Walter Farrar

At Bognor – 1915 -1916

Birth – at ‘Eliza and Mary’, Springlands, Corentyne, Berbice, on April 20th, 1865.

On January 24th, 1889, Walter was married by Bishop William Piercy Austin to Alice Bridges (1868–1950), eldest daughter of William Francis (‘Francis’) Bridges and Adele Bridges (née Sherlock). They were married in All Saints’ Church, New Amsterdam, Berbice.

Family Details
Father: Ven. Archdeacon Thomas Farrar B.D.
Mother: Melicent Ann Austin
Married Alice eldest daughter of William.Francis Bridges, JP, Administrator of British Guiana

Academic Details
Queen’s College, Georgetown, and was the second student (the first being his future brother-in-law, James Hill Conyers) to win the British Guiana Scholarship before going up to Keble College, Oxford University in 1883. He graduated in 1887 with an honours degree in theology and was an exhibitioner at Lichfield College. In 1891, also from Oxford, he obtained his M.A. and in 1895 his B.D. In 1895, Walter obtained a second M.A. (ad eund), this time from the University of Durham. .

Ecclesiastical Details
Returned to British Guiana and ordained a deacon by Bishop William Piercy Austin in 1888.
1893 appointed Chaplain of H.M. Penal Settlement, Mazaruni;
During the period 1897-1905, Rector of Limpley Stoke, Wiltshire, and Hawkchurch in Devonshire, Acting Warden of the Jamaica Church Theological College, and Commissary in England of the Bishop of Guiana.
In 1905 consecrated Bishop of Antigua in St. Michael’s Cathedral, Barbados, but had to resign five years later due to ill health.
As Bishop of Antigua, went to Barbados in 1908 to became Principal of Codrington College.
Left Barbados in 1909 for England where he held several posts including Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of York, Principal of Bishop’s College, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and Assistant Bishop in the West Indies.
1910, went to Canada to assist in the administration of the diocese of Quebec for two years.
1912 went to British Honduras, first as Commissary for, and then Bishop of British Honduras and Central America, a post that he held from 1913-1915.
1915 appointed vicar of St John the Baptist Church, Bognor, Sussex.

Times Obituary 9th December, 1916
The death is announced of the Right Rev. Walter Farrar, D.D., vicar of Bognor, Sussex, and formerly Bishop of British Honduras and Central America. It was just over a year ago that he resigned his bishopric and accepted the vicarage of Bognor. He had been in ill-health since September. Bishop Farrar was 51. He was the son of Archdeacon Thomas Farrar, Vicar-General of Guiana, Born in British Guiana, he was educated at Queen’s College, Guiana, and at Keble College, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1887, being placed in the third class in the Theological School. He was ordained in the following year and began work at once in British Guiana as Incumbent of St, Mary’s, East coast, and after a period as chaplain of the Penal Settlement at Mazaruni, he became rector of Holy Trinity, Essequibo, in 1896. Two years later he was appointed to the rectory of Hawkchurch, Dorset, which he held till 1905, when he was consecrated Bishop of Antigua. Afterwards, from 1910, he was successively Assistant Bishop of Quebec and Assistant Bishop of the West Indies, and he was appointed Bishop of Honduras in 1913. He married in 1889 the elder daughter of Mr. W.F. Bridges, Administrator-General of British Guiana, who, with two sons and two daughters, survive him. The elder son has just received a commission from the O.T.C., and the other is already serving in Mesopotamia.

The extensive research by Peter Green and John Hawkins  was triggered by an enquiry in September 2016 from a Michael Grace, TSSF who was writing a book on the Diocese of West Indies and had noted Walter’s association with St. Wilfrid’s church. We were able to help Michael with the location of where Walter is buried (plot 1975) in Hawthorn Rd. Cemetery

We are indebted to Richard John Piercy Farrar & Helen Joan Howard Nedham for all their kind assistance and approval to publish excerpts from their biography –  ‘The Farrar Family’: A Partial Account of the Life of the Venerable Archdeacon Thomas Farrar, B.D. and of His Descendents (Richard John Piercy Farrar & Helen Joan Howard Nedham – ISBN 0954667700).

Note: Richard Farrar’s grandfather was Cecil Farrar, brother of Walter Farrar so Walter was his great uncle and Archdeacon Thomas Farrar was his great grandfather. Walter and Cecil’s sister Anne Farrar was Helen Nedham’s great grandmother.Acknowlegements

Initial Enquiry about a former bishop of West Indies

Visitors to St. Wilfrid’s Church who have seen the wooden plaque recording the line of Perpetual Curates and Vicars of the Parish of Bognor, may have been intrigued to note that the list includes a former Bishop – Walter Farrar., DD. The name of Farrar is a very important one in ecclesiastical circles as the Very Rev. Frederic William Farrar, DD, (1831–1903) was a dean of Canterbury and a novelist who became famous for the book ‘Eric, or Little by Little’ published in 1858, which in its time was as popular as ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’. The Who’s Who entry for the Rev. Walter Farrar states that his father was indeed the famous dean, but this family connection seemed unlikely because Walter was actually born in British Guiana, educated there before going to Oxford to take a degree, and married the Administrator of Guiana’s daughter. The Guiana jigsaw pieces and the pieces to do with the famous dean just didn’t fit together – and after a great deal of research we now know that this connection is indeed wrong.
The trigger to all this research was a website enquiry in September 2006 from Michael Grace, TSSF who is writing a book on the Diocese of West Indies and had noted Walter’s association with St. Wilfrid’s church.

