Revd. Dr. Glynne Watkin

On this website, I have previously contributed articles about two of the priests who served at St. Matthew’s church in Horseley Fields during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – viz.

Revd. John Eddowes Gladstone, vicar of St. Matthew’s, 1870-1889.

Revd. Alfred Charles Howell, vicar of St. Matthew’s, 1900-1910.

Below, I present some biographical detail about seven other priests who served as vicar at the church during the period to 1945. The information has been abstracted from online Census materials, directories and other sources.

Their contribution to Christian ministry at St. Matthew’s church can be seen in its broader context within Glynne & Debbie Watkin’s book ‘The Parish of St. Matthew: the church and its people, 1848-1998’ (available at Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies).

1.      The Revd. Alexander Popham Luscombe (1846-1855)

He was born at Exeter in 1822 and graduated from St. John’s College, Cambridge. He  was the first vicar of St. Matthew’s and was instituted in 1846, the same year as the ecclesiastical parish was formed and three years before the actual church building was completed and consecrated. It was APL that led the service of consecration at the church on November 20th 1849.

He lived at the vicarage in Horseley Fields as a single man; the 1851 Census reveals that he lived there with his older sister (Susan) and a 20-year old local domestic servant named Mary Ann Adshead.

In 1855, APL returned south to his native county of Devon. He lived in the hamlet of Harbetonford (near Totnes) which was formed into a separate ecclesiastical district in 1860. There he became the first vicar of St. Peter’s church, which was erected in 1859.

Luscombe was clearly a man moved into ecclesiastical parishes as they were being formed and whose priority was the building of new churches.

Luscombe was married to Elizabeth in September 1869 at Totnes.

It seems that Luscombe remained at Harbetonford for the rest of his life; the 1871 census local reveals that the household included his Devonian wife (aged 31 years), his unmarried sister (Susan) and two local female domestic servants.

Luscombe died in Devon in January 1876, aged 54 years.

2.      The Reverend Benjamin Wright(1855-1870)

He was born in Birmingham in 1817 and became the second vicar of St. Matthew’s in 1855 at the age of 38 years.

Census records enable us to note some of his household’s movements: the 1851 Census shows him living in Stoke Prior (Herefordshire) with his wife (Mary Ann Benson, born in Birmingham, 1810) and their four children – Benjamin (aged 9 yrs), Arthur (7), Josiah (4) and Emily (2). The household also contained Ann Buck (a 27 yr. old London-born governess) and Elizabeth Passey (a 17 yr. old local domestic servant).

At the time of the 1861 Census, the Wright household lived at the vicarage in Horseley Fields. Two further children had been added – Louisa (aged 9 yrs) and William Benson Wright (6). Wright’s sister-in-law (Caroline Benson) was also part of the household.

Wright was a strong evangelical. With the Reverends Maitland (St. James) and Lister (Bushbury), he led the Wolverhampton Annual United Prayer Meeting in 1861. This was an inter-denominational   association which tried to preserve the missionary energy of the evangelical movement within the Church of England. He was also a member of the executive committee that organised the Church Congress at Wolverhampton in 1867, at a time when he was becoming concerned about ‘the alarming spread of Romish teaching and ceremonial in the Church of England’ which he believed would imperil the Church’s ability to witness God’s truth.

Wright left the church of St. Matthew in 1870. The 1871 Census shows the household lived at Norton Canes. Josiah Wright (aged 24 yrs) was the only son remaining within the parental home. Caroline Benson remained with the Wright family.

Wright died in Cannock on June 22nd 1879, aged 62 years.

3.      The Reverend Samson Cordon (1889-1900)

Born in October 1854 at Toxteth (Liverpool), Cordon was the third son of the eleven children born to Edward and Jane Cordon. He was baptised in September 1856 at St. Peter’s, Liverpool.

At the 1871 census, the teenage Samson still resided with his parents in his native Liverpool, and is described simply as a scholar.

In September 1878, the 23-year old Samson married Agnes Bousefield at St. Michael’s church in Toxteth. He resided at Great Mersey Street and Agnes lived at Essex Street. Samson Cordon was identified as a ‘Clerk in Holy Orders’ at the time of his marriage. He had trained at St. Aidan’s Theological College, Birkenhead. A daughter, Myrah Frances, was born in September 1879 at West Derby, Liverpool.

His link to Wolverhampton can first be seen in the 1881 Census. He served as a curate at St. Matthew’s for three years alongside the vicar of the parish, the Revd. John Eddowes Gladstone. The Cordon household included wife Agnes and daughter Myrah. It also included a domestic servant named Martha Harris of Sedgley, aged 22 years.

From 1883, a second curacy was served at the church of St. Jude alongside the vicar of the parish, the Revd. S.C. Adam. By 1888, Samson Cordon had been appointed Chaplain to the Wolverhampton Union workhouse.

