The Rev A H Austen-Leigh
The Life and Times of Arthur Henry AustenThis page is still under development and will continue to be revised from time-to-time.
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Rev Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh, Rector of Winterbourne 1875-1890 has always been something of an enigma in this Gloucestershire village, for he documented much of the life of Winterbourne but left little information about himself.
This history draws together information from many sources and will be revised from time-to-time during on-going research.
We acknowledge the generous help of:
Deirdre Le Faye
Joanna Bailey, Winterbourne Parish Records
Ray Bulmer, Frenchay Museum Archives
Peter Delaney, Wargrave Local History Society
Mrs S M Farley, Hampshire Record Office
Penelope Hatfield, Eton College Archives
Denise Hope, Meran, Italy
Pauline and Patrick Currie, Suffolk
John Bosher, Vancouver BC
Gabriel Lyneham, Lambeth Palace Library
Kelly McDonald, Vermont USA
Mark Priddey, Oxford Record Office
Michael Riordan, St John's Oxford College Archives
Christine Seabridge, Rolls-Royce Technical Library
The British Library
The English Cricket Board
Wargrave Branch, Royal British Legion
Sussex County Cricket Club
Dr CHB Elliot
History of Winterbourne
The Book of Wargrave
Rosemary Gray, Sue Griffiths
Alumni Oxoniensis: the members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886
Alumni Cantabrigiensis: a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge
J A Venn
Register of Admissions to King's College Cambridge, 1797-1925
St John's College Biographical Register, 1775-1875
Mrs V Sillery (1987)
The Oxford Ten-Year Book
Crockford's Clerical Directory
Winterbourne Parish Registers
A potted Family HistoryOur Rector was born Arthur Henry Austen (Leigh was added a year later!), a great-nephew of Jane Austen, and his family history really begins in the 1700s.. (return via your browser back button)
James Leigh when age 21 was bequeathed the estate of his great-uncle Thomas Perrot so changed his name to Leigh Perrot. James Leigh Perrot married Jane Cholmeley but there were no children. He died in 1817.
Cassandra Leigh married Rev George Austen (Rector of Steventon).
They had eight children, including Jane Austen and James Austen.
Rev James Austen married Mary Lloyd and had two children:
Caroline Austen born 1805 (author of "My Aunt Jane Austen") and James Edward Austen born 1798 (author of "A Memoir of Jane Austen")
All of this is well-documented in the "Book of Wargrave" and by Deirdre Le Faye in "A Chronology of Jane Austen and her Family 1600-2000".
Jane's nephew James Edward Austen married Emma Smith on 16 December 1828 when he was 30 years old.
Kelly McDonald of Vermont, USA is carrying out some fascinating research on the life of Emma Smith. Her #firstname.lastname@example.org is well worth visiting.
They lived at Tring Park, and James Edward Austen was curate of the local church. Their first children were born at Tring: Cholmeley, born 26 September 1829, Emma Cassandra born 24 May 1831, and Charles Edward on 30 June 1832.
The family then moved from Tring park to Speen in Berkshire.
Spencer was born at Speen on 17 February 1834.
Their fourth son was Arthur Henry Austen born 28 February 1836 also at Speen. Kelly McDonald thinks it is probable that he was named after his two uncles, Arthur Currie (husband of Charlotte Smith) and Henry Wilder (husband of Augusta Smith).
Here's a copy of his birth certificate, which shows that he wasn't born Austen-Leigh. He came into the world as plain Arthur Henry Austen!
Henry Majendie, who signed the copy, was a friend to James Edward Austen.
Mamma made copious notes about family life. Arthur Henry Austen appears among over 51 names in a list of "Mamma's Grandchildren".
Elder brother Cholmeley Austen, (Amy)Emma Austen, Charles Edward Austen, Spencer Austen, Mary-Augusta Austen-Leigh and Edward Compton Austen-Leigh are amongst the other grandchildren listed here.
When Jane Leigh Perrot died in 1836, James Edward Austen inherited the Leigh-Perrot estates, including the family home "Scarlets". He took the name Leigh at the last request of Aunt Leigh Perrot, preferring Austen-Leigh to Leigh-Austen. The family moved to "Scarlets" in 1837 when Arthur Henry was only one year old, and this is when he became known as Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh.
Courtesy "The Book of Wargrave"
It seems that Spencer Austen may have been renamed Spencer Leigh in January 1837 when he was 3 years old.
The rest of the children were born at "Scarlets":
Mary Augusta was the first Austen-Leigh, born on 2 February 1838 and Edward Compton was the first male Austen-Leigh, born 1 May 1839; Augustus was born 17 July 1840; George Raymond 20 December 1841 but he died at "Scarlets" on 4 July 1842 and was buried at Knowl Hill. William, the youngest of the ten children was born on 11 May 1843.
EducationJames Edward taught all the boys Latin and Greek daily for half-hour before breakfast and two hours after. Emma taught them mathematics, and they had a tutor for other subjects.
Arthur Henry went to Cheltenham in 1849 at 13, where he won a maths prize.
The Bishop offered James Edward the Parish of Bray, one of the richest livings in the Diocese, and the family moved to Bray at the end of 1853.
Oxford College DaysArthur Henry matriculated at Balliol College Oxford on 30 May 1855 and in 1857 won a Craven Scholarship.
His entries in the Oxford Ten-Year Book are as follows:
From the class lists:
University Scholarships. 1857 Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh; Balliol.] ]Fellow of St.John's
Term Mich.1858 In Literis Humanioribus CLASSIS II Leigh, Arthur H.A.Balliol. Fellow of St.John's
Term Mich.1859 In Jurisprudentia et Hist.Mod CLASSIS I Leigh, Arthur H.A.St.John's
He was in the college rowing eight.
