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HUNT, Thomas Henry (1826-1896) – Vicar of Badsey with Aldington

Reverend Thomas Hunt, referred to as “my first Vicar”, features in Chapter VIII of A H Savory’s Grain and Chaff from an English Manor:

I saw a good deal of my three successive Vicars for I was Vicar’s churchwarden for a period of nearly 20 years and was treasurer of the fund for the restoration and enlargement of Badsey Church.  My first Vicar had held the living for over 30 years when we decided upon this important undertaking.  The restoration had been debated for many years; the ancient church was sadly dilapidated and disfigured by an ugly gallery at the west end of the nave, which obscured the finest arch in the building, leading into the tower; and the incident which brought the matter within the range of possibility was romantic.  The Vicar succeeded quite unexpectedly to a large inheritance; the news reached him and his wife, who was away from home at the time, simultaneously.  The letters they wrote to each other on their good fortune crossed in the post, and characteristically each wrote “Badsey Church must now be restored.”  Soon afterwards the Vicar came to my house and, sitting down at my table, wrote me a cheque for £500 to start the fund.

The Vicar received a notable letter from the late Lord Salisbury, the Premier; they had been at Eton and Christ Church together and Lord Salisbury was godfather to the Vicar’s eldest son.  The Vicar had written of the fortune had inherited and spoke of some rooks as having brought the luck by building, for the first time, in an elm-tree in the vicarage grounds.  Lord Salisbury, in sending a donation of £25 to the restoration fund, added:  “I see a great many rooks building near my house (Hatfield) but the luck has not come to me yet.”  The Vicar’s comment to me was:  “If the luck has not yet come to Lord Salisbury, I don’t see how anyone can hope for it!”

The Vicar of Badsey told me that, in the fifties, on his homecoming with his bride, he was, the same evening, requisitioned to put a stop to a fight between two drunker reprobates outside the vicarage gate.

This Vicar was a very impressive reader, especially of dramatic stories from the Old Testament.  As he read the account of the discomfiture of the priests of Baal by the Prophet Elijah one could visualise the scene:  Elijah’s dripping sacrifice blazing to the skies, the priests of Baal, mutilated by their own knives and lancets, in vain imploring their god to send the fire to vindicate himself.  The heavens were black and one could hear the rush of Ahab’s chariot, the roar of the thunder and the hissing torrent of rain and see the prophet running swiftly before him.

Details of Reverend Hunt's life may be found in an article about Vicars of Badsey.