George Thomas Fieldwick

George Fieldwick was a curate at Cocking for two years from 1883 to 1885, near the end of Drummond Ash’s time as parish priest. He later married Ash’s daughter Georgiana, before serving as vicar at various parishes in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

George Thomas Fieldwick was born on 11 June 1859 at Ditchling, near Brighton,  where his father Thomas (1828–1913) owned the village store.

Thomas Fieldwick married Sarah Ann Sheppard (1830–1895) at St Swithun’s Church in their home village of East Grinstead, Sussex on 2 November 1858, before settling in Ditchling, where he became a churchwarden and manager of the village school, as well as being very prominent in local affairs. George was born 7½ months after the marriage, followed by two brothers and two sisters over the next 11 years.

At the 1871 census, the family were living at London House, West Street, Ditchling with a live-in maid/nurse. Ten years later, the family were at the same address, with 21-year old George now being a theology student. His two brothers were employed in the family business, which employed “4 lads and 2 boys”, as well as a live-in servant.

George was now a student at the Chichester Theological College. He was ordained as a curate on 23 December 1883 at Chichester Cathedral by the Bishop of Chichester, Richard Durnford, and appointed curate at Cocking, to assist Drummond Ash. The following year, on 20 December, Bishop Richard Durnford ordained George as a priest.

In June 1885, George moved to St Mary’s, Hanley Castle in Worcestershire where he was licensed as a curate to Edward Whitmore Isaac, by the Bishop of Worcester, Henry Philpott. At the 1891 census, he was lodging at Gothic Cottage in Hanley Castle; his landlady was Jane Boultbee, whose sister Georgiana was the wife of Drummond Ash.

He remained as curate at Hanley Castle for ten years until November 1895, when he was installed as vicar of St John the Baptist at Chaceley, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

Drummond Ash had left Cocking in November 1888 after 28 years’ service as parish priest; he died in June 1896. Shortly afterwards, on 11 November 1896, George Fieldwick, aged 37, married Drummond Ash’s daughter, 36-year old Georgiana Caroline Ash. The marriage was celebrated at St Helen’s Church at Skipwith in the East Riding of Yorkshire, by Georgiana’s uncle, Robert Halcott Ash, who was vicar of Appleton Thorn near Warrington, Cheshire, assisted by another uncle, Cyril Ash, who was vicar of Skipwith.

In January 1897, George and Georgiana moved to Finstall, near Bromsgrove replacing the recently deceased  J.H. Bainbridge as vicar at St Godwald’s Church. At this time, the vicarage had an annual value to the incumbent of £290.

The couple’s first child, Oswald George was born at Finstall in the autumn of 1897, but died as an infant. Another son, Wilfred, was born in the spring of 1900, but he died three years later.

At the 1901 census, George and Georgiana were living with 1-year old Wilfred at Finstall vicarage, with aunt Jane Boultbee plus a cook and two maids.

In early 1911, poor health and increasing physical difficlcuities led to George exchanging parishes with Alexander B. Macfarlane, becoming perpetual curate at St John the Baptist’s Church at Coln St Aldwyns, 22 miles south-east of Cheltenham. Before leaving Finstall, George’s parishioners presented him with an oak grandfather clock and several items of furniture. The clock had a plaque inscribed:

Presented to the Rev. G.T. Fieldwick by the members of the congregation of St Godwald’s, Finstall, in recognition of his good and faithful work done during the fourteen years of his ministry – 1897 to 1911.

It was hoped that the move to a smaller parish would enable George’s health to recover. Unfortunately, by September 1919, George was suffering so badly with rheumatoid arthritis, that, at the age of 60, he was compelled to retire from the priesthood, settling with Georgiana in Cheltenham. For a few years, he assisted at services at All Saints’ Church, near his home, before the continuing deterioration in his health prevented even this.

A few days after his 75th birthday, on 18 June 1934,  George Fieldwick died at his home at Thirlwood, All Saints Villas Road, Cheltenham. The causes of death were recorded as Cerebral Haemorrhage and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Three days later, he was buried at Cheltenham Cemetery, after a funeral service at All Saints’ Church conducted by Canon Edward Linck Jennings, the son of Drummond Ash’s sister, Marion.

Georgiana Fieldwick survived her husband by four years, and died at Thirlwood on 3 November 1938.



1861 England Census

1871 England Census

1881 England Census

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

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

Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1988

Gloucestershire, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1974

UK, City and County Directories, 1766 – 1946

UK, Clergy List, 1897

UK, Midlands and Various UK Trade Directories, 1770-1941

Worcestershire, England, Electoral Registers, 1837-1974

Bath Chronicle: 21 November 1895. Preferments and Appointments

Bromsgrove and Droitwich Messenger:

10 December 1910. Finstall: Impending Departure of the Vicar

4 February 1911. Presentation to the Vicar of Finstall and Mrs. Fieldwick

Cheltenham Chronicle:

23 June 1934. Rev. G.T. Fieldwick. Death of Former Vicar of Coln St. Aldwyns

18 August 1934. Rev. G.T. Fieldwick, Cheltenham

5 November 1938. Deaths

12 November 1938. Mrs. Fieldwick. Death of Former Wife of Chacely Vicar

Cheltenham Examiner: 9 February 1911. Church News

Eastbourne Chronicle: 29 December 1883. Ordination Service at Chichester Cathedral

Forebears: Finstall history

Gloucester Citizen:

3 February 1911. Diocese of Gloucester: Livings Exchanged

15 August 1934. Cotswold Cleric’s £3,587 Will

3 January 1939. Mrs. G.C.C. Fieldwick’s Estate

Gloucestershire Echo:

9 October 1919. Presentation at Coln St. Aldwyn

20 June 1934. Deaths

22 June 1934. Former Gloucestershire Vicar Buried

Horsham, Petworth, Midhurst and Steyning Express: 30 December 1884. Chichester Cathedral. Ordinations

London Evening Standard: 21 January 1897. Ecclesiastical Appointments

Manchester Courier: 18 June 1885. Licences to Curacies. Social News

Mid Sussex Times: 4 February 1913. Death and Funeral of Mr. Thomas Fieldwick.

Yorkshire Gazette: 21 November 1896. Marriages