The Tathams of County Durham
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William Meaburn Tatham & Louisa Valetta Buller

Two newspaper reports of golden wedding, 14 Jan 1936

Golden Wedding of the Rev. W. M. and Mrs. Tatham

Vicar who was "Capped" for England

Captained Varsity "15" unbeaten in twenty matches

The Rev. W. M. Tatham, Vicar of Cantley. and Mrs. Tatham celebrated their golden wedding at Cantley Vicarage on Tuesday.

The Rev. William Meaburn Tatham and Miss Louisa Valetta Buller were married at St. Matthias' Church, Earl's Court, S.W. Miss Buller 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 is the son of the late Rev. G. E. Tatham, Vicar of St. Paul's, East Moulsey, and was born at Ryburgh, Norfolk.

Mr. Tatham has been Vicar of Cantley for the past 43 years, having been instituted by the Archbishop of York on December 14, 1892. He was educated at the 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.

Improvements to Church
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 churchyard has been made. During the last 40 years the seven-mile long parish of Cantley has increased in population from a few hundreds to about 3,000, and there is now work sufficient for the assistance of a curate.

As a curate, Mr. Tatham spent a great deal of his time working in slum areas, and soon after he went to Cantley, and while the old church was in the midst of restoration he was offered a post at Poplar, in the East End of London, but did not accept. Mr. Tatham told a "Chronicle" representative that the offer of a post in an East End parish was attractive, as he loved that kind of work, but it was a life he would not like now.

"Too much Whistle"
All his life Mr. Tatham has taken a keen interest in athletics, especially Rugby football and cricket. His other recreations now include golf and gardening. 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. He was a forward.

Mr. Tatham has interesting views on Rugby as it is played to-day. "There is a great deal too much whistle in the game as it is played to-day," he said. "I attended a match recently, and I took the trouble to count the number of whistles. They take too much notice of little, incidental things."

Referring to his Varsity games, he said: "We thought two or three thousand at the Varsity matches was wonderful. Now the gates are something like 40,000. They were as keen on the game as they are to-day, but that spirit existed in a very limited circle. It is always very funny to me that when I went up to the Varsity match I had to take the train from my home, walk two or three miles to Blackheath, play, walk the distance back again, and catch another train. Now they go up to Twickenham in their Rolls-Royces."

A Soccer Player
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.

Mr. Tatham 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 has the South African, medal and bars, denoting the Transvaal, Orange Free State, and Cape Colony.

His services with Lord Methuen he described as "enjoyable." Lord Methuen, he said, was very popular with the men under his command, for after every long march he was always ready to go round and see that everyone was all right.

"On one occasion," said Mr. Tatham, "we were playing bridge, after being on the march. Lord Methuen came in, and, of course, we all stood up. His sudden appearance rather startled us, and on sitting down again I promptly made a mistake, which eventually cost me 3,000 points. He rather put me off my game."

Prolific scoring at cricket
On another occasion Mr. Tatham asked his Lordship if they could have services of some kind, but he had to refuse as the men were preparing for a long march. After some days' fighting, they went to rest in camp and Lord Methuen suggested they should spend the whole of one day as a Sunday, having all the ordinary Sunday services. "Lord Methuen was a wonderful man," said Mr. Tatham.

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

The Church School has never lacked his help, and he never fails to attend twice every week to assist in the religious instruction of the scholars.

Mr. and Mrs. Tatham have a family of six daughters and two sons. The elder son and one daughter are now in Uganda. There is another daughter in Kenya Colony.

Parishioners have decided to mark the occasion of the golden wedding and the completion of 43 years' service as Vicar of the parish by giving a testimonial.

The celebration at the Vicarage on Tuesday night was quiet, owing to the physical disability of Mrs. Tatham and the absence abroad of members of the family.

Amongst those present on Tuesday were Mrs. Agnes Dowdall, wife of Mr. F. Dowdall, a master at Doncaster Grammar School, Mrs. Muriel Mackay (Doncaster), Mrs. Beryl Clayton (Norwich), three of the daughters; Mr. Wilfred Tatham (Cantley), his youngest son; and his three grandchildren, Ann Mackay, Peter Dowdall, and Clare, the child of one of his daughters living abroad. Clare is at school in England.

[Doncaster Chronicle, 16 Jan 1936]

Country Vicarage Golden Wedding

Forty-three Years at Cantley

Vicar Still Keen Sportsman

Changes in the Parish

A family dinner party, attended by all the members of their family living in England, was how the Rev. W. M. Tatham and Mrs. Tatham, of The Vicarage, Cantley, celebrated their Golden Wedding on Tuesday.

