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Thomas Herbert HORSFIELD (1901-1984)

Known As
Biographical Details

Thomas Herbert Horsfield (1901-1984) first became known to the Sladden family when he became a pupil of May Sladden in 1911 at Greenhill School, Evesham.

Thomas, or Tommy as he was known as a young boy, was born on 24th November 1901 in Auckland, New Zealand, the only son of James Kay Horsfield and his wife, Alice (née Harding).  His parents had emigrated to New Zealand the year before his birth.  Unfortunately, Tommy’s father was convicted of various charges of theft.  He had left his wife by 1911 and appeared in court in Christchurch in default of maintenance.

It was probably about this time that Thomas was sent to live with his grandparents, Thomas and Sophia Horsfield, in Evesham.  Tommy was certainly in residence with them by the time of the 1911 census on 2nd April, and had begun attending Greenhill School.  Thomas then went on to attend the King’s School, Worcester, as a boarder, where he was to be found at the time of the 1921 census.

It is thought that Thomas then went up to St Edmund’s Hall, Oxford, as there is a report in The Diss Express of a Thomas Herbert Horsfield of St Edmund’s Hall being fined 10 shillings for driving a motor-cycle without a licence.  By 1929, Thomas was living in London, as he appears in the Electoral Register for that year for the City of Westminster as living at 29-30 Westbourne Street, along with five others, including two Reverend gentlemen.

On 16th November 1932, Thomas Horsfield left Southampton on the ship “Wahehe” bound for West African ports.  He was described as 30-year-old priest of “The Ridge, Eversham (sic)”.  His country of intended future permanent residence was given as the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana). 

On 27th April 1934, Thomas arrived back in England, having sailed from Takoradi.  His occupation was given as Missionary and his proposed address in the UK was SPG (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel), 15 Tufton Street, London SW1.  He remained in England for just under 12 weeks, returning to the Gold Coast on 18th July 1934.  Thomas’ grandmother, Sophia Horsfield, who had brought him up, had died in the January, so possibly he returned to settle affairs in Evesham.

It is not known how long Thomas Horsfield remained in Africa, but he ended his days at Nazareth House, Durnford Street, Plymouth, on 24th December 1984, aged 83.  Nazareth House is a Care Home operated by the Catholic congregation Sisters of Nazareth.  

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