Austen-Leigh Arthur H. Balliol Craven Scholar 1857
In 1857 Arthur Henry played First-Class cricket for "The Gentlemen of England" and for "The Gentlemen of Berkshire" 1860-1872. He came from a famous cricketing family - all the Austen boys were notable scholars and won cricketing blues. His father, James Edward, often took the family to take part in matches such as Maidenhead v. eleven Leighs. James Edward was unable to play himself due to bad eyesight.
Here are the career statistics for Arthur Henry and his older brother Spencer (later Chairman of Sussex County Cricket Club)
Arthur Leigh He played for "The Gentlemen of England" in 1857. His record is given as: Arthur Henry Austen Leigh Born: 28 February 1836, Speen, Berkshire Died: 29 July 1917, Reading, Berkshire Major Teams: Gentlemen of England. Known As: Arthur Leigh Career Statistics: FIRST-CLASS (1857 - 1857) M I NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct St Batting & Fielding 1 1 0 34 34 34.00 0 0 0 0 O M R W Ave BBI 5 10 SR Econ Bowling - - - - - - - - - - Spencer Leigh Spencer Austen Leigh Born: 17 February 1834, Speen, Newbury, Berkshire Died: 9 December 1913, Frog-Firle, Alfriston, Sussex Major Teams; Sussex. Known As: Spencer Leigh Also Known As: changed name from Spencer Austen in January 1837 Batting Style: Right Hand Bat Career Statistics: FIRST-CLASS (1857 - 1866) M I NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct St Batting & Fielding 13 21 2 209 42 11.00 0 0 4 0 R W Ave BBI 5 10 Bowling 14 1 14.00 1-9 0 0
It is reported that a man travelled from Bristol to see Spencer in action as he had a reputation for making centuries.
Arthur Henry was awarded his BA (2Hons Lit Hum, 1st Law) in 1859 and became a Fellow of St John's College.
The 1861 census shows that Arthur Henry, now aged 25, was living at 1 Frogfirle just south of Alfriston in East Sussex with an aunt, Caroline Austen, aged 55, and brothers Charles (28), Spencer (27) and Edward Compton (21). They had five servants, including a groom and his wife.
His brother Cholmeley married Melesina Mary Chenevix Trench on 7 January 1864 in Westminster Abbey.
Arthur Henry became a deacon 18 December 1864 and a priest in 21 December at Church of Christ, Marylebone.
Arthur Henry's College Testimonial
courtesy Oxford Record Office
Revessedo admodum in Christo Patri Samueli Diocesis Nomine in Episcopo Cum Arturus Henricus Austen-Leigh A.B. Collegii divi Joannis Baptista Socius diaco- natus ordinem ambiens, literas nostras testi- monales de vita sua laudabili morumque probitate concedi sibi petient, nos ex personali nostra scientia testamur praedictum Arturum Henricum Austen-Leigh, quamdiu apud nos commoratus est pie sobrie et honeste vitam suam instituisse: quod vero ad religionem spec- tat, quantum scimus aut conjiciendo assequi possumus, cum nihil unquam scripsisse, docuisse vel tenuissi nisi quod Ecclesia Angli- cana approbat ac tuetur. In cujus rei testimonium sigillum quo in hac parte uti consuevimus affiscimus et manus nostras masentibus apposuimus Coll D Jo.Bapt xxxxxxx Novembris die 15o 1864 P Wyntor, Praes Edwardus Palin S.T.B Henricus L Mansel S.T.B Jacobus B Gray, A.M. Art:Deo: F A Powys S.T.B: Art:Deo: which translates roughly as:
To the very Reverend Father in Christ, Samuel, in the Episcopal name of the Diocese: Since Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh, B A, Fellow of the College of John the Baptist, is seeking deaconal orders, and they want our testimonial letters concerning his praiseworthy life and the honesty of his manners to be handed on, we, from our personal knowledge, testify that the aforementioned Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh, for as long as he stayed with us, conducted his life conscientiously, soberly and honestly; in his attitude to religion, to the extent that we can know and understand through taking counsel, he never wrote anything, taught anything or held any view, except what the Church of England approves and upholds. As we are accustomed as our proof in this matter, we make our mark and put our signatures to the aforementioned testimony in this place. Coll D Jo.Bapt xxxxxxx Novembris die 15o 1864 P Wyntor, Praes Edwardus Palin S.T.B Henricus L Mansel S.T.B Jacobus B Gray, A.M. Art:Deo: F A Powys S.T.B: Art:Deo:
He was awarded his MA in 1866, and became a curate 28 June 1867 at Bray (his father's parish)
The 1871 census showed Arthur Henry living at his father's vicarage in Bray with brothers Edward Compton and William and in September 1871, Arthur Henry and the two brothers went to the famous spa town of Meran in Hungary. They stayed at Hotel Erzherzog Johann.
Postcard view of Meran, Hungary.
Postcard of Hotel Erzherzog Johann, where the Austen-Leigh brothers stayed.
During Sept 1871 the following clergymen were also in Meran:
Rev J H Dundass, staying at Hotel Hassfurther
Rev Temple and family, staying at Hotel Hassfurther
Rev Edward Seymour of Dublin, staying at the Hotel Erzherzog Johann.
Rev Edward Sanderson of London, staying at Erzherzog Johann.
Rev W Brookes, an English vicar from Hyeres in France, staying at Erzherzog Johann.
