Notable Occupants of the Grand Houses of Abbots Langley

Web site researched and maintained by Lesley and Tim Brooks, Abbots Langley.

contact link

The Vicarage

The Vicarage Photograph

The Vicarage 1912. Photo - © David Spain and Scott Hastie.

Map showing location of The Vicarage relative to the Church.
The Vicarage Location map

A Grade II listed building, dating from the early 18th century, extended mid-19th century, further altered during the 20th century.

The Notable Occupants of The Vicarage

Not surprisingly, the vicarage was occupied by the vicars and their families.

This list, drawn primarily from Scott Hastie and David Spain's book, 'Abbots Langley a Hertfordshire Village' extends from 1785 to 2019 when it was sold.

links are provided to entries below where a specific individual was worthy of extra comment.

There is a list of earlier Vicars and Curates from 1591 to 1821 on the 'Clergy Database'.

1785 Sir John Filmer.

1821 William Lewis.

1844 Richard Gee.

1878 Francis Hodgson.

1893 Arthur Henry Parnell

1925 Henry Finch.

1930 Verner Whits.

1935 Robert Geddes.

1941 Hubert Somervell.

1946 William Eggington.

1950 Raymond Wilkinson.

1962 Paul Goddard.

1969 Hugh Kennedy.

1979-2005 Brian Andrews.

2006-2015 Jo Spreadbury.

After 2015 the Vicarage was put up for sale, and subsequently the Vicars housed in a more modest modern house.

Rev Sir John Filmer, 7th Baronet Filmer(March 19, 1760-July 15, 1834).

Son of Sir Edmund Filmer, 6th Baronet and Annabella Christiana Honywood.

Vicar 1785-1821.

John Filmer memorial

The John Filmer Memorial shown is in the parish Church of St Peter's and St Paul's in Church Lane, East Sutton, Kent, adjacent to the Filmer estate, which is now now the East Sutton Park Prison for female adult and young offenders.

John Filmer was a member of the extended Filmer family, who owned a large estate in East Sutton, Kent since the 1600s.

In 1805 John inherited Langleybury from his Uncle, Beversham Filmer, but remained living in the Vicarage, rather than taking up residence in Langleybury.

When he achieved the Baronetsy on the death of his father Sir Edmund Filmer in 1810, and returned to his East Sutton estate, he remained, in name, the Vicar of Abbots Langley for the next 11 years. "The Curate Alexander Platt carried the parish for the 11 years 1810-1821, celebrating all the marriages, helped only occasionally either by the reverend Sir John or Thomas Morgan, curate at Kings Langley." ( ref Abbots Langley Then - Clive Clark )

In 1821 John nominated his sister Anne's son, William Lewis, to the Abbots Langley benefice, which was duly granted.

On John's death he left a bequest to the Abbots Langley Parish.

"In 1834 the Rev. Sir John Filmer, bart., by his will proved in the P. C. C. left £100 (now consols) upon trust for the poor of this parish."

'Parishes: Abbot's Langley', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1908), pp. 323-328. British History Online.

Lady Mary Musgrave nee Filmer (1761-1838).

Occasional visitor, The Vicarage 1785-1821.

Lady Mary Musgrave Photograph

Portrait may be copyright - copyright holder unknown.

The Rev John Filmer’s Sister, Mary, who married Sir John Chardin Musgrave, 7th Baronet in 1791.

Vicar William Lewis (1797-1858).

Vicar 1821-1844.

Vicar Lewis memorial

Willian Lewis was the nephew of Sir John Filmer, being the son of Anne Lewis (née Filmer), John’s younger sister.

He was nominated to the benfice by his uncle in 1821.

His memorial is in St Lawrence Church.

Vicar Richard Gee (1817-1902).

Vicar 1844-1878.

Vicar Gee photograph

Illustrated London News - Saturday 22 March 1902 © Illustrated London News group.

He was educated at Wadham College, Oxford where he received his ordination in 1840, and graduated BA in 1840 and MA in 1843. His former college appointed him a Doctor of Divinity (DD) in 1867.

He had a long ecclesiastical career in Hertfordshire, where he was Vicar of Abbots Langley from 1844 to 1878.

The Bishop of St Albans appointed him Honorary Canon of St Alban's Cathedral in 1865, and he served as Proctor of St. Alban's Diocese 1874–1880.

In 1878 he was appointed Vicar of New Windsor, serving as such until he was appointed Canon of Windsor by Queen Victoria in 1894.