We were able to help Michael with the location of where Walter is buried (plot 1975) in Hawthorn Rd. Cemetery, Bognor Regis in a family grave with his youngest daughter Alice Irene (plot 1976).
The family plot was completely overgrown with ivy and partially vandalised but with the much appreciated assistance of Ron Iden at the West Sussex County Record Office, John was able to identify the exact plots from a map of the graves – otherwise it would have been impossible to trace them. After clearing all the weeds and placing the broken crosses in a more fitting position, the photographs below were taken. At the end of this article it will be noted that the adjoining plot revealed further amazing links with the West Indies!

Walter was born to Thomas Farrar and Melicent Ann Austin in ‘Eliza and Mary’, at Springlands, Corentyne, Berbice on the 20th April 1865.

Melicent Ann Austin was a descendent of Thomas Austin who is believed to have been born on the Island of Barbados in about 1727. His ancestors had most likely emigrated from England, possibly via the then American Colonies, during the previous century.

Thomas married three times and had sixteen children, all born in Barbados. Some remained on the Island, others emigrated to Guiana. The children and their descendants rose to prominent positions in society, some taking Holy Orders and others holding senior posts in government and in the British Armed Forces. The source of their wealth was sugar.
Melicent married the Ven.Archdeacon Thomas Farrar B.D. son of James Farrar and Harriett Armitage on 13 Aug 1857 in St Philip’s, Charlestown, Georgetown. Thomas was born on 21 Dec 1830 in Holbeck, Leeds. He was christened on 22 Dec 1830 and died on 21 Aug 1893 in Georgetown.

Thomas and Melicent had 14 children –

  1. James Henry Farrar b 3 Aug 1858 in At sea off Maida, Corentyne; d 24 Oct 1859.

  2. Melicent Farrar “Milly, Aunt Milly” b 30 Oct 1860 in Holbeck, Leeds; d 31 Jan 1944 in Christ Church Vicarage, Georgetown

  3. Anne Farrar “Annie” b 13 May 1862 in Holbeck, Leeds; d 17 Mar 1936 in Georgetown.

  4. Bishop Walter Farrar D.D. b 20 Apr 1865 in Eliza and Mary, Corentyne; d 6th December 1916.

  5. Nicholas Farrar b 1 Oct 1866 in Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown; d 13 Feb 1927 in Toronto.

  6. Marie Farrar b 2 Mar 1869 in Penal Settlement, Mazaruni, B.G.; d 4 Jun 1935 in Bridgetown, Barbados

  7. Edward Farrar b 20 Jun 1870 in Penal Settlement, Mazaruni, B.G.; d 20 Jun 1870 in Penal Settlement, Mazaruni,

  8. Ellen Farrar “Nellie” b 26 Sep 1871 in Penal Settlement, Mazaruni, B.G.; d on 1 Mar 1969 in Montreal.

  9. Rev. Canon Piercy Austin Farrar b 1 Sep 1873 in St Paul’s Rectory, Sparendaam, Demerara; d 29 Oct 1947.

  10. Cecil Farrar b 6 Mar 1875 in St Paul’s Rectory, Sparendaam, Demerara; d 17 Dec 1948 in B.G.

  11. Alfred Farrar b 10 Oct 1876 in St Paul’s Rectory, Sparendaam, Demerara; d 28 Oct 1917 in Enemy action at sea.

  12. Josephine Martha Alice Farrar b 27 Mar 1878 in St Paul’s Rectory, Sparendaam, Demerara; d 3 Aug 1927 in Georgetown.

  13. Ada Blanche Pierce Farrar b 10 Dec 1879 in St Paul’s Rectory, Sparendaam, Demerara; d 14 Jan 1962.

  14. Edith Louisa Fanny Farrar b 25 Feb 1882 in St Paul’s Rectory, Sparendaam, Demerara; d 18 Sep 1960. Edith was cremated in Brighton Crematorium.

Thomas and Melicent Farrar and their family

(Seated): Melicent Ann and Annie with Ada standing between them. Front Standing: Josephine, in the dark tunic, with Edith (beside her mother). (Second row standing): Walter, Cecil, Thomas, Milly and Alfred (with hands in pockets). (Back row): Nellie between Walter and Cecil, with Marie at the rear. [Absent: Nicholas and Piercy].
[The photograph was taken at All Saints’ Rectory, New Amsterdam, Berbice, c1892, the year before Thomas Farrar died]