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Rev John Moore Heath 1808-1882

of Milland, Liphook, Hampshire

Born: 27 December 1808 and died 2 February 1882
Son of: George Heath (1779-1852) and Ann Raymond Heath (nee Dunbar,1787-1842).
Brother of:
1. Julia Anna Harrison (nee Heath) (1807-1879), who married James Park Harrison.
2. Douglas Denon Heath (1811-1897).
3. Charles Heath (1814-1814).
4. Rev Dunbar Isidore Heath (1816-1888), who married Emily Mary Harrison (18??-1897).
5. Adm Sir Leopold George Heath (1817-1907), who married Mary Emma Marsh (1826-1902).
6. Emma Jane Whatman (nee Heath) (1821-1884), who married William Godfrey Whatman (1819-1876).
John married: Marianne Harman (1816-1888), 31 December 1845, only daughter of Edward Harman.
John and Marianne had issue:
1. George Heath (1847-1923), who married Martha Charlotte Schmidt (1864-1951).
2. Julia Heath (1848-1899).
3. Emma   (1850-1854)
4. Mary Anne Heath (1853-1928).
5. Walter Heath (1855-19??), who married Ellen Augusta Echalaz.
6. John Heath (1857-1857).

We know about Rev John Moore Heath from the book "Records of the Heath Family" by George Heath, 1913.

We know about Rev John Moore Heath from the book "Records of the Heath Family" by George Heath, 1913.  This reads as follows:  

John Moore, the eldest son, named after his godfather, General Sir John Moore, K.B., was born in Chancery Lane, December 27th, 1808, and educated at Westminster School, becoming a King's Scholar in 1822, and was duly elected with exhibitions to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1826, being elected Scholar in 1827.  For some years he was on intimate terms with A. Tennyson; his chief friends were Forbes, Blakesley, Thompson, and many others.  He graduated in 1830, as 24th Wrangler, and 2nd class in the Classical Tripos, and was elected Fellow of his College in 1831.  After being called to the Bar, the family affliction of deafness prevented his progress, and on receiving an offer from his former tutor (Peacock), of a lectureship, he returned to Trinity, and later on was ordained by Dr Allen, Bishop of Ely.  On the appointment of Dr. Peacock to the Deanery of Ely, J.M.Heath succeeded him as Tutor. 

D.D.H. left the following notes:

Of course as Tutor he had some 150 undergraduates on his "side," of whom many became his friends.  Among these were the Fitzwilliams, with whom he travelled, Beresford Hope, Lord John Manners, and others.  Dr Thompson is my contemporary.  He had left Trinity College; and was master of the Grammar School at Leicester, when J.M.H. became Tutor, and called him back to be lecturer on his "side," whence he passed to the position of Tutor, succeeding J.M.H. and ultimately becoming Master of the College.

Lord Tennyson was also my contemporary.  I do not know how much you may or may not have heard of their intimacy.

In 1844, he accepted the College living of Enfield, a preferment which he held till 1870.  During his carreer as Vicar, he carried out, after much opposition, various developments of great value in the Parish.  This was during the period of the "Oxford movement," and although he was always moderate High Churchman, both in views and ritual, his opponents denounced him as a Puseyite.  In those days party feelings in Church matters ran very high, and many stormy scenes in the Parish, besides legal proceedings, unfortunately resulted.  On one occasion, the Vicar, after vacating the chair at a turbulent Vestry meeting, was advised by his supporters to leave the Assembly Rooms by the window, instead of the door.  The climax was reached when he was burned in effigy, a ceremony countenanced by the Squire, who in later years much regretted the part he had played in these unseemly proceedings.

In 1857, he bought Milland House with 25 acres of land, near Liphook, Hants.  At that date the Portsmouth line had only reached Godalming Station, whence a two-hours coach  drive over the Punchbowl and Hindhead landed us near the house, two miles beyond Liphook.  This isolated district was then typical of a bygone period, abounding in quaint old world characters.  Among them was a certain "wise woman," a herbalist, who rode about with a supply of "simples," herbal remedies, and prescriptions, handed down no doubt from a remote period.  Among the cottagers her reputation stood higher than that of any medical practitioner, but of these, it must be admitted, the nearest lived seven miles away.  There were also the Mummers, who visited the houses at Christmas, fantastically attired, and gave performances of pantomime, recitations, fights with wooden swords, and so forth.  One of them would enter exclaiming "Here comes I, Oliver Cromwell", etc.  These rustic actors were the successors of the Mummers of olden time.  The churches and services of those days were decidedly archaic, according to present notions, the high pews had not been proved away, the parish clerk was still flourishing, choirs were unknown, and some of the clergy were or a very peculiar type.

After spending the summer of each year there till 1865, he applied to the Bishop of London for the appointment of a Curate in charge, and made Milland his permanent home in that year.  His deputy was Rev. W.D.Maclagan, afterwards so well known as Bishop of Litchfield, and Archbishop of York, who had charge of Enfield till July 1869, and the Vicar resigned the living in 1870.