A number of other children were to be born to the Cordon family during these years: Winifred (1881), Archibald (1883), Edith May (1885), Perceival (1890), Agnes Constance (1893), Olive Irene (1895) and Ethel Kathleen (1900).

The 1891 Census shows Samson Cordon as the vicar of St. Matthew’s and resident of the vicarage in Horseley Fields. He remained as the vicar until 1900; thereafter he moved to become vicar of St. Martin’s church in Bradley. The 1901 Census records that he and Agnes have seven children (Myrah, Archibald, Edith, Perceival, Constance, Irene and Kathleen) and a local domestic servant.

He died on August 30th 1907 at Prestatyn, North Wales, aged 52 years. His widow continued to live at Prestatyn, and the 1911 Census records that she resides there with her son, Perceival, who is a theological student. Her daughter, Kathleen, is a boarder at Manordeilo School in Carmarthenshire.

4.      The Reverend Donald Marten Wilson(1910-1919)

Donald Marten Wilson was born in 1855 in Lancashire to Theodore and Barbara Wilson. His father (who had qualified at Brasenose College, Oxford) was a priest, and the 1861 Census records the family as living at the parsonage at Knott Lane, Ashton-under Lyne.

By 1871, the household has moved to the vicarage at Haslingden, Lancashire (in the Rossendale valley), where his father served as the vicar of St. James’ church. The household included further siblings: Theodore (aged 14 yrs., Sophie (11) and Edmund (7).

At the 1881 Census, Donald Marten Wilson had completed his academic studies at Oxford, been ordained (in 1879) and served as a curate at Holy Trinity church, Nottingham.

The 1901 Census shows the 46-yr. old Wilson as married (to Mary) and living in Brighton with their infant daughter (Olive).

He became the fifth vicar of St. Matthew’s in April 1910, having first entered the Lichfield diocese in 1906.

5.      The Reverend James Davidson Lloyd (1919-1922)

He was born at the CMS Mission house in Agra (India) on June 9th 1881, where his parents (the Revd. James Abbot Lloyd and Eleanor L. Lloyd) served as Christian missionaries.

By 1891, the household had returned to Norfolk, England, where his father served within the parish of St. Giles. The household had grown to include siblings – John P. Lloyd (aged 7 yrs) and Eleanor L. Lloyd (6), both born in Marleybone, London. Two female domestic servants added to the household.

James Davidson Lloyd entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1900. He gained BA (in 1903) and MA (in 1907) degrees. He was ordained as deacon at Gloucester in 1904 and as priest in 1905.

He then served a number of curacies – St. John’s, Cheltenham (1904-6), St. Leonard’s, Bootle
(1906-8), and St. Paul’s, Hyson Green, Nottinghamshire (1908-14).

He served as vicar of Plumstead, Norfolk (1914-1919) and became the sixth vicar of St. Matthew’s, Wolverhampton in 1919.

He served only three years, dying in office of appendicitis at the age of 41 yrs. on October 27th 1922. He was buried at St. Phillip’s church cemetery, Pennfields, Wolverhampton.

6.      The Reverend Thomas Stanton (1923 -1942)

Thomas Stanton was born in 1877 and was a native of Wednesfield.

The 1901 Census identifies him as a Licensed Evangelist who lived in Otterbourne, Hampshire. That same year he was married to Ellen Susannah Gwillam in Burton on Trent.

He was ordained as a deacon in 1909 and as a priest in 1911. He trained for ministry at St. Aidan’s Theological College, Birkenhead, and served curacies at St. Phillip’s (Sheffield), St. Jude (Hexthorpe) and at the churches of St. James and Bushbury-with Essington, Wolverhampton.

The 1911 Census shows the Stanton family as residents of 43 Stockton Road, West Hartlepool. Thomas Stanton is identified as a 34 year old Clerk in Holy Orders. He lives there with his wife (Ellen Susannah, born at Burton on Trent) and his two young sons - Thomas (aged 8) and Francis Edward Stanton (3, born in Birkenhead).

He became the seventh vicar of St. Matthew’s in Horseley Fields in April 1923, aged 46 years. He also served as Chaplain to the New Cross Institution from 1923.

He died at a nursing home in Wolverhampton on May 16th 1942, aged 65 yrs., and was buried at St. Mary’s church cemetery, Bushbury.

7.      The Reverend Thomas Stanton (1942-1945)

Born in 1903, in Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, the son of the above. Thomas Stanton (Junior) was instituted as the eighth vicar of St. Matthew’s in September 1942. He first served within the parish as a Parochial Lay Reader (1934-1939), living with his parents at the vicarage in Horseley Fields.

It is believed that he later served within the Trysull parish (Staffordshire).

He was succeeded in St. Matthew’s parish by the Revd. Arthur Victor Yates (1946- 1953).

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