Mr John Haiman, priest
Other English guests at Erzerzog Johann during September 1871
Mr Ch T Mitchell, lawyer
Mr Ch J Neal, of Kingsdon
Mr Walker Woodhouse
Mr W Jerdene Braikenridge
Mr William Slater, Notary
Mr Edward Henry Hamp, solicitor, Bedford
Mrs and Miss Hunt, Surrey
Mrs Peck, Miss Ada Drew, and Julius C Drew
Capt and Mrs Humphreys
Postcard view of the Winter Promenade.
At the time, Edward Compton was an Assistant Master at Eton. The half started before the end of September so Edward Compton could not have been there for a TB cure. So were they all taking the Italian Grand Tour? Was it a convenient stop on the way home from somewhere else in Italy? Was he carrying out some function for the Anglican Community in Meran? Was he working with the SPG?
Or was it to visit someone else taking the cure? In the Meran Evangelical Cemetery is buried George Hodgson Wayte, and like Edward Compton and William was an Eton and King's College Cambridge man!
But the link appears to be that George's brother William Wayte was Assistant Master at Eton 1853-1875, during EC AL's time as Assistant Master. So current research is exploring that they may have planned to meet up in Meran with William Wayte and George Hodgson Wayte. The entries for September 1871 in the diary of his father James Edward or the diary of his mother Emma (Hampshire Record office 23M93/86/1/ and 23M93/87/1/1) may hold the answer.....
Arthur Henry is mentioned in the Ecclesiastical Gazette 1871 p176.
Arthur Henry's BD was awarded the following year in 1872.
His father James Edward died 8 September 1874.
Nomination to Winterbourne1875 was Arthur Henry's final year as Fellow of St John's College, Oxford.
St John's College bought the advowson of Winterbourne in 1773. This gave them the right to appoint the Rector of the parish when there was a vacancy and it was normal in these circumstances to give preference to any Fellow of the College who wished to have the appointment.
This interesting snippet was found in the Victorian County Histories:
but as the source of this ancient article about the history of Winterbourne church has been discredited (transBGAS vol. 98 1980, 95-97) further advice was sought. The archivist at St John's College explained that when a college living became vacant it was offered to fellows of the college (who could marry once they left the college) in order of seniority. By the late nineteenth century reforms at Oxford meant that the fellows did not always take up the livings and so they were offered to former members of the college who were in Holy Orders.
St. John's College, Oxford, are Patrons who always present the oldest Batchelor to the Living.
His nomination by the College Fellows as Rector of Winterbourne was recorded in St John's College Register in scant detail. In the minutes of a meeting of the Fellows on 14 October 1875, the College Register simply records that Austen-Leigh was nominated to the Rectory. He was present at the meeting and didn't talk on the subject - so presumably it was a ratification of an earlier decision.
Mr A Leigh nomind to Winterbourn Mr Austen Leigh was nominated to the Rectory of Winterbourn. (vacant by the death of Mr F Burges)
Arthur Henry and Frank Burges probably knew each other as their fellowships overlapped, so Arthur Henry may well have known about Winterbourne. However, he may not have wanted the post at Winterbourne in particular. It may be that he wished to resign his fellowship for a well-paid living (it is likely that the attached stipend made it impossible to continue as a Fellow of the College). The college owned many livings, and it may be that Winterbourne was sufficiently rich and became vacant at the right time for him. Kelly's Directory for 1870 valued the living as £845:
The living is a rectory, yearly value £845, with residence and 90 acres of glebe land, in the gift of St John's College, Oxford, and held by the Rev Frank Burges, BD, of St John's College, Oxford
The minutes also record a dispute between the College and Bristol Grammar School:
Trustees of the Bristol School. A correspondence between the President and the Charity Trustees of Bristol Grammar School, on the subject of the Examination for the Bristol Scholarship, having been read, Fr Adams moved, and it was agreed, "that the College shall "only acknowledge the receipt of the protests of the Trustees "and the Headmaster of Bristol School"
St John's College Oxford was founded by Sir Thomas White in 1555 and he decreed in the College Statutes that two fellowships were to be reserved for boys from Bristol Grammar School, who became fellows as soon as they matriculated at Oxford. This custom continued until 1881.
A newspaper cutting about Arthur Henry's nomination to Winterbourne was found amongst the papers of his mother, Emma, annotated in her hand "from "The Guardian" October 20 1875":
Ecclesiastical Intelligence PREFERMENTS AND APPOINTMENTS. Rev. A. H. Austen-Leigh, B.D., Fellow of St John's College, Oxford; Rector of Winterbourne, Gloucestershire. Patrons, the President and Fellows of St John's.
Arthur Henry wrote this letter to his Aunt Caroline in May 1875 describing an unsuccessful attempt to trace some family history. At the end he mentions what is probably a reference to his nomination to Winterbourne.
18 Radnor Place
May 28. 1875
My dear Aunt Caroline
I have been staying for
a day or two with the L.Cures
in Essex, & on my way back I
thought I would stop at Epping
search the Registers & Monuments
myself to see if I could find
out anything more about
Mr Lloyd, or rather his wife.
My researches were not crowned
with much success, & all
memory of the family had long
"faded from the circle of the
hills"; so that not even the
old clerk of 80 years & upwards
retained any the tradition of an
incumbency that terminated
more than 100 yrs ago. The Church,
with its old red brick tower, & in
part with very old oak seats,
the red sounding board over
the pulpit, seemed all that
was old enough to have seen
the wigged divine of Queen
Anne's time; & if the latter
could have spoken all it had
overheard it could have
repeated the sermons of which
we have the bare catalogue.
The Registers however showed
that there were several sons.
the Baptisms of George, Stevenson,
John, & Nowes 1719 - sons John Lloyd
Vicar & Isabella his wife.
