over the ministry and again we had a very keen sportsman, rugby being his favourite sport.  He had played as an amateur international for England.  At the formation of the Local Defence Volunteers, he was one of the first in H-------- to join and when the Home Guard came into being, he was chaplain to the H--------- company.  After the war, Webb took over another parish and again we had another sporting parson in the Reverend Byron Thomas who was a very good cricketer.


We were sorry when he left to take over a larger parish.  The Reverend Mr Burnley came to live at the Vicarage.  He was of a different nature, being a splendid scholar and he could read Latin and had a good delivery of speech.  After a fairly long stay, he decided to take over a smaller parish and his successor was Mr Phillips who did everything he could for his parishioners.


When Reverend Mr Philips left, we had Reverend Mr Richard Dent, a very likeable personality.  He was a qualified solicitor and helped many of the parishioners with problems requiring his knowledge.  He was the last vicar to live at the Vicarage.

Not much about the building sadly but plenty on previous residents.  And this picture.  Sorry about the quality but it gives an impression.

And then yesterday, we received this photo, taken in 1985, before it became a business.

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