John Genn Hooton
15th October 1853, Camberwell – 11th March 1928, Brighton
St Michael’s: 1895 – 1903

He was the youngest of seven children born to William Hooton (baptised 16th September 1810, Falmouth, Cornwall – 1886, Broadwater, West Sussex) and his wife Ann Christiana Tresider (baptised 8th October 1812, Falmouth, Cornwall – 1900, Broadwater, West Sussex). John derived his middle name from his mother’s family. She had been baptised in Falmouth on 10th October 1812, the daughter of the solicitor Nicholas Tolmie Tresider (baptised 11th August 1782 – 26th November 1861, Falmouth) and his wife Ann Genn (baptised 14th December 1783, Falmouth – 16 May 1861, Falmouth). Nicholas was the son of John and Kitty and married Ann in Falmouth on 30th July 1811. Nicholas and Ann were still living there on census night in 1861 but died months later and were both buried in the town. William Hooton, on the other hand, was the son of John Hooton (baptised 11th May 1765, Falmouth) and Ann Parkes, who had married in Falmouth on 21st Jul 1791 – that John was the son of James and Penelope Hooton or Hooten.

William and Ann married in Falmouth late in 1838. Three years later they appear as a couple in the census living at 48 Albany Street in the parish of St Giles Camberwell with their ten-month-old daughter Anne (1840, Camberwell – after 1851). They moved to 9 The Terrace in Camberwell by 1851. William worked as a “CL” (ie City of London Merchant; 1841), “Merchant (City of London)” (1851) and “General Merchant” (1861 and 1871). His firm was William Hooton and Yates of 12 Fenchurch Street and business was clearly booming, since his number of servants rose from two in 1841 to three in 1851 and 1861, four in 1871 and five in 1881. By 1861 he was living at Southlands Villa on Southborough Road, Bromley, south London. He retired between 1871 and 1881 and in both those years was living at ‘Parkfield’, a villa on Park Hill Rise in Croydon.

By 1851 the couple’s family had exploded, with four more children – Anne, Mary Tresider (1843, Camberwell – 1906, Worthing, West Sussex), Emma Christiana (1845, Camberwell – 1917, Worthing, West Sussex), William John (1847, Camberwell – 1853, Camberwell) and Edward Charles (23rd November 1847, Camberwell – 1912, Croydon district). James (1852, Camberwell – 11th March 1928, Worthing) and John Genn soon followed. By 1861 Ann had probably married – she was certainly no longer in residence with her parents in 1861, whereas Mary, Emma and James were still there even in 1881. Another resident in 1881 was a great-nephew of William senior, the merchants’ clerk Charles H Narriant (1858, Near Fems, Devon).

John and all the other Hooton sons attended Dulwich College, a prestigious private school in south-east London. Edward Charles joined his father’s firm straight out of school – he gave his occupation as “Commission Merchant” in 1881 but was mostly listed on censuses as a “Brazilian Merchant” (1881-1901). He was still in his parents’ house in 1871 but moved out the following year upon his marriage in Croydon district to Elisa Arnaud (1853, São Miguel or Saint Michael Island, Azores, Portugal – 1928, Croydon district). Based in the Cais do Sodré district of Lisbon, her father G S Arnaud was the travel agent for passengers on the Portuguese government-owned mail steamers between London, Lisbon and the Azores1. Elisa, however, was listed as a British Subject in the 1881 census. She and Edward had almost certainly met in relation to his trade dealings between Europe and Brazil, a former Portuguese colonies in South America. They had at least six children, all born in Croydon, including Edward Charles G (1878, Croydon district – 1885, Croydon district). He named his eldest son William (1874, Croydon) after his own father and trained him up for the family business – he was a merchant’s clerk in 1891 and a full-blown “Brazilian Merchant” in 1901. The family home remained in Croydon, initially at 14 Dingwall Road (1881) then at Shanklin House on Chepstow Rise (1881 to at least 1911). Edward Charles senior was buried near Croydon in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist, Shirley.

After school John Genn Hooton went to Downing College Cambridge by or in 1871, graduating BA in 1876. He was ordained deacon in 1877 and priest in 1878 as well as gaining his Cambridge MA in 1880. His first curacy was at St Luke’s Church on Jersey (1877-1881). By census night on 30th April 1881 he had become curate of St Mary’s Alverstoke in Hampshire, living at 3 Trinity Cottages on Stoke Road in that town. This was the household of Henry William Unsted (1846, Southsea, Hampshire – 1907, South Stoneham, Hampshire) and his wife Sarah Weldron (1846, Gosport – 1903, Alverstoke district) and their children. Unsted was the son of Sergeant Richard Unsted, Royal Marines and Weldron the daughter of the greengrocer Edward Weldron – the couple had married in St Thomas’s Elson near Alverstoke on 25th October 1868. Henry himself was a painter in the dockyard on the other side of Portsmouth Harbour, rising to “Charge Man of Painters” by 1901.