The Burials of
Charles, son of John Lloyd Vicar
of either George or John - I forget which
John Lloyd Vicar Oct 8. 1753
of Mary, widow of John Lloyd late Vicar
This looks like a second wife; but
I could not find the burial of
Isabella nor any marriage of
John Lloyd. There was no
monument, though I looked at
all both inside & outside of the church
There was also the burial of a
brother of the Vicars - and in
one place the signature of
Wm Lloyd. Curate.
Could Isabella Mrs Lloyd have been
a Miss Stephenson?
You have of course heard that
a house has been taken. I have
not been all over it, but I approve
of what I have seen, & I think
the situation a very good one.
yr Aff nephew
A. H. Austen Leigh
All the Austen-Leigh boys signed family letters formally, with initials and surname!
MarriageMary Violet Hall-Say was born in Swaffham, Norfolk, but lived in Bray. The 1871 census records Mary Violet, aged 12, as living with her family at Water Oakley, Minden Road, Bray. Arthur Henry met Mary Violet while he was a curate in his father's parish in Bray, and they married. At the time of their marriage, Mary Violet appears to have been 17 and Arthur Henry 41.
The wedding took place at Bray Church in Berkshire on 26 April 1876 and was reported on Saturday in the Reading Mercury and a local paper. The best man was older brother Spencer, and the officiating clergy were his younger brother Augustus and the Vicar of Bray.
These newspaper cuttings were found in the diaries of Arthur Henry's mother, Emma.
MARRIAGE OF MISS HALL-SAY. Among the noteworthy events of the week has been the marriage of Miss Mary Violet eldest daughter of R. Hall-Say, Esq., to the Rev. Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh, son of the late vicar of Bray. The ceremony was performed on Wednesday last, at Bray church. Thither several hundreds of residents in and around Maidenhead made their way in the sunshine, and the village put on a festive aspect. The church had been tastefully decorated, and a pretty arch of evergreens had been erected at the entrance to the churchyard. It was inscribed on one side "May they be Happy" and on the other "God bless Them." The sacred edifice was crowded, and the marriage ceremony was followed with much intentness. The bridal party consisted of the bride, her father, the bridegroom and his best man (Mr. Spencer Austen-Leigh), and nine bridesmaids. On their reaching the church, the organist, Mr E Harding, played an appropriate selection. The bride was given away by her father. The service was choral, and there were present a large number of past and present members of the choir. The hymns were 356 and 357, from "Hymns Ancient and Modern," The officiating clergymen were the Rev. Augustus Austen-Leigh and the Rev. W. B Hole, Vicar of Bray. After the signing of the register in the vestry, the bridal party left the church, the organist playing the Wedding March." The bride was in a handsome dress of white satin, with wreath of orange blossoms and tulle veil; and the bridesmaids in ecru satine, trimmed alternately in blue and pink. The bridesmaids were the three sisters of the bride, Miss Langworthy and Miss Alice McNaught (her cousins), two nieces of the bridegroom, Miss K and Miss E Austen-Leigh, Miss Thomson, and Miss Haig. After the ceremony the bride and bridegroom were requested to pass on foot through the churchyard to their carriage, and the bride's train was held by two children, her younger bridesmaids, Miss Kathleen Austen-Leigh and Miss Hilda Hall-Say. They returned to St. Ives Place to breakfast where about 70 sat down. The bride and bridegroom received from a large circle of friends a great number of very valuable presents. Among them were some beautiful gifts of plate and Dresden china. They left about 2:30, amid showers of satin slippers, rice, and flowers for Twyford, en route for Oxford and the Lakes.
and of course, Mamma added the marriage to the list in her ledger!
BRAY CHURCH.-On Wednesday last, the Rev. Arthur H. Austen Leigh (son of the late Vicar of the parish) was married to the eldest daughter of Richard Hall-Saye, Esq., of St. Ive's-place, Maidenhead. As the bridal party entered the Church, Mr. Ernest Harding, the organist, played selections from Mendelssohn's Clari" &c. The service, which was choral, was con- ducted by the Rev. Augustus Arthur Leigh (brother of the bridegroom), assisted by the Vicar, the Rev. W. B. Hole. The bride was given away by her father. On the bridal party leaving the Church the organist played the "Wedding March." There was a choice display of flowers, and at the entrance of the churchyard a hand- some evergreen arch was erected. The bride was attired in a handsome dress of white satin, with a wreath of orange blossom and tulle veil. The bridesmaids, nine in number, wore ecru sateen, trimmed alternately in blue and pink. The party returned to St. Ive's Place to break- fast, where upwards of seventy guests sat down. The bride and bridegroom, who received a great number of valuable presents, left for Oxford, amid the congratula- tion of their friends, about three o'clock.
Life in WinterbourneSix months after the start of married life in Winterbourne, he wrote the following letter to his mother Emma on 24 October 1876. Sadly she died later that year. It describes rehearsals for one of their first public engagements in Winterbourne - the school concert - and telling of other events in the village.
It is difficult on the original to make out the word on line 3.
Oct 24. 1876
My dear Mamma
I hope you are comfort
-ably settled in again in London,
and that you found Wxxxxxxx
upon the whole a pleasant
residence. Perhaps it would
have been cold in this more
wintry weather. The first
cold has, as usual, brought
me a touch of rheumatism, but
not very bad. It suits Violet
who has been particularly brisk
& active the last few days.
She is much occupied with
practising for our school
entertainment on Monday
next; & this morning Mrs Richards
came to luncheon with two
friends to practise the duet
she is going to sing with Violet.
She & Maud had been practising
glees with the choir. Maud is to
take the solo in the Chough & Crow,
but the glee is a great deal too
ambitious & ought not have
They got through their songs at
Winterbourn Down the other night
very well, accompanying one another
Violet was very nervous, but both
she & Maud were much applauded.
