Vicars & Nuns. Canon Robert Sparke Hutchings & Rev George Cyril Hutchings

I came across this small collection of Cabinet Cards at the Antique Bazaar in Crewkerne, good place for a wander, it has many traders under one roof & lots of treasures, antiques & vintage wares to suit everyone.


I haven’t come across many Cabinet Cards of Nuns before, such a shame there was no writing on the back of either, but I assume they are from Salisbury.


I know nothing about where these Nuns would live in Salisbury, do you recognise the buildings in the image below? Is this Salisbury too?


The Archbishop below is an interesting find too. Just look what someone has written on the back! I have managed to find a link to a super blog by Professor Howard Williams all about Archbishop Benson. Quote “This is what happened in St Deiniol’s Church, Hawarden, Flintshire, to the Archbishop of Canterbury Edward White Benson, aged 67, on Sunday 11th October 1886. Benson had been visiting former prime minister William Ewart Gladstone when he perished from a heart attack during the Sunday service. Upon one of the pillars within the Church there is a photograph and memorial plaque commemorating his (un)lucky fate. This is a rare memorial because it marks the church itself as a site of death and commemorates that fact.”


Archbishop Benson.jpg
Quote from Blog “His monument (I am not sure whether it marks his burial place, or not) is under the north-west tower of Canterbury Cathedral – St Augustine’s Chapel. It is a striking and dramatic late Victorian effigy tomb


This is a direct link to the Blog  The Blog of Professor Howard Williams    Interesting reading & more photos!



This Cabinet Card above is, I’m sure the same gentleman as named Cabinet Card below. Photo taken around 1887-1897, according to Fradelle & Young photographers details from my London reference book….side by side, image below

Robert S Hutchings.jpg

Cabinet Card below taken at an entrance to a Church?


Because this photo was taken at a Salisbury Photographers & I have a lovely friend Steve on Twitter (@Salcathguide) who is a guide at Salisbury Cathedral, I asked him if he could shed any light on my Canon Hutchings. Meanwhile I was searching around Wiltshire & surrounding counties for records myself, and strangely there happened to be a Reverend Hutchings who was once Vicar of Beaminster where I live! The Rev. George Cyril HUTCHINGS M.A. who died in 1950, could they be related?

Steve came back to me after researching at the Cathedral ” I’ve discovered that Canon Hutchings – and there were two – was installed in 1917 and is remarked on in 1950 as one of three long serving Cathedral canons. The other one was Vicar of Alderbury and died in 1910. So they aren’t the same person, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a family connection. Curiously, the photo looks like it may have been taken in the porch of Alderbury church, built in the 1850s. But it also might be any one of dozens of other churches. It is not the Cathedral however, or any of the canonries that I can think of.” It certainly helps when you have people ‘in the know’ to lead you on the right path! Here’s a photo below of Alderbury Church entrance & Steve was right they do match up!

So now to go to Alderbury Church records & they have a super website, with loads of information if you are researching the Church records, plus photos! I wish all Churches were like this! In their gallery they actually have the same Cabinet Card photo as I have above.


All info below I found on the website of The Parish Church of St. Mary, Alderbury and Whaddon…    St Mary Alderbury and Waddon
Part of the Clarendon Team of Churches

Robert Sparke Hutchings M.A. Vicar of Alderbury, Pitton and Farley 1865-1874. Then Vicar of Alderbury 1865-1910. Rural Dean of Alderbury 1869-1910. Canon of Salisbury 1876-1910. Proctor in Convocation 1886-1906.

Robert Sparke Hutchings was born in Penang in 1819 in the last year of the reign of George III. His grand-daughter, whom he baptised at Alderbury in 1893, was still alive and active in 1988. He was Vicar of Alderbury, Pitton, and Farley until 1874 when Pitton and Farley became a separate parish. He then remained Vicar of Alderbury until his death, aged 90, in 1910. Vicar 1865-1910

387 Hutchings Frances d.12.10.1896 Age 75 b. Abt 1821 Buried Church.
387 Hutchings Robert Sparke d.06.11.1910 Age 90 b. Abt 1820 Buried Church.

Yay I found his birth details…..

Name: Robert Sparke Hutchings
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 18 Dec 1820
Birth Place: Chr. Prince of Wales Island Bengal India
Baptism Date: 12 Mar 1821
Baptism Age: 0
Baptism Place: Prince of Wales Island, Bengal, India
Father: Robert Sparke Hutchings
Mother: Elvira
Reference ID: v 11 p 672
FHL Film Number: 498611

Steve also suggested looking at Crockfords Clerical Directory, luckily they have records on Ancestry from there & I found him. Firstly the records from the 1908 Directory




Look who else I found too, image above, George Cyril Hutchings, who became the Vicar of Beaminster. Then found George Cyril in the 1932 Directory, below.


George Cyril Hutchings a
This record above of George Cyril Hutchings confirmed a link with Robert Sparke Hutchings, he was his Son born in 1864.

