Rev. John Nowill Bromehead 1875-1901
John Nowill Bromehead joined St Edward’s in 1875. After his degree at King’s College London, he spent his curacies in Manchester, Norfolk and London. When he arrived in Dringhouses, the village population was around 500. He came to the parish as a bachelor but was married three years later in London.
His two children were born in Dringhouses, Hilda in 1880 and Cyril in 1885, and John’s life was typical of a village clergyman. As well as successfully opposing the move of the Turf Tavern pub (from its position then near the Marriott Hotel) to a site very close to the church, he chaired meetings, took services, and was a manager of the village school where he gave regular Scripture lessons.
In 1891, the clock made by Mr G J Newey of Petergate, was given by the Meek family in memory of Sir James Meek (of Middlethorpe Lodge) and Eleanor, his wife. It no longer strikes the hours as originally intended. Further changes in the 1890s included a richly carved chancel screen installed in 1892 (now positioned at the west end of the church) and improvements to the church heating. Incandescent gas lights were fitted throughout the church. 1896 saw the installation of the beautiful new reredos (decorated screen behind the altar) in memory of George Oldfield of Dringthorpe (carved by York sculptor G W Milburn, who is perhaps better known for his statues of George Leeman, William Etty and Queen Victoria in York).
For health reasons, John had been seeking a new parish further south and in 1889 an exchange had been proposed, so Acaster (a church he had taken on from 1881-1886) and Dringhouses parishioners arranged a farewell presentation to take place in the schoolroom. Before it could take place, the exchange fell through, but the parishioners went ahead with the presentation anyway ‘as a token of esteem …. and gratification at his decision to stay’!
John finally managed an exchange of parishes with Rev. Edward Evans of Beverston in Gloucestershire. John became Rural Dean of Tetbury and, on his retirement in 1925, he sponsored a window in Beverston church giving thanks for 56 years of priestly life – 26 of which had been in Dringhouses: he was one of our longest serving vicars.
His final move was to Dinard in Brittany, where he died in 1934, aged 90. The funeral service was held in St Bartholomew’s Anglican church, prior to his burial back in England.
John was the last of our three Victorian vicars.