Yesterday they went to Mrs
Callaghan's to hear a performance
of the Musical Society of the
neighbourhood, consisting of
several ladies and gentlemen. I only
came in for the last piece, something
by Leoly which was very pretty
nicely sung. At the end
we were elected members:
chiefly I believe because they
wanted gentlemens voices &
fancied I sang!
On Friday last Violet & I
heard the Messiah at Bristol.
I was more pleased with it
than I could have thought
possible. Titicus, Albani,
Isebelli & Patey were the
female singers - all capital
especially Isebelli: Cummings
Lloyd & Maybrick, the men
were hardly equal to them I
think. I do not think however
that Titicus is quite what she
was when I used to go to the
opera 14 years ago. I was much
struck with "For unto us" "These
Same Shepherds" "He shall feed his
flock" "Come unto me" "He
trusted in God" & the Hallelujah
I seem to write about nothing
but music, but the piano here
is never silent now. Maud is
always at it when she is not drawing
and when she is, Violet has a
One day last week we dined
at the Caves whom we had
not yet seen. One lady I sat
next began talking to me about
Willie & she turned out to be
Lady Eustace Cecil. She was
pleasant but far from pretty.
Her husband was there, and a
Lord & Lady Hatherton, also
Mr & Mrs Perry Watlington, I took
Mrs P. W. into dinner.
We saw some very fine Photos. after
dinner which Mr Cave had brought
back from Egypt.
Mr Say left us on Wednesday
in last week. I think he liked
his visit & admired the place.
We took him a drive one day
to Clifton, & I walked with him
other days. One evening Mrs
Burges and her brother came to
dinner, & behaved very well.
We played at the round games
with letters that Willie handed on
Miss Langworthy is coming here
on Friday & she & Maud will
go back together. One evening
we are going to take her to
dine at the Edwd Burges.
Maud not being ask will be left
at home. Tomorrow Violet & I
dine at the Fox's.
Violet has been making new
acquaintance with Mrs & the miss
Greenstreets & likes them. The
two miss Gs came here to luncheon
one day & they had a drive
with V & M. They seem ladylike
unaffected girls, & have been
well brought up: they
very hard & are I fear poor.
I have heard today that
Mr Hart is going to leave town
next week for his new living
Bentley nr Ipswich, & that
a testimonial has been being
got up for him. No man
ever more richly deserved one.
I am sorry for xxx sake
that he is going to leave town
A contract for the work at
the church has been accepted
though not yet signed.
It is intended to commence
at once, & the Church will
be closed probably during
the 3 winter months,
which considering its situation
is not a bad time.
The belfry is already
under repair. The beams
are found to have been in a
very unsafe condition.
I shall soon have a printed
appeal about the Church
out & will send you one.
We shall want from 7 to
800 pounds I reckon.
The contractor is a man
in the village.
Where is Charles?
We have had a lovely day
and I have been a foot
the whole of it. I am very
busy having the dead wood
cut out of the trees here.
Two men have been at it 3 days
only done half: & then there
will be another week nearly
at the apple trees.
yr affectionate son
A. H. Austen Leigh
All the Austen-Leigh boys even signed letters to their parents formally!
Here's the programme for that Winterbourn School Concert on Monday 30th October 1876, mentioned in the letter, where Arthur Henry did a reading and Violet sang a duet.
Living in the Winterbourne Rectory
The present rectory was built by Mr. Whitfield, rector, who borrowed the money for the purpose from Queen Anne's Bounty, and was completed in 1834, the year of his death. The main approach to it was from Church Lane. Mr. Austen-Leigh made some additions to the house. (Eliot 1936)
Life in Winterbourne through the pages of the Parish Records and the Parish Post
During his time in Winterbourne, Austen-Leigh founded the village allotments, extended the Rectory, extended the Primary School and built St.Michael's Rooms. We can learn more by looking through the pages of the parish magazine - the Parish Post.
Parish Post 1878, January. St Michael's, Winterbourne. NOTICE. This Magazine will be published every month in the parishes of Winterbourn, Winterbourn Down, Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath. The outside sheet will contain parish notices, one page given to each of the four parishes. The contents of the Magazine will supply much pleasant reading. The low price at which it is offered will put it within the reach of all, even of children. ADVERTISEMENTS will be admitted at a small cost. THE MAGAZINE May be had of Mr Rickards, Schoolmaster, and Mr Jones, Chemist, Price 1d a number, or 1s for the year.
Dorothy was born in 1878 and baptised at Bray, not Winterbourne:
Parish Post 1878, MARCH. St Michael's, Winterbourne. Sold by Mr Rickards, Schoolmaster, and Mr Jones, Chemist. 1d a copy. 1/- for the whole year. Rector, AH AUSTEN LEIGH. BAPTISMS.-In the parish Church - Ellen Skidmore. At Bray - Mary Dorothy Austen Leigh.
Donations to the New Schoolroom - The Rev & Mrs A.H. Austen-Leigh, £100. Sir Greville Smyth, Brt, £25. W.G. Tanner, Esq, £25. C. Austen-Leigh, Esq, £5. Mrs Callaghan, £5. Mr S.W. Matthews, £5. J. Bush, Esq, £2.2s. W. Austen-Leigh, £2. Miss Crockford, £2. Dr E. Crossman, £2. Mrs Hall Say, £2. Mr E. Eden Jones, £2. Mr Jeffery Matthews, £2. Mr R. Howse, £1.1s. Mr M. Smith, £1.1s. Rev F.E. Warren, £1.1s. Miss M.A. Austen-Leigh, £1. Mr & Mrs C. Sargent, 10s. Mr P. Rodman, 5s. Diocesan Ass'n, £31.10s. National Society, £20. Collections, £20. Total £244.8s.2d.