He was appointed to the fifth stall in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle in 1894 and held this until he died in 1902. Gee was also a Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen from 1884 until her death in 1901, Reader of the Chapel Royal, Windsor in 1878, and Warden of St. Mark's school, Windsor in 1894.

from Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia.

Richard Gee wrote the important short history 'The Two Langleys', published in 1853.

He also planted the splendid avenue of Lime trees in the Churchyard, as described in Audrey Ashby's article on the Reverend Richard Gee, published in 2003 in the Abbots Langley Local History Society Journal no 18.

ref 'Abbots Langley a Hertfordshire Village' © Scott Hastie & David Spain.

Vicar Frank Hodgson (1848-1930).

Vicar 1878-1893.

Vicar Hodgson photograph Vicar Hodgson text

photo 'Abbots Langley Then'. © Clive Clark 1997.

Francis Henry Hodgson (1848-1930) was the son of Sir Arthur Hodgson, a Queensland grazier and politician, and the grandson of Sir James Dowling, the chief justice of New South Wales. He was born in Rickmansworth, England. In 1849 the family returned to Queensland and Hodgson spent his early years at Eton Vale, their sheep station on the Darling Downs. In 1860 he returned to England, where he lived for the rest of his life. His parents joined him in England in 1870.

Ordained a priest in 1874. He was the vicar of Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire from 1878 to 1893.

He married Mary Horsman Solly, daughter of Mr Wiliam Hammond Solly of Serge Hill, Bedmond, in 1881 and they had four children. She died in 1888 and in 1896 Hodgson married Elizabeth Odeyne de Grey. They had one daughter.

From a biography of the Rev Frank Hodgson in the 'Australian Joint Copying' project.

Vicar Arthur Henry Parnell (1861- 31 December 1935).

Vicar 1893-1925.

Vicar Parnell Photograph

photo 1920 © ALLHS/David Spain.

It was Arthur Parnell who saw the transition from 'The Vestry' to the new Parish Council, an upheaval described in Clive Clark's book "The New-Fangled Scheme".

Vicar Parnell Photograph Vicar Parnell Photograph

Vicar Parnell left the parish in 1925 to become Archdeacon of Bedford, and then of St Albans.

Caroline Agnes Parnell (1860-1923).

Occupant, the Vicarage 1893-1923.

Caroline Agnes Parnell Photograph

ref 'Abbots Langley a Hertfordshire Village' © Scott Hastie & David Spain.

Vicar Raymond Stewart Wilkinson (1919-1995).

Vicar 1950-1962.

Vicar Raymond Wilkinson Photograph

photo 'Abbots Langley Then'. © Clive W Clark 1997.

In an article in ALLHS journal no 34, about the Abbots Langley G&S society, Reg Nice wrote "In 1950, in the grey years of post war austerity, a new, lively and energetic vicar, the Rev Raymond Wilkinson revitalised church life, and, with a few singers, formed the Gilbert and Sullivan Society"

In the November 2020 edition of Outlook, Brenda Southorn wrote a piece about the Rev'd Raymond Stewart Wilkinson which is reproduced here, with permission from Brenda.

The Abbots Langley G&S Society is still alive and singing today!

And Finally...

Mary Anne Trebble (1840-1914).

Occupant, The Vicarage, 1914 - to this very day....

Mary Anne Trebble Photograph

portrait may be copyright - copyright holder unknown.

The ghost of a servant girl (at 74, hardly a girl! - ed.) who was allegedly mistreated by the vicar’s wife, died as a consequence, then reputedly haunted the Vicarage for many years. Clearly the church took this seriously enough as an exorcism was performed by Bishop the Rt. Rev. Michael Furze. Unusual noises and the inability to fix a fireplace in the room that she died have all been attributed to the spirit.

The Story of Mary Anne Trebble is reproduced here, as published in the Abbots Langley Local History Society Journal no 3.
and in this account. here, taken from 'Where the Ghosts Walk': The Gazetteer of Haunted Britain by Peter Underwood.

Note that these articles spell her surname, 'Treble', but official documents, including her birth record, census records, and her tombstone all have it spelt 'Trebble'.

Copyright. These web pages © Lesley Brooks. Where images and text are drawn from other sources, copyright is acknowledged whenever known, and links to those sources provided where required or appropriate.

Any use of this material, for any purpose, must be credited, with due reference, including the URL, and a link provided back to these pages when online.

contact link