Taunton Courier 25 May 1932 Shepton Beauchamps Loss Passing of Rev. Preb. Arthur LETHBRIDGE Rector of Shepton Beauchamp Impressive Funeral

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Taunton Courier. Bristol and Exeter Journal, and Western Advertiser. Wednesday 25 May 1932

Page 4 Column 4





Clergymen throughout the Diocese of Bath and Wells, the parishioners of Shepton Beauchamp, and many people over a wide area, heard with deep regret of the death of the Rev. Preb. Arthur LETHBRIDGE, the rector of Shepton Beauchamp, which took place in that parish on Whit-Sunday morning at the age of 86, after an illness lasting only a few weeks.

Mr. LETHBRIDGE was born in 1846 at Woolwich, being the elder son on <sic> Colonel Arscott LETHBRIDGE, R.H.A. whose family were at that time well known in Devonshire. He was educated at Radley and Exeter College, Oxford, being a distinguished scholar and athlete. While at Oxford he rowed for his college and also won numerous trophies for running and jumping. After he left Oxford he went to Cuddesdon Theological College, where he came under the influence of the late Father KING. Following his ordination he was for two years curate of Nettlebed, Oxon., and in 1872 he came to Shepton Beauchamp as a curate to the late Canon V. S. Stuckey COLES, living at the rectory, which had just been built by Canon COLES and here students came to train prior to taking Holy Orders. Mr. LETHBRIDGE was mainly responsible for the supervision of the students, who received, at his hands, systematic studies, which led to many of them becoming famous both at home and abroad. Whilst curate of Shepton Beauchamp in 1878 he became vicar of Barrington. On the retirement of Canon COLES in 1884 Mr. LETHBRIDGE succeeded him and it was then that he retired from the position of vicar of Barrington.

Whilst rector of Shepton Beauchamp he gained the confidence of his fellow clergy in the diocese, and from 1910 for 20 years he served them as Proctor in Convocation. It was not until 1922, when he was 76 years of age, that he was made a Prebendary of Wells. On his installation as a Prebendary a large number of clergy were present to acknowledge the honour conferred upon him, and he became a leader of church life in the diocese.

Up to the time of his death he had resided in the parish for over 60 years, and in village life he occupied a unique position as a parish priest. The church was remarkably well served with services, there being three every week day. He also had a reputation for visiting, which won for him the hearts of everyone, being known in the parish as “Our Rector.” During the 60 years he was in the parish he had seen children grow up and become grandparents, and was a leader in every parochial organisation, being connected in some way or other with everything in parish life. One of the features of his work was that every morning he went to the school to take prayers.

The Rev. Arthur LETHBRIDGE was also the author of a book entitled “Country Communion Classes.”


The body which was robed in white silk Eucharistic vestments that Preb LETHBRIDGE often wore at the alter, lay in state at the Oratory at the Rectory and was visited by a large number of parishioners.

On Tuesday evening the coffin was carried in procession to the church, and those taking part included members of the choir, Mothers' Union, The Guild, Churchwardens, Parochial Church Council, the school-children and a large number of the general congregation. The church was crowded and on the procession arriving there “Vespers of the Dead” was sung by the Rev. E. A. E. GILL, priest in charge.

During the night the coffin rested in the chancel, and was watched over throughout the night by members of the congregation.

Requiem was sung at 6 a.m. on Wednesday by the Rev. E. A. E. GILL, and at 7.30 a.m. there was sung requiem, the celebrant being Father H. R. WILLIMOTT, vicar of Hambridge, who gave the Absolutions.


A large number of clergy from all parts of the diocese, headed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and a large number of friends from a very wide area were present at the funeral on Wednesday afternoon. The first portion of the service took place in the old Parish Church, which was given an added touch of beauty by the floral decorations, which had been left in place from the Whitsuntide.

The service opened with the hymn “Rock of Ages.” Psalms 9 and 90 were chanted, and the concluding hymn was “O Heavenly Jerusalem.” Those taking part in the service were the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who read the Lesson, and the Rev. E. A. E. GILL. Preb. G. H. W. MALLETT, vicar of Chard, carried the Bishop's crozier, and the Rev. J. N. BOUGHTON, R.D., and vicar of Ilminster, acted as Bishop's chaplain.

The organists were Miss Betty ROWSWELL and Miss Sybil ROWSWELL.

The coffin, which was of unpolished oak, and bore the inscription:- “Arthur LETHBRIDGE, Our Rector, age 85 years, R.I.P.,” was covered with a pall, on top of which rested a full length floral cross from the relatives.

