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William Meaburn Tatham (1862-1938)

Two Newspaper Obituaries

Death of the Rev. W. M. Tatham

Vicar of Cantley for 46 years
Rugby International
Work in beautifying the church

The Rev. William Meaburn Tatham, Vicar of Cantley for 46 years, died at his home, Cantley Vicarage, near Doncaster, early on Tuesday. He was 76, and had been ill for some time.

The Rev. and Mrs. Tatham, formerly Miss Louisa Valetta Buller, celebrated their golden wedding in January, 1936. They were married at St. Matthias' Church, Earl's Court, S.W. Mrs. Tatham is the youngest daughter of the late Mr. F. Pole Buller, formerly of the Bengal Civil Service, and comes of a family of which the late General Buller was a member. Mr. Tatham was son of the late Rev. G. E. Tatham, Vicar of St. Paul's East Moulsey, and was born at Ryburgh, Norfolk.

Mr. Tatham was instituted by the Archbishop of York on December 14, 1892. He was educated at Marlborough College and Brazenose College, Oxford, where he gained his M.A. At the time of his marriage, and after ordination, he was at St. Saviour's Church, Folkestone, and for two years before his presentation to the living of Cantley, he held a curacy at St. Agnes', Kennington Park, S.E.

During his tenure of the Cantley living the old parish church has undergone considerable restoration, an aisle having been added, and a great deal of money has been raised and spent on beautifying the interior. Among other additions to the church has been a handsome screen between the chancel and the nave, and in recent years up-to-date heating and lighting equipment has been installed, and a considerable extension of the church yard has been made.

Captained Unbeaten Team
As a curate, Mr. Tatham spent a great deal of his time working in slum areas.

All his life, Mr. Tatham took a keen interest in athletics, especially Rugbv football and cricket. When an undergraduate at Oxford he captained the 'Varsity Rugby team, in the season 1884-5, a year in which there was not a single defeat in over 20 matches. For three years in succession he played for England in International Rugby matches as a forward.

Mr. Tatham had shone as a Soccer player, too. After he was ordained and went to St. Saviour's at Folkestone he played for the Folkestone football team in the F.A. Cup competition. They were "knocked out" in the second round.

In South African War
He served in the South African war as a chaplain, following the fortunes of Lord Methuen's troops during the warfare towards the end of the campaign. For a year's service he had the South African, medal and bars, denoting the Transvaal, Orange Free State, and Cape Colony.

Doncaster and Cantley
For some time Mr. Tatham was a member of the Doncaster Board of Guardians, and also served on the Cantley Parish Council. He took a keen interest in sport in the parish, and for many years captained the cricket club. His prolific scoring was the talk of many old members of the cricket club, whose ground used to be at the Old Vicarage.

Mr. Tatham leaves a widow, seven children, and nine grandchildren.

The children are Mrs. J. Clayton, Mrs. Mackay, widow of the late Dr. P. B. Mackay, of Doncaster; Mr. B. M. Tatham, who is an accountant in West Africa; Mrs. F. O. Dowdall, wife of a Doncaster Grammar School master; Mrs. R. Came, who is the wife of an engineer in East Africa; Mr. Wilfred Tatham, partner in a Doncaster coal firm; and Mrs. D. W. Stokes, wife of a bank manager in East Africa.

A Popular Vicar
Mr.Tatham was a popular figure in the parish, unostenatious in all he undertook and with a ready sense of humour. Throughout last Lent he attended at the church regularly at 7.20 each morning and it was only recently that he felt the burden of age and illness to be too great and engaged a curate to assist in the work of the growing parish.

He was elected vice-president of the Doncaster Rugby Club when it was re-formed in 1909 after a ten years' lapse. A keen and interested spectator, he was a frequent visitor to the Yorkshire County matches. One of his sons, Mr. B. M. Tatham, was a playing member of the club for many seasons, and is now in Africa.

Mr. Tatham was a member of the Oxford team which beat Yorkshire many years ago and broke a long series of successes by the county side.

The Funeral
The body will be taken to the church on Thursday for Vespers at 7.30 p.m.

The funeral is on Friday morning. Requiem Mass at 11 will be followed by the absolution and burial service.

It was Mr. Tatham's wish that there should be no mourning and no flowers, and that the money that would have been spent on flowers should go to the Doncaster Infirmary.

[Doncaster newspaper, Oct 1938]


William Meaburn Tatham, Priest

The parish of Cantley, and many friends and sympathizers in the neighbouring town and district of Doncaster, and much further afield, are mourning the loss of their beloved and faithful priest, the Rev. W. M. Tatham, who, after a long and painful illness, borne with an heroic patience, died at Cantley Vicarage on St. Luke's Day.

At Oxford, William Tatham was a well-known figure, one of the famous "Sons of Anak" of B.N.C. in the early 'eighties. He was captain of the Oxford University Rugby football team, and an international player for England.

After his theological training at Cuddesdon he was ordained, and, some forty-six years ago, he came from St. Agnes', Kennington, a young priest, to the beautiful little village of Cantley, some three miles from Doncaster. He brought with him that full presentation of the Catholic faith and worship in which he had served at Kennington, to a parish which was not accustomed to it, and encountered much opposition, but he overcame it and then set himself to fight the age-long and much more difficult battle against indifference. So he devoted his long life to the work to which he had been called, and went about it with a touching self-depreciation.

He was a man of winning personality, a whimsical humour, and wholly free from any self-importance, but staunch, faithful to his heart's core. His obsequies were carried out on Friday last in the full Catholic manner in the little mediaeval church which his devotion and his generosity in a large measure, and the loving care of himself, his family and his parishioners have made into a gem among the village churches of England. A large band of priests, lay servers and friends rendered the Requiem Rites and music with solemnity and beauty.

[believed to be from The Church Times]


Linked toWilliam Meaburn Tatham (Death)

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