Parish History - Vicars and Rectors

Charles Kempson Waller was born in 1891 in Chelmsford, the son of Theodore Harry Waller.  Charles studied at Felsted School; St John’s College, Oxford and Wells Theological College.  In 1918 he married Marion Eisdell, the daughter of The Revd John Warmington Eisdell and his wife Ruth. (The bride’s maternal Grandfather was Dr Stevens, the Bishop of Barking.) Charles and Marion’s son, Richard Charles Eisdell Waller was born the following year. (Richard was ordained Priest in 1952). From 1914 – 1918 Charles served as Assistant Curate at Barking Church. He was appointed Priest in Charge of the new parish of St Martin’s, Dagenham in 1925 and remained there until 1929. On 10th September 1930 he was made Chaplain and Vicar of Hornchurch. His main recreation was golf. In January 1949 Canon Waller became provost of Chelmsford Cathedral and Rector of St Mary’s Parish where his father had been Churchwarden and indeed had been commemorated in a window. The refurbishment of the South Chapel was later undertaken as a memorial to Provost Waller.

Charles Waller 

Frederick Ernest Bayley was born in 1906. He studied at King’s College, London, was made Deacon in 1929 and Priested on 28th September 1930.  He was appointed Curate of St Martin’s District, Dagenham on 22nd September 1929.  When the new mission church of St Albans, Becontree was created, Fred took most of the Services in the temporary building from May 1930 until July 1931. He was Curate of Upminster 31-35;  Curate in Charge of St Martin’s Plaistow 1935 -38; Vicar of St James The Great Walthamstow 38-44; Vicar of Holy Trinity Halstead 44-58 ; Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity Wanstead 58-69; Vicar of Broxted with Chickney and Tilty from 1969. He was appointed Rural Dean of Dunmow in 1970.

Frederick Bayley

Ashley Douglas Turner was born on 2nd September 1895 in Croydon.  He was the son of Henry and Mary Turner. Dad was a Philatelist. Ashley was baptised on the 29th September 1895 in St Dunstan's Church, Stepney. He was educated at Barncroft Boarding School in Wansted. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the First World War.  He Graduated from King’s College London in 1921 having won the McCaul Hebrew Prize.  He was made Deacon in 1923 and Priested in 1923. He was Curate of St John’s Westminster 1923-24; Curate of St James The Less Bethnal Green 24-27. He married Margaret Gashion on 16th August 1927 and they honeymooned in Morocco. He was Priest in charge of St Paul’s Barking 27-29; Priest in Charge of St Martin’s, Dagenham 25th April 1929 – 1932; Vicar of St Martin’s 1932 – 1937; Priest in Charge of The Ascension Chelmsford 22nd July 1937-50; Vicar of Pleshey 5-62; Rural Dean of Roding 52-62; Honorary Canon of Chelmsford Cathedral 54-62; Vicar of Curdridge 62-66. Honorary Chaplain of Portsmouth Cathedral from 1966. He died in September 1985 aged 90.

Ashley Turner

Edward Noel Cornwallis Mann was born in 1907 in Norfolk. Edward was the son of Gerard and Ethel Mann of Norwich. He studied at Marlborough College and gained his BA at Trinity College Oxford before working in the Trinity College Mission in Stratford, East London with a view to doing mission work in Africa. Recurring ill health meant that he was not suitable for that work. He studied at Wells Theological College and was ordained Priest in 1931. He was appointed Minister of St John The Divine Becontree in February 1933. He lived at 165 Stamford Road Becontree.  It is said that he overworked and neglected is own health.  He fell in front of a train at Charing Cross Station on 22nd August 1934.  When the foundation stone for the new St John’s Church was laid on 9th March 1935 his Bible was placed under it. 

Edward Mann 

Frederick Smith was born in 1893.  He entered World War 1 as a private soldier and rose to the rank of Captain.  He then studied at St Aidan’s Theological College, Birkenhead and was ordained Priest.  He served curacies in Olney and at Emmanuel, Greenwich. In 1931 he was appointed Priest in Charge of the embryonic Church of St Alban’s Becontree. He immediately set about securing funding for a permanent Church building.  When the Church was consecrated Fred became Vicar of St Alban’s Parish on 5th May 1934. From April 1941 to August 1946, despite being over military age, he volunteered for service overseas, becoming domestic Chaplain to General Mark Clark of the US Army and Field Marshall Lord Alexander of Tunis. Fred was mentioned in despatches. For his service to the Benedictine Monks of Monte Casino he was given Eucharistic vestments and a small altar. After the War he returned to his duties as Vicar of St Albans.  In April 1953, having suffered recurring ill health he left Becontree to take up an appointment as Rector of Cold Norton and North Fambridge. He died on 10th January 1963 aged 69.