Milland was a remote, old-fashioned country house of antique appearance, and difficult of access, arranged in a style that would now be considered out of date.  It contained a brewery, bakery, servants hall, and billiard table, but no bathroom, and the upstairs service of hot water was unknown in 1860.  Here he lead the life of a student, and took pleasure in scientific recreations, viz.: an observatory, the compilation of barometric tables, and records of rainfall, most carefully worked out for a long series of years.  He much enjoyed continental travel, and in 1863 visited Rome, Naples, etc. in company with J.C.Moore.  Like his father, he was very fond of building, and spent large sums in alterations and improvements on the house and grounds, which were not unfrequently again altered or swept away in subsequent years.  Indeed, for a long period, a band of workman was more or less employed about the place, entailing considerable disorder in the house, and discomfort to the family.  His visitors comprised relations, besides some old school and Cambridge friends; but unhappily, owing to severe deafness, he was, to a great extent, deprived of the pleasure of social intercourse, and found the reception of visitors a great effort.  He was a fine rider, and rarely missed this daily exercise.

The house was built by Peter Bettesworth in 1584, and was completely destroyed by fire November 6th, 1901.  The interior contained a very fine staircase in oak, of Jacobean character, and the drawing room was fitted with some oak panelling of the same character and date.  Two perennial fountains adorned the lawn, and good trout fishing was to be got in the ponds for those who understood the art.  Altogether, it was a charming place of great natural beauty, but too much surrounded with trees, and built in a hollow; the rainfall too, was very heavy.

In later years the neighbourhood became a favourite haunt of lawyers, Lord Selborne, Mr Justice Erle, C. Justice Cotton, all had their houses near together.  Sir John Hawkshaw, a great engineer, lived on the adjoining property of Hollycombe, Tennyson was about five miles away, at Haslemere, and Professor Tyndall on Hindhead.  Lady Dorothy Neville, with her famous gardens at Dangstein, and the ruins of Cowdray Castle near Midhurst, were within a drive.  Petworth was a more distant excursion, and Selborne Hanger, described in White's History, was visible from the Portsmouth road.

About 1869 he most unfortunately got involved in a mining enterprise, known as The Servian Copper and Iron Co, which never prospered, and ultimately swallowed up the bulk of his estate.

In 1879 the firm of Perkins, Bacon & Co, in which he and his brothers held a large share, lost the Postage stamp contract; and this disaster involved the sale of Milland, his fine collection of about 80 early Flemish and Dutch pictures, a good library of over 2,000 volumes, and other effects.  He then moved to Westbrook, Godalming, where he died Feb. 2nd, 1852, after many years severe suffering from rheumatic gout, borne with remarkable fortitude.  He was buried at Enfield churchyard, and a muffled peal celebrated the passing of Enfield's late Vicar.

He married at Enfield, Dec. 31st, 1845, Marianne, only daughter of Edward Harman, of Claysmore, Enfield.  The family possess Capt. Edward Harman's commissions, signed by Oliver Cromwell.  They were Quakers, and my grandfather, with two younger relations, having joined the City of London Volunteers when the fear of Napoleon's invasion prevailed, they were all expelled from the Society of Friends.

Harman & Co., were noted Russia merchants in their day, and the head of the firm had a very fine collection of pictures, besides being an authority on the finance and Governor of the Bank of England, but eventually their position became unsound, and their bankruptcy followed in 1846.

In 1882 Mrs Heath returned to Enfield, and lived near her old home till her death, April 1888.  She was buried in Enfield Churchyard.


Letters of Rev John Moore Heath

Letter From Rev John Moore Heath to his brother Leopold regarding the ill health of their father George Heath (who died 2 months later, 22 Jan 1852).

11 Nov: 1851

Dear Leo,
You will get little but tears and sorrow from any of us in this month's packet I fear.  The worst of our apprehensions are now pronounced to be realized and there is no doubt dear Papa has got a fatal and incurable disease which will carry him off, probably in a very short time, and a lament certainly after very excruciating suffering.  The most merciful event, and the one therefore that one fain to pray may be his lot, is that his life may be terminated by the indirect operation of his disease, - ie by its interference with the respiration or some other organs, before it develops its own horrible nature to the fullest extent.  We are all now considering when, and how best to inform him of the state he is in.  The information will be, I believe, by the depression of his spirits, the very worst thing for accelerating the progress of the disease; but I feel no doubt it must be done now it is certain that his doom is fixed; and especially in a case like his I think it would be wrong to conceal it too long, where I fear the mind is far from being prepared for absolute submission to the Will of God.  I fear this struggle for him; more than any thing else.  He seems to me to exist so entirely in this life only, to be so absolutely given to all its interests, that the severance which has to be made will be very peculiarly terrible.  It is most extraordinary that, though occasionally alarmed, he does not seem to have the least guess at the state he is in.  Poor man.  He does however, often look forward to death as near.  He told Mrs Whatman that he thought when he parted with you that he should never see you again; and I believe it was so; for he was certainly very depressed.  Poor Leo.  I pity you much for the distress these letters will be to you; but I almost think I envy you too for being by circumstances removed from witnessing what will be very dreadful to all of us to have to see, and quite unable to help or alleviate.
Your ever affectionate brother.
J.M. Heath. 


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