Reverend Walker Gray 1814-1819

This vicar was the eldest son (and only child by the first marriage) of Walker Gray, citizen and vintner of London, by Frances Holden, daughter of Jeremiah Harman of Stoke Newington and of the City of London, banker. He was born at 4, London Street, Fenchurch Street, in the parish of All Hallows, Staining, on 27 February, 1788. His parents were members of the Society of Friends. He was admitted a Pensioner of St. John’s College, Cambridge, on 3 July, 1807, and graduated M.A. in 1815. He married, in June, 1813, Emily, third daughter of the Rev. Thomas Daniel, Vicar of Henbury, near Bristol, who presented him on 9 November, 1814, to the Cullompton living. The school at Cullompton was erected on land belonging to him. By an Indenture of Feoffment, dated 22 February, 1822, and enrolled on 13 March, 1822, the school was conveyed to the following Trustees: (1) Walker Gray ; (2) Sir Thomas Dyke Acland ; (3) Francis Huyshe ; (4) Rev. John Templer (Vicar of Cullompton) ; (5) Rev. William Barker (Rector of Broadclyst) ; and (6) Rev. John Townshend (Vicar of Halberton). He was admitted M.A. ad eundem of the University of Oxford on 21 June, 1832. On leaving Cullompton, in 1819, he became curate of Henbury aforesaid, and a silhouette portrait of him is preserved by the present Rector of Henbury (Canon Way). He is described by the rector as “a tall grey-headed man, with a ruddy complexion, who always wore his hat at the back of his head. He was a fine old-fashioned preacher, and I can picture him now in his black gown and bands sitting in the Vicarage pew on a Sunday evening till sermon time came. His sermons would now be thought very long, seldom under an hour.”

In the British Museum are two books (or pamphlets) by him:  1.”A Discourse on ‘Confirmation, being the substance of two sermons delivered in the Parish Church of Cullompton.” Tiverton, 1816. 2. ” The Excellencies of the English Church: a just claim to the attachment of all her members.” London, 1827.

He died at Henbury on 6 October, 1845, and a memorial tablet with the following inscription was erected in Henbury Church close to the steps leading into the organ chapel: “Sacred to the memory of The Rev: Walker Gray for nearly Thirty Years Curate of this Parish. Born February 26th, 1788; died October 6, 1845.”

His will was proved on 21 November, 1845. He left no children. The will contains the following local gifts: 1. To Frederick Leigh, of Cullompton, £50. 2. To his godson, Charles Gray Hill, “the whole of my property at Cullompton in the County of Devon” (ie. a house and premises in Church Lane, two pews in the church, and a Deed Poll in the Exeter Road), “or, if previously sold, £500 in lieu thereof.”

Landowner

Occupier

No. on plan

Name and Description of Land and Premises

State of Cultivation

Quantity   in Statute measure

Payable to Vicar

Reverend Walker GRAY

William FROUDE

2479

Stoneyford House, Lawn & Garden

Garden

0 1 00

1d

This identifies “Stoneyford House” as being ownerd by REverend Walker Gray and occupied by William Froude from 1842-44. It occupied the position of the present No. 1, Church Street, which is at present known as St. Patrick’s House and sometimes referred to as “the Doctor’s House”.