Some interesting Vicars of St Stephen’s

Rev Marcus Southwell

Marcus Richard Southwell is well-known for establishing the vicarage in Watling Street adjacent to the church. The funding for this came from a Mrs Martha Shippery of Watford who, in 1736, set up a deed to give £7pa to the vicar of St Stephen’s until the vicar on the advice of his Churchwardens asks for two hundred pounds from her estate in order to build or repair a house for the Vicar of St Stephen’s to live in. This was demanded in 1841 when the Rev Southwell bought the dower house from the earl of Verulam and turned it into the vicarage. Martha Shippery was the widow of a London apothecary and the daughter of a sea captain who explored Barbados in the 17th century. She lived at Hart Farm, Bone Hill in Abbots Langley and is buried in St Stephen’s churchyard. Rev Southwell negotiated for more land for the church while he was there, including  the neigbouring St Stephen’s Cottage which later became Glebe House, and half an acre of land on the St Julian’s estate on which St Stephens School was built. Charles Willes Wilshire and his daughter Edith E. M. Wilshere gifted the land in 1875. Rev Southwell was the vicar for 50 years until his death in 1880. He is buried in St Stephen’s churchyard.

William Dudley Waddell-Dudley was born in Birmingham in 1838. Aged thirteen he was studying theology training to become a Church of England minister. He married Georgina Carolina Goldie on November 3rd 1866. Georgina had been born in India but her family arrived back in England just a couple of years earlier before she met William. The couple spent some time in India working as missionaries. They arrived back in England and had their first child Bertram Barre Waddell-Dudley born in 1874. In 1880 they came to St Albans where William became vicar of St Stephens taking over from Rev Marcus Southwell.
Two of their children were of special interest: Bertram Barre Waddell-Dudley served in the British Army in the Boer War in South Africa and died on 26th June 1900 at Bloemfontein of Enteric Fever aged 26; Roland Waddell-Dudley born in 1887 also served in the Army and died at Passchendaele in April 1915. His name is on the Verulam Road Street Memorial and the St Peters Street Memorial. William died in 1912 and Georgina died in 1917. They are both buried together in St Stephen’s churchyard.

Revs Fielding Fielding-Ould (1870-1930) and John Brian Booth The next incumbent was the Rev Fielding-Ould. He was interested in the history of the church and parish and in 1914 he decided to research the church papers and write his findings in a parish book. Thanks to him and his successor Rev Booth, there is an accessible account of Churchwarden, Vestry and other meetings, tithes and rates; a wonderful description of the vicarage and garden; a list of church dignitaries; an inventory of the workhouse; details of church repairs; and loads more. Rev Fielding-Ould was the vicar from 1913-1916. He was a writer, having written liturgical volumes as well as poetry. He even wrote a novel. He left St Stephen’s to become vicar of Christchurch Albany Street in London. The Rev Booth succeeded him in 1916 and stayed until he resigned in 1928.

Harold Omer Cavalier was a popular vicar. The Cavalier Memorial Hall in Watford Road adjacent to the old St Stephen’s School was named after him. He was the vicar from 1929-35. He died in 1936.


Leave a comment

  • (will not be published)