Yet John soon moved on again and on All Saints Day (1st November) 1881 he was instead installed as curate at St Philip’s Sydenham in south-east London. That was also the occasion on which he first met T P Atchison, then organist at St Philip’s and from 1884 the second organist at St Michael’s. The men became friends and Atchison probably tempted him to Camden Town, bringing Hooton on his first visit to St Michael’s to hear Canon Bristow’s evening sermon preparatory to the 1885 Mission.

St Philip’s, Sydenham, where Hooton and Atchison first met.

Next he became curate at All Soul’s Harlesden from 1890 and the following year he lodging in two rooms at 140 Manor Park Road, Willesden. Also in that household were Flora Agnes Kew (1844, Norwich), her nephew Ambrose Eugene Kew (born Gosport or Landport, 1877; baptised 21st Jun 1877, St John the Evangelist, Forton, Hampshire – 1944, south-east Surrey) and her servant Mary Palmer (1873, Willesden). Both Kews were unmarried and given his birthplace Ambrose had probably met John during the latter’s brief spell in Alverstoke in 1881. On census night in April 1881 Ambrose had been living at 50 Overbury Street, Hackney with his parents, the commercial traveller Henry Kew (1840, Norwich – 1887, Chelmsford, Essex) and his wife Henrietta Tucker (1847, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire – 1886, Bishops Stortford). Henry and Ann had married in Bishops Stortford on 24th July 1870, giving their fathers as the telegraphist clerk George Kew (1813, Norwich – 1861, Colkirk, Norfolk) and the baker and corn merchant Henry Tucker (1810, Bishops Stortford – 1883, Bishops Stortford). Since then Ambrose had been orphaned and presumably Flora had taken him in as her brother’s son – from 1891 onwards Flora was “Living On Own Means”. She and Ambrose were still together in Willesden in 1901 and 1911 at 62 Minet Avenue and 8 Baker Road respectively, with Ambrose now working as a cycle maker.

John Genn then became an assistant priest in Chislehurst in 1894 before arriving at St Michael’s Camden Town at Easter 1895. His residence in the parish in 1901 was at a lodging house at 175 Kings Road (now St Pancras Way), run by a Devon-born widow. It also housed three other single men, the lodging house keeper and her five children. John Genn left London in 1903 to be an assistant priest at St Michael and All Angels in Brighton, another Bodley church. In 1910 John left that St Michael’s but was given a preaching license by the Diocese of Chichester and remained in Brighton, where he later died.

John had probably moved to West Sussex to be closed to family, since his parents had retired to Farncombe House in Broadwater, West Sussex between 1881 and his father’s death in 1886. They were probably followed out of London by their son James – in 1881 he had been ‘living off the bank of Mum and Dad’ as a “MA Cambridge No Occupation” but two years later he married in the East Preston district of West Sussex to Florence Lucy Jane (1858, Dalston, east London – 1908, Worthing). In 1891 he was “Living On His Own Means” with his wife, their eleven-month-old child, a nurse and a servant at Holland Lodge in the Sussex village of Heene. By 1901 the couple and their son had moved to Worthing, living at 10 Oxford Road.

After his wife’s death James moved to 24 Oxford Road in Worthing by 1911, still with his only son James William Edward Hooton (May 1890, Heene – 1986, Hove, West Sussex), who had been granted a Canonry Scholarship by the Diocese of Lincoln earlier that year and was now a “Student [for] Holy Orders” – perhaps his uncle John Genn Hooton had set a good example. In 1913 he entered Chichester Theological College and he was still a theological student on 16th September 1914 when he enlisted alongside other Worthing men into the 3rd Company of 19th (Service) Battalion (2nd Public Schools) Royal Fusiliers. He only attested for three years’ service, though his attestation form includes the optimistic handwritten amendment “if however the War is over in less than 3 years you will be discharged with all convenient speed”. At the time he was still living with his father at 24 Oxford Road, Worthing. He was 5 foot 8 inches tall and had good physical development, fair hair and a fresh complexion. When he attested he was passed as fit for service, but he was given sick leave by an officer called Abbott early in December 1914, posting him a doctor’s certificate as soon as he arrived home. There seems to have been some ambiguity since he and his father both had to send apologetic letters to his commanding officer regarding his whereabouts. The leave may have been the chronic muscular rheumatism and chronic constipation later added to his service record and was probably the reason for his early discharge on 7th January 1915 as “Not being likely to become an efficient soldier”.

James William’s letter, 17th December 1914.