Frederick Smith 

William Francis George Wittey was born in 1905. Having studied at King’s College, London, he was made a Deacon in 1931 and Priested in 1932. Bill served as Curate of St Barnabas West Silvertown 31-34; Minister of St John The Divine District, Becontree 6th Novemer 1934 – 1935; Vicar of St John The Divine Becontree 1935 – 1944. He had permission to Officiate in Chelmsford and Exeter from 1945. He was Curate of St Mary’s Church with Shiphay 46-52; Vicar of St Barnabas, Carlisle 52-63; Vicar of Torpenhow 63-72.

William Wittey

John Stokes Newman was born in 1906.  He graduated from the University of Leeds with a B.A. in 1928. He then studied at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. He was made a Deacon in 1930 and Priested in 1931. He was Curate of Barkingside 1930-33; Curate of Great Ilford 33-37; Vicar of St Martin Dagenham 18th October 1937- 6th June 1943; Rector of South Pickenham 43-49; Vicar of Barkingside 49-67; Vicar of great Ilford from 1967; Honorary Canon of Chelmsford Cathedral from 1970.

John Newman

George William Bell graduated from King’s College London in 1926. He was made Deacon in 1927 and Priested in 1928. He was Curate of St Martin’s Dagenham from 1927 to 1929; Curate of St Andrew’s Romford 30-31; Curate of Hornchurch 31-35; Vicar of Blackmore with Norton Mandeville 35-43; Vicar of St Martin’s Dagenham 28th August 1943-12th February 1950; Rector of Foulness 50-56.

George Bell

James Arthur Johnson was born in 1907. He graduated from St Augustine’s College, Canterbury in 1928 and the University of Durham in 1933.  He was made Deacon in 1933 and Priested in 1934.  He was Curate of St Stephen Upton Park 1933-36; Missionary in Msumba in 1936; Priest in Charge Kota-Kota 37-38; Priest in Charge of Songea 38-42; Curate in Charge of Great Parndon 42-43; Vicar of St John The Divine Becontree 1943 – 1947; Vicar of St Barnabas Walthamstow 47-59; Curate in Charge of St James Walthamstow 58-59; PC of St Paul’s Gloucester 59-68.

James Johnson

Alban Rabson was born on 20th June 1907 in Walthamstow, the 4th child of Arthur Reginald and Emma Mary Ann (née Harrison) Rabson. Dad was a Schoolmaster. Alban was baptised on 14th July 1907 in St Michael & All Angels Church, Walthamstow. By 1935 he was Chaplain of Bede College, Durham. He was then appointed Curate of St Bartholomew’s, East Ham. In 1941 in East Ham he married Kathleen Blackshaw. On the 3rd May 1942 he became Priest in Charge of St Paul’s District, Parkeston, Harwich. He was Vicar of St John The Divine, Becontree 1947 – 1949. His father died in December 1949 in Romford aged 69. His mother died in 1962 aged 87. Alban died on 12th October 1966 in Epping aged 59. Kathleen his wife died in 2003 aged 90.

Alban Rabson

Thomas Hartley was born in 7th May 1905. He graduated from King’s College London in 1936. He was made a Deacon that year and Priested in 1937. He was Curate of Shenfield 1936-38; Curate of Chingford 38-41; Curate of All Saints Tooting 41-44; Curate of Dovercourt 44-47; Curate in Charge of St Pal’s Parkeston 47-50; Vicar of St Martin Dagenham 5th May 1950 – 1957; Vicar of Barling with Wakering 57-66; Minister of St Margaret’s Conventional District Ilford from 1966. Thomas died in May 1990 in Redbridge. 

