Rev Walter John Weekes

Rev W Weekes Memorial Tablet

The memorial tablet to Rev Walter Weekes in St John the Baptist Church, Sutton-at-Hone

Walter John Weekes was born on 6th January 1837 at Barnstaple, Devon, the second son and fifth child of Robert Weekes and his wife Mary Kittow.  Robert had been a Excise Officer and died in 1852 when Walter (who seems to have been known as William, according to his obituaries in the local papers) was 14.

Walter’s elder brother Robert had attended Dublin University, and had been ordained in 1854, and after spending time in Derbyshire, he spent the rest of his career as a priest in the parish of Angle, Pembrokeshire.  Walter was a Tutor in mathematics at the time of the 1861 census, and by 1866 he had was was ordained as a Deacon and in 1867 he was ordained as a Priest.

On the 4th January 1868, Walter married Emily Helen Blundell Shury at St John the Evangelist, Hammersmith. The couple had a son and three daughters.

The Rev. Weekes’s first parish was at Warton in Derbyshire from 1869-1870, and the family were still living at the Parsonage at Warton in 1871 when the census was taken.

In 1871 Rev. Weekes was made a Minor Canon Precentor and Sacrist at Rochester Cathedral, and became Precentor of the Cathedral from 1873 to 1881. Apparently the Rev. Weekes was a talented musician and the choir ‘gained great efficiency under his tuition‘. In 1881, after the retirement of Rev. John Hotham, he was appointed to living by the Bishop of Rochester.

On 7th June 1900, Rev. Weekes conducted his daughter Helen Mary’s wedding to Walter I. Cook (Barrister at Law)

The Rev. Weekes’s health had started to fail in late 1906 but in March 1907 he ‘completely broke down‘ whilst delivering a sermon. “Through the generosity of the members of the church, who raised a sum of about £70, he was enabled to take a short trip abroad , from which, however, he did not derive any benefit. “

Later in the year as the Reverend’s health declined, he was taken to a Nursing Home in Wandsworth where he died on Tuesday 3rd December.

The funeral took place on Saturday, 7th December 1907 at St John the Baptist Church, and was taken by the Bishop of Rochester, assisted by the Rev. G. Griffiths (curate) and the Rev. J. Hale, Vicar of Horton Kirby.

The burial was attended by a large number of villagers and there were many ‘magnificent’ floral tributes, including one from the school children and one from the Choir. The chief mourners were Major Weekes (son), Mrs Wilson Weekes (daughter-in-law), Miss Weeks (daughter) and Miss Agnes Weeks B.A. (daughter).

Rev. Weekes had kept a diary during his time in the parish as it was consulted by Horace Balls when he was writing his history of the Church.

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