Bawburgh Village

History Alphabet

is for the Vicars of Bawburgh

We are privileged to have quite far-reaching information on the Vicars of Bawburgh going beyond the beginning of the 20th Century. We even have pictorial evidence onwards from the Rev. Gabriel Young, who arrived in 1892. A fine calligraphied list of Vicars since 1250 resides at the rear of the Church, originally researched by Henry Peal, and written by the wife of William David Mark Sturdy, known as the Rev. David Sturdy, who was incumbent from 1984 for ten years. Throughout his time at Bawburgh, he was closely associated with the Bawburgh News, and rarely missed a copy-date. (There was a famous occasion when he reported on a Church occasion which had to be subsequently cancelled, but due thanks were given anyway!) David Sturdy was not the first Rev. Sturdy. Philip Sturdy arrived in 1960, but for a short time. He retired in 1963, having served Bawburgh and Little Melton, and was one of the last Vicars to reside at the Vicarage on the Watton Road. His successor, Rev. Frederick Willson, moved before he left in 1974 to the new Vicarage at Little Melton.

The Rev. Hicks Thomas Deacle, (1860-1890) has a fascinating name, and was incumbent at Bawburgh Church for a staggering 30 years (only being succeeded by Rev. Gabriel Young, in fact and in years of tenancy—Gabriel Young handed over to Charles Addison after 39 years). We have no pictorial record of Hicks Thomas Deacle, but know that he received his MA in 1844, prior to serving as chaplain of Holy Trinity, Bungay, before coming to Bawburgh. But there is an amazing wealth of social history attached to the Rev. Deacle, in that (donor unknown) twelve of his accounts books of his daily personal expenses from 1836-1869 and 1886-1889, the latter which corresponds to his time at Bawburgh, have been lodged at the Pitts Theology Library, Atlanta, USA. Sadly no-one to our knowledge has yet to view these documents—any offers? A brass plate in Bawburgh Church celebrates his incumbency. He was born on 8th December 1807 and died on 7th June 1890, and was interred at Hethersett.

The Rev. Gabriel Young (1892-1931) was instrumental in making the church not only a safer place to worship, but a more popular one, and was known for his inspirational sermons. His two daughters, Helen and Marjorie were well-known for their good works throughout the village. When he handed over to Charles Addison, he had been incumbent for a record 39 years. He moved to Babur Hill Cottage, next-door, and died there in 1934.
Further information on the Young Family

The Rev. Charles Addison (1932-1938)  had a hard act to follow, and stayed six years.

The Rev. Thomas Albert Frost (1938-1948), who was a contemporary of Percy Garrod (press correspondent from 1947 for 27 years), although 10 years older, they became great friends, because of their shared interests of music and things practical! The Rev. Frost installed the heating system in Church, which apparently did not fail until the severe frost of the winter of 1963. Co-inciding with the War years, Home Guard meetings were held at the Vicarage, and members quartered there when on night duty. He was Platoon Commander of the Home Guard.

The Rev. Herbert Llewellyn Davies (1948-1954). Was instrumental in re-igniting the waning interest in the Church’s Saint Walstan. Not only did he orchestrate a play in Saint Walstan’s honour, but organised the first pilgrimage to the Well for 20 years (in 1951). Sadly, in spite of this good press, the Well Water was declared unfit in 1952! The Rev. Davies died at the age of only 51, and is interred in Bawburgh Churchyard. He was well liked, and his early death has been attributed to his conscientious approach to his duties as Vicar.

The Rev. Claude Palfrey (1956-58) took over the incumbency, but not until 1956 and the interregnum was managed by Mr. B. Dorman, who had moved to Little Melton two years before. He had already written an article in Bawburgh News on the treasures of Bawburgh Church. Claude Palfrey’s incumbency was short (two years) but the next even shorter.

The Rev. Eric Griffiths (1958/59) lasted just 15 months. Betty Martins had the benefit of meeting Eric Griffiths 40 years after he left, during 1999, when he spent his summer holidays in the village. He blamed the Vicarage (now a well-restored luxury pad) on their desire to move on rather quickly, as explained in a letter following his visit: “…...It looked attractive from the outside but from within—rotten wood, only one bar heaters (and it had been recently re-wired) and worst of all—a useless sanitary system!  He admired the present day Bawburgh and even said if it had been so lively in his day, he might have been persuaded to stay. In fact the highlight of his time here seemed to be Norwich City’s Cup run of 1959! 

The Rev. Percy Sturdy (1960-1963)  It seems that the very long incumbencies of the previous century were never to be matched since the Rev. Young died in the Thirties. Although the Rev. Frederick Willson was in situ for eleven years and moved the Vicarage from Watton Road to Little Melton.

In spite of the continuity provided by the actual fabric of Bawburgh Church, Bawburgh Vicars covering the years from 1830-1974, numbered nine. Following the Rev. Robert Loveless, (1975-1982) who was Vicar of both Bawburgh and Little Melton, more changes were afoot. During his time, the figure of Saint Walstan was dedicated by him, in memory of Miss Marjorie Young, younger daughter of the memorable Gabriel Young (see 1892-1931) and the celebration of the annual Saint Walstan festival days started. The flamboyant Rev. John Watson arrived in 1982, with a fresh approach which appealed to many in the village, but he could see plans afoot for changes in his parish—which indeed happened with the link to Cringleford. This event occurred in 1984, with the arrival of the Rev. David Sturdy who provided some stability and continuity for ten years, until 1994.

More than a hundred years since Gabriel Young’s arrival in 1892, Bawburgh had had eleven Vicars, with the retirement of David Sturdy in 1994. By this time the Walstan’s Day Festival had become a regular annual event and this tradition was carried on by Rev. Clive Blackman (1994-98) and Rev. Canon Beake (1998-99).

With the new Millennium came enormous change at Bawburgh Church, not only was a lady Vicar appointed (Rev. Angela Reynolds)  but we became attached to Easton, Marlingford and Colton, which has certainly turned out fortuitously on all counts!  Rev. Angela was to stay for ten years, until Rev. Darleen Plattin, was appointed in 2010, staying until 2014. In 2015, the Rev. Laura Montgomery took control of the 4 parishes. At the end of 2017, Rev. Laura took maternity leave for a year and we were fortuitous in having Rev. Penny Goodman step into the job to fill the gap. Rev. Laura returned to office October 2018, with Rev. Penny continuing to assist.

Return to History Alphabet