Thomas Hartley

Douglas Edgar Field Gilbert was born on 28th April 1901, the son of Frederick and Florence (née Field) Gilbert.  . He studied at King’s College London, was made Deacon in 1931 and Priested in 1932. He married Jane David in 1936.   He was Curate of St Clement’s City Road 31-33; Curate of St Mary The Virgin Reading 33-36; Curate of St Columba’s Notting Hill 36-37; Curate of St Thomas Acton Vale 37-40;  Vicar of Wormingford 40-50; Vicar of St John The Divine Becontree 1950 – 1958; Vicar of St Alban’s Romford 58-62; Vicar of All Saints Grays 62 – 71. Douglas died in April 1978 in Southend aged 77

Douglas Gilbert 

George Arthur James Townsend was born on 23rd January 1914. He graduated from the University of London in 1938 and from Wycliffe Hall, Oxford in 1946.  He was made Deacon in 1948 and Priested in 1949. He served as Curate of Falmouth 48 – 51; Curate of Bedworth 51-53; Vicar of St Alban’s Becontree 1953 – 1956; Curate of St Saviour’s Croydon 58 – 61; Chaplain Missions to Seamen 61-70. George died on 4th October 1971 in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire aged 57. 

George Townsend

Edward Harry Steele was made a Deacon in 1938 and Priested in 1939. He was Curate of Stone 1938-40; Rector of Farmborough 40-45; Rector of Trent 45-50; Vicar of St Paul’s Stratford 50-56; Vicar of St Albans Becontree 1956-1960; Rector of St Gabriel’s Walthamstow 60-63. In 1963 he was appointed Rector of North Ockendon.

Edward Steele

James William Cecil Roll was born on 1st June 1912 in Wansted, Essex, son of Cecil and Mildred (nee Wells) Roll. On leaving Chigwell School he went up to Pembroke College Oxford but did not take a degree. He studied for Holy Orders at Chichester Theological College, being made a Deacon in 1937 and Priested in 1938. In 1937 he became Curate of St James The Greater, Bethnal Green. It was during this time that he became the 4th Baronet after the 3rd Baronet died. The Baronetcy had been created in 1921 for his Grandfather who had been Chairman of Pearl Assurance and Lord Mayor of London. With the Title came a considerable inheritance. Sir James next served in St Matthew Victoria Docks before moving as Curate in 1944 to East Ham where he served for 14 years. He refused to receive a stipend throughout his time as curate. The Revd Sir James Roll was appointed Vicar of St John The Divine, Dagenham in 1958. The Church had no Vicarage and he chose to live very simply in a council house side by side with his parishioners. He used his wealth to support a range of worthwhile causes and spent little on himself, looking quite scruffy with an ill-fitting collar.  It was said that he had to be reminded to have his shoes repaired. Twice a day he would be seen walking to Church without fail to say Morning and Evening Prayer.  He remained at St John’s for nearly 25 years retiring at the age of 70 to Leigh where he continued to serve for a further 15 years at St Clements while running a holiday home in Westcliff for disadvantaged children from London. As he was unmarried and had no children the Baronetcy became extinct when he died in 1998.  His obituary in The Times ends with the words, “He died largely unknown in the wider Church of England”. 

James Roll

Geoffrey William John Nunn was born in on 8th February 1924 in Dunmow, Essex.  He was the son of Frederick and Winifred Nunn.  Dad was a Corn and Seed Merchant’s labourer.  Geoffrey’s brother Frederick Theodore, a Royal Marine, was killed aboard HMS Warspite in the Battle of Crete on 22nd May 1941 at the age of 22.  Geoffrey studied for the Priesthood at St John’s College Durham where he gained his BA Degree in 1951.  He was made Deacon in 1952 and Priested in 1953. He served as Curate of Upminster from 1952 to 1958. He was then appointed Vicar of St Martin’s, Dagenham on 6th February 1958 where he remained for 36 years until 1994. It was at this time that St Martin’s was joined to the Becontree South Team Ministry which already comprised St Alban’s and St John The Divine. He served as Curate in the Team Ministry from 1994 until his retirement in 1997.  He died in Romford on 28th February 2005 aged 81.    

Geoffrey Nunn

Ronald Gordon Paisley was born in 1915.  He studied at Clifton Theological College Bristol and was made a Deacon in 1952 and Priested in 1953. After service as a Curate for 7 years he was appointed Vicar of St Alban’s Becontree in 1960 where he remained for 13 years. In 1973 he became Vicar of St Clements, Toxteth Park in Liverpool. He retired in 1980 and continued to officiate occasionally for a further 6 years.