The interment followed in the churchyard, the grave having been beautifully lined with wild flowers, consisting of primroses, narcissi, forget-me-nots, and ivy, which had been collected by the schoolchildren and arranged by the members fo the Guild and the Sexton, Mr. Wilfred ENGLAND, while at the head of the grave in hawthorn blossom were the letters “R.I.P.” Following the interment the blessing was given by the Bishop.


The robed clergy included Revs. J. N. BOUGHTON, R.D. (Ilminster), M. A. BUCKNALL (Stratton), J. N. MURRAY (representing the Community of the Resurrection, Murfield), J. F. BRISCOE (Bagborough), Maxwell FISHER (Holy Trinity, Yeovil), Preb. G. H. W. MALLETT (Chard), A. J. HOOK (Chaffcombe), J. D. KENWOOD (Furnham, Chard), J. DANIELL-BAINBRIDGE (Salisbury), F. W. CLEVERDON (Ilminster), Preb. Daniel PRING (Ilminster).

Other clergy present were Revs. G. M. EVANS (Westonzoyland and formerly of Puckington), J. W. PLAXTON (Langport), H. NAISH (Seavington), H. E. HASKINS (Donyatt), W. H. ALLEN (Broadway), J. T. HORSFORD (Tintinhull), E. K. TUXFORD (Kingsbury Episcopi), Robert LOWE, W. T. PHILLIPS (South Petherton), F. M. ETHERINGTON (Provost of King's College, Taunton), P. M. TAYLOR (King's College, Taunton), Stephen V. PURCELL (St. Michael's, Yeovil), G. A. NICHOLSON (West Coker), G. H. GREENING (Odcombe), J. B. GLASS (Barrington), and H. R. WILLIMOTT (Hambridge).


The principal mourners were Miss D. BRAKSPEARE and Miss E. BRAKESPEARE (nieces), Mr. A. BRAKESPEARE (nephew), Mrs. Leonard FORSYTH, Miss COLES, Mrs. St. John BRODRICK, Mrs. LEAN (West Hill), Mr. and Mrs. Vincent LEAN, Miss S. NEWIS (housekeeper), Mr. J. ROWSWELL (gardener), Miss INDER, Mr. F. A. V. JONES, Mr. G. DINHAM, and Miss F. BEER.

Mr. H. BRAKSPEARE (nephew) Commander CAVENDISH-VENN, D.S.O., Captain Vivian SPURWAY, and Mr. L. FORSYTH were unable to be present.

The servers, Messrs. F. CORNELIUS, W. CLARK, H. ENGLAND, R. HAWKINS, G. SILLS, and K. WELCH, acted as bearers.

Amongst a church full of general mourners were the following: Messrs. C. E. VAUX and J. H. ENGLAND (churchwardens), Captain C. P. L. FIRTH (Compton Durville), Colonel G. S. POOLE (South Petherton), Mrs. HOOPER (Ilminster), Miss C. WOODWARD (Beer), Miss M. E. BRISCOE (Seaton), Mrs. E. M. SPURWAY and Miss SPURWAY (West Hill, Ottery St. Mary), Mr. J. W. ROWSWELL, Miss K. ROWSWELL, Miss B. ENGLAND, Mr. F. HARRIS (South Petherton), Miss JACOB (Beer), Mrs. and Miss PITT (Queen Camel), Messrs. W. W. JACOBS (senr., and junr., Hurcott), Mr. Estcourt SOUTHCOMBE (Tintinhull), Mrs. and Miss Moray BROWN (Queen Camel), Messrs. N. GREY and E. BEST, Mrs. and Miss GLASS (Barrington), Mr. and Mrs. G. R. TALBOT (Barrington), Mrs. WROUGHTON (Merriott), Mr. R. L. TUNER (manager of the Westminster Bank, Ilminster), Dr. W. H. MAIDLOW (Ilminster), Mrs. J. D. KENWOOD (Chard), Misses LOVIBOND (Montacute), Miss RUNSTON (Chard), Mrs. DANIELL-BAINBRIDGE (Salisbury), Messrs. D. and E. WELCH, Mr. E. ROWSWELL (representing Shepton Beauchamp Football Club), the local branch of the Mothers' Union, members of the Guild of St. Gabriel, the Parochial Church Council, the choir, and school children.


Amongst a profusion of floral tributes were the following public wreaths:- Choirmen and Servers; Schoolchildren and Teachers; Shepton Beauchamp School Managers; The Guild; Shepton Beauchamp Church Trustees; The Parish Council; His beloved choirboys; The Organist and Choir (ladies); Shepton Beauchamp Tennis Club, Shepton Beauchamp Mothers' Union; Shepton Beauchamp Football Club; Shepton Beauchamp and District Small Holdings Association.

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