Rev. Henry Lionel James

The first mention I found about Revd James was when I was researching Charlie Stamp. Charlie mentioned him as his neighbour in a letter to Clarks trustees. Martin Lepley has him living at ‘Seaview’ as the owner/occupier. The first mention of the property later known as ‘Seaview’ was in 1907. It was described as a Black Cottage.

Henry Lionel James, was born in 1857 in Deptford, Greenwich, son of Revd Thomas James and his wife Sarah Spedding nee Smith. He was educated at the Royal Guildford Grammar School then studied the ministry at St Aidan’s Theological College, Birkenhead and was ordained at Norwich Cathedral in May 1880.

Walberswick on a wet day 1886 watercolour by Henry Lionel James

He was a curate at St Clements church, Ipswich, also a watercolour and landscape painter and a member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1885-1890. He was briefly at Laxley, Isle of Man before returning to Suffolk where he took the vicarage of Blythburgh and Walberswick where he compiled ‘a topographical record of the village in watercolour paintings’. His mother Sarah was also a painter mainly watercolours of flowers and still life and a member of the Ipswich Fine Art Club 1886-1899

In 1887 he is at St Cuthberts, Everton where he was living with his widowed mother Sarah. He continued to exhibit at Ipswich Fine Art Club, exhibiting a total of 33 works between 1884-1889, from Ipswich, Walberswick and from Everton, Liverpool. In 1891 he went to the rectory of St Dunstan’s-in-the-West, Fleet Street, London and he married at Walton-on-the-Hill, Liverpool in 1895, 20 year old Sarah Ellen Loheide. In 1911 he was in Essex living at ‘’Croxteth’ Queen’s Road, South Benfleet by 1919 they were in Hatfield, Berkshire returning to Norfolk as rector of Alderford with Attlebridge in 1925. But he did not give up his property on Canvey.

In Canvey’s 1918 Electoral Roll his abode is ‘Croxteth’, South Benfleet but he had a property at Leigh Beck – presumably ‘Seaview’. The 1929 Electoral Roll has his abode as Alderford Rectory in Norfolk and a property on Canvey called ‘Seaview’, Beveland Road. In 1928 he officiated at the baptism of Charlie’s son, John, at St Katherine’s Church. In 1930 Charlie Stamp mentioned him in his letter as his neighbour.

Did he paint when he was on the island? We will probably never know but I would be surprised if he didn’t. Perhaps one day someone will get in touch to say they have one of his paintings of Canvey Island.

He died at Fersfield, Norfolk where he was rector of St Andrew’s Church on 9 December 1944, aged 87.

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