St Margaret's - Churchyard Personalities

St Margaret's churchyard contains a number of interesting burials or people commemorated on memorials. Below is a selection of them. Some of them came from further afield and up the social scale, while others were just local artisans.

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(Area 8/1)
Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, 4th Baronet, was the squire of Ham Manor. He was also MP for various Sussex constituencies from 1880 to 1910, a Privy Councillor, JP, and a Deputy Lieutenant of Sussex. He was educated at Eton and served in the Grenadier Guards before commanding the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment Volunteers. For various periods he was a parish and county councillor and chairman of the East Preston Board of Guardians. He was Groom-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria in 1885/6 and the rector's churchwarden at St Margaret's for over 40 years. He was appointed as a Freeman of the Borough of Worthing in 1901. Such was his esteem that an estimated 2000 people came to pay their respects at his funeral in 1910. Photo

(Area 10/3)
Angmering's doctor from c.1906 until the late 1940s. He was chairman of Angmering Parish Council from 1921-1946. Lived at the house now known as 'Chaplins' (previously 'Winona') in the High Street. Mini-Biography

(Area 10/1)
Commander Crebbin, RN, was a prolific author of naval fiction - particularly short stories - writing under the pseudonym "Sea-Wrack". In his final years, he lived at Gothic House in the High Street.

JOSEPH DE BOFFE (1750-1807) & Family
(Area 5/1)
The De Boffe family are interred in a vault by the lychgate. The inscription on the tomb reads "The Remains of the  DE BOFFE family  were originally interred in the  churchyard of  St Ann Soho London.  They were removed from thence by the representative of the last survivor of the family and placed in the vault below.  A.D. 1845". Why the remains were removed from London to Angmering is a mystery. Joseph De Boffe appears to have been a Huguenot who came to England in the latter part of the 18thC.  He was a well-known dealer in French and German books on science and imported them into England.  He also exported books abroad. His shop at one time was based in Gerard Street, Soho. He was a witness in the trial of John Peltier for a libel against Napoleon Bonaparte in London in 1803.  Joseph married Mary Robinson (formerly of Hawkesbury, Glos) at St Anne’s, Soho, on 16 June 1773.

(Area 9/3)
William and his brother, John, are best remembered for Manx National Songs published in 1896. The Manx National Anthem was adapted to English lyrics by William Gill for the Manx Music Festival (The Guild) in 1907. His wife was buried in Angmering churchyard and her headstone mentions her husband, William, who himself was buried in Worthing. For many years before his death he lived at the White House in the High Street.

(Area 10/1)
Edwin Harris was a wheelwright, plumber, builder, political firebrand, Baptist, local benefactor, parish and district councillor, local historian, writer, and Justice of the Peace. His political/historical pamphlets between 1910 and 1914 provide considerable information on Angmering history and a view of society in the early 20th century. Built Gladstone Cottages and The Cottrells and nearby play area for working men and their families. Fought for improvement of village housing conditions. Built and lived in the house known as 'Mont Coline' in the High Street. Mini-Biography

JOHN HILLS (1784-1831)
(Area 5/1)
The inscription on his gravestone reads: "In memory of John Hills who died March 31st 1831, aged 47.  He was". This was caused much puzzlement over the years.

Early this century a man made inquiries about it from old inhabitants.  One told him that he knew a man who knew Hills.  This man said Hills was a little eccentric and always said he was going to have a 'posy' on his tombstone, "He was".  When asked why, he said "When they put up my stone, people are sure to say he was a drunken old __ or he was a lazy __ or they might say he was a nice old fellow, so 'He was' will suit them all."

Two people gave him different versions of another story.  Hills was bailiff for Squire Pechell of Castle Goring, following his father who had served the family for over 50 years on the estate.  Unfortunately Hills met with a fatal accident, being killed instantly by a kick on the head from a colt he was trying to catch.  The Squire was very upset and told the widow at the funeral that he would like to erect a tombstone himself to his memory.

Months afterwards, the Squire found out that 100 sacks of oats had been sold to the Michel Grove racing stables by Hills and the money not accounted for to his estate.  The Squire immediately ordered his cob to be saddled and hurried to the stonemason's yard.  On seeing the mason, he said "How far have you got with that stone?". The man replied, "It would have been finished and put up weeks ago if I had not been ill, sir.  The top part is done and I begun the 'He was'."  "Ah, you stopped at a very good place," said the Squire.  "We thought he was a good and faithful servant, but he wasn't.  Don't you put any more on there."  What shall I do with the stone?" asked the mason.  "Put it up as it is."  And there it is for all to see today.  We shall never know which of the stories is true.  Perhaps neither.

(Area 10/1)
Covered by undergrowth for more than 40 years, the double grave of William Samuel Horton and his wife Lottie Gray Horton was revealed in September 2011 after the churchyard's overgrown areas had been cleared.