The entire Austen-Leigh family were generous in their support of the people of Winterbourne. The list of donors above included brothers Charles and William, sister Mary Augusta and mother-in-law Mrs Hall-Say. Brothers Augustus and Edward Compton also donated to Winterbourne appeals.
Winterbourne Registers recorded the baptisms for Violet Winifred and Honor Caroline, and the planting of some trees:
12 Oct 1879 bap Violet Winifred bn 28 Aug Arthur Henry & Mary Violet Austen Leigh W'bourn Rectory, Rector, AH Austen Leigh
November 1880 Arthur H. Austen Leigh - Rector - planted some Junipers, Irish Yews & Cypress trees along the Churchyard wall on either side of the gate, and between the porch and the Manor Farm. The Holly hedge round the Furnace House having been planted the year before.
A few days after Honor Caroline was born there was a Day of Intercession for Foreign Missions.
8 May 1881 bap Honor Caroline bn 28 March 81 Arthur Henry & Mary Violet Austen Leigh W'bn Rectory Rector AH Austen Leigh
On Rogation Tuesday, May 24 1881, A.H.Austen Leigh, being Rector, and Samuel G Matthews & Walter Fisher being Church wardens, there was a special service in the Parish Church at 7 oclock in the evening, to pray for Gods blessing on the crops & the Parish, and also for the advancement of the Missionary work of the Church, that day having been recommended by the Bishops of Church to be observed as a day of Intercession for Foreign Missions
Living at the Rectory at the time of the 1881 census were:
Arthur H. AUSTIN LEIGH M 45 M Speen, Berkshire Head Rector Of Winterbourne Mary V. AUSTIN LEIGH M 22 F Swaffham, Norfolk Wife Mary D. AUSTIN LEIGH 3 F Winterbourn, Gloucester Daur Voilet W. AUSTIN LEIGH 1 F Winterbourn, Gloucester Daur Caroline AUSTIN LEIGH 1m F Winterbourn, Gloucester Daur Ellen H. HALLSAY M 44 F Haigh, Lancashire Mother In Law Gentlemans Wife
The following servants were listed as living at the Rectory in the 1881 census:
Was this the living quarters for some of the servants?
Mary Ann PORTSMOUTH M 45 F East Meon, Hampshire Sevt Cook (Dom) Margarett JAMES U 21 F Maidstone,Kent,England Servant Nurse (Dom) Emily M. GRAVEST OR GRAVETT U 25 F Epsom, Surrey Servant Parlour Maid Louisa F. LANG U 20 F Bradford Abbass, Dorset Servant House Maid Mary E. TUGWOOD U 14 F Boveney, Buckingham Servant Nursery Maid William PORTSMOUTH M 40 M Salford, Surrey Servant Coachman (D) Hannah HORSMAN M 55 F Thornbury, Gloucester Servant Monthly Nurse
In 1882 a water surveyor wrote 'Some years ago it was proposed to supply a portion of Bristol with water from the Frampton Cotterell iron mines, which are in the Pennant, and the analysis made of the water showed it to be of good quality'. Subsequently a Frampton Cotterell iron mine was acquired by the West Gloucestershire Water Company. Bristol Waterworks laid a ten-inch water main in Winterbourne High Street in 1890, although main drainage was not laid in the High Street until 1954 and in Green Lane/Swan Lane in 1964.
So in Arthur Henry's time at the rectory, this pump was their source of fresh water!
Here are details from the baptismal register for James Edward, Lois Emma (she later wrote four novels) and Lionel Arthur:
23 July 1882 bap James Edward bn 11 June 82 Arthur Henry & Mary Violet Austen Leigh Winterbourn Rectory Rector AHA Leigh
12 Aug 1883 bap Lois Emma bn 10 July 83 Arthur Henry & Mary Violet Austen Leigh Winterbourn Rectory Rector AH Austen Leigh
1 Nov 1886 bap Lionel Arthur bn 22 Sep 86 Arthur Henry & Mary Violet Austen Leigh W'bourn Rectory Rector AH Austen Leigh
Arthur Henry and Mary Violet eventually had eight(?) children.
In April, 1883 Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh went on holiday, and left the Churchwardens' Accounts and other documents at Winterbourne Court (the old Manor House) for safe keeping. In the early hours of 2nd April 1883, a fire destroyed the building and many important details of church life went up in smoke (note in Parish Records). Where he went on holiday is not known, but we know that the following year, Arthur Henry spent five weeks away from Winterbourne
and the family went on holiday to Bournemouth.
Parish Magazine. 1884, JUNE. St Michael's, Winterbourne. The Rector will be away from home for 4. or 5 weeks after Trinity Sunday. During his absence the Rev WA Moberly will be resident at the Rectory.
Bournemouth is a resort town with a short history, and it did not have a newspaper until 1858. This was the Bournemouth Visitors' Directory which luckily for our researches consisted mainly of lists of visitors!
The entry on page three for Saturday July 26 1884 reads "Mrs Day, Rev AH and Mrs Austen-Leigh and family, Mrs Taylor" staying at the West Cliff Hotel, West Cliff Road, Bournemouth.
June Bisp's grandmother, Rose Bignell, née Skidmore, worked at Winterbourne Rectory as a nursery maid to the Rev. Austen-Leigh's children. When they went away, she went with them and always spoke of going to Eastbourne for holidays. This engraving of Cornfield Terrace found amongst family effects may well illustrate the actual place where the family used to stay in Eastbourne. 12 and 21 have been annotated on the picture.
