Fr-Merritt-Photo

EDMUND DOUGLAS MERRITT
1927 – 1936

Emmanuel College, Cambridge

Cuddesdon Theological College

Ordained deacon: 1902
Ordained priest: 1903

1902 – 1905 Curate, All Saints’ Notting Hill

1905 – 1908 Curate, Salcombe

1908 – 1914 Curate, SS Peter and Paul, Teddington

1914 – 1927 Vicar, All Saints, May of Thames

1927 – 1935 Vicar, S. Michael, Camden

1935             Rural Dean, S. Pancras

1935             Prebendary, S. Paul’s Cathedral

He was the son of Edmund Merritt (1851, Marylebone, London) and Ellen Emma Gray (1852, Greenwich), who had married in Lee in 1876. In 1891 he was living with his parents at Lee, with his father working as a wine merchant. At the time of the 1901 census he was boarding with an agricultural labourer and his wife and family at Fenny Bridges, Ottery St Mary, Honiton, Devon and giving his occupation as “Undergraduate”.

He gained his BA at Emmanuel College Cambridge in 1901, the same year as he joined Cuddesdon College. In 1926 he stated he was an old friend of Fr Keelan and Fr Kett, two of St Michael’s assistant priests, possibly from their all studying at Cambridge around the same time. He was made deacon by the Bishop of London in 1902 and priest the following year by the same bishop. His first curacy was at All Saint’s, Notting Hill (1902-1905). In 1905 he gained his Cambridge MA and also married Winifred Ethel Hartley (1884, Thirsk, Yorkshire) in the Thetford district of Norfolk. She was the daughter of Reginald Hartley (1853, Laughton-en-le-Morthen, near Sheffield), a GP, and moved with her parents from Thirsk to Paddington between 1891 and 1901.

His next curacy was in Salcombe (1905-08), where Edmund and Winifred had their first two children Edmund Philip (1907) and Ellen Mary (1908). He then moved to St Peter and St Paul, Upper Teddington (1908-14), where they had two more children, Charles Vincent (1909) and Alan John Vaughan (1911). He appears in the 1911 census at 37 Park Road Teddington with his wife, four children, his wife’s younger sister and two servants.

Next he was Vicar of All Saints, St Margaret on Thames (1914-27), during which time he became Proctor Conventional for London Diocese in 1925, a role he held until 1945. He then became vicar of St Michael’s (1927-35). The December 1926 parish magazine carried a letter from him announcing himself as Fr Osborn’s successor. He arrived and was instituted on 12th February 1927. His first annual letter in 1928 sounded a mixed tone:

“After the long reign of my revered predecessor it was natural that you should feel deeply the break with old traditions and old associations. Nevertheless the great majority of you have “stuck to the ship” right nobly and have helped me tremendously in the heavy task which I had to take to hand … While however I can thankfully record the faithfulness of the many, I cannot shut my eyes to the defection of the few. The annual statistics published in this issue of the Magazine show a decline in communicants which I intensely deplore and in other directions I cannot help noticing a certain falling off. I trust this is but temporary, and as we all settle down to the new regime all the ancient glories of St Michael’s will be restored, if not increased.”

The September 1935 recorded a Kenneth Merritt attending the church’s summer camp as a leader but only being able to spend a week there as he had been called up for the RAF Reserve – he may have been a relation of Edmund’s. The October 1935 issue carried Merritt’s resignation letter and a request for books back from anyone he’d loaned them to. He was then made Rural Dean of St Pancras and given Licence to Officiate by the Diocese of London (1935-45), as well as Prebendary of Wenlocksbarn, St Paul’s Cathedral (1939-45). In 1945 he retired, became Prebendary Emeritus and was given Licence to Officiate in Canterbury Diocese, having retired to the Queen’s Hotel in Deal, Kent, where he was recorded as living by Crockfords in 1955.

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