Ronald Paisley

Kenneth Borwell Robinson was born in 1937. He gained his B.A degree at the University of London in 1962 and graduated from Ridley Hall, Cambridge in 1968. He was made Deacon in 1970 and Priested in 1971.  He served as Curate of St John’s Walthamstow for 4 years from 1970. He was then appointed Priest in Charge of St Alban’s Becontree on 14th May 1974 where he remained for 4 years before becoming Priest in Charge of Heybridge with Langford.  In 1984 Kenneth was appointed Curate and then Team Vicar of Horley.

Kenneth Robinson

David Stanley Ainge was born in 1947. He graduated from Brasted Place in 1968, was made Deacon in 1973 and Priested in 1974 having gained the  Diploma in Theology from the University of London earlier that year.  He served as Curate successively of Bitterne in the Diocese of Winchester and of Castle Church in the Diocese of Lichfield.  In 1979 he was appointed Priest in Charge of St Albans, Becontree on 26th October 1979.  He became also Priest in Charge of St John The Divine, Becontree in 1985.  From 9th July 1986 David became Rural Dean of Barking and Dagenham.   David served as Team Rector of the newly created Becontree South Team Ministry which incorporated the parishes of St Alban and St John The Divine, Becontree from 18th June 1989 to 13th October 1991. For the next five years he was Vicar of St Mary’s with St Edward’s, Leyton and Priest in Charge of St Luke’s Leyton. He served as Rural Dean of Waltham Forest for six years from 1994 and was made an Honorary Canon of Chelmsford Cathedral in 1997.  In 2000 David became Vicar of St Mary The Virgin, Great Dunmow and St Andrew’s, Barnston where he served until his retirement in 2013.  Since then he has assisted in the parish of St Andrew’s Church, Halstead.

David Ainge

Paul Haworth was born in 1947. He studied at Gonville & Caius College and Westcott House Cambridge.  He was made a Deacon in 1978 and Priested in 1979. He served as Curate of St Andrew’s Hornchurch 78-81; Curate of St Mary & St Michael Loughton 81-88;  Team Vicar of Holy Cross Waltham 88-92; Team Rector of Becontree South 1992 – 2000; Priest in Charge of South Woodham Ferrers from 2000 until his retirement.

Paul Haworth

Geraldine Ann Clarke was born in 1946.  Having studied on The North Thames Ministerial Training Course, Ann was made Deacon in 1996 and Priested in 1997.  She served as a Self –Supporting Minister at St Gabriel’s Aldersbrook from 1996 to 2001.  Ann was then appointed Team Rector of Becontree South on 11th September 2001 where she remained until 2009.  In that year she became Priest in Charge of Holy Cross, North Bersted in the Diocese of Chichester until 2017, for the last three years of which time she was Canon and Prebendary of Chichester Cathedral. She was licensed as Associate Priest of St Mary with Christ Church, Wansted on 14th September 2017. 

Geraldine Clarke

Penelope Jane Sayer was born in 1959. Having studied at the South East Institute for Theological Education, Penny was made a Deacon in 2007 and Priested in 2008. She served as a Self-Supporting Curate at St John the Evangelist, St Leonards on Sea in the Diocese of Chichester from 2007 to 2010.  She was appointed Team Rector of Becontree South in 2010 where she remained until 2016.  It was then that she was appointed to a newly created position of “Turnaround Minister” for the Bradwell Area of the Diocese of Chelmsford. This role involved assisting parishes that were struggling in some way. She was also self-supporting minister at St Margaret’s Woodham Mortimer and St Michael’s Woodham Walter. On 25th November 2018 Penny became the Archdeacon of Sherborne in the Diocese of Salisbury.

Penelope Sayer

Faye Bailey was born in 1988. She trained at St Mellitus College whilst on placement in the Parish of Canvey Island. She was made Deacon on 25th June 2016 and ordained Priest on 2nd July 2017. She served as Assistant Curate in the Parish of the Ascension with All Saints Chelmsford from 2016 to 2019. She was instituted as the Team Rector of Becontree South on 28th March 2019.

Faye Bailey

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