Two of their family, their eldest son Meaburn, and a daughter, Veronica (now Mrs. R. Came) are living in Uganda, another daughter, Biddy (now Mrs. Stokes) lives in Nairobi, and a third daughter, Mary, is an invalid in London, so these were, of course, unable to take part in the ceremony. Mrs. J. Clayton, Mrs. P. B. Mackay (widow of the late Dr. Mackay, of Doncaster), Mrs. F. O. Dowdall and Mr. Wilfred Tatham were all present, however, and the party was a happy one. A special surprise for Mr. and Mrs. Tatham was a handsome golden wedding cake, provided by their family.

Of their eight grandchildren only three are living in England, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clayton, the daughter of Mrs. Mackay, and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dowdall, and these had a tea-party as their share in the celebrations.

The Rev. William Meaburn Tatham married Miss Louisa Valetta Buller, youngest daughter of the late Mr. F. Pole Buller, formerly of the Bengal Civil Service, on January 14th, 1886, at St. Matthias's Church, Earl's Court, London, and the clergy who officiated were the then Lord Bishop of Lincoln, the bridegroom's father, the Rev. G. E. Tatham, Vicar of St. Paul's Church, East Moulsey, and the Rev. W. H. C. Lake, Vicar of the parish. At the time Mr. Tatham was at St. Saviour's Church, Folkestone; from there he went to St. Agnes' Church, Kennington Park, London, where he was curate for two years, then, on December 14th, 1892, he was instituted Vicar of Cantley by the Archbishop of York.

43 Years' Service
This living he has occupied ever since - a period of forty-three years, during which the love and esteem of his parishioners for him has continually increased.

The years have been intensely happy ones for Mr. and Mrs. Tatham, thanks largely to this fact, and though of later years the work of the parish has increased, Mr. Tatham still fulfils all his duties with the same characteristic thoroughness. He still assists twice weekly in the religious training of the scholars at Cantley Schools. He is still active and enjoys quite good health, still plays golf (he is a member of the Bessecarr Golf Club), as the "Gazette," in a lengthy report of the silver wedding celebrations 26 years ago, reported he did then, and he still does a considerable amount of work in his garden. These have been two lifelong hobbies of his.

Mrs. Tatham, unfortunately, does not enjoy very good health, and for the past year has been an invalid. She came of a family of which the late General Buller was a member, and was born on board ship; it is an old but favourite joke among her family to tease her about the fact that she was carried around the boat by the sailors in a soup tureen "for luck." She is the only surviving member of a family of eight, her last brother, Mr. H. M. Buller, who was a scholar at Harrow and a master at Clifton, dying last year.

Their Silver Wedding
To celebrate their silver wedding, Mr. and Mrs. Tatham entertained to tea their 600 parishioners, and there were very merry scenes, when turkey and plum pudding graced the board, and members of the Vicar's family gave a concert.

"We couldn't possibly do that today," said the Vicar , when a "Gazette" reporter saw him on Tuesday. He pointed out that the parish was at least ten miles in length and one and a half miles in breadth, and now contained somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 people.

The silver wedding was commemorated by parishioners in the presentation of a tray and solid silver tea service of the Early Victorian period, suitably and warmly inscribed. Every home in the parish contributed to it, and needless to say the Vicar and his wife are still the proud possessors of it.

Sporting Interests
The Vicar's love of cricket is as strong to-day as ever, and he watches all the Cantley team's matches, and always gives a bat to any player who gets fifty runs.

A week or two ago he went to London to watch the 'Varsity rugger match, and last week went to see the Rovers' cup-tie match.

The Vicar and his wife have seen three reigns, and Mr. Tatham recollects playing lawn tennis, when a boy, with either our present King George, or the Duke of Clarence, but he is not sure which.

He served in the Boer War as a military chaplain, and was with Lord Methuen's troops during the guerilla war towards the end of the campaign. He spent about a year in South Africa, and has the war medal with bars for service in Transvaal, Orange Free State and Cape Colony, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being with "our gallant lads."

He was too old for service in the last war, but two sons took part in it.

An unusual coincidence is that the parents of both Mr. and Mrs. Tatham celebrated their golden weddings on the same day of 1907. The eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tatham, Mrs. J. Clayton, and her husband, celebrate their silver wedding next year.

Mr. Tatham followed his usual procedure on his golden wedding day, celebrating Mass, and attending the school for the scripture lesson in the morning. In the afternoon he officiated at the funeral of 86-years-old Mrs. Harriett Wooldridge, one of his oldest parishioners. Even she, though, had not lived in the parish as long as the Vicar. He has outlived all who were his parishioners when he first came forty-three years ago.

[unidentified local paper, Jan 1936]

Linked toFamily: Tatham/Buller (F0028) (Married)

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