Thomas Valentine (sometimes spelt “Valintine”) was the domestic chaplain to John Buckner, the Bishop of Chichester as well as rector at Nuthurst, near Horsham, when he was appointed as vicar at Cocking in 1823, where he remained until his death 36 years later. He wrote and published several essays, including on Cocking and its church, and on the history of Chichester.
Thomas Valentine was born in Portsmouth in 1787, the son of John Valentine (1749–1814) and his second wife, Mary Ann, and was baptised at St. Thomas’s Church, Portsmouth on 16 December 1787. John Valentine was described as a “gentleman”.
There is little information about his early education, but Thomas matriculated on 17 May 1806, aged 18 and was admitted to Magdalen Hall at Oxford University from where he graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1810, becoming Master of Arts in 1813.
Valentine’s first clerical appointment was on 28 May 1813, when he was appointed vicar at St. Mary’s Church, South Hayling. He remained on Hayling Island for four years until he vacated the position on 17 March 1817. During this time, he was also a curate at Singleton and West Dean, near Chichester.
In 1816, he published “The Chichester Guide: Comprising an Account of the Antient and Present State of the City and its Neighbourhood…” which included biographical notes of many of the city’s prominent citizens, and a short account of neighbouring villages and of the “Watering Places on the Coast of Sussex”.
On 3 December 1816, Thomas Valentine married Anne Charlotte Webb at St. Andrew’s Church, West Dean. The officiating priest was John Buckner, the Bishop of Chichester. Anne was born in May 1797 at Hampstead Norris, near Newbury in Berkshire, the daughter of James and Charlotte Webb.
On 7 February 1817, Valentine was collated rector at St. Andrew’s Church, Nuthurst, about four miles south of Horsham. The installing Bishop was Bishop John Buckner.
Valentine left Nuthurst on 12 January 1819, when he was installed as rector at St. Mary’s Church, Wanstrow (between Bruton and Frome in Somerset), which had become vacant on the death of Charles Goodwin Bethune (1773–1818). His patron was Charles’s brother, George Maximilian Bethune (1772–1840), who was rector at St. Nicholas Church, Worth, near Crawley. Bethune replaced Valentine as rector at Nuthurst, whilst continuing as rector at Worth.
In January 1823, Valentine returned to Chichester diocese, when he was appointed domestic chaplain to Bishop John Buckner and was collated as prebendary of Selsey at the cathedral on 26 January. Shortly before, on 4 January he was collated as vicar at Cocking in succession to Melmoth Skynner who had died the previous November.
On 13 June 1823, Valentine and Bethune exchanged parishes, with Bethune replacing Valentine at Wanstrow, and Valentine once again taking up the position as rector at Nuthurst, while remaining vicar at Cocking, by dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton. The living at Nuthurst was valued at £370 p.a., while that at Cocking had an annual value of £200.
Thomas and Charlotte had nine children:
Thomas Buckner Henry, born at Hampstead Norris, baptised at Nuthurst on 17 October 1817.
Charlotte Elizabeth, baptised at Wanstrow on 28 March 1819.
Mary Anne, baptised at Wanstrow on 2 June 1821.
John, baptised at Cocking on 18 May 1823.
Ambrose, baptised at Cocking on 31 July 1825.
Edward, baptised at Cocking on 3 June 1827.
Francis James, baptised at Cocking on 9 May 1830.
Anna Maria, baptised at Cocking on 17 March 1833.
Emma Matilda, baptised at Cocking on 1 October 1836.
On 26 September 1830, Thomas Valentine preached a sermon at Chichester Cathedral in memory of William Huskisson, the former Chichester M.P., who had his home at Eartham. Huskisson had been accidentally killed by Stephenson’s Rocket at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway on 15 September.
In September 1833, Valentine was committed to appear before Midhurst magistrates on a charge of assault, following a complaint from a 20-year old “lad” by the name of Hewitt, who had been employed by Valentine in 1829. When the case came to trial the following March, Valentine was further charged with “an attempt to commit a nameless offence”. The alleged victim’s evidence was reported as “unfit for publication” and after several character witnesses appeared on behalf of the priest, the charges were dismissed and Valentine “quitted the court without the imputation on his character”.
In February 1837, he was the guest speaker at a meeting of the Philosophical and Literary Society meeting held in Chichester, when he delivered a lecture on Architecture “The Rise and Progress of this Necessary and Beautiful Science“. Sadly, owing to an influenza epidemic that was then sweeping the country, the audience was small.
Thomas Valentine and his family were the first of Cocking’s vicars to appear on the 10-yearly censuses, the first of which was in June 1841. At this time the family were living in the vicarage which then stood just to the south of the church, close to Casters Brook. The census records the family (sadly John had died on 8 December 1839 with chronic inflammation of the brain, aged 16), together with a visitor, 40-year old Revd. Edward Goddard (possibly Edward Henry Emilius William Goddard, vicar of both Sidlesham and Eartham) and three servants.
By the 1851 census, the family had moved to Chichester and were now living in West Street, close to the cathedral, where Thomas and Charlotte were living with six of their children (Ambrose and Edward had entered military service with the Emperor of Austria in 1847) and three servants: a groom, a cook and a housemaid. The eldest son, Thomas (aged 34) was still living at home; he was described as a farmer with 36 acres. Francis (aged 21) was described as a student.
It is probable that by this time, the old rectory by the brook at Cocking was uninhabitable, as it was reputed to suffer from severe damp, and was demolished in 1859 to be replaced by the rectory at the top of Bell Lane.
