Restoration of St Leonard's Church, 1879, Creation of First Committee
At the Easter Vestry, April 15 1879 a Committee was appointed to examine the condition of the old Church & Churchyard, to consider the subject of its repair and to make a report to a public Meeting of the Parishioners.
The Committee consisting of the Rector & Churchwardens, Miss C Gosselin, Captain Parker & Mr. Thomas Sheffield met at the Old Church on April 29th at 10.30 am. And afterwards repaired to the Rectory.
1. A new lock was ordered from Mr. Sheffield for the Church Door.
2. It was decided after much discussion
1. That it would be inadvisable to close the right of way through the Churchyard.
2. That it was most desirable to repair the building sufficiently to preserve it, both as a monument, and a Church as at some future time it may be required for Divine Service.
3. That the Churchwardens should make inquiries as to their powers, to charge the repairs of the fences upon the rates.
4. That a report be drawn up and presented to a Public meeting on Thursday, May 8th at 7 pm in the schoolroom.
The following Report was presented at a Public meeting on May 8th at the Schoolroom, Bengeo.
Bengeo Old Church
1 “The Committee appointed by the Easter Vestry to consider the condition of St. Leonard’s Church (the Old Parish Church) and Churchyard beg leave to report
with reference to the Church
“That it is advisable that it be sufficiently repaired to save it from further ruin, as it will probably be required at some future time for Divine Service and is a monument of Early Norman Architecture, very rarely to be found, dating from the 9th century.”
With respect to the Churchyard
2 The Churchwardens having ascertained that the cost of repairing the fences can legally be defrayed to the rates, are taking steps to bring that about.
It was resolved to adopt part 1 of the above report and the following ladies & gentlemen were appointed to endeavour to raise the necessary means to carry out the repairs.
Committee The Rector2
Messr GE Palmer3 & JN Troughton4 Churchwardens Misses C Gosselin1,5 Captain Parker6 Mrs Gambier7 Rev R Rutland8 Rev C.J. Marshall9 Messr J Gripper10 Thos Carter11 T Sheffield12 R Sweetman13
It was resolved to receive, and refer part 2 of the report to the Comee
1 The original minute included “& Lloyd” after Misses C. Gosselin but this was subsequently crossed out.
2 The Rector was George Ruthven Thornton (1845 – 1905) He was the Rector from 1876 to 1882. George was born in 1845. He lived in the rectory with Theresa, his wife, and three sons and two daughters aged from 9 years down to a few months in 1881. He had previously been curate at a church in Ware.
3 George Edward Palmer (1847 – 1919) At the time he was a single but in 1892 married Helen Margaret. George Edward was a farmer who lived at Revels Hall, Bengeo. George, his father, was a farmer before him and in 1881 they farmed 460 acres and employed 17 men & 7 boys.
4 John N Troughton (1816 – 1896?) lived in 1881 at 44, Bengeo Street with Elizabeth, his wife, three daughters, a step-daughter and a niece. He ran a seed cruching business and employed 22men & 6 boys. Peviously they had lived in New Road. His son, also John, was presumably away at school in 1881.
5 Miss Charlotte Gosselin (1816 – 1892) lived at Bengeo Hall with her sister Miss Mary & her brother Gerard. They were a wealthy family. The two ladies spent much of their time doing ‘good works’ especially helping in the Church & Bengeo Girls’ School. There are two staned-glass windows in the north aisle dedicated to them in Holy Trinity Church, Bengeo.
6 Captain John HC Parker, RN, retired (1845 – ) lived in 1881 at Ware Park with Alice his wife & William F their seven year old son. Captain Parker was a JP & farmed 150 acres of grassland employing two men & one boy.
7 Hannah F Gambier (1809 – ) was a ‘lady of means’ who lived in 1881 at St Holmes, Bengeo.
8 Reverand Robert Rutland (1825 – 1906) was the Rector of Christ Church, Bengeo for over thiry years. He lived in the Rectory in 3, Warren Park (now called York House.) In 1881 he lived there with three of his four children, Katherine (21), Herbert (19) & Charles (18.)
9 Reverand Charles J Marshall (1843 – ) was head of Danesbury Preparatory School, 5 Warren Park, on Warren Estate. In 1881 he lived there with Elizabeth, his wife & their two daughters and three sons. in 1891 he is still living at the school but is also listed as Rector Of Shelling Stone, Dorset.
10 Jasper Gripper (1810 – 1891) lived, in 1881, at Danes Hill (2, Warren Road, now Warren Park Road) with Ann Parker, his wife and two daughters. He was a coal merchant employing seven men & three boys.
11 Thomas Stakartt Carter (1838 – 1916) lived, in 1881, on Port Hill with Emily his wife, one daughter & two sons. He was the Municiple Borough Treasurer and in 1881 his two sons were his assistants.
12 Thomas Sheffield (1826 – 1887) was a builder who in 1881 lived with Sophie his wife and one daughter at 71, Bengeo Street.
13 Robert Sweetman (1812 – 1895) was a retired butler in 1881who lived at 1, Waterloo Terrace, Bengeo with Elizabeth, his wife. he had been the butler to the Parkers at Ware Park.