Brook DEEDES (1847-1922)
Brook Deedes (1847-1922) was the godfather of Mela Brown Constable (the fiancée of Cyril Sladden).
Brook was born on 12th January 1847 at Sandling Park, Kent, the tenth of 12 children of William Deedes and his wife, Emily Octavia (née Taylor); twin brothers had died before he was born and two of his sisters died shortly after his birth. He was given the unusual name of Brook after the family of his maternal grandmother, Sophia Bridges, whose father was Sir Brook William Bridges, 3rd baronet, and whose brothers all had Brook in their names. Brook’s father was William Deedes (1796-1863), Member of Parliament for East Kent from 1845-1862, who had also been a first-class cricketer in his younger days. Brook grew up at Sandling Park in a house which had 18 servants.
Brook was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford, graduating with a BA in 1869 and MA in 1872. Like a number of his Deedes’ uncles, he entered the church. From 1871-1875 he was Assistant Curate of St Mary, Golden Square, London, then Vicar of St Crispin, Bermondsey from 1875-1876. He served in India from 1877, being firstly domestic chaplain in the Bengal ecclesiastical establishment to the Bishop of Calcutta, then chaplain at All Saints Cathedral, Allahabad, from 1885.
It was whilst in Allahabad that Brook became friendly with the Brown Constable family when Albert Brown Constable came to work under him at All Saints. Brook was invited to be godfather to Albert and Clara’s eldest daughter, Alice Amelia, known as Mela, who was born in 1887.
It was also whilst in Allahabad that Brook met his wife, Mary Caroline Brodhurst. They were married at All Saints Cathedral on 20th February 1889, in a double wedding with Mary’s sister, Amy.
Brook and Mary went home on leave in England in 1891, living at 43 Emperor Gate, Kensington. The diocese of Lucknow was founded in 1892, being taken out of the diocese of Calcutta. Brook Deedes returned to India and became the first Archdeacon of Lucknow, based at Allahabad which was the headquarters of the new diocese. He was chaplain at Naini Tal, North-West Provinces from 1895-1896, and at Moradabad 1896-1897.
Brook and Mary returned to England in 1897 when he went to Hawkhurst as Vicar. He was then appointed Vicar of St John’s, Hampstead, in 1900, where he remained until 1913. From 1913-1921, he was Rector of St Vedast, Foster Lane, in the City of London.
On retirement, Brook and Mary moved to 8 Victoria Park, Dover. Brook died there suddenly on 28th October 1922. The first part of the funeral service took place at St Mary’s Church, Dover, when the Archbishop of Canterbury was present and assisted the Vicar in the service and delivered an address; this was followed by burial at Saltwood. Brook’s widow remained living at Victoria Park until her death in 1938.