Other dates from his diary
A special service was held on Tuesday 21st June 1887 to mark the Queen's Jubilee:
from the Frenchay Big Book 1887
The Queen's Accession, June 1837. Her Majesty's Jubilee, 21st June, 1887. A Form of Thanksgiving & Prayer to Almighty God, upon the completion of fifty years of Her Majesty's Reign; to be used on Tuesday the 21st day of June next, and certain other days as herein appointed, in all churches and chapels in England and Wales, and in the Town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. By Authority.
from the Frenchay Big Book 1888
Hambrook. The opening service and dedication of the New Sunday School and Service Room will take place on Wednesday evening, Dec 12th, at 8pm. The Sermon will be preached by Rev AH Austen-Leigh, Vicar of Winterbourne. The collection will be given to the Furnishing Fund, for the which about £ 10 is still required.
Special Services were held on Thursday evenings at 8pm at Frenchay Parish Church during Lent 1890. Arthur Henry was the preacher on March 6th, and interestingly, his successor, Rev ATS Goodrick was the preacher three weeks later... one of Arthur Henry's last offices, and probably ATS Goodrick's first!
from the Frenchay Big Book 1890
Frenchay. Lent, 1890. There will be Special Services at the Parish Church on Thursday evenings at 8pm. Preachers: Feb 27 Rev J Mackie, Rector of Fylton. Mar 6 Rev AH Austen-Leigh, Rector of Winterbourne. Mar 13 Rev FWF Bishop, Vicar of Winterbourne Down. Mar 20 Rev GH Jackson, Vicar of Tytherington. Mar 27 Rev ATS Goodrick, Fellow and Tutor of St John's College, Oxford. The offertories will be given to the Hospitals.
Rev C Pickels was the Organizing Secretary of the Church of England Temperance Society
WINTERBOURN PARISH MAGAZINE. APRIL 1890 My Dear Friends, Your kindness will give me an opportunity of saying good-bye to many of you in person, on Easter Tuesday; I hope also to say something of what is in my mind on the morning of Palm Sunday, and in St.Michael's Room on Easter Day, which will be my last Sunday here; but still I cannot write for the last time in our Parish Magazine, without assuring you that I leave Winterbourn with very many regrets. I have passed fourteen happy years amongst you; I have tried to do my duty as your Rector, and I have met with much help and kindness at your hands. For this accept my grateful thanks. I do not say that there have been no disappointments. I have failed in some things, where I hoped to have shown more power, and to have met with more success; and there are some who have deeply grieved me, by falling away from their early promise, and turning their backs upon my teaching and upon what I consider to be right and true. Still I feel that I have much to be thankful for, and I trust that I am thankful to God for whatever measure of success may have attended my ministry here, and for the atmosphere of kindly feeling and mutual respect which He has shed upon us. I hope that by midsummer, if not before, you will have another Rector, and that you will give him a friendly welcome, and show yourselves willing to work with him, ready to receive his teaching. Until then I am glad to think that the services at the Church and St. Michael's Room, will be carried on by one who is already known to you; and that the Sunday School, Clubs and Magazine will, thanks to voluntary help, not be allowed to drop. And now I wish you all good-bye. That God may bless all in this Parish is the prayer of Your faithful Friend, AUSTEN H. AUSTEN LEIGH. NOTICES - The Rev.C Pickels will have charge of the Parish from Friday, April 11th.
FRENCHAY PARISH MAGAZINE. JUNE, 1889. On Sunday, June 2nd, the Rev C Pickels (Organizing Secretary of the Church of England Temperance Society) will speak specially to the children belonging to the Band of Hope, at the afternoon Services in St. Michael's Room.
WINTERBOURN PARISH MAGAZINE. APRIL 1890 There will be a meeting in the School on Easter Tuesday Evening at 8 o'clock, when Mr. and Mrs. Austen Leigh have kindly promised to be present, in order that the Parishioners may take a farewell of them. Tickets for admission to Parishioners must be applied for at the School, on Easter Monday, at 11.30. No one will be admitted on Tuesday Evening without a Ticket, and no Tickets will be given at the door.
WINTERBOURN PARISH MAGAZINE. MAY 1890 The Meeting at the School on Easter Tuesday, to present a testimonial and say goodbye to the Rev. A.H.Austen-Leigh, was well attended. The Chair was taken by Mr Marsh, and the presentation, which consisted of an illuminated address and a hall clock, was made by Dr. Crossman. Mr P Turner also presented an inkstand and pair of candlesticks, on behalf of past and present members of the Choir. The Rev Dr Belcher and the Rev F W F Bishop made speeches, and the Rev A H Austen-Leigh thanked the Parishioners in his own name and that of Mrs Austen-Leigh, for the kindness which they had met with during the 14 years' Rectorship in the Parish: mentioning especially the obligation he was under to Mr P Turner - his organist, to the Choir, to his schoolmaster - Mr Day and to his volunteer Sunday School teachers.
Move to WargraveThe family left Winterbourne and Arthur Henry became Vicar of Wargrave 18 April 1890. The youngest son, Arthur Alexander was born in 1890. The 1891 census recorded the family living at The Vicarage, High Street, Wargrave, East Berkshire: Arthur Henry and Mary Violet, four daughters and three sons. There were seven servants: a 'lady help' (Alice Davison from Maidstone, Kent), nurse, cook, parlour maid, schoolroom maid, housemaid, and kitchen maid.
He returned to his old school, St Peter's College, Radley on Sunday 3 July 1892 (the Sunday after the Annual Commemoration Day) to preach a sermon on Psalm xvi.6, "A Goodly Heritage". The » sermon was later published as an eleven-page book by special request (also as "A Goodly Heritage"). It was published by Parker and Co. London in 1892 and a copy is on deposit in the British Museum.
