Frank Hudson

Frank Hudson was a curate to Thomas Valentine from 1852 until Valentine’s death in 1859. Within a year of arriving at Cocking, he married Valentine’s daughter, who later died following childbirth. After a spell at Bepton, Frank had various curacies in London becoming a vicar in Warwickshire near the end of his life.

Frank Hudson was born in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham on 29 November 1828, the sole surviving son of Francis Hudson (1795–1852) and his wife Mary Ann née Wallis (1803–1885). He was baptised, nearly a year later, on 9 November 1829 at St Philip’s Church, Birmingham.

Francis Hudson and Ann Wallis had married at the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Aston, Birmingham on 7 January 1826. Following the birth of Frank in 1828, a daughter, Fanny, was born in April 1831, but she died within a few days of her birth.

At the 1841 census, Francis (a carrier) and Ann, together with 12-year old Frank were living at Bartholomew Street, in the centre of Birmingham. By the 1851 census, Francis had ceased working and was now described as a “gentleman” living with Mary Ann and 22-year old Frank (now a Bachelor of Arts) plus three servants, at Minworth, 7 miles north-east of Birmingham.

Frank was admitted as a pensioner at Corpus Christi college at the University of Cambridge on 26 April 1847, graduating as Bachelor of Arts in 1851.

On 19 September 1852, Frank was ordained deacon at Worcester Cathedral, by the Bishop of Worcester, Henry Pepys.

Shortly afterwards, 23-year old Frank was appointed curate to Thomas Valentine at Cocking. He soon struck up with Valentine’s 19-year old daughter, Anna Maria, and the couple were married at Cocking on 27 September 1853, with the marriage service being conducted by the father of the bride.

By this time, Frank was now a priest having been ordained by the Bishop of Chichester, Ashurst Gilbert, at Chichester Cathedral on 22 May 1853.

On 8 May 1854, Anna Maria’s first child, Frank was born in Cocking, but died at only 16 hours old, and was buried in the churchyard on 10 May. The funeral service was conducted by Revd. Wyndham Scott Serres, the rector of Bepton.

In January 1857, Frank (describing himself as “Vicar of Cocking”) wrote to the Earl of Egmont at Cowdray Park, requesting a contribution to the cost of maintaining the school at Cocking.

Annual subscriptions promised were about £8, but the outlay for books, forms and a desk with the first quarter’s salary to the Mistress has nearly exhausted this.

Mrs. Perry, the mistress, goes on remarkably well, and the children are much improved in their behaviour, the number of daily scholars is about 32 and on the Sunday 36.

On 2 February 1857, a second son, Augustus Francis Edward, was born at Somerset House, Dover Street in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, and baptised at Cocking on 9 February. Sadly, Anna Maria never recovered from the birth, and died at Somerset House on 2 March from jaundice. She was buried in Cocking churchyard on 7 March; the priest who officiated was Revd. Charles Buckner, the rector of West Stoke, near Chichester. He was the grandson of Admiral Charles Buckner, the brother of Bishop John.

Two years later, John Valentine died at Cocking on 6 March 1859, following which Frank Hudson left Cocking to take up appointment as curate at Bepton, under Wyndham Serres.

At the 1861 census, Frank was living in the rectory at Bepton together with Frederick Farley, a lime burner, and his wife and two daughters. Meanwhile  his son, 4-year old Augustus, was living with his unmarried aunts, Mary and Charlotte Valentine, at Albert Terrace, Bognor.

Frank probably left Bepton at the same time as Serres in 1863; at the time of his second marriage in 1868, he was a curate at All Saints’ Church, Islington.

On 15 July 1868, at Ashow near Leamington, Frank Hudson married Anne, the eldest daughter of the late Frank Russell (1791–1855), described as a gentleman.

Frank and Anne Hudson had two children:

Annie Catherine, born 19 May 1869, baptised at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Lillington, Warwickshire on 9 June 1869

Frank Russell, born 16 August 1871, baptised at St Matthew’s Church, Oakley Square, St Pancras, London on 2 September 1871

Frank was curate at All Saints until 1871, when he moved to All Souls, Langham Place. Three years later, he moved again, to nearby St James’s in Hampstead Road.

In July 1877, 24 years after his ordination, Frank finally had a parish of his own, when he was installed as vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Hartshill, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire in succession to Thomas Hanley Ball, who had died in May 1877.

Thomas Ball had rather a chequered career prior to being appointed vicar at Hartshill. Born in Ireland in about 1819, he had married Elisabeth Smythe in Dublin in 1845, going on to have at least 13 children. In February 1869, he was the curate at Stepney church in East London, when he was involved in a fight in the vestry with the rector, Revd. Richard Lee, after making allegations against Lee in his sermon, claiming that Lee had “taken liberties” with a girl. During the dispute, Lee had drawn a knife and Ball “went in bodily fear”. Lee was charged with “unlawfully threatening to stab” Ball but the charges were subsequently dropped and the two priests were ordered to “arrange their differences”.

