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1813-1818 - William Squire Rufford

William Squire Rufford (1785-1836) was the fourth of nine curates at Badsey and Wickhamford to serve during the 43-year tenure of the absentee Vicar, the Reverend Charles Phillott.

William Squire Rufford was born in 1785, the son of the Reverend Francis Rufford, Rector of Kinwarton (1755-1833) and his wife, Sarah (née Squire).  He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, gaining his BA in 1808 and MA in 1811.  On 25th July 1812 he was appointed Curate of Great Alne.  He became Curate of Badsey and Wickhamford at the beginning of 1813 and stayed in Badsey until the end of 1818.  During his six-year period at Badsey, Reverend Rufford conducted the following number of services between 10th January 1813 and 27th December 1818:  baptisms (56 at Badsey, 24 at Wickhamford), marriages (13 at Badsey, 4 at Wickhamford), burials (28 at Badsey, 8 at Wickhamford).

On 17th March 1814, William Rufford married Anne Barber at All Saints, West Bromwich, Staffordshire, and brought his new bride to Badsey Parsonage.  During their time at Badsey, three daughters were born:  Anne (1815), Sarah Sophia (1816-1842) and Christiana (1818-1841).  Reverend William Rufford was the officiating minister for the baptism of his first-born daughter, but the baptism ceremonies for Sarah and Christiana were performed by William’s father, Francis, Rector of Kinwarton.

William Squire Rufford was a keen botanist.  Whilst in Badsey, he made a study of the flora of the parish.  He corresponded with Thomas Purton of Alcester who produced the first full regional flora of the Midlands in 1817.

From Badsey, the Ruffords moved to Salford Priors, Warwickshire, where William (1820-1868) was born.  On 1st March 1820 Reverend Rufford was appointed as Rector of Binton, Warwickshire, where he remained until his death.  A further three children were born at Binton:  Frances Amelia (1824-1893), Ellen (1827-1827) and Francis (1830-1859).  He was also appointed Rector of Lower Sapey on 9th July 1831.

William Squire Rufford died at Binton on 17th April 1836, aged 50.  At the time of the 1841 census, Reverend Rufford’s widow, Anne, and youngest surviving daughter, Frances, were living at Horley, Oxfordshire, with Anne’s daughter, Sarah, who was married to the Reverend Robert Joseph Buddicom; the Buddicoms had a son, William Squire (1840-1922), named after his grandfather.  In 1851, Anne was living  in Great Alne, Warwickshire, described as a farmer of 130 acres; she lived in a household with three servants.  By this time, Sarah had died (aged 25 in 1842) and Frances had married Astley Purton, the son of Thomas Purton, with whom her father had corresponded concerning the flora of Badsey in 1817.

In 1861, Anne Rufford was visiting Barber relatives in Sedgeberrow; she was described as a landed proprietor.  Anne died at Great Alne in 1872, having survived her husband by over 36 years.  Of her seven children, six had pre-deceased her, leaving her daughter, Frances Amelia Purton, as the sole survivor.

Shortly before his death in 1836, Reverend William Squire Rufford had discovered an alabaster carving representing the Presentation of the Virgin in a carpenter’s shop at Binton.  Nearly a hundred years later, in 1933, it was presented to the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Kinwarton, in memory of him and his father, the Reverened Francis Rufford, who had been rector of Kinwarton until his death in 1833.