Comment: The rectors of Simpson Church

Simpson Church
Simpson Church

In 1738 Walden Hanmer inherited the Simpson estate, and his would be the wish that one of his sons should enter the ecclesiastical profession.

Therefore in 1761 he purchased the advowson of Simpson Church, intending that one of his sons, Graham, should be appointed as the rector when he came of age.

In the meanwhile, on August 29, 1761 ,Walden appointed the Reverend Christopher Drake to the position, but unfortunately within less than a year he was found drowned, with his legs tied together with a halter. As ‘a very worthy and good-natured man’ the next incumbent would be the Reverend Dixon Reddall, ‘a short, fat little man, wearing his own shock black hair.’

The position had been purchased for him by his mother, but after a long illness he sadly died of palsy at Wellingborough in February, 1772.

As for his replacement, Samuel Hare LLB, he would be asked to leave in 1777 when Graham, now suitably qualified by age and education, came to the position.

Graham also held the livings of St Bartholomew by the Exchange in the City of London, and Hanmer in Flintshire and, this was in fact, the home county of the wife of his brother, Edward. Interestingly, she was the daughter of the well known 18th century naturalist, author and traveller, Thomas Pennant (died 1798), and although he penned such learned tomes as British Zoology (1766), and ‘Tour in Wales, (1784), he is today best remembered for having been the correspondent to whom Gilbert White, the English naturalist, addressed the first 44 letters of his ‘National History of Selborne.’

With a monument being placed in the chancel to his memory, both Edward and his wife, (who died at Stockgrove Park), were buried in Simpson Church, and this would also be the last resting place of Graham, who died on May 28, 1761.