After the girl withdrew her charges, Ball preached a further sermon in which he admitted “overstepping the bounds of delicacy and candour”, and expressed his “desire to make reparation” for causing “pain” to Lee. Despite this, Lee sued Ball for slander; although his case was proven, the court awarded only nominal damages of one farthing!

In November 1875, Thomas Ball was inducted as vicar at Hartshill, but within a short time he fell into dispute with his parishioners. In August 1876, there was a heated meeting in the schoolroom regarding Ball’s management as trustee of the village school and his failure to present reliable accounts.  Ball was in severe financial difficulties as his income from the parish was insufficient to support his large family and was declared bankrupt on 16 September 1876. In March 1877, he was in court again on charges of false accounting and misappropriation of school funds. After a long trial at Warwick Assizes, the judge ordered that the case be discharged for lack of evidence of fraudulent representation, and added that the case should never have been brought to court. Ball died, aged 58, a month after the trial ended.

In July 1878, Frank Hudson presented his parishioners with an account of his first year as vicar of Hartshill in which he referred to the “exceptional circumstances” which had brought him to the parish, and thanked them for the kind manner with which they had received him.

Sadly, Frank’s health soon deteriorated, forcing him to retire in late 1879. He then went to live with his wife’s family at Blackdown Manor, near Kenilworth, but died at South Parade, Leamington Spa on 26 November 1880, aged 51. The cause of death was recorded as “internal haemorrhage”. He was buried at Ashow on 1 December. In the local press, he was described as “well-known and much respected in the county” and as a “staunch and most active Conservative”.

Subsequent family history

After Frank’s death, his widow, Anne, continued to live at Blackdown, where she died on 4 March 1919, aged 85.

Augustus Hudson married Margaret Screech in 1882 and settled in Dorset, where he died in 1909, aged 52, leaving two children. At his death, he was described as a “retired grocer”.

Frank Russell Hudson enlisted in the Royal Navy on his 15th birthday in 1886, but resigned in January 1888. He married Clara Farmer in October 1909, but does not appear to have had any children. At the 1911 census, he and Clara were living in Paddington, when he was described as “Managing Director Granite Company”. During the First World War, he rejoined the Royal Navy, as a temporary lieutenant. He died in London in October 1933, aged 62.

Annie Catherine Hudson married James Smallman (1862–1923), described as “an inventor”, in London in 1896; she does not appear to have had any children.


1841 England Census

1851 England Census

1861 England Census

1871 England Census

1881 England Census

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

Birmingham, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912

Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900

England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906

Warwickshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1910

Warwickshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1910

ACAD (A Cambridge Alumni Database). HT847FF: Hudson, Frank.

Birmingham Mail: 18 August 1871. Births

Cambridge Chronicle: 14 July 1877. College News.

Ashow Parish Register: Burial Frank Hudson 1880

Cocking Parish Register: Marriage Hudson – Valentine 1853

Cocking Parish Register: Burial Frank Hudson 1854

Cocking Parish Register: Burial Anne Maria Hudson 1857

Cocking Parish Register: Baptism. Augustus Francis Edward Hudson 1857

Isle of Wight Observer:

14 February 1857. Births

7 March 1857. Deaths

Leicester Journal: 3 December 1880. Deaths: Atherstone.

Leamington Spa Courier:

30 December 1871. Marriages

6 July 1878. Trinity Church, Hartshill

27 November 1880. The Rev. Frank Hudson

London Evening Standard: 7 March 1874. The Church in the Metropolis

The London Gazette:

22 March 1881. Issue: 24953 Page: 1327

16 October 1934. Issue: 34096 Page: 6596

Manchester Courier: 12 July 1877. Ecclesiastical Intelligence: Preferments and Appointments

Manchester Times: 1 October 1853. Married

Morning Chronicle: 22 September 1852. Ecclesiastical Intelligence

Morning Post: 26 May 1853. General Ordinations

The National Archives:

COWDRAY/1910/24. From [Rev.] Frank Hudson, [vicar of] Cocking. 31 Jan 1857

ADM 196/43/171. Hudson, Frank Russell Date of Birth: 16 August 1871 Rank: Midshipman

ADM 337/127/713. Hudson, Frank Russell

Sussex Advertiser: 4 October 1853. Marriages

Sussex Agricultural Express: 7 March 1857. Died

Worcester Journal: 18 July 1868. Marriages


Sources re Thomas Hanley Ball

Banbury Advertiser: 29 March 1877. Alleged Fraud by a Clergyman

Coleshill Chronicle:

3 February 1877. Hartshill: The Vicar and his Parishioners

31 March 1877. Serious Charge of Fraud Against a Clergyman

Cork Constitution: 5 March 1869. The Rector and Curate of Stepney

The Express (London): 5 March 1869. The Rector of Stepney and the Curate

The London Gazette: 19 September 1876. Issue: 24364 Page: 5111

Manchester Evening News: 3 March 1877. Serious Charge Against a Clergyman

Swindon Advertiser: 19 March 1877. Alleged Misappropriation by a Clergyman.

Tamworth Herald: 12 August 1876. The Vicar of Hartshill and his Parishioners