Saturday, 8 January 2011

Stondon Massey: Revd. Reeve's Nephew

I am currently writing a biography of the Edwardian gentleman clergyman, Revd. Edward Henry Lisle Reeve ( ) who was Rector of Stondon Massey from 1893 to 1935, a year before his death at the age of 78. He was a bachelor and lived with his spinster sisters at the Rectory.

I have established that his half brother, Francis Hawkins, married and had at least two sons. The eldest appears to be William Francis Spencer Hawkins (born 1896) in Richmond, Surrey, who was educated at Rugby School, according to the 1911 census. William's brother was Leonard (born 1899), Letters preserved at the Essex Record Office show war-time correspondence between Reeve and his nephews. He seems to have had a close relationship with William, who he accompanied to Waterloo Station in London to bid him farewell as he went off to War in 1915. William was one of two executors of Reeve's will.

I have done some searching of William's full name and find that a person by an identical name was married in 1933 to Eva Fitzgibbon at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London. Separately I find a person with identical name, born 1896 and died 1979, as Master of the Court of Chantry [Chancery] from 1933, becoming Chief Master in 1959, and honoured C.B. in 1968. He has two portraits in the National Portrait Gallery.

The question is whether this is the same person., and secondly whether there are any descendants of this gentleman around.

Please let me know.


Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew
Google search brought me to your site after discovering your ancestor had written a history of Stondon Massey. I have an ancestors who lived at Stondon House (Philip Meyer and Marianne Watlin)in the 19th century, and the NZ branch of part of my family have large photos of the House taken during the late 1800s and extended family, and named their own more modest first home in NZ Stondon Lodge. The connection between Stondon Massey in the UK and Stondon Lodge in Thames, NZ has been fascinating and perplexing our family historians for years.

Andrew Smith said...

Revd. Reeve is not my ancestor, just someone who I am taking an interest in and writing a biography of his life and times. He is truly the last gentleman clergyman of his time, born into a privileged family and whose advowson - his job as priest - was purchased.

The Philip Meyer you refer to must be the gentleman of Stondon who died in 1870, whose widow commemorated his life by having had built a mortuary or side chapel on the north side of the parish church. Reeve mentions this in his history of the parish, and I know that the original Faculty application - i.e. permission to build in this case - is preserved in the Essex Record Office.

Thank you for sharing your story on this website. If you have some photos you are able to share and allow published, they would be very gratefully received.

Best wishes


Jane Fitzgibbon said...

Hello Andrew,

I think I was unsuccessful in sending you a message yesterday.

In any case, I was fingering WFS Hawkins' ostrich leather cigar case, which is on my desk, when I decided to put his name on Internet and then came upon your search for information about him.

The two sources you refer to are indeed the same person: Bill Hawkins married my paternal grandmother, Eva Fitzgibbon, in 1933. He indeed was named CB in 1968 and a girlfriend and I were invited to accompany them to Buckingham Palace on the day of the ceremony. We had to stay in the car with the chauffeur who kindly took us on a tour London. We were really impressed because we were able to go in and out the gates of Buckingham Palace four times, with tourists looking in the windows to see who we were.

Very interested in communicating with you about the WW1 letters as I'm sure we have other information and photos of interest.

Best regards,
Jane Fitzgibbon

Andrew Smith said...

Are you able to confirn that the William Hawkins, Edward Reeve's nephew, is the same William Hawkins, your grandfather? If so, then that is fantastic becuae it links you to a much admired (by me) character of the late Victorian / Edwardian era. Please contact me again as you left a 'no reply' e mail address.