He seems to have already completed his theological training, since he was ordained deacon on the fourth Sunday of Advent (19th December) 1915 by John Watts Ditchfield, Bishop of Chelmsford in his cathedral2. His first curacy was at St Saviour’s Walthamstow, during which he was ordained priest on the second Sunday in Lent (3rd March) 1917, again by the Bishop of Chelmsford but this time in All Saints’ Springfield on the outskirts of Chelmsford3. He went on to another curacy at St Simon’s Bristol (1919-1920) and then in 1921 he was given a year’s permission to officiate in the Diocese of Exeter. Next he undertook yet more curacies at the Church of the Annunciation in Brighton (1922-1924) and Holy Trinity Hoxton (1925-1929). He then took on a parish of his own for the first time when he became Vicar of St Winwaloe’s Church, Poundstock in Cornwall (1929-1933), whose chapel of ease Our Lady and St Anne’s still has a sanctuary lamp given by him.4 His final post was as Vicar of St James the Greater in Huncote in Leicestershire (1943-1944), though he was also given permission to officiate in the dioceses of London (1934-1969) and Chichester (1959-1986), attending a memorial service for Fr Basil Jellicoe at St Mary’s Somers Town on 28 August 19355 and acting as an intermittent assistant priest at St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town from July 1949 to June 19646.

James and John’s widowed mother Ann Christiana was “Living On Own Means” in Farncombe House in 1891 with her unmarried daughters Mary and Emma and three servants, namely a ladies’ maid, a cook and a house-and-parlourmaid. Ann Christiana died in Broadwater in 1900 but Mary and Emma remained in the county. In 1901 the pair were in their fifties and both “Living On Own Means” at Deverell Cottage in Worthing. The means were clearly still substantial, since they could afford a cook, a housemaid and an attendant nurse. Also resident was their young unmarried cousin Emmeline Corfield (1870, Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire, Wales), a “Lady’s Companion”. Mary died in 1900 but Emma was still in the cottage in 1911, now with Clara Dixon (1866, St John’s Wood, London) as a “Companion”, a nurse and a general servant. Emma herself died in 1917 and was buried with her parents in Broadwater Cemetery7.

John Genn died within hours of his brother James on Sunday 11th March 1928 and the pair were buried side by side alongside their sister Emma89. James’s son James William Edward was living at 151 Goldstone Crescent, Hove as of 198210 and after his death was buried alongside his father on 7th February 198611 John and James’s unmarried nieces Mary Elisa Hooton (late 1874, Croydon – 1948, Worthing) and Margaret Annie Hooton (1876, Croydon – 1958, Bromley) were also buried nearby in Durrington Cemetery in Worthing12 – they were daughters of James and John’s brother Charles Edward.

One more possible scion of a Norfolk branch of the Hooton family is also buried in Durrington Cemetery – Eleanor Hooton Smallwood (11th February 1864, Bethnal Green, London – 1954, Worthing)13. She was the daughter of Thomas Smallwood (1828, Macclesfield, Cheshire) and Ann Hooton (1828, Downham Market, Norfolk), who had married in Downham Market on 1st June 1854, stating that their fathers were the gentleman James Hooton (1782, Stow Bardolph, Norfolk) and the cloth merchant George Smallwood. In 1851 Ann was living with her parents on Lynn Road in Downham Market, whilst in 1881 Eleanor was living with them at Stanley Villa, 3 Pembury Road, Tottenham and in 1891 at Selhurst Road, Croydon. Eleanor’s father worked in an Examining Office for HM Customs, perhaps in the London Docks from the late 1850s to the early 1870s judging by his children’s East End birthplaces and his place of residence on his marriage certificate (Stepney). Eleanor married the insurance official Herbert Cruso Peckover (12th December 1866, Lewisham district – 1940, Worthing district) in Croydon district in 1897. Herbert had retired by 1939, when the couple were living at 156 Littlehampton Road, Worthing district.

  1. Walter Frederick Walker, The Azores: or Western Islands. A political, commercial and geographical account, containing what is historically known of these islands and descriptive of their scenery, inhabitants, and natural productions; having special reference to the Eastern group consisting of St. Michael and St. Maey, the Formigas and Dollabaret Rocks ; including suggestions to travellers and invalids who may resort to the archipelago in search of health., (Trubner and Co, London, 1886), pages 8 to 9
  2. Church Times, 24th December 1915, page 663
  3. Church Times, 9th March 1917, page 212
  4. The Poundstock Packet, No. 44 August/September 2010, page 7
  5. The Times, 29th August 1935
  6. Priests of St Silas
  7. Adur and Worthing – Burial Search – Grave Reference C6.5.8.
  8. Gloucester Citizen, 17th March 1928 and West Sussex County Times, 24 March 1928
  9. Adur and Worthing – Burial Search – Grave References C6.6.6 and C6.5.9
  10. Crockford’s Clerical Directory, 1980-82, p 484
  11. Adur and Worthing – Burial Search – Grave Reference C6.6.7.
  12. Adur and Worthing – Burial Search – Grave References 16.14.7 and 16.14.7.
  13. Adur and Worthing – Burial Search – Grave Reference 2.3.20