Two Notable Characters from Hathern

At the centre of every village there is more than just a village square…

History is everywhere you look in our small village – no more so than in our graveyard.

A slow, meditative walk through our graveyard is like taking a walk through time.

As with many other villages around the UK, our church has been at the centre of our community for centuries.

Within the records kept through the church and by simply paying respects to the dead in the graveyard we can piece together valuable strings of information that form to make a cohesive, complete record of Hathern through the ages. This kind of historical archiving is exactly what the Hathern Local History Society has been doing for the last 37 years or so. Their work is now collected on their website – a spectacular resource for anyone who wants to find out more about our history and grasp some context for their next visit.

We’ve cherry picked a few articles from HathernHistory.co.uk that have caught our eye, for more information head right over to their dedicated site:

Henry Spittle: Clockmaker

Born in the mid-eighteenth century, Henry Spittle is one of many interesting characters who has made his mark in history through the creation of pocket watches. The first record of Henry appearing in Hathern is his marriage to Elizabeth Hunt in 1779. They were married in the church by Rev. William Middleton and would go on to have four children, one of whom died at the young age of 7.

Henry’s life revolved around time; clock-making was considered to be less of a craft and more of a science in the 18th century – it was a task that required a steady hand, patience and (rather fittingly) a great deal of time. Hathern’s resident clockmaker was so prolific and steadfast that many of his work has survived to this day including a number of pocket-watches and grandfather clocks. He passed away in 1833 at the age of 78 years – an incredible old age for a man of his time.

Edward Thomas March Phillips: Reverend

Born in 1784, just a few years after Spittle’s death, March Phillips is perhaps one of the most interesting men to have lived and worked in Hathern. A true pillar of the community, his compassion for his fellow man and his studious, steadfast nature helped him bring about great change in the village that he gave over fifty years of his life to. The historians at HathernHistory.co.uk were lucky enough to have a truly exhaustive resource to draw from in the shape of a book written by March Phillip’s daughter Lucy Frances March Phillips.

The book, which is available to read in its entirety online, catalogues some of the Reverend’s earlier years, detailing his middling performance throughout school and college, his abandonment of his ambition to become a physician and enrolment into the priesthood. The Reverend was many things in life: he was a husband, father but, perhaps most of all, he was a teacher. The communities he served were industrious but uneducated and he devoted much of his time to organising the education of the children to ensure that they could read, write and potentially grow beyond their humble beginnings.

You can find out more about the dozens of interesting characters that have lived in Hathern by heading to HathernHistory.co.uk