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA in 1865 to wealthy parents, William Samuel Horton was to become probably the best known American impressionist artist in Europe of his era. In 1892 he married Lottie Gray, a wealthy New York Socialite and they moved to Paris in 1893 where William flourished as an artist and had numerous collections exhibited in principal galleries in Paris, New York and London, some permanently, and he won many awards and medals for his work during his lifetime. Summers were often spent in England from where he drew some inspiration for his work. He counted Monet and Degas among his friends.

In 1931 his wife, Lottie died and for some unknown reason (possibly he was staying and working in Angmering at the time) was buried in St Margaret's churchyard. William and their son, Capt (later Lt. Col) William Gray Horton, MC, had erected a16th century stained glass window in her memory in the North Aisle, the oldest stained glass in the church (imported from elsewhere).

William died in London in 1936 and was buried next to Lottie. Possible self-portrait

(Area 10/1)
He was the founder of the large publishing and printing group bearing his name. Apprenticed at the age of 16 to a London publisher, he later joined the newly formed firm of Hodder and Stoughton as a traveller. He set up on his own firm in 1887, and published his first list in 1889. Hutchinson enjoyed great success as a publisher of popular books and as a pioneer in the production of part-works. He was knighted in 1912.

(Area 5/2)
Herbert Charles Janes was born in Hertfordshire in 1884. He was a self-made and self-educated man, rising to the top of the building industry being chairman of HC Janes Ltd, Builders & Civil Engineers, and becoming Mayor of Luton in 1953/4, and being knighted in 1954. Baptised as a young man, he also held offices as the chairman of the Baptist Commonwealth and Colonial Society, the chairman of the Baptist Missionary Society (in 1950) and the president of the Baptist Union (in 1956). The "Sir Herbert Janes Village" in Luton was named after him. In 1954 Sir Herbert Janes undertook a trip on behalf of the Baptist Commonwealth and Colonial Society (BCCS), in his capacity as its former president, to investigate the state of Baptist churches in Sierra Leone. He was a generous benefactor of many projects in the UK.

After retirement, he moved to Angmering and in 1967 donated the cost of the site of the new Baptist Church on the corner of Station Road and Dell Drive. Later, he donated a significant sum from The Janes Trust for the conversion of the old barn into the new church. He was given the honour of opening the new Baptist Church on 4th July 1970.

EDWARD LE BAS (1864-1935)
(Area 10/3)
Edward Le Bas was a wealthy Jersey-born industrialist who founded several companies including Le Bas Steel Tube Co., and The British Steel Piping Company. He lived at The White Cottage (now White Lodge) in Rectory Lane from about 1930 until his death in 1935.

His children included the English artist, Edward Le Bas (1904-1966) and the sculptor, Molly Le Bas (1903-?) who was married to Lt-General Brocas Burrows (1894-1967). His other daughter, Gwendoline (1901-1944), was married to Lt.-Col William Gray Horton whose father was William Samuel Horton, the American impressionist artist (see separate entry above).

(Area 3/3)
Juliet Pannett (née Somers) was a prolific and renowned portraitist who moved to the Pound House with her family in 1964 where she established a studio. She portrayed nine prime ministers in all including Winston Churchill, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher. Royal portraits included HM Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Other subjects included poet Charles Causley, playwright Christopher Fry, writer Leonard Woolf, conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, composers Ralph Vaughn Williams and Sir Lennox Berkeley and violinist Yehudi Menuhin, Viscount Alanbrooke, Viscount Slim, , Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman.

She was elected a member of The Society of Graphic Artists and Pastel Society and became a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and an honorary freeman of The Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers, which awarded her a gold medal in 1995. She was made an MBE in 1991. Photo

(Area 5/1)
Vice Admiral Sir George Brooke Pechell, 4th Baronet, of Castle Goring served in the Navy, chiefly in American waters. He was also MP for Brighton. Married Katherine Annabella Bishopp, daughter of Sir Cecil Bishopp, 12th Lord Zouche, on 1 August 1826. Photo

(Area 7)
His gravestone states he "fell off a house and was killed" on November 20th 1872. Investigation of this strange inscription reveals that Charles Walter was a plumber and glazier, so no doubt he was installing or repairing windows at the time.

(Area 3/4)
Of all The Lamb's landlords over the years, Thomas Wilkinson, known affectionately as "Old Wilkie" was the best known. He was born in Northchapel, Sussex, on 26 March 1826.

Married firstly to Emma Randall of Walberton, who bore him ten children, Thomas took over as landlord of The Lamb in 1850 and continued as the licensee for nearly 58 years. His second wife was Ann Sheppard of Horsham who bore him a further four children. Thomas died in Angmering on 10 March 1909.

Thomas was renowned as a jovial man and a person of considerable ability in both in his business and love of sport, and particularly field sports and cricket. He captained Angmering Cricket Club until the age of 61. The quality of the fare provided at The Lamb by Thomas is evidenced in the West Sussex Gazette in the 1860s which mentions this time and time again in its articles. But he was also known for his outside catering; for example, in 1887, he supplied the food for 2000-3000 people attending Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations from Angmering and neighbouring villages.

Neil Rogers-Davis
August 2008


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Page first uploaded: 23 August 2008 (last revised:September 2011)