Valentine wrote a detailed essay “Some Account of the Parish of Cocking” in which he mentions the clear water of the stream with its abundant excellent trout, which were regularly poached. The tythe map of 1842 records the title of the Revd. Valentine to the churchyard, the pond, the chalkpit, a large part of Cocking Down and glebe lands around the village.
During his appointments at both Cocking and Nuthurst, Valentine engaged several curates to help him deal with the spiritual needs of his parishioners. Some of his curates made more of an impact on the national stage than at Cocking or Nuthurst. John Broadwood, a collector and recorder of English folk songs, was curate at both parishes in 1824, as was William John Blew, who helped translate the Book of Common Prayer, in 1832, although neither appears in the Cocking parish registers. Another celebrated cleric, Henry Garrett Newland was curate at Cocking from May 1833 to March 1834, during which time he conducted several funerals and baptisms.
In early 1852, 23-year old Frank Hudson from Birmingham, was appointed curate 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. Sadly, this was probably the last joyous occasion in Thomas Valentine’s life.
In May 1854, Anna Maria’s first child, Frank was born in Cocking, but died at only a few hours old, and was buried in the churchyard on 10 May. The funeral service was conducted by Revd. Wyndham Serres, the rector of Bepton.
Thomas’s wife, Anne Charlotte, died in Chichester on 7 March 1855, aged 55. The cause of death was recorded as heart disease and paralysis. She was buried at Cocking on 13 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, in late February 1857, Anna Maria gave birth to her second son, Augustus, who was baptised at Cocking on 9 February. Sadly, Anna Maria died at home in Ryde, Isle of Wight on 2 March, with post-natal jaundice, and was buried in Cocking churchyard on 7 March.
Emma Matilda, Thomas’s youngest daughter died on 24 September 1857, from phthisis (tuberculosis) aged only 20, and was buried in Cocking on 30 September. Both funeral services were conducted by Revd. Charles Buckner.
Having lost his wife, two daughters and a grandson in the space of just six years, Thomas himself died on 6 March 1859, aged 71. The causes of death were recorded as “Epilepsy, Constipation, Carbuncle”. He was buried on 11 March, with Charles Buckner once again officiating. He was survived by three sons and two daughters.
Later family history
Gradually, the spelling of the family surname changed to Valintine.
The eldest son, Thomas Buckner Henry Valentine (1817–1887) joined the Hampshire Regiment of Militia in 1854, reaching the rank of Captain, before resigning in 1858 to become the agent of the Duke of Richmond on the Goodwood Estate. In October 1859, he married Bertha Bean and had nine children. Their eldest son, Thomas Harcourt Ambrose Valintine emigrated to New Zealand where he became an eminent doctor and public health administrator.
According to a memoir written in about 1853 by Revd. Thomas Valentine, in 1847 his sons Ambrose and Edward “entered the service of his Imperial and Royal Majesty, the Emperor of Austria” serving with distinction in the war with the King of Sardinia in 1848. Ambrose reached the equivalent rank of captain in 1853, while Edward became a lieutenant. The fifth son, Francis, joined the Austrian army in 1852, and at the time of the memoir was a corporal. “God grant he may soon obtain his promotion, for Jesus Christ’s sake!”
Edward is reported to have died in India in 1870.
By the time of his retirement in about 1875, Ambrose had attained the rank of Major in the 3rd Cuirassiers. He had married Catherine Russell in December 1871, with whom he had three children, including Rudolf who was killed in Palestine in November 1917, while serving as a major in the Warwickshire Yeomanry.
Catherine Valintine died in October 1893, causing Ambrose great distress from which he never recovered, and he gradually sunk into a state of “nervous depression”. On 15 November 1894, he married Thermuthis Mary Smith née Kilvert, the widow of an old friend, at Cheltenham. The couple stayed on their wedding night at the home of a brother-in-law at Malvern. The following morning, Ambrose was discovered face downwards in the garden having thrown himself from a second-floor window. At the inquest, the coroner heard that Ambrose had broken his neck as he fell into a rockery and had died instantly. The verdict was Suicide during temporary insanity.
Neither of Thomas Valentine’s surviving daughters married; they settled into a life together in Bath, Somerset where Mary died in February 1871, aged 50, followed by Charlotte in August 1873, aged 54. Their combined estates were left in trust to their nephew, Augustus Hudson.
Revd. Frank Hudson married Anne Russell, the sister of Ambrose’s wife Catherine, in July 1868, with whom he had two further children.
1841 England Census
1851 England Census
England, City Directories, 1736-1943
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538–1975
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886
30 September 1830. Chichester. The late Mr. Huskisson
2 February 1837. Chichester. Philosophical and Literary Society
Brighton Herald: 28 September 1833. Chichester. The Rev. T. Valentine
Challen, W.H. The Parish Register of Cocking, Sussex (1558–1837) pp. 78–86, 101–104, 122–126
The Clergy Database: 49788: Valentine, Thomas (1810-1823)
Cocking History Group (2005). A Short History of Cocking. pp.30–32, 46, 67
The Gentleman’s Magazine: December 1816. Review of new Publications
The London Gazette:
24 March 1834. The King v. Valentine
4 October 1853. Marriages
Sussex Agricultural Express:
7 March 1857. Died
12 March 1859. Deaths
West Sussex Gazette: 1 October 1857. Deaths
West Sussex Record Office:
1900 Clergy List
Diocese Parochial records for Cocking
Williams, Teresa (Kilvert Society):