Rev. William Henry Thompson. [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  XL, (1908), p. 44.


Maxwell Adams (Ed.).

Prepared by Michael Steer

The obituary was read at the Association’s July 1908 Newton Abbot meeting. William Henry Thompson was the son of George Hodgson Thompson, sometime rector of Fryern Barnet, Middlesex. He was born at Tottenham, educated under Dr Taylor of Dedham, Essex, and under Rev Thomas Wall of Edgeware. He was admitted to Caius College, Cambridge as Pensioner in 1852, aged 20. (From Biographical History of Gonville and Caius College 1349-1897, p. 308). He was vicar of Exmoor 1868-1892,and became a resident of Parracombe in 1897. The Rev Treasurer Chanter, Rector of Parracombe, and a Devonshire Association ‘stalwart’ married Miss Rose Thompson, his daughter. The obituary, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Rev. William Henry Thompson was born in 1832. He was educated at Tonbridge and Caius College, Cambridge, and was ordained deacon and priest in the diocese of Ripon. Finding the climate of the North of England too severe for a somewhat delicate constitution, he came to Devonshire about forty-five years ago, and accepted from the Crown the great parish of Exmoor, which is only second in size to that of Dartmoor. His striking personality was well known to all sportsmen in the West, and especially to fishermen - a sport in which he excelled - as the author of Exmoor Streams says, " What Mr. Thompson does not know about fishing on Exmoor is not worth knowing." After twenty-five years' work on Exmoor he retired and took up his residence at Dennington, Swymbridge, well-known formerly as the home of "Parson Jack" Russell, which estate Mr. Thompson purchased and farmed for his amusement. He was well known in agricultural circles as one of the best and keenest of North Devon farmers. In his later years he resided with his son-in-law. Rev. J. F. Chanter, at Parracombe Rectory. He joined the Association in 1903, but owing to his advanced years was unable to take an active part in its work. He died on his seventy-sixth birthday, 17 March, 1908.