Arthur Henry was one of the first Wargrave Parish Councillors, elected 28 November 1894.
Only two photographs of Arthur-Henry have been found during this research - both featured in "The Book of Wargrave". This one shows him with the family outside the Old Vicarage:
left to right: Lois(b1883), Alexander(b1890), James Edward(b1882), Rev Arthur Henry, Dorothy(b1878), Honor(b1881), Winifred(b1879), Mrs Austen-Leigh, Lionel(b1886)
He retired from the parish at age 75, in 1911.
His last entry in Crockford's Clerical Directory (1917) read:
AUSTEN - LEIGH, Arthur Henry, 2, Southcote-road, Reading.-Late Fell. of St. John's Coll. Ox. Craven Scho. 1857, B.A. (2nd cl. Lit. Hum. & 1st cl. Law, &c.) 1860, M.A. 1866, B.D. 1872. U 1864, p 1865 Ox. f C. of Ch. Ch. Maryle- bone, 1865-67; Bray, Berks, 1867-74 ; R. of Winter- bourn, Glos. 1875-90 ; V. of Wargrave 1890-1911.
Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh died at his home 2, Southcote Road, Reading, Berkshire on Sunday 29 July 1917, aged 81 and his obituary appeared in "The Times", Tuesday 31 July on page 3:
REV. A. H. AUSTEN LEIGH. The death occurred at 2, Southcote-road, Reading, on Sunday, of the Rev. Arthur Henry Austen Leigh, B.D. He was educated at Oxford, where he won the Craven Scholarship in 1857, and took second class honours in Lit.Hum. and first class in Law, 1860, being subsequently elected a Fellow of St.John's College. He was rector of Winterbourn, Glos, from 1875-90, and afterwards until 1911 vicar of Wargrave. He was 81 years of age.
His death was reported in "The Clergy List" 1917.
Details of Probate are held by Berkshire Record Office as file D/ECD B1/288 1917 under
"The Revd. Arthur Henry Austen Leigh of Reading, clerk, (d.1917)"
The records were deposited in May 1981 (acc. 2893) by Collins Dryland and Thorowgood, solicitors, Reading.
As for the rest of the family, in 1910 Lionel Arthur went to live in Victoria, British Columbia, until WWI, when he joined the Royal Field Artillery to fight in France as a Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force. He survived and returned to Victoria.
Arthur Alexander was Captain 2nd/4th Battalion in the Royal Berkshire Regiment, was wounded in 1917 in France and killed in action during the closing months of WWI.
from the Wargrave Roll of Honour; courtesy of Wargrave Branch of the Royal British Legion
AUSTEN-LEIGH, Arthur Alexander. Captain 2nd/4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, killed in action in France 11th May 1918, aged 27. He was the youngest son of Rev. Henry Austen-Leigh, Vicar of Wargrave 1890-1911. He was in Canada when he volunteered in 1914 and was wounded in 1917 before being killed in the closing months of the war. He has no known grave but his name is commemorated on Panels 56 to 57 of the Pozieres Memorial, a village about 6 kilometres north-east of Albert.
He was at Charterhouse 1904 -1907. The Godalming, Charterhouse Roll of Honour gives the additional information that he originally joined the 8th Battalion and was later attached to the 53rd Trench Mortar battery.
These details were also recorded in The Berkshire Archaelogical Journal.
Cholmeley died in 1899; Emma Cassandra died in 1902; Spencer died 9 December 1913 at Frog-Firle, Alfriston, Sussex; Edward Compton died 3 April 1916: William died 27 November 1921 at Roehampton: Mary Augusta died 1922 and Charles Edward died 1924.
In 1988 » Centenary Celebrations were held commemorating St Michael's Rooms. One of his grandsons, Henry Jenkyns, attended.
Two books signed by Rev Arthur Henry and his wife were discovered in a box in a loft in September 2007. Here's the email announcing this exciting discovery.
----- Original Message ----- From: Pat Currie Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2007 6:13 PM Subject: A.H. Austen Leigh Dear Mr Kite, We have a Holy Communion book signed "Eliza Maggie Ingram from A.H. Austen Leigh 1897" and a book entitled "The Narrow Way" "Maggie Ingram from Mrs Austen Leigh - In remembrance of March 7. 1897". Maggie Ingram was born in 1882. Her father James was a "coachman" in 1881, and the family lived at Backsideans, Wargrave. I believe James died somewhere between 1891 and 1895. At some time, the family moved to Reading, and I have just discovered that Sarah, widow of James, married Richard Harry Potter in 1895. Maggie Ingram became Mrs E.M. Fuller in 1914, living in West London, and was the mother-in-law of my husband's late aunt. Before her marriage, Maggie travelled extensively in Europe and the USA from 1911 to 1914, in the company of Mrs Emily Crane Chadbourne, and whilst in London they lived at 7, Park Lane. Mrs Chadbourne was a friend of Gertrude Stein, and a sitter for artists such as Augustus John. We have only discovered the above information in the last two weeks, when we discovered a box containing postcards and the books mentioned, and have been searching for a connection ever since, which led us to your excellent web-page of the Reverend A.H. Austen-Leigh. Any further information would be gratefully received! Do you think it is possible that the Ingrams may have been employed by the Austen-Leighs?
We have yet to venture into the loft at Hammersmith, and if I find anything else that sheds light on the mystery, I will let you know! In the meantime, I attach the signed pages from the Holy Communion - Simple Preparation and The Narrow Way books. Many thanks and kind regards, Pauline and Patrick Currie
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT ARTHUR HENRY AUSTEN-LEIGH OR CAN ADD ANYTHING TO THIS WEBPAGE
» I'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!