Rev. Phillip Ward

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Phillip Ward, Rev

Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Trunch, Norfolk, , England
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Marmaduke Ward and <private> Smyth
Husband of Horatia Nelson
Father of Horatio Nelson Ward; Eleanor Phillipa Ward; Marmaduke Philip Ward; John James s Ward; Nelson Ward and 6 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. Phillip Ward

Philip Ward was the sixth of seven children and was born in 1795 at Trunch, Norfolk, where his father was Vicar. The youngest child, James, was Philips's closest kin and later became a Captain in the Indian Army.

The records of Philip’s childhood in Norfolk are sparse but there is mention of his school-days at Winchester where he was sent with his younger brother under the privilege of Founders Kin (his mother was a member of the Smyth family, descended from William of Wykeham). At 17 he was admitted to Trinity College, Oxford. The Latin entry in the Admissions Register translates: I Philip Ward, eldest son of Marmaduke Ward, clerk, of Trunch, Norfolk. (where I was born), aged 17, was admitted as a Commoner of the lower order on 14th January 1813. under the tuition of Masters Ingram and Mence.

“Commoner” meant he was not a Scholar supported financially by the College but that his education was being funded by his father. “Of the lower order” meant that he was not a Gentleman Commoner (son of a Knight or above) who would have paid more and had more privileges in the College. This was in keeping with his father being a clergyman. Philip obtained his BA degree in 1816 and his MA degree in 1820.

He first met Horatia Nelson in 1819 at Burnham, Norfolk where he later took up the position of Curate. It seems Horatia had been rather fond of the Reverend Blake, his predecessor, who left Burnham to become Rector of Bradfield St Giles, but Philip won her heart. They were married in Burnham Westgate Church on 19th February 1822 where the ceremony was conducted by the Horatia's uncle, Reverend William Bolton.

The parish register gives Horatia's surname as Nelson and the local Norfolk Chronicle stated she was “the adopted daughter of the late Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson”. In the years ahead, although accepting that Nelson was her father, she tried without success to prove that Lady Hamilton was not her mother.

Philip and Horatia settled into married life at Burnham and the need for Philip to find a living became increasingly important as their young family grew.

Their first child, Horatio Nelson Ward, was born at Burnham on 8th December 1822 and was baptized on Horatia’s 22nd birthday, 29th January 1823,

In July 1823, Philip was transferred to nearby Stanhoe as Curate, where a second child, Eleanor Phillipa Ward, was born in April 1824. A few months later he moved to a better paid position as Curate at Bircham Newton, where the third child, Marmaduke Philip Smyth Ward, was born on 27th May 1825. Three other children were born at there: John James Stephen Ward on 13th February 1827 (who died in January 1829), Nelson Ward on 8th May 1828 and William George Ward on 8th April 1830.

Philip, Horatia and their five surviving children then moved to Tenterden where Philip became Vicar of St Mildred’s. Local records show “Philip Ward was instituted to the living on 10th August 1830 and inducted on 14th August by Reverend William Temple, Curate of Tenterden”.

The stipend (pay) was a £200 per year, with vicarial tithes (taxes paid to the church by landowners) estimated at a £450 per year.

St Mildred’s Vicarage had been badly neglected for a long time and was unfit for a large family to live in so the Wards took rooms nearby where they stayed for almost two years.

Four more children were born during the time that Philip was Vicar of St Mildred’s: Edmund Ward, born on 10th July 1832 (he died on 13th February 1833), Horatia Ward, on 24th November 1833, Philip Ward, in May 1834 and Caroline Ward, in January 1836.

Philip was Vicar of St Mildred’s for over 28 years until his death in January 1859 and had been involved in disputes over the tithe charges since 1832.

After much legal wrangling a compromise was reached and the tithe dispute was settled although the cost to local landowners was not small. However, it ended very expensive legal proceedings that, whilst they were going on, had made a very bad atmosphere between the church and the people concerned.

There are many records held in Tenterden Museum and tithe map dated 1843 is also available.

Another event happened during Philip's time as vicar, although not as major as the tithe disputes. This arose over Philips appointment, confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, of Henry Goodsall as parish clerk in 1841. Goodsall resigned in 1842 saying he had discovered his appointment should have been by the wish of the parishioners which, in his opinion, was a long standing custom. However, Goodsall was eventually reinstated and remained in office until his death in 1895 as one of the last elected parish clerks in Tenterden.

Philip Ward died on 16th January 1859, aged 63, and is buried in St Mildred’s Churchyard. There is a plaque on the South wall commemorating his death and also that of his youngest daughter Caroline a few weeks later aged 23. Two sons, the infant Edmund Nelson who died in 1833 and Philip who died at Pinner in 1865, aged 31 are also remembered there.

A stained glass window was erected in the East North wall of the North Chapel by the parishioners and dedicated "to his beloved memory". The window showed The Temptation of Christ by the Devil – however, the devil was the larger of the two figures and in 1830 the Bishop of Dover objected and the window was replaced with one depicting a Madonna and Child. The offending window was taken away to Woodton Church in Norfolk.

In 1701, Maurice Suckling, a younger son of the ruling Squire Robert Suckling, became Rector of Woodton. His daughter Catherine married Reverend Edmund Nelson at Beccles in 1749 and became the mother of Horatio Nelson at Bumham Thorpe Rectory in 1758.

To celebrate the close connection with Nelson through his mother, the Nelson Hall was built in the village by public donation in 1905. The "Temptation of Christ" window was brought to Woodton but when installed in its new home it was found to be too big to fit and had to be cut down. The green devil disappeared with the exception of the tip of a scaly wing and a green claw.

After her husband’s death in 1859, Horatia had to leave the Vicarage at Tenterden to make way for the new Vicar. Despite wealthy connections on both sides of their families, Philip and she had found life difficult financially. Raising a large family and bearing the cost of the tithe litigation had left them short of money, although from 1854 onwards, she received a pension of a £300 per annum from Queen Victoria’s Civil List. This was payable at a £100 per annum for each of her three daughters, at her specific request, “to prevent distress in the event of her own death”. There is an opinion that the financial burden, added to the stress of fighting the landowners for ten years, contributed to Philip's illness in 1859 - however, his death was 17 years after the end of the tithe dispute and at 63 years his age was higher than the average at death in Victorian times.

By 1859 the Ward family were all in adult life and had gone their separate ways, except for Eleanor Phillipa.

The two eldest sons were Rector of Radstock and a Naval surgeon respectively so it fell to Nelson Ward to look after his mother’s interests. He was a Registrar in the Chancery Court, London and had married Jessie Bird of Pinner.

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Rev. Phillip Ward's Timeline

Trunch, Norfolk, , England
December 8, 1822
Age 27
April 15, 1824
Age 29
Stanhoe, Norfolk, , England
May 27, 1825
Age 30
Bircham, Newton, Norfolk, England
February 13, 1827
Age 32
Bircham, Newton, Norfolk, England
February 13, 1828
Age 33
Bircham, Newton, Norfolk, England
April 8, 1830
Age 35
Bircham Tofts, Norfolk, , England
November 24, 1831
Age 36
July 10, 1832
Age 37