Rev. Thomas WHITEHOUSE, Baldock, 1885-1890

January, 2013


Clocks & Watches


Cindy Robinson (robinson.cindy @t of Dallas, Texas,  USA, writes: I own a antique German Lenzkirch clock that has a brass plate that reads  "Presented to the Rev Thomas Whitehouse, by his church and congregation on his removal from Baldock as an expression of their love and esteem   September 1890". I purchased it and it was shipped from the UK.    I was hoping to learn more about Rev Whitehouse.  Any information would be very much appreciated. I checked with the large St Marys Church and he was not on staff there.

The 1890 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire shows that there were five places of worship in Baldock in 1890. They were run by the Church of England, Congregational Church, Plymouth Brethern, Primitive Methodist and Wesleyan Methodists. The Rev. Thomas Whitehouse was the congregational minister and held services on Sunday at 10.45 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. and on Wednesday at 7.30 p.m. He lived in a house in Baldock called Pembroke. Checking other editions of Kelly's Directory shows he was in Baldock in 1886 but in 1882 the Rev Thomas Phillips was the Congregational Minister living at The Manse. In 1895 the directory simply says that the Congregational Church was "supplied from New College, London" and it may be that the Rev Phillip had moved on and they were waiting for his replacement.

Ministers of the Congregational Church moved around every few years, and the above information makes it possible to research at least part of his career using information from the census returns from 1861 to 1911, FreeBMD and some other online trade directories.

Thomas Whitehouse was born in Brewood, Staffordshire, in 1855/6, the son of James & Caroline Whitehouse. In 1861 he was staying with his grandparents James and Phebe Whitehouse in Lower Town, Loughor, Carmarthenshire, Wales while his parents and siblings were living in Kings Norton (now a suburb of Birmingham), Worcestershire. In 1871 he was with his parents and siblings at  Hick Street Stapleton Place, Hick Street, Aston, Birmingham, Warwickshire, working as an ironmonger's assistant. In the records I have seen his father and grandfather were agents for {stone} bricks.

Thomas got a calling (common among the non-conformists, rare in the Church of England where the clergy were normally the sons of gentlemen) as in 1881 he was a theological student at the Congregational Institute, Upper Bryan Place, St Augustine, Bristol, Gloucestershire. He married Elizabeth Ann Norgrove on 1st July 1884 at Myrtle Street Chapel Liverpool, and in 1885 a son Cyril Thomas Whitehouse was born and as the birth was registered in Hitchin they had probably moved to Baldock before June 1885. As the trade directories show, he was definitely Congregational Minister in Baldock by 1886. Muriel Dorothy Whitehouse was born in Baldock in the later part of 1889, and as the clock you have records, Thomas was removed from Baldock in September 1890.

His new ministry was as the Congregational minister at Great Yarmouth as in the spring on 1891 he was living at 66 St Peters Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, with his wife, two children and a domestic servant, Kate Sherwood, from Baldock. His next move was to Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, where Irene Elizabeth Whitehouse was born in 1897, and in 1901 he was living, as Congregational Minister at 181, Staveley Road, Wolverhampton. There were four Congregational churches in Wolverhampton at the time but he is not listed at any of them  in 1896 (perhaps he hadn't yet arrived) or 1904 (perhaps he had already left). What is clear is that he was already the Congregational Minister at Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire in 1909 and is still listed there in 1913, but had left by 1919.

The probate index shows that the Reverend Thomas Whitehouse of Sandycroft, Woodside-road, Ferndown, Dorset, died on 21st March, 1942, aged 86, probate being given to his widow, Elizabeth Ann Whitehouse.

The Baldock Congregational Church where Thomas was Minister was built in 1826 and still exists.

In 1972 it was one of the English Congregational churches which merged with the Presbyterian Church of England to form the United Reformed Church.

Its address is United Reformed Church, Whitehorse Street, Baldock, Herts, SG7 6QF.

[Picture from The Churches of Britain and Ireland web site]


August 2013

Gail (gngstaples @t wrote from New York: I found your article on Thomas Whitehouse very interesting. I have one correction to make. [now corrected above] He married 1 July 1884 Myrtle Street Chapel Liverpool. He married Elizabeth Ann Norgrove born 1861 Birmingham. The source is a hand written sheet on which  his mother, Caroline Wooldridge Whitehouse wrote down the places of each of her children's marriages. Thomas was my Grandmother's Uncle. In my grandmother's short story of the family she mentions Thomas became a minster. His son Cyril brought disgrace to the family and was sent on a long boat ride. As he ended up in Malaysia I think there must be some truth to the story.

Cyril definitely travelled the world. A check on Ancestry showed he first went to sea as a sailor on the Queen Victoria in 1900 and got his Masters Certificate in 1907. It may be that the very fact of "running away to sea" was the only disgraceful thing he did! He is possibly the Cyril Thomas De Burgh Whitehouse (born circa 1885) who arrived in Southampton from Surabaya, Indonesia, in May 1935, and from Buenoes Aires, Argentina, in 1953.

Anastasia (anastasiasheppard @t writes from Australia: Thank you for sending me the link to your web article on Rev. Thomas Whitehouse and it's very interesting. He is our Great Great Uncle, Elizabeth Ann Norgrove is our Great Grandfathers John Thomas Norgrove's sister. 

According to Ancestry immigration records Cyril Thomas Whitehouse arrived in Sydney Australia on board 'Empire" from Kobe Japan 24 May 1911 as 3rd Mate. He then appears in Victoria and marries Eleanor Martha Colohon in Victoria Australia in 1919, Reg. No. 3236 (Australian Marriage Index 1788-1959)  Eleanor was mainly known as Martha.  He could have gone to Victoria to visit Great Grandfather John Thomas Norgrove and family who lived in Victoria at the time, but cannot verify this. He next pops up in 1929 (Ancestry Immigration records) when he leaves Kingston Jamaica for New York, with Martha, Occ: Planter, last permanent residence Malay.

I'm still to determine Elizabeth Ann Whitehouse death date, there are a lot of deaths for Elizabeth Whitehouse on England BMD.

You ask about the death of Elizabeth Ann Whitehouse and while there are quite a lot few died near Blandford - Where Thomas died in 1942. The most likely is Elizabeth A Whitehouse whose death at 88 was registered in the Bristol registration area in July-September 1948 ref 7b 23.  Because English death certificates are less detailed than Australian ones the certificate may not prove the matter one way or the other - especially if she died in an old people's home and the matron witnessed the certificate. On the other hand you may be lucky and a family member will have witnessed the certificate, or her address might be that of one of her children.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

Jamuary 2013   Page created
August 2013   Gail' and Anastasia  updates