Vicars past and present

2017 – Rev. D. L. Matthews, B.Th., M.Th., M.C.I.P.D.
Whilst studying for her theology degree in Southampton, Deborah served as a Reader at St. Matthew’s Church, Netley Marsh. She trained for the Priesthood at Ripon College Cuddesdon and obtained her Master’s Degree from Oxford University. On her ordination, she served her title in Southampton City Centre Team Ministry, then took up the post of Vicar of St. Paul’s Clapham before moving to Verwood..
2000 – 2016 Rev. A. J. M. Sinclair, B.A. Exon.
Andrew Sinclair became vicar during the year when the chancel stencilling was being restored. Educated at Sherborne School, Exeter University and Westcott House Cambridge, Andrew served in Sheffield, Rotherham, Edinburgh and Dunstable before moving to Verwood. At a time when Verwood expanded greatly and many younger families arrived, he encouraged a diversity of worship and helped establish a brand new Voluntary Aided Church School – Trinity CE VA First School.
1986 – 2000 Rev. Canon A. A. Gill.
Prior to being ordained, Alan was a Dorset dairyman. He was instrumental in the building of Emmanuel CE Middle School, and also instigated the purchase and refurbishment of the old village school into the Parish centre. In the latter part of his ministry, he guided six of his congregation into the priesthood.
1977 – 1986 Rev. J. A. D. Roberts, B.D., A.K.C.
Anthony and Hilary came to Verwood when Nicholas, their eldest son, was a young child, and presented the church with a Christmas baby when Jonathan was born on 24th December 1978. This incumbency saw the greatest change since the days of Claud Brown with the extension of the Parish Church.
1968 – 1977 Rev. D. Halworth-Jones, M.A. Ox & Cudd. P.
The Reverend Denis Halworth-Jones is still remembered by some of the present congregation. It was in 1976 that the theme of angels was increased in the church when the old plain hassocks were replaced by the present ones.
1963 – 1968 Rev. F. H. Phillips, M.A. Ox & Ely.
Although he was by no means a young man, Father Phillips struck a chord with the youth of the church, and as well as organising entertainment for them, enlisted their help in the construction of the Memorial Garden. On his death, his ashes were brought back to Verwood and interred in this garden which he had created.
1958 – 1963 Rev. L. R. Kingsbury.
Rev. Kingsbury was middle-aged when he came to Verwood. He was the first Vicar to live in the present Vicarage which had previously been occupied by Misses Bradford, one of whom is commemorated in a stained glass window in the church. He supervised several much needed improvements to the Church School.
1957 No incumbent.
1935 – 1956 Rev. J. Lynes, L.Th. Dur & Sarum.
Rev. Lynes was the last Vicar to live in the old Vicarage which, after 1956, was permanently let, becoming a Bible College before its demolition. Being the Vicar during the war years, he had his share of personal tragedy when his son was killed while serving in the Royal Air Force. One of his achievements was to read Greek with the local Congregational Minister.
1927 – 1934 Rev. Wilfrid Arthur Jeayes, M.A. Camb.
Rev. Jeayes had quite a large family, and so took over again the Vicarage which had been let since the days of Claud Brown. His wife was amongst those who started the Verwood Carnival to replace the annual Verwood Fair on Church Hill, which had lapsed some years previously. He died at the age of 45 after an operation in London which went wrong, and is buried in the churchyard.
1925 – 1927 No incumbent.
1924 Rev. F. M. Nightingale, M.A. Dub & Lich.
Rev. Nightingale had lived in Australia for several years before coming to Verwood. The then Bishop of Salisbury had also been in Australia, and wanted Reverend Nightingale to join him, which probably explains the short incumbency.
1917 – 1924 Rev. Rupert Shiner, M.A. Camb.
Rupert Shiner family had a sawmill in South Dorset. Out of three brothers, one remained in the business and the other two took Holy Orders. He was unmarried when he came to Verwood, and let the Vicarage as it was too large for his needs. He later married Mrs. Sanderson, widow of the Vicar of Alderholt, who was living at the Manor House, and went to live there.

He ran the Boy Scout troop, and on Scout Sunday, the choirboys wore their uniforms instead of robes. In the evening, they walked to Three Legged Cross to be in the choir here, then played tracking games on the way home.

1887 – 1917 Rev. Claud Brown, M.A., Wadham College Oxford.
A book could be written about the Rev. Claud Brown and his impact on the village. In brief, he was a man of substantial private means, and had a powerful personality. Many gifts to the church and improvements were made during his incumbency.

He also began a nursing service in Verwood, and provided a wheelchair in which those unable to walk could be pushed by relatives to visit the doctor in Cranborne. This was an innovation which would scarcely be appreciated today, but for which the then sick of the village and their relatives must have been most grateful.

For a short while, West Moors was also in the Parish of Verwood, and Claud Brown built the church there, and one at Three Legged Cross. Two curates assisted him in looking after these churches, travelling around the parish by bicycle.

At this time, the road to Three Legged Cross ran by way of St Michael’s Road to Crab Orchard, through Manor Farm. There were three gates across the road, and it is told that the farmer, who could be very awkward, used to lock the middle gate on occasions, causing the maximum annoyance to travellers from either end.

Claud Brown built a fine Vicarage, now demolished, but which stood on the site of the present day Montrose flats, giving Vicarage Road its name. The coach house and stables in Copse Road have now been converted into dwellings.

There used to be a windmill in the gardens to pump water, and one parishioner recalled that it was her Sunday treat to be taken by her parents to watch it going round.

According to the custom, his staff had to appear in church in their Sunday best, maids in bonnets. Boys and girls were expected to bow or curtsey on meeting the vicar and his wife.

Although he kept a coach and horses, these were never used on a Sunday, and often he would walk three times a day to Three Legged Cross to take the service there. He was instrumental in getting the bridge at Potterne built after his carriage overturned in the ford then there. His concern seems to have been more for his coachman, Samuel Parker, licencee of the Albion, than himself.

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