HOSE, Little Wymondley, 1863-1870

May, 2014

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Little Wymondley

Colin Hose (cmhose8 @t gmail.com) of Shipston on Stour. writes: My query is about Rev Thomas Charles Hose it states that he was vicar of Little Wymondley (1863-1970) but his childrens birth is recorded as at Willian. Perhaps the vicarage/rectory was at Willian.

You don't identify what records you have consulted but if you look at the census records of 1871 you find Thomas C Hose (40, born Cambridge) as Rector of Roydon, and living in the Vicarage in Roydon, Norfolk, with wife Fanny (30) and children Frederick (9), Charles (7) and William (6) born in Willian and children Arthur (4), Mary E (3) and Francis (1) born in Wymondley, so there was move of possibly less than a mile from Willian to nearby Little Wymondley in about 1866.

In fact a check on the birth registration index (FreeBMD)  and baptisms (FindMyPast) suggest that the 1871 census return is wrong and Frederick was not born in Willian, and there were other irregularities.

In early 1861 Thomas  was still unmarried and curate in Harpenden, but he married Fanny Goodfellow shortly afterwards. Frederick Thomas Goodfellow Hose's birth was registered at St Albans and he was baptised at Harpenden on 1st May 1862 by his father, who was curate. So there can be little doubt that he was born in or near Harpenden. You will need to buy the birth certificate to find out exactly where he was born.

Charles (13th November 1863), William (5th March 1865) and Arthur (1st November 1866) were all baptised at Little Wymondley by their father but I can find no evidence of their births being registered. The entry for Arthur is unusual. Thomas has recorded the date of birth against Arthur's entry (not particularly unusual) but has not recorded it in the other entries on the same page. What is really unusual is the following text:

I, Thomas Charles Hose, Incumbent of Little Wymondley certify that the above is a true copy of the Register of Baptisms solemnized in the parish of Little Wymondley during the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty six.

Witnessed my hand this 12 day of July 1867

J.C. Hose 12/7/67

What is going on? Surely this is the register and not a "true copy of the register." It would seem that Thomas did not know how the register should be kept and was recording the baptisms (and probably the burials) in a private notebook and then copying the details over into the register at a much later date. Perhaps the reason for the above statement, the eight month delay, plus the stamp, was that he had been "found out" and told that the entries from his notebook should be copied directly into the register. Maybe the note relates to the whole of his time in Little Wymondley as I noted some blank lines on earlier pages - had they been left to leave room for further copied entries that were never entered? Could it be that his failing in "proper paperwork" is the reason why I could not find the children's birth registrations?

While I have not come across such an entry before, one might normally expect different entries in a register to differ somewhat - if only because they were made on different days, sometimes with a different pen or ink. In fact you sometimes gets several pages written in the same way, apparently with the same pen, as if all had been written at the same time - and it is certain that some other incumbents followed a similar practice.  This can lead to gaps in the registers - as if the incumbent dies in office entries in his private book may never be copied into the register. As a general guide, when looking at a register it is always a good idea to look at other entries on the same page, and sometimes of adjacent pages, to see if there are any unusual features. And if you don't find an entry check to see if at the relevant time there is a significant gaps in the register entries, coupled with a change in the incumbent. 

It should be noted that the births of Mary Emily (baptised 1st May 1868) and Francis Edward (6th April 1870) were both registered at Hitchin. Francis's baptism may be one of the last things Thomas did before leaving Little Wymondley - as Willoughby John Edward Rooke (Thomas's successor) was taking baptisms from May 1870.

Cussan's History of Hertfordshire [1878] clarifies what may have happened at Little Wymondley in the 1860s.  It reads:

Until the year 1863 the living was a donative without endowment, the minister being paid by the owner of the Priory Estate; but in that year Unwin Unwin-Heathcote, Esq., the present owner of the estate and patron of the living, gave a piece of land as a perpetual endowment, to which the Commissioners of Queen Anne's Bounty added a grant, whereby the living ceased to be Donative, and became a Vicarage, the present annual value of which is about 80, with residence. Being a Donative, and thereby exempt from Episcopal jurisdiction, the Bishop's Registers contain no record of the Institutions of the ministers prior to 1863.

So prior to 1863 the minister was paid by, and possibly provided accommodation by, the owner of the Priory Estate (possibly in nearby Willian), and there was no vicarage at Little Wymondley. In 1863 a plot of land was given and it would seem likely that the vicarage was built on that land and when it was completed Thomas moved in. Rev Thomas Charles Hose made his first entry in the Little Wymondley registers in late 1863. He may well have been admitted to the post as a result of the 1863 change - before there was time to build a vicarage.

It would seem that the church had serious limitations when Thomas Hose was there, but the rebuilding probably did not restart until after he left. Cussan's reports:

The present building is at least the third which has stood upon the same site. The late building being for several reasons ill-adapted to its requirements, it was entirely rebuilt with the exception of the tower, part of the chancel, and the south wall, and reopened for divine service in January 1876. During the restoration the foundations of a larger chancel with an apsidal end were discovered, and on these foundations the present chancel has been erected , but the circular form of the eastern wall has not been followed. A heavy pseudo-Norman arch, probably of no greater antiquity than the sixteenth century, has been removed, and a larger Pointed arch substituted, thereby permitting the chancel to be seen from every part of the nave. On the north side an aisle has been added communicating by two arches with the nave; and adjoining the chancel is a new and commodious vestry. Nearly all the windows seem to have been removed from some older building, and on taking down the north wall it was found that two small narrow windows there were cut out of the base, capital, and portion of the column of an Early English arch of considerable size.

A more extensive architectural history of the church (together with maps showing the location) is on the British Listed Buildings web site.

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

June 2014   Page created