I have found that Robert Sparke Hutchings was the very first Vicar of St Andrew’s Church, Monkton Wyld, “the Parish only created in 1850, St Andrew’s church was begun 2 years previous, by the architect RC Carpenter, better known for his restoration of Sherborne Abbey. Mr R.C.Carpenter was hired by Elizabeth Dodson (or Hodson as the church guide spells it) to build the new church, with aide from the Incorporated and Diocesan Church Building Societies. Carpenter was also charged with designing the neighbouring parsonage, school, and schoolmaster’s house. Mrs Hodson named her son-in-law Rev. Robert Sparke Hutchings as the first vicar of Monkton Wyld”        More Information & lots more photos of this beautiful Church from the super website of Britain Express

These are the census records below of Robert Sparke Hutchings, from 1861 as Vicar of Monkton Wyld, nr Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset to Alderbury in 1871, 1881, 1891 & 1901 at Alderbury, where he died in Nov 1910.

RSH 1861 aRSH 1861 b

Robert Sparke 1871c Son George Cyril.RSH 1881c

Robert Sparke Hutchings 1891cRobert Sparke Hutchings 1901c


Above…Robert Sparke Hutchings will
Above 1932 Crockfords entry for George Cyril Hutchings, as Vicar of St Mary’s & Holy Trinity, Beaminster from 1912, and below 1939 image from 1939 Register still in Beaminster, and also an image of George Cyril Hutchings will in 1950

George Cryril 1939Reg BeaminsterGeorge Cyril.Will 1950


This is the Church of St Mary, Alderbury, Wiltshire
This is my local Church of St Mary’s, Beaminster, Dorset

I wonder, are there any descendants of the Hutchings family still living in Alderbury or Beaminster? I shall be making another visit soon to our Local Museum, so hoping I might find out more information about the family.

Thanks so much once again to Steve from Salisbury Cathedral, he’s a mine of information & lovely to follow on Twitter too. Please do get in touch if you have any more information about any of these old photos.

UPDATE: I’ve had a lovely email from Judith in Australia with lots more information.

“Hi Lynn from Australia!
I have been looking for some more details about the above Canon and found your site.
You may be interested to know that during the early days of Young NSW (New South Wales) there was a Dr Arthur Hutchings who was a doctor here. He was the son of Robert S and Frances Hutchings.
Before arriving in Australia Arthur was the resident obstetrician at King’s College London.
He is thought to have arrived in Melbourne Victoria in the early 1970s. He eventually came to Young.
He had a brother called Henry Burdon who was a Civil Engineer in India. Henry however contracted a disease and he came to Young. After several months of
constant medical care Henry died in July 1880. He is buried here in Young. Both men were single
We have magnificent stained glass windows in St John’s church given by his Father. A lovely brass Lectern is also in memory of Henry. Arthur gave the original organ here.
Mayor Arthur Hutchings would only hold the Mayoral Chair position for eight days when he died suddenly!
I thought this might add to your details about the older Canon, the boy’s father. It is interesting to see two Canon Robert Sparke Hutchings but confusing when looking at the Census details!
I enjoyed your site!


Till next time then…………






  1. Lynn,
    Thanks for pointing me in the direction of your blog. There’s some pretty good sleuthing here – when you and I do eventually meet up at Beaminster Museum, be ready to think of some good excuses not to sign up with us as a ‘proper’ volunteer! I actually knew of RS Hutchings being installed at Monkton Wyld by his mother-in-law, but I never put two and two together to associate him with CG Hutchings of Beaminster.

    My favourite Monkton Wyld story concerns RSH’s successor. The chap in question was told he’d benefit from a legacy but only if his name was Lester. Since the will didn’t stipulate which name counted, he thought he ought to call himself Rev Lester Lester to be on the safe side!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brian, thanks so much & glad you enjoyed the read!
      I saw that a Lester Lester was Hutchings successor & was curious at the time & it did cross my mind that it was an error! See you soon, Lynn


  2. Hi Lynn, There weren’t too many nuns in Salisbury in the mid to late C19, however, I wonder if the ones in the photo are the Sisters of Charity (now Daughters) of St Vincent de Paul, based in Mill Hill today. The photo might be taken outside the Presbytery adjacent St Osmund’s RC Church in Exeter st about 200 yards from the location of the school where girls were trained for service. I found this that tells more:

    Salisbury – St. Elizabeth’s Home and Industrial School, Salisbury
    This was founded in 1871 by Lady Elizabeth Herbert of Lea, patron of the Roman Catholic church of St. Osmund. It was conducted by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and was for 100 poor, or neglected children, whose families were unable or unwilling to look after them. Lady Herbert bought St. Elizabeth’s, now 131 Exeter Street, and this was used as a girls’ boarding school where the girls were cared for and taught occupations, mainly to prepare them for going into domestic service.In the 1870s there were 50 girls but this number soon grew to 125 in the home and school. New school buildings and dormitories had to be built and a chapel was erected. Later a new laundry was constructed and this provided a valuable source of income as the pupils operated it by taking in laundry from the city. New legislation caused the independent school to close in 1924 and its premises were used for St. Osmund’s School. The St. Elizabeth’s Home continued in the main building as a children’s home and later as a private hostel for girls under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education. This later moved to Fowler’s Hill where it continued until 1982 when the Sisters left Salisbury.

    Best wishes


    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Thanks so much again Steve! What a huge amount of info, really appreciate your research. Such a shame no one thought to write on the back wasn’t it!
      So interesting delving into the past, love it 😊
      Huge thanks, Lynn


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